57 Movies Like Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) (Page 3)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching Transformers: Rise of the Beasts ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

Following the success of the Zom 100 manga and anime, Netflix quickly followed suit with a live-action film, which begs the question: why? Why bother, when the freshly released series is barely a month old and already a vibrant interpretation of the comic book it was based from? Why bother, when you’re not going to bring anything new to the table? The film, more than anything, feels like a rushed cash grab that hopes to capitalize on its predecessors’ success. The premise is clever and relatable—after years of living like a zombie, a jaded employee regains a lust for life when an outbreak threatens to kill him—but the film milks it to death, so much so that by the ending, when the characters finally reach this conclusion, they can’t help but seem slow for spelling out what we’ve already known from the start. The film also looks drab and dreary, a far cry from the series’ experimental wonders. Instead of multi-colored blood bursting with every kill, we simply get metallic confetti in the movie. Instead of dynamic action, we get barely believable stunts that seem more awkward than awe-inspiring. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead isn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t look so good next to its much-better counterparts on TV and in print. 

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror

Actor: Akari Hayami, Daiki Miyagi, Doronzu Ishimoto, Eiji Akaso, Jin Hisa, Kazuki Kitamura, Kenta Satoi, Kurumi Nakata, Mai Shiraishi, Mayo Kawasaki, Miwako Kakei, Mukau Nakamura, Reira Arai, Seijun Nobukawa, Shota Taniguchi, Shuntaro Yanagi, Yo Takahashi, Yui Ichikawa

Director: Yusuke Ishida

Rating: R, TV-MA

Like the action thriller Cellular (2004), Unseen plays with the idea of saving someone only through a phone. This time, however, Yoko Okumura’s directorial debut has video call instead of just audio, with video used to help nearly blind Emily run away from her kidnapper ex. Through split screen shots, occasional open hazy irises, and tiny phone screens, Unseen takes us on a desperate escape, an escape made possible by Emily’s connection with random stranger Sam. While some parts feel absolutely ridiculous, the thriller still feels like a wild ride, especially when focused on its two leads. It’s still enjoyable, if you can accept its silliness and the shallow way it approaches certain themes.

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Brett Baker, Jolene Purdy, Michael Patrick Lane, Midori Francis, Missi Pyle, Nicholas X. Parsons, Ren Hanami

Director: Yoko Okumura

Rating: NR

As one of the most recognizable and successful NBA players in the world today, Stephen Curry certainly doesn't need a documentary to persuade anyone else about his talent and the legacy he's already created in basketball. This definitely robs Underrated of some of its urgency, knowing that the Golden State Warrior has the luxury of ruminating on his victories and failures from a place of comfort. Still, the film's decision to focus on a young Curry before reaching the height of his powers allows us to watch these long stretches of game time through a different emotional lens. His is a classic underdog story that's probably far more common among players in the league, but it's still entertaining to be able to track his growth from game to game.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Ayesha Curry, Bob McKillop, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Sonya Curry, Stephen Curry

Director: Peter Nicks

Rating: PG-13

There are a lot of laughs to be had in Prom Dates, most of them coming from the funny and actualized characterization of Hannah, the lead’s queer best friend. But everything else about this coming-of-age film feels too familiar and forced to be memorable. Despite leading the film, Jess feels like a hollow copy-paste version of all the delusional, ambitious leads in teen films like Booksmart, Superbad, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, except there’s nothing particularly insightful or likable about her. She comes across as the annoying classmate you know too much about, against your own will. Events unfold in more or less predictable ways, though it’s not hard to imagine that the film could be elevated by a more robust cast. As it is, Prom Dates is a fleeting, forgettable entry in an already stacked genre.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Adam Herschman, Antonia Gentry, Arianna Rivas, Audrey Trullinger, Chelsea Handler, Emery Kelly, John Michael Higgins, Jordan Buhat, JT Neal, Julia Lester, Kenny Ridwan, Kiel Kennedy, Leonardo Cecchi, Patty Guggenheim, Shea Buckner, Terry Hu, Zión Moreno

Director: Kim O. Nguyen

Dropping on DVD and digital download in America at the end of summer 2023, Mavka: the Forest Song made its Hulu debut this November. Taking the plot of the 1912 poetic play and rewriting the tragic deaths into lighthearted, fantastical adventures, the film is precisely the sort of generic, child-friendly fairy tale that we’ve come to expect from Disney, albeit with a Ukrainian twist. The plot is predictable, and the humor is rife with cliche, but it’s still a fairly entertaining watch for young audiences.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Andrii Mostrenko, Artem Pyvovarov, Julia Sanina, Kateryna Kukhar, Mykhailo Khoma, Nataliia Denysenko, Nataliia Sumska, Nazar Zadniprovskyi, Oleh Mykhailiuta, Oleh Skrypka, Olena Kravets, Serhii Prytula

Director: Oleg Malamuzh, Oleksandra Ruban

Rating: PG

Between the film’s non-existent marketing and Hollywood's ongoing writers' strike, I knew not to expect much from Heart of Stone, Netflix’s latest direct-to-streaming outing. And sure enough, the spy thriller proved to be a mediocre watch. The plot is facile and generic, another one of those attempts at justifying AI and government data breaches. The acting is subpar, which is expected from the ever-stoic Gal Gadot. About the only good thing you can say about it is that it has entertaining action sequences. Gadot is precise and terrifying, a stunt wonder made for the genre. Now if only the acting matched the action, then maybe the film wouldn’t feel as plain and wooden. 

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Alia Bhatt, Archie Madekwe, BD Wong, Enzo Cilenti, Gal Gadot, Giulia Innocenti, Glenn Close, Jamie Dornan, Jing Lusi, Joe Reisig, Jon Kortajarena, Jónas Alfreð Birkisson, Luca Fiamenghi, Mark Ivanir, Matthias Schweighöfer, Neran Persaud, Paul Ready, Roy Sampson, Sophie Okonedo, Thomas Arnold

Director: Tom Harper

Rating: PG-13

In the saturated sphere of sci-fi and superhero movies, Gray Matter just doesn’t cut it. The film, which was produced as part of the filmmaking workshop/reality show Project Greenlight, doesn’t add anything new, much less its own spin, to a story we’ve heard countless times: that of a young kid learning to harness her supernatural powers for the first time. If you’ve seen Carrie, Firestarter, or more recently Stranger Things, then you’ll be able to predict how most of Gray Matter turns out. It is watchable, sure, enjoyable even in the first few minutes where it promises a world chockful of lore, but it never fulfills that promise. To be fair, the performances are solid and the technicals maximize what limited resources the movie has (it looks more decent than you’d expect a small-budgeted sci-fi production to be), but the pros don’t outweigh the cons in this case. It’s simply too empty and generic to be elevated by anything else. 

Genre: Science Fiction

Actor: Andrew Liner, Garret Dillahunt, Jessica Frances Dukes, Mia Isaac

Director: Meko Winbush

Rating: PG-13

As a supernatural horror, The Pope’s Exorcist doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It employs more or less the usual elements you’d expect from the genre, and to be fair, it does occasionally fright you with its bloody jumpscares and demonic screeches. But as a drama, the film is surprisingly watchable thanks to a committed and compelling performance from Crowe. The movie works best when it removes itself from its horror trappings and follows Crowe’s Gabriele as he moves through the ins and outs of the Vatican. When he challenges the church’s authority, when he defends his practice, when he inserts jokes in serious conversations because “the devil hates jokes,” these are when The Pope’s Exorcist shines and entertains. They’re also proof the film shouldn’t take itself too seriously when its star is having this much fun. 

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Actor: Alessandro Gruttadauria, Alex Essoe, Andrea Dugoni, Bianca Bardoe, Carrie Munro, Cornell John, Daniel Zovatto, Derek Carroll, Ed White, Edward Harper-Jones, Ella Cannon, Franco Nero, Gennaro Diana, Jordi Collet, Laila Barwick, Laurel Marsden, Marc Velasco, Matthew Sim, Pablo Raybould, Paloma Bloyd, Peter DeSouza-Feighoney, Ralph Ineson, Russell Crowe, Ryan O'Grady, Santi Bayón, Tom Bonington, Victor Solé

Director: Julius Avery

Rating: R

Unknown's next documentary installment takes us to the stars following the construction and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope. The documentary centers on the behind-the-scenes of launching the telescope, which eradicated all possible errors as it was the most expensive operation to enter space without human intervention. Explanations are palatable, and the highlights of their successes and failures are enough for casual viewers. Packed with emotion from NASA's scientists and engineers (and global spectators during Covid), the investment in this project and journey carry the film even though the concepts are too large to condense. 

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Joe Biden

Director: Shai Gal

Rating: G

With its release coming so close to that of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster treatment of the same subject, To End All War has clearly been designed as a companion piece for that fictional film. Though it mostly performs its function in a by-the-numbers fashion, this rather unexceptional adaptation of Oppenheimer’s Wikipedia page is somewhat livened up by fascinating archival footage and a few compelling talking heads. Among these is Nolan himself, whose contributions provide interesting insight into the structure of his own Oppenheimer movie. 

As its title suggests, To End All War hinges on Oppenheimer’s rationalization for developing the atomic bomb — namely, that, by creating such a catastrophically destructive weapon, he was, in effect, helping to deter future aggression. The film provides a counterpoint by suggesting that the scientists may have been somewhat swept up in egotistical fervor, though this is only gently touched on so as not to require the film to grapple too seriously with the ethics of its subject. This combination of ultimately non-threatening treatment with some genuinely compelling nuggets of perspective makes To End All War a quick, largely un-challenging way to brush up on history before or after tackling fictional exploration of its subject.

Genre: Documentary, History

Actor: Adolf Hitler, Alan B. Carr, Albert Einstein, Bill Nye, Charles Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan, David Eisenbach, Edward Teller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen Bradbury Reid, Hideko Tamura, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Jon Else, Judy Woodruff, Kai Bird, Leslie Groves, Martin J. Sherwin, Michio Kaku, Richard Rhodes, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping

Director: Christopher Cassel

It's a pretty nifty idea to expand on just one section of Bram Stoker's Dracula that's essentially just a footnote but implies something much more violent and horrific. And to its credit, The Last Voyage of the Demeter takes this sliver of the source material very seriously—with strong, period-specific production design and a cast that brings humanity and morality to their otherwise two-dimensional characters. Unfortunately, the film just doesn't know what to do with itself. As a creature feature, the thrills are uninspired and difficult to see properly on screen; as a supposedly character-driven horror movie, it only ever gestures toward deeper ideas but fails to give the tragic nature of its story any weight. And Dracula himself has none of the terror or the sophistication that has made him such an enduring figure throughout all of fiction. He's just a thing with wings.

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Actor: Adam Shaw, Aisling Franciosi, Chris Walley, Christopher York, Corey Hawkins, David Dastmalchian, Graham Turner, Javier Botet, Jon Jon Briones, Liam Cunningham, Malcolm Galea, Martin Furulund, Nicolo Pasetti, Nikolai Nikolaeff, Noureddine Farihi, Sally Reeve, Stefan Kapičić, Vladimir Cabak, Woody Norman

Director: André Øvredal

There’s little to like in Hidden Strike, a shoddy action thriller riddled with dodgy CGI, melodramatic performances, and ultra-predictable plotlines. You could even play a drinking game spotting all the action cliches present in the film (take a shot every time the patriotic hero dedicates a killing to his countrymen). Mostly, it’s laughable and complex for all the wrong reasons, but there are rare moments when Chan and Cena’s partnership works. They’re pockets of humor that feel like actual breathers, a respite in a film that’s ultimately tiresome to watch. 

Genre: Action, Action & Adventure, Adventure, Comedy, Thriller

Actor: Amadeus Serafini, Diego Dati, Gong Jun, Hani Adel, Jackie Chan, Jiang Wenli, John Cena, Kefas Brand, Laila Ezz El Arab, Lee Huang, Li Ma, Ma Chunrui, Max Huang, Michael Koltes, Neo Hou, Pilou Asbæk, Rachael Holoway, Rima Zeidan, Tazito Garcia, Temur Mamisashvili, Tim Man, Xu Jia

Director: Scott Waugh

Rating: TV-14

Surrounded has the bones of a revenge-style Western. It turns the table on the white cowboy hero and gives us (on paper, at least) complex leads in Mo and Tommy. Mo is a young Black woman whose experience as a Buffalo Solider lends her not only the skills of an expert gunslinger but also the anger and motivation to push through any obstacle, while Tommy is the enigmatic thief who Mo reluctantly relies on in her quest for freedom. With all this pent-up tension, the film should work, and it does occasionally thanks to Wright and Bell’s deft performances (Bell is especially exceptional), the stunning mountainous terrains, and the worthy attempts at race and class commentary. But for the most part, the film's ambitions fall flat. The monologues are overlong and too evocative of modern speech to be historically believable. The action scenes, while exciting, only sputter here and there and never gain the momentum the film needs to genuinely thrill. And the thin backstories of Mo and Tommy raise more questions than answers. More often than not, Surrounded looks like a couple of good scenes strewn together on a lousy string; the foundations are off but there’s some enjoyment to be found.

Genre: Action, Drama, Western

Actor: Austin Rising, Brett Gelman, David Manzanares, Jamie Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Keith Jardine, Kevin Wiggins, Letitia Wright, Luce Rains, Lyle Sandoval, Mark Dalton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nathaniel Augustson, Peter Diseth, Tatanka Means

Director: Anthony Mandler

Rating: R

Although the sequencing of the four segments makes sense, the overall result does not land in this new installment of the Lust Stories franchise. It shines with Konkona Sensharma's 'Mirror,' an unexpected take on voyeurism and camaraderie between women. It loses touch with Sujoy Ghosh's 'Sex with Ex,' which sticks out with a weak storyline and questionable use of a green screen. The bracketing stories are engaging if only for the stark difference in tone and conclusion. They round out the film well enough, allowing for an entertaining experience but a lukewarm memory after the credits roll. 

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Amruta Subhash, Angad Bedi, Anushka Kaushik, Hemant Kher, Jugal Hansraj, Kajol, Kanupriya Pandit, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kumud Mishra, Mrunal Thakur, Mukti Mohan, Neena Gupta, Tamannaah Bhatia, Tarun Khanna, Tillotama Shome, Vibha Chibber, Vijay Varma

Director: Amit Sharma, Konkona Sen Sharma, R. Balki, Sujoy Ghosh

Rating: R

Family Switch is a film clearly built to give its ensemble fun acting opportunities, with Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms being given excuses to loosen up more than expected, and Brady Noon and Emma Myers (arguably the movie's MVP) moving beyond mere imitation into more full-bodied performances as adults seeing through their kids' eyes. Unfortunately, the rest of the film saddles them with uninteresting situations that never take the body-switching aspect to more clever territory. Whatever mutual understanding that's learned by the end feels contrived, with the Christmas setting feeling especially tacked on—leaving these otherwise talented actors little to anchor their performances on.

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Adam Lustick, Andrew Bachelor, Anwar Jibawi, Austin Boyce, Bashir Salahuddin, Benjamin Flores Jr., Bob Stephenson, Brady Noon, Carl McDowell, Chloé Wepper, Connor Finnerty, Cyrus Arnold, Dan Finnerty, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, Fortune Feimster, Hannah Stocking, Helen Hong, Howie Mandel, Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, Jason Rogel, Jennifer Garner, Lauren Ash, Mark McGrath, Matthias Schweighöfer, Naomi Ekperigin, Ned Bellamy, Paul Scheer, Pete Holmes, Preston Galli, Punam Patel, Ravi Kapoor, Rita Moreno, Rivers Cuomo, Ryan James, Scott Shriner, Sebastian Quinn, Vanessa Carrasco, Xosha Roquemore

Director: McG

Rating: PG