As winter sets in, it’s the ideal time to explore Netflix’s captivating film collection, handpicked by seasoned Folksmedia editors. Immerse yourself in the gritty reality of ‘The Deer Hunter‘ or relive 80s nostalgia with ‘The Karate Kid‘. For a blend of humor and introspection, ‘Lost in Translation‘ is a perfect choice, while ‘It Follows‘ offers a chilling horror experience. The charming ‘Paddington‘ is great for families, and ‘Set It Up‘ provides a refreshing take on romantic comedies.
Dive into the intense drama of ‘Roma‘ or enjoy the unique narrative of ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before‘. ‘The Irishman‘ offers a deep, complex story in the world of organized crime, and ‘Dune‘ presents an epic sci-fi adventure. For those seeking something different, ‘The Power of the Dog‘ and ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!‘ deliver compelling stories in their respective genres.
Rest assured, this list has been carefully considered and curated by Folksmedia editors with decades of combined experience – not to mention a passion and enthusiasm for the medium. Read on to discover the best movies to watch on Netflix right now.
To explore additional top picks, take a look at our curated selections of the best crime shows on Prime Video and thrilling movies on Prime Video
Disclaimer: These titles are available on US Netflix.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Director: Michael Cimino
Cast: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale
Run Time: 3 hr 3 min
Buckle up, because ‘The Deer Hunter’ ain’t your average Netflix chill. This isn’t a rom-com where the worst conflict is choosing between two perfectly sculpted dudes. This is a raw, gut-punch of a film that throws you headfirst into the Vietnam War alongside a tight-knit crew of steelworkers from Pennsylvania. Think ‘Animal House’ meets ‘Apocalypse Now’, with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep delivering performances that’ll stay with you long after the credits roll.
Be warned, though, this ain’t for the faint of heart. The war scenes are brutal, the psychological toll unforgiving, and the iconic Russian roulette sequence will have you white-knuckling your remote. But amidst the darkness, there’s an unshakeable bond of brotherhood, a desperate search for hope, and a poignant reflection on the cost of war that’ll leave you both shaken and profoundly moved. So grab a box of tissues (and maybe a stiff drink), settle in for three epic hours, and prepare to confront the lasting scars of a generation. Just trust me, this ain’t a movie you’ll forget anytime soon.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue
Run Time: 2 hr 6 min
‘The Karate Kid’, a movie that defines 80s nostalgia like shoulder pads and neon leg warmers. It’s got everything: a bullied new kid (Danny-boy, bless his awkward heart), a wise-cracking sensei with more wisdom in his pinky finger than most people have in their whole head (Mr. Miyagi, the OG Yoda), a Cobra Kai dojo full of bullies with questionable hair choices, and a love story sweeter than Johnny Lawrence’s mullet is greasy.
Yes, the plot might be as predictable as a sunrise, and the fight scenes about as complex as tying your shoes, but that’s not the point. This movie is about heart, underdog spirit, and learning that ‘wax on, wax off’ is actually a metaphor for overcoming challenges in life. Plus, who can resist Pat Morita’s Oscar-nominated performance as Mr. Miyagi? The man delivers life lessons like fortune cookies dispense wisdom, and his quiet strength and quirky humor will have you quoting ‘Sweep the leg!’ long after the credits roll.
‘The Karate Kid’ is a charming, feel-good classic that’ll leave you smiling like Johnny after finally landing Ali at the prom? Absolutely. It’s a movie that reminds you that sometimes, all you need to conquer your fears is a little karate, a wise mentor, and a whole lot of wax on, wax off.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
Run Time: 1 hr 42 min
‘Lost in Translation’, Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece of melancholy and neon. Forget your popcorn – this is a film you sip like sake, savoring the quiet moments and the unspoken longing that hangs heavy in the Tokyo air. Bill Murray, in a role that seems tailor-made for his deadpan charm, plays Bob, a washed-up actor adrift in a commercial shoot. Scarlett Johansson is Charlotte, a young wife lost in the shadow of her successful photographer husband. They connect in their shared alienation, finding solace in their late-night whiskey whispers and awkward karaoke duets.
There’s no grand drama here, just the gentle ebb and flow of their unlikely friendship. Coppola paints a stunning portrait of Tokyo, all flashing lights and inscrutable customs, highlighting the feeling of being utterly, beautifully lost in translation. You’ll laugh at Bob’s hilariously mangled Japanese pronunciations and swoon at Charlotte’s vulnerability in a foreign land. But beneath the humor and the beauty, there’s a bittersweet ache – a yearning for connection, for meaning, for something more than the emptiness their lives have become.
‘Lost in Translation’ is a film that lingers long after the credits roll. It’s a love letter to the fleeting beauty of human connection, a reminder that sometimes the most profound conversations are the ones we never quite say. So pour yourself a glass of something sake-spired, put on your headphones to blast Kevin Shields’ haunting score, and prepare to be swept away by this quiet, captivating gem.
It Follows (2014)
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Run Time: 1 hr 40 min
Okay, buckle up for a wild ride, because ‘It Follows’ ain’t your average Netflix and chill horror flick. Forget jump scares and gore fests – this movie creeps under your skin with its slow-burning dread and unnervingly ambiguous premise. You play as Jay, a seemingly normal college student whose casual hook-up turns into a full-blown existential nightmare. The catch? She’s been infected by a sexually transmitted curse – not a fungus, not chlamydia, but a shapeshifting entity that stalks its victims relentlessly, killing them if it touches them.
Think John Carpenter meets a David Lynch fever dream, then sprinkle in a healthy dose of teenage paranoia and awkward sexual tension. The scares are all about anticipation, not cheap thrills. The entity could be anyone, anywhere – that old lady on the bus, your hot neighbor watering his plants, even your friendly pizza delivery guy. It keeps you constantly on edge, scanning every background, scrutinizing every face.
The film is more than just a horror show, though. It’s a twisted coming-of-age story, exploring themes of intimacy, fear of mortality, and the burden of responsibility. Jay’s desperate attempts to outrun the curse force her to confront her own anxieties and make choices that could have life-or-death consequences for herself and her friends.
So, is ‘It Follows’ for everyone? Hell no. It’s disturbing, ambiguous, and leaves you with more questions than answers. But if you’re looking for a horror movie that lingers in your mind long after the credits roll, something that makes you question the shadows and double-check every locked door, then this is your jam. Just don’t blame me if you start sleeping with the lights on and a baseball bat under your pillow.
Directors: Paul King
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min
A marmalade-loving bear in London? Sign me up for a spoonful of charm with ‘Paddington’! This 2014 film is pure delight, a warm hug of a movie perfect for a cozy night in. Ben Whishaw’s voice brings Paddington to life with such endearing naivety and infectious optimism, you’ll be saying ‘Please look after this bear’ right along with him.
The Browns, the quintessential bumbling British family, provide the perfect foil for Paddington’s Peruvian exuberance. Their journey from hesitant hosts to full-fledged bear-loving allies is heartwarming and hilarious, with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins delivering top-notch comedic timing.
Of course, no Paddington adventure is complete without a villain, and Nicole Kidman hams it up deliciously as the taxidermist with a taste for rare specimens. But even she can’t resist Paddington’s irresistible charm, proving that kindness and marmalade truly conquer all.
‘Paddington’ is a visual feast, with London’s rooftops and cozy interiors brought to life with vibrant colors and meticulous detail. The slapstick humor is perfectly balanced with genuine sweetness, making you laugh out loud one minute and tear up at Paddington’s unwavering belief in the goodness of people the next.
So whether you’re a kid, a kid at heart, or just someone in desperate need of a dose of sunshine, ‘Paddington’ is the perfect pick-me-up. It’s a reminder that kindness, acceptance, and a good marmalade sandwich can make even the grimmest London day feel like a Peruvian paradise.
Set It Up (2018)
Director: Claire Scanlon
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min
‘Set It Up’, the 2018 Netflix rom-com that’s like a perfectly curated mood board of millennial charm. Forget your grand rom-com gestures and swooning damsels – this film finds its magic in the relatable chaos of two overworked assistants, Harper and Charlie, trying to score some free time (and maybe a little romance) by setting up their ridiculously demanding bosses.
Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell are pure rom-com gold, their banter sparkling like champagne at a rooftop party. Harper’s quick wit and ambition clash hilariously with Charlie’s laid-back charm and love of karaoke, and their chemistry sizzles hotter than Lucy Liu’s power suits. Their mission may be to play matchmaker, but the real sparks fly between them as they navigate office hijinks, fake dates, and a whole lot of caffeine.
‘Set It Up’ is all about the little things – impromptu dance parties in elevators, whispered secrets over takeout boxes, and late-night heart-to-hearts fueled by exhaustion and desperation. It’s a love letter to the hustle of the city, the camaraderie of shared deadlines, and the unbreakable bond you can forge with your work bestie (even if their boss is a tyrant).
Sure, the plot might be as predictable as a rom-com bingo card, but that’s kind of the point. It’s comfort food for the soul, a familiar recipe with just enough of a twist to keep you invested. You’ll laugh out loud at the witty dialogue, swoon at the stolen glances, and maybe even shed a tear at the unexpected vulnerability beneath the banter.
‘Set It Up’ is it a charming, fun-filled escape that’ll leave you grinning like a lovesick emoji and humming karaoke tunes in the shower? Absolutely. It’s the perfect reminder that sometimes, the greatest love stories unfold not in boardrooms, but in messy offices over shared dreams and takeout pizzas.
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo
Run Time: 2 hr 28 min
Buckle up for a slow-burn mystery unlike any other with ‘Burning’, the 2018 South Korean masterpiece that will leave you questioning everything and yearning for answers long after the credits roll. This is not your typical Netflix thriller; it’s a hypnotic, atmospheric journey that weaves together elements of romance, crime, and social commentary, all simmering beneath a surface of quiet beauty.
Yoo Ah-in delivers a captivating performance as Jong-su, a young deliveryman drawn into the orbit of wealthy siblings Hae-mi and Ben. Hae-mi’s enigmatic charm and Ben’s effortless charisma captivate Jong-su, but as he becomes entangled in their lives, unsettling questions begin to emerge. Where does Hae-mi disappear to on her frequent trips? What secrets does Ben hide behind his polished facade?
‘Burning’ is a film that thrives on ambiguity. Director Lee Chang-dong masterfully builds tension through slow-burning scenes, lingering close-ups, and cryptic dialogue. The stunning cinematography captures the lush Korean countryside and the neon-drenched cityscape, each frame hinting at hidden meaning and unspoken emotions.
As Jong-su’s search for answers intensifies, so does the film’s exploration of class disparity, societal expectations, and the complexities of desire. ‘Burning’ is not a film that spoon-feeds its meaning; it invites you to delve into its depths, to piece together the clues, and to confront your own interpretations.
Be prepared for a film that will stay with you long after the final shot. It’s a cinematic puzzle box, a haunting meditation on memory, truth, and the elusive nature of human connection. But if you’re willing to surrender to its enigmatic beauty and unsettling questions, ‘Burning’ will reward you with a unique and unforgettable cinematic experience.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey
Run Time: 2 hr 15 min
This black-and-white cinematic poem is more than just a movie; it’s an immersive experience that transports you to early 1970s Mexico City. The film centers around Cleo (played by the phenomenal Yalitza Aparicio), a Mixteca indigenous woman who works as a live-in housekeeper for a middle-class family. We follow Cleo’s daily life as she navigates the joys and sorrows of working for the family, her own burgeoning romance, and the political and social upheavals of the time.
Cuarón’s masterful direction shines in every frame. The film is shot in stunning black and white, creating a timeless and visually striking aesthetic. The long takes and intricate sound design draw you into Cleo’s world, making you feel every bump on the cobblestone streets and every beat of her heart.
But Roma is not just about technical brilliance; it’s about the human experience. Cleo’s story is one of resilience, compassion, and quiet strength. We see her grapple with heartbreak, loss, and societal prejudice, but she never loses her dignity or her capacity for love.
The film also delves into the complex dynamics of class and race in Mexico. The contrast between Cleo’s life and that of the family she works for is stark, but Cuarón avoids simplistic pronouncements. Instead, he presents a nuanced portrait of a society grappling with its own internal divisions.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Director: Susan Johnson
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min
This movie is pure sweetness, like Lana Condor’s portrayal of Lara Jean Covey, a shy high schooler whose secret love letters accidentally get mailed to their recipients. Cue the chaos! Each unrequited crush comes back to life, from the boy on the bus to the school’s bad boy, throwing Lara Jean’s carefully constructed world into a delightful tailspin.
Enter Peter Kavinsky, the perfect fake boyfriend material. He’s popular, kind, and harbors a secret crush on Lara Jean himself. They hatch a plan to pretend to date, both to help her navigate the drama and maybe, just maybe, spark something real.
What follows is a whirlwind of adorable meet-cutes, romantic baking sessions, and whispered late-night conversations. It’s got all the classic rom-com tropes, but with a fresh twist. Lara Jean’s Korean-American heritage is woven seamlessly into the story, adding depth and charm. The family dynamics are warm and hilarious, with her overprotective sisters offering endless support and witty commentary.
But ‘To All the Boys’ isn’t just fluff. It explores themes of self-discovery, first love, and the courage to face your fears. Lara Jean learns to express her feelings, stand up for herself, and let go of the past. The film never shies away from the awkwardness and vulnerability of being a teenager, but it does so with such honesty and humor that it feels like watching your best friend fall in love.
‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is a delightful, feel-good movie that’s guaranteed to leave you grinning like a lovesick emoji. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for a cozy night in, a reminder that first love can be messy, magical, and totally worth the risk. Plus, who can resist Noah Centineo’s smoldering good looks and Peter Kavinsky’s swoon-worthy charm?
The Irishman (2019)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Run Time: 3 hr 29 min
Robert De Niro delivers a phenomenal performance as Frank Sheeran, a WWII vet who becomes a hitman for the Bufalino crime family. Joe Pesci and Al Pacino are equally masterful as Russell Bufalino and Jimmy Hoffa, the powerful mob boss and Teamster president who become entwined in Frank’s life.
The film spans decades, chronicling Frank’s rise through the ranks of organized crime, his unwavering loyalty to Hoffa, and the toll it takes on his family and soul. Scorsese paints a vivid picture of the underbelly of the American Dream, where power comes at a price and every choice carries a heavy weight.
Don’t expect fast-paced action sequences or flashy gunfights. The film takes its time, weaving a complex tapestry of guilt, betrayal, and the slow burn of existential dread. The editing is deliberate, the dialogue sharp and often darkly funny, and the score hauntingly beautiful.
‘The Irishman’ is a demanding film, both in its length and its emotional weight. It’s not a movie for a casual night in; it’s an experience that will linger with you long after the credits roll.
Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Director: Craig Brewer
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps
Run Time: 1 hr 58 min
Dig your bell-bottoms out of the closet, put on your platform shoes, and prepare to get down with ‘Dolemite Is My Name’, the 2019 biopic about Rudy Ray Moore, the Godfather of raunchy comedy.
Eddie Murphy steps back into the spotlight with a powerhouse performance as Moore, a struggling comedian trying to find his groove in the 70s. He stumbles upon gold when he creates Dolemite, a pimp-slingin’, kung-fu fightin’ alter ego who speaks his mind (and other questionable body parts) with hilarious disregard for societal norms.
This ain’t your Disney movie, folks. Dolemite’s rhymes are as slick as his pimp cane, and his jokes are about as subtle as a glitter-covered disco ball. But beneath the outrageous humor lies a genuine celebration of Black self-expression, entrepreneurial spirit, and the power of believing in yourself, even when everyone else thinks you’re bonkers.
The supporting cast is a dynamite lineup of comedy royalty, from Wesley Snipes’ outrageously flamboyant rival D’Urville Martin to Keegan-Michael Key’s scene-stealing writer Jerry Jones. They bounce off each other with the timing of a seasoned jazz band, keeping the laughs flowing fast and furious.
Craig Brewer’s direction is a love letter to the blaxploitation era, with its saturated colors, funky soundtrack, and over-the-top action sequences. It’s a visual feast that’s as fun to watch as it is to listen to.
‘Dolemite Is My Name’ is a pure entertainment, a gloriously unpretentious ride that celebrates comedy, music, and the audacity to be yourself. It’ll have you quoting Dolemite’s lines (‘Dolemite is my name, and I wear an electric hat!’) long after the credits roll, and maybe even inspired to bust out some kung-fu moves of your own.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
Run Time: 2 hr 35 min
Okay, onto the spice-drenched sands of Arrakis with Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Buckle up, space traveler, because this ain’t your typical popcorn sci-fi adventure. Get ready for a slow-burning epic that throws you headfirst into the intricate politics, brutal realities, and mind-bending mysticism of Frank Herbert’s iconic universe.
Timothée Chalamet channels his brooding best as Paul Atreides, heir to House Atreides thrust into a perilous game for control of the desert planet Arrakis, the sole source of the coveted spice that fuels interstellar travel. Rebecca Ferguson smolders as his enigmatic mother, Lady Jessica, while Oscar Isaac brings quiet intensity to Duke Leto, Paul’s wise but doomed father.
Visually, ‘Dune’ is a feast for the senses. Villeneuve conjures breathtaking landscapes of windswept dunes, colossal spaceships slicing through the inky void, and alien creatures lurking in the shadows. Hans Zimmer’s score pulses with an ominous grandeur, echoing the dangers and uncertainties that lie in wait.
But ‘Dune’ is more than just eye candy. It’s a complex, layered story that tackles themes of ecological crisis, political maneuvering, and the burden of prophecy. The dialogue is dense, the lore rich, and the pacing deliberate, demanding your full attention to navigate the intricate web of alliances and betrayals.
And if you’re looking for a visually stunning, intellectually stimulating sci-fi epic that lingers long after the credits roll, then ‘Dune’ is a must-watch. It’s a film that will stay with you, haunting your dreams with its whispers of sandworms and whispers of prophecy.
Did you manage to decipher the cryptic spice-fueled mysteries? Did you side with House Atreides or succumb to the allure of the Harkonnens? And are you ready for the epic conclusion (hopefully) promised in Part Two? Hit me with your thoughts in the comments section.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
Run Time: 2 hr 6 min
‘The Power of the Dog’, Jane Campion’s 2021 slow-burn western masterpiece. Saddle up, partner, because this ain’t your John Wayne shoot-em-up. This is a psychological twisty-turny ride through the Montana wilderness, where toxic masculinity simmers beneath the surface like a rattlesnake in the sun.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a revelation as Phil Burbank, a charismatic cowboy whose swagger hides a pit of bitterness and envy. Jesse Plemons plays his kind-hearted brother George, the foil to Phil’s darkness, and Kirsten Dunst shines as Rose, George’s new wife, caught in the crossfire of their volatile relationship.
The film unfolds with the deliberate pace of a sun-baked afternoon, each frame bursting with the stark beauty of the Montana landscape. But beneath the postcard vistas, tension crackles like wildfire. Phil, hardened by loss and fueled by resentment, manipulates and mocks Rose, pushing her to the brink of a nervous breakdown.
The power dynamics shift and twist like a rattlesnake’s coil. Alliances form and crumble, secrets are whispered in the moonlight, and the past bleeds into the present, poisoning the fragile bonds of family. You’ll find yourself questioning everyone’s motives, gasping at sudden turns, and glued to the screen, waiting for the inevitable explosion.
But ‘The Power of the Dog’ is more than just a psychological thriller. It’s a profound exploration of masculinity, dissecting the toxic side of cowboy stereotypes and questioning the cost of repressing vulnerability. It’s also a study of grief and its long shadow, the way loss can twist us into unrecognizable shapes.
So, is ‘The Power of the Dog’ for everyone? It’s a slow burn, demanding your full attention. The violence is more psychological than physical, and the beauty might feel harsh to some. But if you’re looking for a complex, compelling film that lingers long after the credits roll, one that stays with you like a haunting melody, then this is your cinematic gold mine.
Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus
Run Time: 2 hr
Let’s talk musical magic with ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut and a semi-autobiographical adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s rock monologue! Get ready for a whirlwind ride through the anxieties and aspirations of a budding composer chasing his Broadway dream, all set against the backdrop of New York City’s vibrant theater scene in the early 90s.
Andrew Garfield delivers a tour-de-force performance as Jon, channeling Larson’s artistic passion and personal demons with electrifying charisma. We witness his journey through a haze of self-doubt, creative blocks, and looming deadlines, punctuated by energetic musical numbers that explode with raw emotion and catchy tunes.
But ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ isn’t just a lament on artistic struggle. It’s also a celebration of friendship, creativity, and the unwavering spirit of pursuing your dreams. Jon’s unwavering support network, embodied by his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp) and friends Roger (Joshua Henry) and Karessa (Vanessa Hudgens), provides warmth and humor amidst the emotional turbulence.
So, is ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ for everyone? Not necessarily. It’s a musical, so be prepared for a healthy dose of singing and dancing. The story can be emotionally raw, delving into themes of artistic insecurity and life’s ticking clock.
But if you’re looking for a film that pulsates with creative energy, that celebrates the power of music and the courage to chase your dreams, then ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ is an absolute must-watch. It’s a story that will stay with you long after the final note, reminding you that even the craziest dreams can take flight with enough passion and a few catchy tunes.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Run Time: 1 hr 54 min
The Mitchells vs. the Machines! This 2021 animated adventure throws you right into the middle of a robot uprising with a quirky, chaotic, and ultimately heartwarming family at the helm. Buckle up for some laughs, thrills, and maybe even a tear or two as we delve into this tech-infused family road trip gone wild!
The Mitchells themselves are a delightfully dysfunctional bunch. Katie, the film’s spunky protagonist, is a misunderstood filmmaker constantly clashing with her nature-loving father Rick. The rest of the family adds their own layer of chaos: Mom Linda with her homemade face-shaped cupcakes, little Aaron with his obsession with dinosaurs and pug Monchi, and oh, did I mention the malfunctioning robot companions thrown into the mix?
When a tech billionaire’s AI assistant decides to enslave humanity, the Mitchells find themselves humanity’s unlikely heroes. The ensuing robot apocalypse becomes the backdrop for a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery. Katie learns to embrace her unique talents, Rick confronts his own vulnerabilities, and the whole family rediscovers the importance of togetherness in the face of technological mayhem.
‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ is much more than just a family action comedy. It’s a commentary on our tech-obsessed world, exploring themes of individuality, self-expression, and the dangers of letting technology control our lives. It’s a reminder that even when faced with a robot apocalypse, it’s our human connections that truly matter.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)
Director: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Cast: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min
This stop-motion masterpiece reinvents the classic tale of the wooden puppet with del Toro’s signature blend of gothic fantasy, dark humor, and heartbreaking emotion. Prepare to be swept away to a hauntingly beautiful world where Pinocchio’s journey is not just about becoming a real boy, but about confronting mortality, loss, and the choices that shape who we are.
Forget the Disney version with its chirpy songs and happy ending. Del Toro’s Pinocchio is a creature of shadows and splinters, carved from a cypress tree struck by lightning. His eyes are mismatched, his limbs awkward, and his innocence tinged with a melancholic wisdom that belies his wooden form.
The film’s setting is a fascist Italy under the shadow of Mussolini, a world where darkness creeps at the edges of every carnival and clockwork creatures lurk in the shadows. Pinocchio encounters a colorful cast of characters, from the kindly Cricket (voiced by Ewan McGregor) who serves as his conscience, to the manipulative impresario Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz) who exploits his naivety.
The film’s stop-motion animation is breathtakingly beautiful, with meticulously crafted puppets and sets that come to life with a tangible sense of texture and emotion. Every frame is a work of art, from the grimy streets of Mussolini’s Italy to the fantastical underwater world where Pinocchio encounters the Sea Beast.
While Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is darker and more complex than the Disney version, it is ultimately a film for all ages. It is a story about love, loss, and the power of finding your own place in the world, a message that resonates with audiences of all backgrounds and experiences.
So, have you seen Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio? What did you think of it? Did it surprise you? Did it move you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
They Cloned Tyrone (2023)
Director: Juel Taylor
Cast: John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris
Run Time: 2 hr 2 min
This 2023 flick throws Blaxploitation vibes into a sci-fi blender and hits puree, serving up a funky cocktail of laughs, twists, and social commentary. John Boyega owns the screen as Tyrone, a smooth-talking drug dealer who stumbles upon a mind-blowing conspiracy: some shady government types have cloned him. Cue the chaos!
Jamie Foxx steals every scene he’s in as Slick Rick, Tyrone’s flamboyant, philosophizing clone – think Richard Pryor meets Blade Runner. Teyonah Parris brings the sass and brains as Ava, a tech whiz caught in the web of secrets. The whole thing unfolds like a Tarantino film on a sugar rush, dripping with neon lights, witty banter, and enough plot twists to leave you dizzy.
Is it perfect? Nah, honey. The pacing can be bumpy, and the social commentary sometimes wears its platform shoes a bit too loud. But if you’re down for a groovy trip down memory lane with a fresh sci-fi twist, ‘They Cloned Tyrone’ delivers entertainment gold. It’s the kind of movie that leaves you quoting lines (‘Dolemite is my name!’) and pondering existential questions all while dancing to the funky soundtrack. So grab your popcorn, put on your bell-bottoms (metaphorically, please), and get ready for a wild ride!
El Conde (2023)
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Jaime Vadell, Gloria Münchmeyer, Alfredo Castro
Run Time: 1 hr 50 min
El Conde (2023) is a Chilean black comedy horror film written and directed by Pablo Larraín, starring Jaime Vadell, Catalina Guerra, Amparo Noguera, and Marcial Tagle. It tells the story of Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, who is now a 250-year-old vampire. He is tired of his life and wants to die, but he is unable to do so because of his vampiric nature.
The film is a dark and satirical take on Chilean history. It explores themes of power, corruption, and the legacy of dictatorship. It is also a visually stunning film, with lush cinematography and atmospheric production design.
Larraín’s direction is assured, and he brings a sharp wit and intelligence to the material. The cast is excellent, with Vadell giving a particularly memorable performance as Pinochet.
Overall, El Conde is an ambitious and thought-provoking film that is sure to leave a lasting impression. It is not for everyone, but it is a must-see for fans of black comedy, horror, and Chilean history.
Director: George C. Wolfe
Cast: Colman Domingo, Chris Rock, Glynn Turman
Run Time: 1 hr 46 min
The 2023 biopic that shines a long-overdue spotlight on Bayard Rustin, the unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement. Prepare for a powerful story laced with both triumph and heartbreak, all seen through the eyes of a man whose contributions were shamefully erased but whose spirit still ignites the fight for equality.
Colman Domingo delivers a mesmerising performance as Rustin, capturing his brilliance as a strategist, his unwavering devotion to justice, and the quiet pain of being ostracised for his sexuality. You’ll feel his frustration as he navigates the complexities of working alongside Martin Luther King Jr., all while battling homophobic prejudice within the very movement he helped build.
The film doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of segregation and discrimination. We see the brutal injustices faced by Black Americans firsthand, but also witness the unwavering resilience and strength that fueled the fight for freedom. This isn’t just a history lesson, though; it’s a deeply personal story about love, loss, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in, even when the world throws everything it has against you.
Some might find the pacing a bit slow, and the narrative hopscotches through time, demanding your full attention to piece together the puzzle of Rustin’s life. But if you’re willing to invest, the emotional payoff is immense. You’ll walk away with a newfound appreciation for this remarkable man and a renewed spirit to fight for a more just future.
So, is ‘Rustin’ a must-watch? If you crave stories that celebrate unsung heroes, grapple with complex issues, and leave you questioning the injustices of the past while inspiring hope for the future, then absolutely. It’s a cinematic gem that deserves a space on your watchlist, right next to those feel-good rom-coms you love.
The Mother (2023)
Director: Niki Caro
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick
Run Time: 1 hr 55 min
Jennifer Lopez plays Grace, a skilled assassin seeking refuge in the wilderness after a shady job goes south. But peace and quiet are about as likely as finding Wi-Fi in the Amazon as her past catches up in the form of a deadly assassin (seriously, what kind of vacation involves dodging bullets?). Suddenly, she’s forced to protect her estranged teenage daughter, played by the ever-sullen Lucy Paez, from the same bad dudes who want her head on a platter.
Cue the mother-daughter bonding moments mixed with gunfights and car chases. Prepare for cheesy one-liners that somehow fit Jennifer Lopez’s badass persona and training montages that might have you reaching for your own rusty jogging shoes. The action sequences are slick, if not groundbreaking, and there’s enough plot twists to keep you guessing until the final showdown.
Is ‘The Mother’ an Oscar contender? Probably not. The script can be predictable at times, and the villains are about as complex as a microwave instruction manual. But if you’re looking for a popcorn-munching thrill ride with a strong female lead who can kick butt in heels (seriously, those boots deserve an award), then ‘The Mother’ delivers. Jennifer Lopez proves she’s still got action-star chops, and the mother-daughter dynamic, albeit melodramatic, adds a layer of emotional depth.
So, did you cheer as Jennifer Lopez defused bombs and dodged bullets? Did you cry during the heartfelt mother-daughter moments (or were you too busy admiring those boots)? And most importantly, are you ready for Jennifer Lopez’s action-star reign to continue? Spill the tea, honey, and let’s discuss this mama bear’s cinematic rampage in the comments section.
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