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One wouldn't expect to see Count Dracula's youthful-looking helper at your local 12-step self-help group for people in codependent relationships, but Renfield holds more than one surprise up its sleeve. By translating the working relationship (or master-slave, since the latter doesn't get any pay) into the vocabulary of common relationship counselling parlance, the film actually elevates its symbolic status. Even more, I'd dare call it a hoot. Not that many vampire films have managed to make a proper comedy out of the figure in question, and Renfield with its simplistic appeal puts to shame even the artsy Netflix production El Conde, which also came out earlier this year. With Awkwafina in the mix and iconic lines such as "I don't want your murder cookies", how can you resist?

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Adrian Martinez, Anil Bajaj, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Bess Rous, Betsy Borrego, Brandon Scott Jones, Brian Egland, Camille Chen, Caroline Williams, Chloe Adona, Christopher Winchester, Derek Russo, Gabriel 'G-Rod' Rodriguez, James Moses Black, Jenna Kanell, Joshua Mikel, Keith Brooks, Lacey Dover, Lena Clark, Lucy Faust, Marcus Lewis |, Marvin Ross, Mike Harkins, Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Rhonda Johnson Dents, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Stephen Louis Grush, Susan McPhail, T.C. Matherne, William Ragsdale

Director: Chris McKay

Rating: R

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Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and John Hawkes (The Sessions) star in this easy road drama about a father who tries to rekindle with his son. After the mother passes away, they try to execute her dying wishes of spreading her ashes in her home country of Ireland. The son, Lerman's character, is freshly released from jail and accepts to take the trip on the one condition that he never sees his father again. This premise makes for a fun mix between a family drama and an adventure movie. Both characters have a lot to discover in Ireland: about the country, each other, and themselves.

Genre: Adventure, Drama

Actor: Aine Ni Mhuiri, Amy De Bhrún, Andrea Irvine, David Grant Wright, Denis Conway, Des Keogh, Emily Berry, Jack McEvoy, Joan Sheehy, John Hawkes, Lalor Roddy, Logan Lerman, Marion O'Dwyer, Mary McEvoy, Noella Brennan, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Sarah Bolger, Sean Mahon, Shaw Jones, Steven Blount, Zylan Brooks

Director: Elfar Adalsteins

Rating: Not Rated

This drama from France and Canada is about Matthieu, a 33-year-old from Paris who never knew his father. One morning he gets a call to go to Montreal, where he is told his dad has passed away and where a funeral will take place.

To add to his confusion, upon arrival Matthieu is asked to conceal his identity from his step-mother and step-brothers.

A Kid is made as though the filmmaking styles from the countries it’s set in were mixed together. There are complicated family dynamics reminiscent of Xavier Dolan movies; and identity issues and comments on different compositions of families like the films of Mia Hansen-Løve.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aliocha Itovich, Amélie Lafleur, Catherine De Léan, Claudiane Ruelland, Emmanuelle Dupuy, Gabriel Arcand, Hugues Leforestier, Jean-Pierre Andréani, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, Martin Laroche, Patricia Dorval, Patrick Hivon, Pierre Deladonchamps, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Romane Portail, Tania Bolduc, Timothé Vom Dorp, Valerie Cadieux

Director: Philippe Lioret

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Jennifer Lopez believes that her latest album and its movie accompaniment, This Is Me…Now, are her magnum opus, so she gives the joint project her all. She funds, writes, produces, directs, and choreographs everything with the help of her team, which amusingly includes her lover and muse Ben Affleck. Whether or not it actually is her greatest work of all time doesn’t matter; it doesn’t even matter that people get it. What matters is that she creates it with the undivided fervor of an artist possessed with the knowledge that this is their last chance to make a mark. And it’s that energy that makes this documentary, which is a behind-the-scenes look at This Is Me…Now, so captivating. Lopez is in her element directing the movie-musical of her life. At 54 years old, she’s completely candid (sometimes, amusingly, to Affleck’s dismay) and abandons all need to conform to industry norms. She follows her heart first and her mind second, which explains why her project is as big-hearted and relatable as it is bonkers and all over the place. It’s a bit like The Disaster Artist in that way: watching Lopez’s creative chaos is far more interesting than the creation itself.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Ben Affleck, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez

Director: Jason B. Bergh

Rating: R

When a group of percussionists illegally carry out a city-wide performance act, it's up to policeman Amadeus Warnebring to stop them. The musical fugitives perform on stolen objects and disrupt public spaces, but Warnebring has his own reasons to pursue them so determinedly: he's tone-deaf for one and born into a family of snobby musical geniuses for another, making this case all the more meaningful and consequential to him.

Sound of Noise is more than reminiscent of Stomp, what with its playful symphonies subsisting on random borrowed objects, but it is livened up with the suspense of a caper, the dry wit of a Swedish comedy, and the abundant charms of a light romance.

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Actor: Anders Jansson, Fredrik Myhr, Irene Lindh, Iwar Wiklander, Paula McManus, Peter Schildt, Ralph Carlsson, Sanna Persson, Sven Ahlström

Director: Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, Ola Simonsson

Rating: R

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Snatch is all things great. The film strings together multiple plots with a great ensemble of actors - which turns it into an excellent thriller movie. Jason Statham leads the film with Brad Pitt close behind, both turning in performances of enormous physicality. You’ll recognize many actors in the film as well, but the acting is not the only area where this movie shines. The style, quick cuts, and narration will surely keep you on your toes and engaged.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Mystery

Actor: Adam Fogerty, Ade, Alan Ford, Andrew Shield, Andy Beckwith, Arnold Montey, Austin Drage, Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, Charles Cork, Dave Legeno, Dennis Farina, Dian Bachar, Elwin 'Chopper' David, Eric Meyers, Ewen Bremner, Goldie, Guy Ritchie, James Cunningham, James Warren, Jason Buckham, Jason Flemyng, Jason Ninh Cao, Jason Statham, Jimmy Roussounis, John Farnell, John Hathaway, Lennie James, Liam Donaghy, Liam McMahon, Mick Theo, Mickey Cantwell, Mike Reid, Nicola Collins, Paul O'Boyle, Peter Rnic, Peter Szakacs, Rade Serbedzija, Robbie Gee, Roy Snell, Sam Douglas, Scott Welch, Sid Hoare, Sidney Sedin, Sol Campbell, Sorcha Cusack, Stephen Graham, Teena Collins, Tim Faraday, Tom Delmar, Trevor Steedman, Velibor Topic, Vinnie Jones, William Beck, Yuri Stepanov

Director: Guy Ritchie

Rating: R

Those who grew up watching baseball legend Reggie Jackson will know that his was a name you read all over the news. One of America’s first athlete superstars, Jackson had a reputation that preceded him—he was a celebrity you’d just as soon find in Studio 54 than in the gym, wearing diamond bracelets more than baseball mittens. But in his self-titled documentary Reggie, he finally tells his story in his own words. 

Reggie tracks his career in the context of the constant racism he and his fellow Black players in the league faced for many years. He explains why building the tough persona the media condemned him for years was necessary. It’s as autobiographical as it is historical, with Jackson often discussing how race informed every part of the sport, whether he wanted it to or not. The documentary is fascinating and informative, and it serves as an essential reminder of the inequality and double standards POC players faced and continue to face today.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Hank Aaron, Julius Erving, Reggie Jackson

Director: Alex Stapleton

Rating: PG-13

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Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Miles Teller star in this subtle drama about the state of a couple eight months into dealing with the sudden loss of their son.

The movie is based on a David Lindsay-Abaire play by the same name which won a Pulitzer Prize. It deals with the timeline of grief, and whether such a thing even exists: can the couple attempt to move on after 8 months? What about 8 years, like another couple they meet in a counseling group?

It’s also about how the differences in grief create tensions: the mother wants to donate the clothes and sell the house because she doesn’t want to be reminded of the event. The father wants to hold on the memory instead.

Rabbit Hole, like its source material, is sad, but its realistic approach and excellent performances make it nothing more than a perfect reflection of how complicated life can be.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aaron Eckhart, Ali Marsh, Colin Mitchell, Deidre Goodwin, Derek Blakeney, Dianne Wiest, Giancarlo Esposito, Jay Wilkison, Jennifer Roszell, Jon Tenney, Julie Lauren, Marylouise Burke, Mike Doyle, Miles Teller, Nicole Kidman, Patricia Kalember, Rob Campbell, Roberta Wallach, Salli Saffioti, Sandi Carroll, Sandra Oh, Sara Jane Blazo, Stephen Mailer, Tammy Blanchard, Teresa Kelsey, Ursula Parker, Yetta Gottesman

Director: David Lindsay-Abaire, John Cameron Mitchell

Rating: PG-13

It seems unfair to call Neeyat India’s (and Amazon Prime’s) answer to the Knives Out series of films, but it often feels that way. It’s a murder mystery that sides with the poor and satirizes the rich, and it mostly takes place in a grand manor that forces its colorful cast of characters to interact until, inevitably, their hidden motives surface. Of course, Neeyat isn’t an exact replica; it has its own inflections and charms, and figuring out how India’s ultra-rich live, specifically, is its own kind of fun. In fact, this is when the film shines the most, when it allows its talented cast to parade the silliness of their characters. Like Knives Out, it makes for a great ensemble movie. But as a murder mystery, Neeyat is not as successful in weaving multiple mysteries and pulling off twists. It’s bogged down by unnecessary melodrama, flashbacks, and exposition, eventually falling off the rails of logic. It’s still enjoyable, for sure, but maybe more as a campy comedy than as a genuinely thrilling mystery. 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Amrita Puri, Dipannita Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Niki Aneja Walia, Prajakta Koli, Rahul Bose, Ram Kapoor, Shahana Goswami, Shashank Arora, Shefali Shah, Vidya Balan

Director: Anu Menon

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You'd expect a film with a premise like this to make constant parallels between its two main storylines, or to at least have them intersect more often and more significantly. But impressively, Mast Mein Rehne Ka makes the jump from chance encounter to wandering slice-of-life drama with ease—becoming a portrait of Mumbai and the isolation that various people experience due to discrimination against their class, their age, or their gender. The film's tonal balance certainly isn't perfect, as the more lighthearted adventures of the widower begin to clash more severely with the literal life-or-death situations faced by the young would-be thief. But consistently solid filmmaking and heartfelt performances smooth over the rougher edges and the occasional bits of dramatic excess.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Abhishek Chauhan, Jackie Shroff, Monika Panwar, Neena Gupta, Rakhi Sawant

Director: Vijay Maurya

This Norwegian documentary in English is about Magnus Carlsen, the current world champion who became a chess grandmaster at age 13. It might be tough to believe but Magnus' ascension was slowed down significantly by many crises in self-confidence and difficulty to cope with the pressure at a young age. With home footage and interviews with everyone from his adversaries to the champion himself, Magnus the movie tries to be a complete portrait of the prodigy. Yet, crucial aspects are missing, such as an explanation for a sudden change in character, and perhaps more importantly, explanations of Magnus' genius in chess. His techniques and approaches are mostly attributed to intuition, but the movie fails to explain how that intuition is reflected in the game.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand

Director: Benjamin Ree

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This documentary is about filmmaker Lacey Schwartz, who stands out from her devout New York Jewish family with her darker skin tone. For most of her life, the family attributed this to genes from a distant Sicilian ancestor.

But suspicions have always been there, what a family member calls “the 500-pound elephant in the room”. Schwartz embarks on a journey of untangling family secrets, self-discovery, with fascinating questions on race and identity. If you like family history documentaries like Stories We Tell, you will love this.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Joshua Corwin, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, Mehret Mandefro

Director: Lacey Schwartz Delgado

Sincere and direct, Ana Rocha de Sousa’s debut feature is a tragic portrayal of an immigrant family in the United Kingdom. Known best abroad for her role in Love Actually, Lúcia Moniz shines as devoted mother Bela, who, along with Jota (Ruben Garcia) struggles to keep their family together. The couple and their three children, including the deaf middle child Lu (Sophia Myles), come under the scrutiny of social services, especially after the unexplained bruises. While at times heavy-handed, the film raises important questions on family separation and social services, especially with their limitations with children with disabilities.

Genre: Drama

Actor: António Capelo, Brian Bovell, Holly Horne, Jay Lycurgo, Jon Rumney, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Lúcia Moniz, Sophia Myles

Director: Ana Rocha de Sousa

Rating: Not Rated

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The Syrian refugee crisis is still ongoing, so it can understandably be difficult to create a nuanced and accurate depiction. Jacir is an earnest attempt at this. Keeping it on the more personal side, the film focuses on the journey of one Syrian refugee as he gets to know members of his neighborhood, like his black co-worker Jerome and his opioid-addicted neighbor Meryl. Though occasionally bogged down by clunky dialogue, their struggles genuinely outline the same struggles faced by communities failed by their institutions. It’s only through banding together as a community that Jacir and his friends can survive.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Jonathan Stoddard, Lorraine Bracco, Luke Barnett, Mark Jeffrey Miller, Rosalyn R. Ross

Director: Waheed AlQawasmi

In Fatih Akin’s In the Fade, Katja is seeking justice after the killings of her Turkish husband and their young son in a terrorist bomb attack. Diane Kruger in the role of Katja delivers a powerful and rather grueling performance, for which she was awarded Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival. Her grief is vivid and forces viewers to bear witness to her inescapable pain. In the Fade also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, beating astonishing films such as Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless. This moving story about a fearless woman determined to take justice into her own hands to fight the cruelty of others delivers a message that needs to be heard.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Adam Bousdoukos, Aysel Iscan, Denis Moschitto, Diane Kruger, Edgar Selge, Hanna Hilsdorf, Henning Peker, Johannes Krisch, Karin Neuhäuser, Laurens Walter, Numan Acar, Samia Chancrin, Şiir Eloğlu, Ulrich Brandhoff, Ulrich Tukur, Uwe Rohde, Yannis Economides

Director: Fatih Akin

Rating: R

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