Review: ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ (2024), starring Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F, Sonakshi Sinha and Ronit Bose Roy

April 13, 2024

by Carla Hay

Akshay Kumar, Alaya F, Manushi Chhillar and Tiger Shroff in “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (2024)

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar

Culture Representation: Taking place in India, China, and Afghanistan, the action film “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (based on the novel by Karen Kingsbury) features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with some black people and white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Two former Indian Armed Forces fighters and their allies are recruited by the Indian Amed Forces to defeat a mysterious terrorist who wants to take over the world. 

Culture Audience: “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and action movies that have nothing to offer but loudness and silly fight scenes.

Prithviraj Sukumaran in “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is obnoxiously loud and mindless schlock that drags on for too long with terrible acting and idiotic scenes. There’s no suspense in this formulaic garbage about military agents fighting a terrorist. If you dare to watch this abomination, you might need to wear earplugs to protect the assault on your eardrums from the movie’s aggressively noisy and deafening score soundtrack.

Directed by Suraj Gianani, “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (which means “big master, little master” in Hindi) was written by Gianani and Ali Abbas Zafar. This bloated 164-minute movie has ridiculously simple plot that could have been told in a movie with half the runtime. There’s a lot of time-wasting filler that add nothing to the story. The cast members give mostly lousy performances.

In the beginning of “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan,” a military convoy on a northern Himalayan road gets hijacked in a shootout where a “powerful weapon” has been stolen. The movie then show a scene in a Shanghai cafe, where Captain Misha (played by Manushi Chhillar) from the Indian Armed Forces meets an informant named Chang (played by Kinnar Boruah), who tells her that India has a new friend. Chang adds, “He’s not part of any organization. He desires to change the regime.” Chang then gets shot to death in the cafe, while Captain Misha escapes and returns to India.

It’s soon revealed that this so-called “friend” of India is a mysterious, mask-wearing terrorist named Eklavya (played by Prithviraj Sukumaran), who has been leading a group of other mask-wearing terrorists to wreak havoc in different places in India, China, and Afghanistan. Why these three nations? Eklavya’s true identity and motives are later revealed in the movie. Eklavya likes to send taunting video messages before and after he commits acts of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Indian Armed Forces have recruited two former Indian Armed Forces soldiers to help defeat Eklavya. Akshay Kumar as Captain Firoz, also known as Freddy (played by Akshay Kumar), has a relationship like an older brother to Captain Rakesh, also known as Rocky (played by Tiger Shroff), who were both dishonorably discharged from the Indian Armed Forces for insubordination. Flashback scenes show that Freddy (the smooth-talking elder one) and Rocky (the cocky younger one) both got in trouble for a mission where they accomplished their goals, but they didn’t follow orders and more people were killed than necessary. After being dismissed from the Indan Armed Forces, Freddy worked at an oil mine, while Rocky worked as a firefghter.

Now that Freddy and Rocky have returned to working for the Indian Armed Forces, they set their sights on capturing Eklavya, who seems to know these two wisecracking pals and has a personal grudge. Colonel Adil Shekhar Azad (played by Ronit Bose Roy) is the commanding officer for Freddy and Rocky. Also on the mission are Captain Misha, an IT specialst named Dr. Parminder “Pam” Bawa (played by Alaya F) and Captain Priya Dixit (played by Sonakshi Sinha), who used to be Freddy’s lover.

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is the worst type of action movie because it takes a potentially interesting plot twist in the story and just turns it into predictable mush. The movie’s dialogue is excruciatingly horrible—especially for Pam, who is supposed to be a technology whiz, but she is made to look like shallow and immature ditz. Things that are supposed to be funny are cirngeworthy. You know the rest: Gun shootouts, bomb explosions, stupid unrealistic stunts. The heroes might survive by the end of the story, but some of your brain cells won’t.

Yash Raj Films released “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on April 10, 2024.

Movie and TV Reviews

Reviews for New Releases: March 1 – April 26, 2024

5Lbs of Pressure (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

Aadujeevitham (The Goat Life) (Photo courtesy of Prithviraj Productions)

The American Society of Magical Negroes (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

Arthur the King (Photo by Carlos Rodriguez/Lionsgate)

Bad River (Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres Distribution)

Cabrini (Photo courtesy of Angel Studios)

Carol Doda Topless at the Condor (Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Picturehouse)

Civil War (Photo by Murray Close/A24)

Crew (Photo courtesy of FunAsia Films)

Dune: Part Two (Photo by Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Enter the Clones of Bruce (Photo courtesy of Severin Films)

Epic Tails (Image courtesy of Viva Pictures)

The Family Star (Photo courtesy of Sarigama Cinemas)

The First Omen (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Columbia Pictures)

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Housekeeping for Beginners (Photo by Viktor Irvin Ivanov/Focus Features)

Imaginary (Photo by Parrish Lewis/Lionsgate)

Immaculate (Photo courtesy of Neon)

In the Land of Saints and Sinners (Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Kim’s Video (Photo courtesy of Drafthouse Films)

Knox Goes Away (Photo by Marshall Adams/Saban Films)

Kung Fu Panda 4 (Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation)

Love Lies Bleeding (Photo courtesy of A24)

Maidaan (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

Monkey Man (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

One Life (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

Paradise (Photo courtesy of Tubi)

Pastor’s Kid (Photo courtesy of Atlas Distribution Company)

The Prank (Photo courtesy of Iconic Events)

Problemista (Photo by Jon Pack/A24)

Sasquatch Sunset (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

Shaitaan (Photo courtesy of FunAsia Films)

Shayda (Photo by Jane Zhang/Sony Pictures Classics)

Snack Shack (Photo courtesy of Republic Pictures and Paramount Global Content Distribution)

Someone Like You (Photo courtesy of Fathom Events)

Sting (Photo courtesy of Well Go USA)

The Tuba Thieves (Photo courtesy of PBS)

Wes Is Dying (Photo by Tom Banks/Gravitas Ventures)

What Jennifer Did (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Wicked Little Letters (Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh/Sony Pictures Classics)

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (Photo courtesy of Fathom Events)

YOLO (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures International)

Complete List of Reviews

1BR — horror

2/1 — drama

2 Graves in the Desert — drama

2 Hearts — drama

2 Minutes of Fame — comedy

5Lbs of Pressure — drama

5 Years Apart — comedy

7 Days (2022) — comedy

8 Billion Angels — documentary

8-Bit Christmas — comedy

The 8th Night — horror

9 Bullets (formerly titled Gypsy Moon) — drama

9to5: The Story of a Movement — documentary

12 Hour Shift — horror

12 Mighty Orphans — drama

17 Blocks — documentary

20 Days in Mariupol — documentary

21mu Tiffin — drama

32 Sounds — documentary

37 Seconds — drama

65 — sci-fi/action

76 Days — documentary

80 for Brady — comedy

88 (2023) — drama

The 355 — action

The 420 Movie (2020) — comedy

499 — docudrama

1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed — documentary

1920: Horrors of the Heart — horror

2040 — documentary

7500 — drama

Aadujeevitham (The Goat Life) — drama

Abandoned (2022) — horror

Abe — drama

About Dry Grasses — drama

About Endlessness — comedy/drama

About My Father (2023) — comedy

Above Suspicion (2021) — drama

The Accursed (2022) — horror

A Chiara — drama

Acidman — drama

An Action Hero — action/comedy

The Addams Family 2 — animation

Adipurush — fantasy/action

The Adults — comedy/drama

Adverse — drama

Advocate — documentary

The Affair (2021) (formerly titled The Glass Room) — drama

Afire — drama

After Class (formerly titled Safe Spaces) — comedy/drama

After Death (2023) — documentary

After Parkland — documentary

Aftershock (2022) — documentary

Aftersun (2022) — drama

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News — documentary

After Yang — sci-fi/drama

Afwaah — action

Ailey — documentary

Air (2023) — drama

AKA Jane Roe — documentary

Akelli — action

Algorithm: Bliss — sci-fi/horror

Alice (2022) — drama

Alice, Darling — drama

Alienoid — sci-fi/action

Aline (2021) — drama

All Day and a Night — drama

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt — drama

All I Can Say — documentary

All In: The Fight for Democracy — documentary

All Light, Everywhere — documentary

All My Friends Hate Me — comedy/drama

All My Life (2020) — drama

All My Puny Sorrows — drama

All of Us Strangers — fantasy/drama

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) — action

All Roads to Pearla (formerly titled Sleeping in Plastic) — drama

All That Breathes — documentary

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed — documentary

All the Bright Places — drama

Almost Love (2020) (also titled Sell By) — comedy/drama

Almost Love (2022) — drama

Alone (2020) (starring Jules Willcox) — horror

Alone (2020) (starring Tyler Posey) — horror

Alone Together (2022) — comedy/drama

Alpha Rift — action

The Alpinist — documentary

Altered Reality (2024) — sci-fi/drama

Amalgama — comedy/drama

Amanda (2023) — comedy/drama

Amazing Grace (2018) — documentary

Ambulance (2022) — action

American Fiction — comedy/drama

American Fighter — drama

American Gadfly — documentary

American Murderer — drama

An American Pickle — comedy

The American Society of Magical Negroes — comedy/drama

American Star — drama

American Street Kid — documentary

American Symphony (2023) — documentary

American Underdog — drama

American Woman (2020) — drama

Amigos (2023) — action

Ammonite — drama

Amsterdam (2022) — drama

Amulet — horror

Anaïs in Love — comedy/drama

Anatomy of a Fall (2023) — drama

The Ancestral — horror

And Then We Danced — drama

Animal (2023) — action

Annette — musical

Another Round — drama

Anselm — documentary

Antebellum — horror

Anthem (2023) — documentary

Anthony — drama

Anth the End — drama

Antlers (2021) — horror

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Anyone But You (2023) — comedy

Apocalypse ’45 — documentary

The Apollo — documentary

Apolonia, Apolonia — documentary

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — sci-fi/fantasy/action

The Arbors — sci-fi/horror

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. — comedy/drama

The Argument — comedy

Argylle — action

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe — drama

Armageddon Time — drama

Army of the Dead (2021) — horror

Artemis Fowl — fantasy

Arthur the King (2024) — drama

The Artist’s Wife — drama

Ascension (2021) — documentary

Ask for Jane — drama

Ask No Questions — documentary

As of Yet — comedy/drama

The Assistant (2020) — drama

Asteroid City — comedy

Athena (2022) — action

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal — documentary

Athlete A — documentary

Attack of the Murder Hornets — documentary

Aurora’s Sunrise — documentary/animation

Avatar: The Way of Water — sci-fi/action

Ayalaan — sci-fi/action

Aye Zindagi (2022) — drama

Azor — drama

Baby (2023) — drama

Baby God — documentary

Babylon (2022) — drama

Baby Ruby — drama

Babysplitters — comedy

Babyteeth — drama

Back on the Strip — comedy

Bacurau — drama

Bad Axe — documentary

Bad Behaviour (2023) — comedy/drama

Bad Boys for Life — action

Bad Detectives (formerly titled Year of the Detectives) — drama

Bad Education (2020) — drama

The Bad Guys (2022) — animation

Badhaai Do — comedy/drama

Bad Hombres (2024) — action

Bad River — documentary

Bad Therapy (formerly titled Judy Small) — comedy/drama

The Baker (2023) — action

Ballad of a White Cow — drama

Banana Split — comedy

Banksy and the Rise of Outlaw Art — documentary

A Banquet — horror

The Banshees of Inisherin — comedy/drama

Barbarian (2022) — horror

Barbarians (2022) — horror

Barbie (2023) — comedy

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar — comedy

The Batman — sci-fi/action

The Battle at Lake Changjin — action

The Battle at Lake Changjin II — action

Beanpole — drama

Beast (2022) — horror

Beast Beast — drama

Beastie Boys Story — documentary

The Beatles: Get Back — documentary

The Beatles: Get Back—The Rooftop Concert — documentary

Beau Is Afraid — drama

Beba — documentary

Becoming — documentary

The Beekeeper (2024) — action

Behind You — horror

Being the Ricardos — drama

Belfast (2021) — drama

Belle (2021) — animation

The Bell Keeper — horror

Beneath Us — horror

Benedetta (also titled Blessed Virgin) — drama

Benediction (2021) — drama

Bergman Island (2021) — drama

Best Sellers (2021) — comedy/drama

The Beta Test — comedy/drama

Better Nate Than Ever — comedy/drama

Between the Rains — documentary

Bhediya — horror/comedy

Bheed — drama

Bholaa — action

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 — horror/comedy

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World — drama

Big Time Adolescence — comedy/drama

The Big Ugly — drama

Billie (2020) — documentary

Bill & Ted Face the Music — sci-fi/comedy

The Binge — comedy

Bingo Hell — horror

Biosphere (2023) — sci-fi/comedy/drama

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) — fantasy/action

Bitconned — documentary

Bitterbrush — documentary

Black Adam — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Black as Night — horror

Black Barbie: A Documentary — documentary

Black Bear — drama

BlackBerry (2023) — comedy/drama

Blackbird (2020) — drama

Black Box (2020) — horror

Black Box (2021) — drama

The Blackening — horror/comedy

Black Is King — musical

Blacklight — action

Black Magic for White Boys — comedy

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — sci-fi/fantasy/action

The Black Phone — horror

Black Widow (2021) — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Blast Beat — drama

The Blazing World (2021) — horror

Bleeding Love (2024) — drama

Blessed Child — documentary

Blithe Spirit (2020) — comedy

Blonde (2022) — drama

Blood and Money — drama

Blood Conscious — horror

Blood on Her Name — drama

Bloodshot (2020) — sci-fi/action

Bloodthirsty (2021) — horror

Bloody Hell — horror

Blow the Man Down — drama

Blow Up My Life (formerly titled Dead End) — drama

Blue Bayou (2021) — drama

Blue’s Big City Adventure — live-action/animation/musical

Blue Jean — drama

Blue Story — drama

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island — horror

Bob Marley: One Love — drama

The Bob’s Burgers Movie — animation

Bodies Bodies Bodies — horror

Body Cam — horror

The Body Fights Back — documentary

Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) — comedy/drama

Bones and All — drama

The Boogeyman (2023) — horror

Boogie — drama

Book Club: The Next Chapter — comedy

The Book of Clarence (2024) — comedy

The Booksellers — documentary

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm — comedy

Born to Fly (2023) — action

The Boss Baby: Family Business — animation

Both Sides of the Blade (formerly titled Fire) — drama

Bottoms (2023) — comedy

The Box (2022) — drama

Box of Rain — documentary

The Boy and the Heron — animation

Boyfriend for Hire — drama

The Boys (first episode) — fantasy/action

The Boys in the Boat — drama

Brahmāstra Part One: Shiva — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Brahms: The Boy II — horror

Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power — documentary

Breaking (2022) (formerly titled 892) — drama

Breaking Fast — comedy

Breaking News in Yuba County — comedy

Breaking the News (2024) — documentary

Breakwater (2023) — drama

Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists — documentary

Brian and Charles — comedy/drama

The Broken Hearts Gallery — comedy

Broker (2022) — drama

Bros (2022) — comedy

Brothers by Blood (formerly titled The Sound of Philadelphia) — drama

Browse — drama

Bruiser (2022) — drama

Brut Force — drama

BS High — documentary

Bubblegum (2023) — drama

Buckley’s Chance — drama

Buffaloed — comedy

Bullet Train (2022) — action

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn — documentary

Bunker (2023) — horror

Burden (2020) — drama

The Burial (2023) — drama

Burning Cane — drama

The Burning Sea — action

Burn It All — drama

The Burnt Orange Heresy — drama

Cabrini — drama

Cactus Jack — horror

Cagefighter — drama

Calendar Girl (2022) — documentary

Call Jane — drama

The Call of the Wild (2020) — live-action/animation

A Call to Spy — drama

Call Your Mother — documentary

Camp Hideout — comedy

Candy Cane Lane (2023) — fantasy/comedy

Candyman (2021) — horror

Cane River — drama

Capone — drama

The Card Counter — drama

Carmen (2023) — drama

Carmilla — drama

Carol Doda Topless at the Condor — documentary

Carol & Johnny — documentary

Casa Susanna — documentary

Cassandro — drama

Castle in the Ground — drama

Catch the Bullet — action

Catch the Fair One — drama

Cat Daddies — documentary

Catherine Called Birdy — comedy/drama

The Cellar (2022) — horror

Censor (2021) — horror

Centigrade — drama

Cha Cha Real Smooth — comedy/drama

Champions (2023) — comedy

Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World — documentary

Changing the Game (2021) — documentary

Chasing the Present — documentary

Chasing Wonders — drama

Chehre — drama

Cherry (2023) — comedy/drama

Chevalier (2023) — drama

Chick Fight — comedy

The Childe — action

Children of the Mist — documentary

Children of the Sea— animation

Chinese Doctors — drama

A Christmas Story Christmas — comedy

Chop Chop — horror

Circus of Books — documentary

Cirkus (2022) — comedy

City of Lies — drama

Civil War (2024) — action

Clara Sola — drama

Clean (2022) — drama

The Cleaner (2021) — drama

The Clearing (2020) — horror

Clementine — drama

Clerks III — comedy

Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021) — live-action/animation

Cliff Walkers (formerly titled Impasse) — drama

The Climb (2020) — comedy/drama

Close (2022) — drama

Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Contact Has Begun — documentary

Cloudy Mountain (2021) — action

Clover — drama

C’mon C’mon — drama

Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert — documentary

Cobweb (2023) — horror

Cocaine Bear — action/comedy

CODA — comedy/drama

Coded Bias (formerly titled Code for Bias) — documentary

Code Name: Tiranga — action

Coffee & Kareem — comedy

Colao 2 — comedy

Collective — documentary

Color Out of Space — sci-fi/horror

The Color Purple (2023) — musical

The Columnist — horror

Come as You Are (2020) — comedy

Come Out Fighting (2023) — action

Come Play — horror

Come to Daddy — horror

Come True — sci-fi/drama

Coming 2 America — comedy

Compartment No. 6 — drama

Confess, Fletch — comedy

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — horror

Connect (2022) — horror

Consecration (2023) — horror

Console Wars — documentary

The Contractor (2022) (formerly titled Violence of Action) — action

Copshop (2021) — action

The Cordillera of Dreams — documentary

Corsage — drama

Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes — documentary

A Couple (2022) — drama

The Courier (2021) (formerly titled Ironbark) — drama

Cow (2022) — documentary

The Craft: Legacy — horror

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words — documentary

The Creator (2023) — sci-fi/action

Creed III — drama

Creem: America’s Only Rock’n’Roll Magazine — documentary

Crew (2024) — comedy

Crimes of the Future — horror

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution — documentary

Crisis (2021) — drama

Critical Thinking — drama

Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan — documentary

The Croods: A New Age — animation

Crown Vic — drama

CRSHD — comedy

Cruella — comedy/drama

Cry Macho — drama

Cryptozoo — animation

Cult Killer— drama

The Cursed (2022) (formerly titled Eight for Silver) — horror

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw — horror

The Curse of La Patasola — horror

Cut Throat City — drama

Cypher (2023) — comedy

Cyrano (2021) — musical

Da 5 Bloods — drama

Dada (2023) — drama

Daddy Issues (2020) — comedy

Dads — documentary

Dalíland — drama

Dangerous Lies — drama

Dangerous Waters (2023) — action

The Daphne Project — comedy

Dara of Jasenovac — drama

Darby and the Dead (formerly titled Darby Harper Wants You to Know) — fantasy/comedy

The Dark Divide — drama

Dark Web: Cicada 3301 — action/comedy

Dasara (2023) — action

Dating & New York — comedy

Dave Not Coming Back — documentary

Dawn Raid — documentary

A Day in the Life of America — documentary

Days of Rage: The Rolling Stones’ Road to Altamont — documentary

Days of the Whale — drama

DC League of Super-Pets — animation

Dead Girls Dancing — drama

A Deadly Legend — horror

Deadstream — horror

Dealing With Dad — comedy/drama

Dear David (2023) — horror

Dear Evan Hansen — musical

Dear Santa — documentary

Death in Texas — drama

Death of a Telemarketer — comedy

Death on the Nile (2022) — drama

Decade of Fire — documentary

Decibel (2022) — action

Decision to Leave — drama

The Deeper You Dig — horror

Deep Water (2022) — drama

The Deer King — animation

Deerskin — comedy

The Delicacy — documentary

Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil — documentary

Demonic (2021) — horror

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train — animation

Denise Ho—Becoming the Song — documentary

Descendant (2022) — documentary

Desolation Center — documentary

Desperados — comedy

The Desperate Hour (formerly titled Lakewood) — drama

The Devil Below (formerly titled Shookum Hills) — horror

The Devil Conspiracy — horror

Devil’s Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge — horror

Devil’s Peak — drama

Devil’s Pie—D’Angelo — documentary

The Devil You Know (2022) — drama

Devotion (2022) — drama

Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy — documentary

Die in a Gunfight — action

Dicks: The Musical (formerly known as Fucking Identical Twins) — musical

Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over — documentary

Disappearance at Clifton Hill — drama

The Disappearance of Mrs. Wu — comedy/drama

The Disappearance of Toby Blackwood — comedy

Disclosure (2020) — documentary

The Divine Protector: Master Salt Begins — fantasy

Diving With Dolphins — documentary

The Djinn — horror

Dobaaraa — sci-fi/drama

Doctor G — comedy/drama

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Dog (2022) — comedy/drama

The Dog Doc — documentary

Dolittle — live-action/animation

Dolphin Island — drama

Dolphin Reef — documentary

Do Not Reply — horror

Don’t Breathe 2 — horror

Don’t Look Back (2020) (formerly titled Good Samaritan) — horror

Don’t Look Up (2021) — comedy

Don’t Worry Darling — sci-fi/drama

Donyale Luna: Supermodel — documentary

The Doorman (2020) — action

Dosed — documentary

Double XL — comedy/drama

Downhill — comedy

Downton Abbey: A New Era — drama

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero — animation

Dream Horse — drama

Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel — documentary

Dreamland (2020) (starring Margot Robbie) — drama

Dream Scenario — comedy/drama

Drishyam 2 (2022) — drama

Drive-Away Dolls — comedy

Drive My Car (2021) — drama

Driven to Abstraction — documentary

Driveways — drama

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America — documentary

The Dry — drama

The Duke (2021) — comedy/drama

Dumb Money (2023) — comedy/drama

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves — fantasy/action

Dune (2021) — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Dune: Part Two — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Dunki — comedy/drama

Duran Duran: A Hollywood High — documentary

Duty Free — documentary

Earth Mama — drama

Earwig — horror

The East (2021) — drama

Easter Sunday (2022) — comedy

Easy Does It — comedy

Eggs Over Easy — documentary

Eiffel — drama

The Eight Mountains — drama

Eileen (2023) — drama

El Cuartito — comedy/drama

Elemental (2023) — animation

Elephant (2020) — documentary

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things — documentary

Ellis — documentary

Elvis (2022) — drama

Emancipation (2022) — drama

Embattled — drama

Emergency (2022) — comedy

Emergency Declaration — action

Emily (2022) — drama

Emily the Criminal — drama

Emma (2020) — comedy/drama

The Emoji Story (formerly titled Picture Character) — documentary

Empire of Light — drama

Encanto — animation

Endangered Species (2021) — drama

End of Sentence — drama

The End of Sex — comedy

The End We Start From — drama

Enemies of the State (2021) — documentary

Enforcement (formerly titled Shorta) — drama

Enhanced (2021) (also titled Mutant Outcasts) — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Enola Holmes — drama

Enter the Clones of Bruce — documentary

Entwined (2020) — horror

Enys Men — horror

EO — drama

Epicentro — documentary

Epic Tails — animation

The Equalizer 3 — action

Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia — animation

Escape From Mogadishu — drama

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions — horror

Escape the Field — horror

The Eternal Daughter — drama

The Eternal Memory — documentary

Eternals (2021) — sci-fi/fantasy/action

The Etruscan Smile (also titled Rory’s Way) — drama

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga — comedy

Every Body (2023) — documentary

Everything Everywhere All at Once — sci-fi/action

Everything Under Control — action/comedy

Evil Dead Rise — horror

Evil Eye (2020) — horror

The Evil Next Door — horror

The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan — comedy

The Exiles (2022) — documentary

Exit Plan — drama

The Exorcist: Believer — horror

Extraction (2020) — action

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021) — drama

F3: Fun and Frustration — comedy

F9: The Fast Saga — action

The Fabelmans — drama

Facing Monsters — documentary

Falcon Lake — drama

Fall (2022) — drama

A Fall From Grace — drama

Falling (2021) — drama

Falling for Figaro — comedy/drama

The Fallout — drama

Family Camp — comedy

Family Matters (2022) — drama

Family Squares — comedy/drama

The Family Star — comedy/drama

Fancy Dance (2024) — drama

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore — fantasy

Faraaz — drama

Farewell Amor — drama

Fast Charlie — action

Fast X — action

Fatal Affair (2020) — drama

Fatale — drama

The Father (2020) — drama

Father Stu — drama

Fatima (2020) — drama

Fatman — comedy

Fear (2023) — horror

Fear of Rain — horror

The Feast (2021) — horror

Ferrari (2023) — drama

The Fight (2020) — documentary

Fighter (2024) — action

Finch — sci-fi/drama

Finding Kendrick Johnson — documentary

Finding You (2021) — drama

Firebird (2021) — drama

Firebrand (2023) — drama

Fire Island (2022) — comedy

Fire of Love (2022) — documentary

Firestarter (2022) — horror

First Cow — drama

First Date (2021) — comedy

The First Omen — horror

The First Slam Dunk — animation

Fist of the Condor — action

Fitting In (2024) — comedy/drama

The Five Devils — sci-fi/drama

Five Nights at Freddy’s — horror

Flag Day — drama

The Flash (2023) — sci-fi/action

Flashback (2021) (formerly titled The Education of Frederick Fitzell) — drama

Flee — documentary/animation

Flipped (2020) — comedy

Flux Gourmet — comedy/drama

Foe (2023) — sci-fi/drama

Fool’s Paradise (2023) — comedy

Force of Nature (2020) — action

The Forever Purge — horror

The Forgiven (2022) — drama

For the Animals — documentary

For They Know Not What They Do — documentary

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko — animation

The Forty-Year-Old Version — comedy

Four Daughters (2023) — docudrama

Four Good Days — drama

Four Kids and It — fantasy

Four Samosas — comedy

Fourth of July — comedy/drama

Framing John DeLorean — documentary

Frank and Penelope — drama

Freaky — horror

Freedom’s Path — drama

Free Guy — sci-fi/action

Freelance (2023) — action/comedy

Free Skate — drama

The French Dispatch — comedy

French Exit — comedy/drama

Fresh (2022) — horror

Freud’s Last Session — drama

Friendsgiving — comedy

From the Hood to the Holler — documentary

From the Vine — comedy/drama

Full River Red — action

Funhouse (2021) — horror

Funny Pages — comedy/drama

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down — documentary

Gadar 2 — action

Gaia (2021) — horror

Game of Death (2020) — horror

Ganden: A Joyful Land — documentary

Gandhada Gudi: Journey of a True Hero — documentary

Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh — drama

Gap Year (2020) — documentary

The Garden Left Behind — drama

The Gasoline Thieves — drama

The Gateway (2021) — drama

Gay Chorus Deep South — documentary

The Gentlemen — action

Get Duked! (formerly titled Boyz in the Wood) — comedy

Get Gone — horror

Ghoomer — drama

Ghostbusters: Afterlife — comedy/horror

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire — comedy/horror

The Ghost of Peter Sellers — documentary

Ghosts of the Ozarks — horror

Gigi & Nate — drama

A Girl From Mogadishu — drama

A Girl Missing — drama

Give Me Five (2022) — sci-fi/comedy/drama

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — comedy/drama

A Glitch in the Matrix — documentary

Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive — documentary

The God Committee — drama

God Is a Bullet — drama

God Save the Queens (2022) — comedy/drama

God’s Country (2022) — drama

God’s Creatures — drama

God’s Time — comedy

Godzilla Minus One — sci-fi/fantasy/horror/action

Godzilla vs. Kong — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project — documentary

The Go-Go’s — documentary

Gold (2022) — drama

Golda (2023) — drama

Golden Arm — comedy

Goldie — drama

Gone in the Night (2022) (formerly titled The Cow) — drama

Good Girl Jane — drama

The Good Half — comedy/drama

The Good House — comedy/drama

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande — comedy/drama

The Good Mother (2023) (formerly titled Mother’s Milk) — drama

The Good Neighbor (2022) — drama

Good Night Oppy — documentary

The Good Nurse — drama

A Good Person — drama

Good Posture — comedy

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind — documentary

The Graduates (2023) — drama

The Grandmaster of Kung Fu — action

Gran Turismo (2023) — action

Grasshoppers — drama

Greed — comedy/drama

The Green Knight — horror/fantasy

Greenland — sci-fi/action

Gretel & Hansel — horror

Greyhound — drama

The Grudge (2020) — horror

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Guest of Honour — drama

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio — animation

The Guilty (2021) — drama

A Guilty Conscience (2023) — drama

Gumraah — drama

Gunda — documentary

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant — action

Hachiko (2023) — drama

Half Brothers — comedy

The Half of It — comedy

Halloween Ends — horror

Halloween Kills — horror

Halloween Party (2020) — horror

Hannah Ha Ha — drama

Hanu-Man — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Happening (2021) — drama

Happiest Season — comedy

The Harder They Fall (2021) — action

Hard Luck Love Song — drama

Hatching — horror

The Hater (2022) — comedy/drama

Haunted Mansion (2023) — comedy/horror

A Haunting in Venice — horror

Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics — documentary

Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd — documentary

Hawa (2022) — horror

Haymaker (2021) — drama

Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation — documentary

He Dreams of Giants — documentary

Held — horror

Hell Camp: Teen Nightmare — documentary

Hell Hath No Fury (2021) — action

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful — documentary

Here After (2021) (formerly titled Faraway Eyes) — drama

Here Are the Young Men — drama

Here Today — comedy/drama

A Hero — drama

Hero Dog: The Journey Home — drama

Hero Mode — comedy

Herself — drama

The High Note — comedy/drama

The Hill (2023) — drama

Hi Nanna — drama

His House — horror

His Only Son — drama

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard — action

HIT: The First Case (2022) — action

HIT: The 2nd Case — action

Hive — drama

Hocus Pocus 2 — fantasy/comedy

The Holdovers — comedy/drama

Hold Your Fire — documentary

A Holiday Chance — comedy/drama

Holiday in the Vineyards (formerly titled A Wine Country Christmas) — comedy

Holler — drama

Holly Slept Over — comedy

Home Coming (2022) — action

Honest Thief — action

Hong Kong Family — drama

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. — comedy

Hooking Up (2020) — comedy

Hope Gap — drama

Horse Girl — sci-fi/drama

The Host (2020) — horror

Hosts — horror

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania — animation

Hot Seat (2022) — drama

Housekeepng for Beginners — drama

The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 — comedy/horror

House of Gucci — drama

House of Hummingbird — drama

The House of No Man (also titled Ms. Nu’s House) — drama

House Party (2023) — comedy

How It Ends (2021) — comedy

How to Blow Up a Pipeline — drama

How to Build a Girl — comedy

How to Fix a Primary — documentary

How to Have Sex — drama

How to Please a Woman — comedy/drama

Huda’s Salon — drama

Huesera: The Bone Woman — horror

Human Capital (2020) — drama

Human Nature (2020) — documentary

The Humans (2021) — drama

A Hundred Billion Key — action

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes— fantasy/action

Hunt (2022) — action

The Hunt — horror

Hunter Hunter — horror

Hypnotic (2023) — sci-fi/action

Hypochondriac (2022) — horror

Hysterical (2021) — documentary

I Am Human — documentary

I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story — drama

I Am Vengeance: Retaliation — action

IB 71 — action

I Carry You With Me — drama

If I Can’t Have You: The Jodi Arias Story — documentary

I Hate New York — documentary

I Hate the Man in My Basement — drama

I Love My Dad — comedy

Imaginary (2024) — horror

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me — documentary

Immaculate (2024) — horror

iMordecai — comedy/drama

Impractical Jokers: The Movie — comedy

I’m Thinking of Ending Things — drama

I’m Totally Fine — sci-fi/comedy

I’m Your Man (2021) — sci-fi/comedy/drama

I’m Your Woman — drama

Incitement — drama

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — action

India Sweets and Spices — comedy/drama

Infamous (2020) — drama

The Infiltrators — docudrama

Infinite Storm — drama

Infinity Pool (2023) — horror

The Informer (2020) — drama

InHospitable — documentary

Initials SG — drama

Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica — documentary

The Innocents (2021) — horror

In Our Mothers’ Gardens — documentary

Inside (2023) — drama

Insidious: The Red Door — horror

The Inspection — drama

Inspector Sun (also titled Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow) — animation

Instaband — documentary

The Integrity of Joseph Chambers — drama

In the Earth — horror

In the Footsteps of Elephant — documentary

In the Heights — musical

In the Land of Saints and Sinners — drama

In the Rearview — documentary

Intrusion (2021) — drama

Inu-Oh — animation

The Invaders (2022) — documentary

The Inventor (2023) — animation

In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis — documentary

The Invisible Man (2020) — horror

The Invitation (2022) — horror

The Iron Claw (2023) — drama

Iron Mask (formerly titled The Mystery of the Dragon Seal) — fantasy/action

Irresistible (2020) — comedy

I.S.S. — sci-fi/drama

Is That Black Enough for You?!? — documentary

I Still Believe — drama

Italian Studies — drama

It Lives Inside (2023) — horror

It Takes a Lunatic — documentary

It Takes Three (2021) — comedy

I Used to Go Here — comedy/drama

I’ve Got Issues — comedy

I Want My MTV — documentary

I Will Make You Mine — drama

Jackass Forever — comedy

Jailer (2023) — action

Jakob’s Wife — horror

Jane (2022) — drama

The Janes — documentary

Janhit Mein Jaari — comedy/drama

January (2022) — drama

Jawan (2023) — action

Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey — comedy/drama

Jayeshbhai Jordaar — comedy

Jay Myself — documentary

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story — documentary

Jesus Revolution — drama

Jethica — comedy/drama

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey — musical

Jiu Jitsu — sci-fi/action

Jockey (2021) — drama

Joe Bell (formerly titled Good Joe Bell) — drama

John and the Hole — drama

John Henry — action

John Lewis: Good Trouble — documentary

Johnny Keep Walking! — comedy

John Wick: Chapter 4 — action

JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? — documentary

A Journal for Jordan — drama

Journey to Bethlehem — musical

Joyride (2022) — comedy/drama

Joy Ride (2023) — comedy

Judas and the Black Messiah (formerly titled Jesus Was My Homeboy) — drama

Judy & Punch — drama

Judy Blume Forever — documentary

Jugjugg Jeeyo — comedy/drama

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 — animation

Jules (2023) — sci-fi/comedy/drama

Jungle Cruise — fantasy/action

Jungleland (2020) — drama

Jurassic World Dominion — sci-fi/action

Kabzaa (2023) — action

Kajillionaire — comedy/drama

Kalaga Thalaivan — action

Kandahar (2023) — action

Karen (2021) — drama

Kat and the Band — comedy

Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On! — documentary

Keedaa Cola — comedy

Kehvatlal Parivar — comedy/drama

The Kerala Story — drama

Kicking Blood — horror

Kid Candidate — documentary

Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections — documentary

The Killer (2023) — drama

Killer Among Us — horror

Killers of the Flower Moon — drama

Killer Therapy — horror

Killian & the Comeback Kids — drama

The Killing of Two Lovers — drama

The Kill Team (2019) — drama

Kill the Monsters — drama

Kim’s Video — documentary

The Kindness of Strangers — drama

Kindred (2020) — drama

King Coal (2023) — documentary

King of Killers — action

King of Kotha — action

The King of Staten Island — comedy/drama

King Otto — documentary

King Richard — drama

The King’s Daughter (formerly titled The Moon and the Sun) — fantasy/drama

The King’s Man — action

Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan — action

Knights of the Zodiac (2023) — fantasy/action

Knock at the Cabin — horror

Knox Goes Away — drama

Kokomo City — documentary

Kompromat — drama

Kung Fu Panda 4 — animation

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time — documentary

Kuttey — action

Laal Singh Chaddha — drama

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2022) — drama

La Guerra Civil — documentary

Lair — horror

La Llorona — horror

Lamb (2021) — horror

Land (2021) — drama

Land of Bad — action

Landscape With Invisible Hand — sci-fi/drama

Lansky (2021) — drama

The Last Duel (2021) — drama

The Last Full Measure — drama

The Last Glaciers — documentary

Last Night in Soho — horror

Last Sentinel — sci-fi/drama

The Last Vermeer — drama

The Last Voyage of the Demeter — horror

Laththi (also titled Laththi Charge) — action

The Lawyer — drama

The League (2023) — documentary

Leave the World Behind (2023) — drama

Leftover Women — documentary

The Legend of Maula Jatt — action

Legions (2022) — horror

Les Misérables (2019) — drama

The Lesson (2023) — drama

Let Him Go — drama

Licorice Pizza — comedy/drama

The Lie (2020) — drama

Life in a Day 2020 — documentary

Lighting Up the Stars — comedy/drama

Lightyear — animation

Like a Boss — comedy

Limbo (2021) — comedy/drama

Limerence — comedy

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice — documentary

Lingua Franca — drama

Lisa Frankenstein — comedy

Little Fish (2021) — sci-fi/drama

The Little Mermaid (2023) — fantasy

Little Richard: I Am Everything — documentary

The Little Things (2021) — drama

Living (2022) — drama

The Locksmith (2023) — drama

The Lodge — horror

The Longest Wave — documentary

Long Live Rock…Celebrate the Chaos — documentary

Long Weekend (2021) — sci-fi/drama

Lorelei (2021) — drama

Lost Bayou — drama

The Lost City (2022) — comedy

The Lost Daughter (2021) — drama

Lost Girls — drama

Lost in the Stars (2023) — drama

Lost Love (2023) — drama

Lost Transmissions — drama

The Lost Weekend: A Love Story — documentary

Los Últimos Frikis — documentary

A Lot of Nothing — comedy/drama

Love Again (2023) — comedy/drama

Love and Monsters — sci-fi/horror/action

The Lovebirds — comedy

Love Is Love Is Love — drama

Love Lies Bleeding (2024) — drama

Lovely Jackson — documentary

Love Never Ends — drama

Lover (2024) — drama

Lover, Stalker, Killer — documentary

Love Sarah — comedy/drama

A Love Song — drama

Love Suddenly (2022) — comedy/drama

Love Type D — comedy

Love Wedding Repeat — comedy

Low Tide — drama

Luca (2021) — animation

Lucky Grandma — action

Lucy and Desi — documentary

Lux Æterna — comedy/drama

Luz: The Flower of Evil — horror

LX 2048 — sci-fi/drama

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over — documentary

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile — comedy

M3GAN — horror/comedy

Maamannan — action

Maaveeran (2023) — fantasy/action

Ma Belle, My Beauty — drama

The Machine (2023) — action/comedy

Mack & Rita — comedy

Madame Web — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Mad Fate — drama

Madres (2021) — horror

Maestra (2023) — documentary

Maestro (2023) — drama

Mafia Mamma — comedy/drama

Magic Mike’s Last Dance — comedy/drama

Maidaan — drama

Mai Khoi & the Dissidents — documentary

The Main Event (2020) — action

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound— documentary

Malignant (2021) — horror

Mallory (2021) — documentary

Malum (2023) — horror

Mama Weed — comedy/drama

Mami Wata (2023) — drama

A Man Called Otto — comedy/drama

Mandibles — comedy

Mank — drama

The Manor (2021) — horror

The Man Who Sold His Skin — drama

The Many Saints of Newark — drama

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — drama

Marathon (2021) — comedy

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On — live-action/animation

Mark, Mary & Some Other People — comedy

The Marksman (2021) — action

Marlowe (2023) — drama

Marry Me (2022) — comedy

The Marsh King’s Daughter — drama

Mars One — drama

Martha: A Picture Story — documentary

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words — documentary

The Marvels — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Masquerade (2021) — horror

Mass (2021) — drama

Master (2022) — horror

Master Gardener — drama

The Matrix Resurrections — sci-fi/action

Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back — documentary

The Mauritanian — drama

Maybe I Do — comedy/drama

Mayday (2021) — action

May December — drama

Mean Girls (2024) — musical

Measure of Revenge — drama

Meat Me Halfway — documentary

Medieval (2022) — action

Medusa (2022) — drama

Medusa Deluxe — comedy/drama

Meg 2: The Trench — drama

Memoria (2021) — sci-fi/drama

Memory (2022) — action

Memory (2023) — drama

Men (2022) — horror

The Menu (2022) — horror

Merry Christmas (2024) — drama

Michael (2023) — action

Mid-Century (2022) — horror

Midnight in the Switchgrass — drama

Mighty Ira — documentary

Mighty Oak — drama

Migration (2023) — animation

Mili (2022) — drama

Military Wives — comedy/drama

Miller’s Girl — drama

Milli Vanilli — documentary

The Mimic (2021) — comedy

Minari — drama

The Mindfulness Movement — documentary

Minions: The Rise of Gru — animation

The Miracle Club — drama

Misbehaviour — drama

Miss Americana — documentary

Missing (2023) — drama

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One  — action

Miss Juneteenth — drama

The Mitchells vs. the Machines — animation

Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music — documentary

MLK/FBI — documentary

Moffie — drama

The Mole Agent — documentary

Monday (2021) — drama

Money Back Guarantee (2023) — action/comedy

Monica (2023) — drama

Monkey Man (2024) — action

Monolith (2023) — horror

Monster Family 2 — animation

Monster Hunter — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Monsters of California — sci-fi/comedy

Monstrous (2022) — horror

Montana Story — drama

Moonage Daydream — documentary

Moonfall (2022) — sci-fi/action

Moon Man (2022) — sci-fi/comedy/drama

Morbius — horror/action

Mortal — sci-fi/action

Mortal Kombat (2021) — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Most Dangerous Game — sci-fi/action

Most Wanted (formerly titled Target Number One) — drama

Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You. — docudrama

Mothering Sunday — drama

A Mouthful of Air — drama

Move Me (2022) — documentary

Moving On (2023) — comedy/drama

Mr. Malcolm’s List — comedy/drama

Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway — drama

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris — comedy/drama

Mr. Soul! — documentary

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado — documentary

Mulan (2020) — fantasy/action

Mummies (2023) — animation

Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story — documentary

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story — documentary

Music Pictures: New Orleans — documentary

My Animal (2023) — horror

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 — comedy

My Boyfriend’s Meds — comedy

My Country, My Parents (also titled My Country, My Family) — drama

My Dad’s Christmas Date — comedy/drama

My Darling Vivian — documentary

My Father Muhammad Ali — documentary

My Happy Ending — comedy/drama

My Love (2021) — comedy/drama

My Octopus Teacher — documentary

My Old School — documentary

My Salinger Year (also titled My New York Year) — drama

My Spy — comedy

Mystify: Michael Hutchence — documentary

Naa Saami Ranga — action

Naked Singularity — drama

The Nan Movie — comedy

Nanny — horror

Napoleon (2023) — drama

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind — documentary

National Champions — drama

Navalny — documentary

Needle in a Timestack — sci-fi/drama

Neeyat (2023) — drama

Nefarious (2023) — drama

The Nest (2020) — drama

Never Forget Tibet — documentary

Never Gonna Snow Again — drama

Never Rarely Sometimes Always — drama

Never Say Never (2023) (also known as Octagonal) — drama

Never Stop (2021) — drama

Never Too Late (2020) — comedy

New Gods: Yang Jian — animation

New Order (2021) — drama

News of the World — drama

Next Goal Wins (2023) — comedy/drama

Next Exit — comedy/drama

A Nice Girl Like You — comedy

The Night (2021) — horror

The Night House — horror

Nightmare Alley (2021) — drama

Night of the Kings — drama

The Night Owl (2022) — drama

Nightride (2022) — drama

Night Swim (2024) — horror

The Night They Came Home — action

Nina Wu — drama

Nine Days — drama

Nitram — drama

Noah Land — drama

Nobody (2021) — sci-fi/action

Nocturne (2020) — horror

No Exit (2022) — drama

No Hard Feelings (2023) — comedy

Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin — documentary

Nomadland — drama

No Man’s Land (2021) — drama

No More Bets (2023) — drama

Nope —sci-fi/horror

The Northman —fantasy/action

No Small Matter — documentary

No Time to Die (2021) — action

Notturno — documentary

The Novice (2021) — drama

The Nowhere Inn — comedy/drama

The Nun II — horror

The Oath (2023) — drama

Objects — documentary

Occupied City — documentary

Of an Age — drama

The Offering (2022) — horror

Official Competition — comedy/drama

Old — horror

The Old Guard — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Old Henry (2021) — drama

Olympia — documentary

Olympic Dreams — comedy/drama

OMG 2 — comedy/drama

On Broadway (2021) — documentary

Once Upon a River — drama

Once Upon a Time in Uganda — documentary

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band — documentary

One and Only (2023) — comedy/drama

One Day as a Lion — action

One Hour Outcall — drama

One Life (2023) — drama

One Man and His Shoes — documentary

One Night in Bangkok — drama

One Night in Miami… — drama

One Piece Film Red — animation

One Ranger — action

One True Loves (2023) — comedy/drama

One Week Friends (2022) — drama

On Fire (2023) — drama

Only — sci-fi/drama

The Only One (2021) — drama

On the Come Up — drama

On the Record — documentary

On the Rocks (2020) — drama

On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries — documentary

Onward — animation

Open — drama

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre — action

Oppenheimer (2023) — drama

Ordinary Angels (2024) — drama

Ordinary Love — drama

Origin (2023) — drama

Origin of the Species (2021) — documentary

Orphan: First Kill — horror

Otherhood — comedy

The Other Lamb — drama

Other Music — documentary

The Other Zoey — comedy

Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles — documentary

Our Father, the Devil — drama

Our Friend (formerly titled The Friend) — drama

Our Ladies — comedy/drama

Our Son — drama

Our Time Machine — documentary

The Outfit (2022) — drama

Out of Blue — drama

Out of Darkness — horror

The Outpost — drama

Out Stealing Horses — drama

Over My Dead Body (2023) — comedy

Paap Punyo —drama

Paint (2023) —comedy

The Painter (2024) — action

The Painter and the Thief — documentary

The Pale Blue Eye — drama

Palm Springs —sci-fi/comedy

Paper Spiders — drama

The Paper Tigers — action

Paradise (2024) — action

Paradise Highway — drama

Parallel (2020) — sci-fi/drama

Parallel Mothers — drama

Paranormal Prison — horror

Pareshan — comedy/drama

Paris, 13th District — drama

Parkland Rising — documentary

Passing (2021) — drama

Past Lives (2023) — drama

Pastor’s Kid (2024) — drama

Pathological: The Lies of Joran van der Sloot — documentary

A Patient Man — drama

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie — animation

PAW Patrol: The Movie — animation

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank — animation

Pearl (2022) — horror

The Peasants (2023) — animation

Pegasus 2 — action/comedy

Perfect Days (2023) — drama

A Perfect Enemy — drama

The Persian Version — drama

The Personal History of David Copperfield — comedy/drama

Personality Crisis: One Night Only — documentary

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway — live-action/animation

Petite Maman — drama

Petit Mal (2023) — drama

The Phantom of the Open — comedy/drama

Phobias (2021) — horror

Phone Bhoot — comedy

The Photograph — drama

Pichaikkaran 2 — sci-fi/action

Pig (2021) — drama

Piggy (2022) — horror

Ping Pong: The Triumph — drama

Pinocchio (2022) — live-action/animation

The Place of No Words — drama

Plane — action

The Planters — comedy

Playing God (2021) — comedy

Pleasure (2021) — drama

Plucked — documentary

Plus One (2019) — comedy

The Pod Generation — comedy/drama

The Point Men (2023) (also titled Bargaining) — action

Polite Society — action/comedy

The Pollinators — documentary

Poor Things — fantasy/comedy/drama

The Pope’s Exorcist — horror

Pornstar Pandemic: The Guys — documentary

Port Authority (2019) — drama

Possessor Uncut — sci-fi/horror

The Power of the Dog — drama

The Prank (2024) — comedy

Premature (2020) — drama

Prem Geet 3 — action

Pretty Problems — comedy/drama

Prey (2022) — sci-fi/horror

The Prey (2020) — action

Prey for the Devil (also titled The Devil’s Light) — horror

The Price of Desire — drama

The Price We Pay (2023) — horror

The Princess (2022) — documentary

Prisoner’s Daughter — drama

Prisoners of the Ghostland — sci-fi/action

Problemista — comedy/drama

The Procurator — drama

Profile (2021) — drama

Project Power — sci-fi/action

Project Wolf Hunting — sci-fi/horror/action

Promising Young Woman — comedy/drama

The Protégé (2021) — action

Proxima — sci-fi/drama

P.S. Burn This Letter Please — documentary

Public Enemy Number One — documentary

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish — animation

PVT CHAT — drama

Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad — action

Queenpins — comedy

¡Que Viva México! (2023) — comedy

The Quiet Girl — drama

The Quiet One (2019) — documentary

A Quiet Place Part II — sci-fi/horror

The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie — animation

Quo Vadis, Aida? — drama

The Racer — drama

Radical (2023) — drama

Radioactive — drama

Raging Fire — action

Raging Grace — horror

Raid on the Lethal Zone — action

Railway Children (formerly titled The Railway Children Return) — drama

A Rainy Day in New York — comedy

Raising Buchanan — comedy

Ram Setu — action

Ransomed (2023) — action

Rare Beasts — comedy

Rare Objects (2023) — drama

Ravanasura — action

Ravening (formerly titled Aamis) — drama

Raya and the Last Dragon — animation

Rebel (2022) — drama

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks — documentary

Rebuilding Paradise — documentary

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project — documentary

Redeeming Love — drama

Red Penguins — documentary

Red Rocket — comedy/drama

Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs — animation

Refuge (2023) — documentary

A Regular Woman — drama

Relic — horror

Remember (2022) — action

Reminiscence (2021) — sci-fi/drama

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé

Renfield (2023) — horror/comedy

The Rental (2020) — horror

Rent-A-Pal — horror

The Rescue (2021) — documentary

The Rescue List — documentary

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City — horror

Resistance (2020) — drama

Respect (2021) — drama

Resurrection (2022) — horror

Retaliation (formerly titled Romans) — drama

The Retirement Plan (2023) — comedy/action

The Retreat (2021) — horror

Return to Seoul — drama

Rewind — documentary

The Rhythm Section — action

The Ride (2020) — drama

Ride Like a Girl — drama

Ride On — comedy/drama

Riders of Justice — drama

Ride the Eagle — comedy/drama

The Right One — comedy

Riotsville, USA — documentary

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It — documentary

River City Drumbeat — documentary

RK/RKAY — comedy

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain — documentary

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical — musical

Roald Dahl’s The Witches — horror/fantasy

Robert the Bruce — drama

Robots (2023) — sci-fi/comedy

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani — comedy/drama

Ron’s Gone Wrong — animation

The Rookies (2019) — action

Room 203 — horror

Rounding — drama

The Roundup (2022) — action

The Royal Hotel — drama

Rubikon (2022) — sci-fi/drama

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken — animation

Rule of Two Walls — documentary

Run (2020) — drama

Runner — documentary

Running the Bases — drama

Run Rabbit Run (2023) — horror

Run With the Hunted — drama

Rushed — drama

Rustin (2023) — drama

Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words — documentary

Rye Lane — comedy

Safer at Home — drama

Saint Frances — comedy/drama

Saint Maud — horror

Saint Omer — drama

Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire — action

Saloum — horror

Saltburn — comedy/drama

Sam Bahadur — drama

Sam & Kate — comedy/drama

Samrat Prithviraj (formerly titled Prithviraj) — action

Sanctuary (2023) — drama

Santa Camp — documentary

Sasquatch Sunset — fantasy/comedy/drama

Satyaprem Ki Katha — drama

Save Yourselves! — sci-fi/horror/comedy

Saving Paradise — drama

Saw X — horror

Say Hey, Willie Mays! — documentary

Say I Do to Me — comedy

The Scheme (2020) — documentary

Scheme Birds — documentary

School’s Out Forever — horror

Scoob! — animation

Scrambled (2024) — comedy/drama

Scrapper (2023) — comedy/drama

Scream (2022) — horror

Scream VI — horror

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street — documentary

Screened Out — documentary

Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (formerly titled Seahorse) — documentary

Seberg — drama

The Secret: Dare to Dream — drama

A Secret Love — documentary

The Secrets We Keep — drama

See for Me — horror

See How They Run (2022) — comedy/drama

See Know Evil — documentary

See You Yesterday — sci-fi/drama

Selah and the Spades — drama

Selfiee — comedy

Sell/Buy/Date — documentary

Separation (2021) — horror

Sergio (2020) — drama

Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days — documentary

Settlers (2021) — sci-fi/drama

The Seventh Day (2021) — horror

Shabaash Mithu — drama

Shadows (2023) — horror

Shadows of Freedom — documentary

Shaitaan (2024) — horror

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Shattered (2022) — drama

Shayda — drama

Shazam! Fury of the Gods — sci-fi/fantasy/action

She Came to Me — comedy/drama

She Dies Tomorrow — drama

Shehzada (2023) — action

She Is Love — drama

Shelter in Solitude — drama

She Said — drama

She’s in Portland — drama

She Will — horror

The Shift (2023) — sci-fi/drama

Shine Your Eyes — drama

Shining for One Thing (2023) — drama

Shirley (2020) — drama

Shithouse — comedy/drama

Shiva Baby (2021) — comedy/drama

Shonibar Bikel (Saturday Afternoon) — drama

Shortcomings (2023) — comedy

Shortcut — horror

The Short History of the Long Road — drama

A Shot Through the Wall — drama

Showbiz Kids — documentary

Showing Up (2023) — comedy/drama

The Show’s the Thing: The Legendary Promoters of Rock — documentary

Siberia (2021) — drama

Sidney — documentary

Significant Other (2022) — sci-fi/horror

Silent Night (2021) (starring Keira Knightley) — comedy/drama

Silent Night (2023) — action

The Silent Party — drama

The Silent Twins — drama

Silk Road (2021) — drama

A Simple Wedding — comedy

Simulant (2023) — sci-fi/action

Sing 2 — animation

The Sinners (2021) (also titled The Virgin Sinners; formerly titled The Color Rose) — horror

Sissy — horror

Sisu (2023) — action

Six Minutes to Midnight — drama

Skate Dreams — documentary

Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story — documentary

Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons — documentary

Skin Walker — horror

Skyman — sci-fi/drama

Slay the Dragon — documentary

Slotherhouse — horror

Small Engine Repair (2021) — comedy/drama

Smile (2022) — horror

Smiley Face Killers — horror

Smoking Causes Coughing — sci-fi/comedy

Snack Shack — comedy/drama

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Sniper: The White Raven — action

Sno Babies — drama

A Snowy Day in Oakland — comedy/drama

Soft & Quiet — drama

Somebody Up There Likes Me (2020) — documentary

Some Kind of Heaven — documentary

Some Like It Rare — horror/comedy

Someone Like You (2024) — drama

Sometimes Always Never — comedy/drama

Sometimes I Think About Dying (2024) — drama

Somewhere in Queens — comedy/drama

The Son (2022) — drama

The Sonata — horror

Songbird — sci-fi/drama

Sonic the Hedgehog — live-action/animation

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — live-action/animation

Son of Monarchs — drama

Sorry We Missed You — drama

Soul — animation

Soulmates (2021) — comedy

The Sound of Identity — documentary

Sound of Metal — drama

Sound of Silence (2023) — horror

The Sound of Violet (formerly titled Hooked) — drama

Southern Gospel — drama

The Souvenir Part II — drama

Space Jam: A New Legacy — live-action/amination

Spaceship Earth — documentary

The Sparks Brothers — documentary

The Sparring Partner — drama

Spell (2020) — horror

Spelling the Dream (formerly titled Breaking the Bee) — documentary

Spencer — drama

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse — animation

Spider-Man: No Way Home — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Spinning Gold — drama

Spiral (2021) — horror

Spirited (2022) — musical/comedy

Spirit Untamed — animation

Spoiler Alert (2022) — drama

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — live-action/animation

Spontaneous — sci-fi/horror/comedy

Sputnik — sci-fi/horror

Spy (2023) — action

Standing Up, Falling Down — comedy/drama

Stardust (2020) — drama

The Starling Girl — drama

Stars at Noon — drama

Starting at Zero — documentary

The State of Texas vs. Melissa — documentary

Stay Awake (2023) — drama

Stealing School — comedy/drama

Stevenson Lost & Found — documentary

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie — documentary

Still Here (2020) — drama

Stillwater (2021) — drama

Sting (2024) — horror

The Stolen Valley (formerly titled Alta Valley) — action

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry — drama

The Storm (2024) — animation

The Story of Soaps — documentary

The Stranger (Quibi original) — drama

Strange World (2022) — animation

Stray (2021) — documentary

Strays (2023) — drama

Stray Dolls — drama

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street — documentary

Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash — drama

Studio 666 (2022) — horror/comedy

The Stylist — horror

Subho Bijoya — drama

Subjects of Desire — documentary

Sublime — documentary

Sugar Daddy (2021) — drama

The Suicide Squad — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Summering — drama

Summerland — drama

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) — documentary

Summoning Sylvia — horror/comedy

Sundown (2022) — drama

The Sunlit Night — comedy/drama

The Super Mario Bros. Movie — animation

Supernova (2021) — drama

Super Punjabi — comedy

The Surrogate — drama

Survive — drama

Swallow — drama

Swallowed (2023) — horror

Swan Song (2021) (starring Mahershala Ali) — sci-fi/drama

Swan Song (2021) (starring Udo Kier) — comedy/drama

Sweetheart Deal — documentary

Sweet Thing (2020) — drama

Sweetwater (2023) — drama

The Swerve — drama

The Swing of Things — comedy

Sylvie’s Love — drama

Sympathy for the Devil (2023) — comedy/drama

Synchronic — sci-fi/horror

Table for Six (2022) — comedy/drama

Take Back — action

Take Me to the River: New Orleans — documentary

Talk to Me (2023) — horror

Tango Shalom — comedy/drama

Tankhouse — comedy

Tape (2020) — drama

Tar — horror

TÁR — drama

A Taste of Hunger — drama

A Taste of Sky — documentary

The Taste of Things — drama

Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music — documentary

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour — documentary

The Teachers’ Lounge (2023) — drama

Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman — horror

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem — animation

The Tender Bar — drama

Ten Minutes to Midnight — horror

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya — sci-fi/comedy

Terrorizers — drama

Tesla — drama

Tetris (2023) — drama

Thank God (2022) — comedy/drama/fantasy

Thanksgiving (2023) — horror

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond — animation

Theater Camp (2023) — comedy

Then Came You (2020) — comedy

There There — comedy/drama

They Call Me Dr. Miami — documentary

They Shot the Piano Player — docudrama/animation

They Wait in the Dark — horror

The Thing About Harry — comedy

Think Like a Dog — comedy/drama

Third World Romance — drama

Thirteen Lives — drama

This Is a Film About the Black Keys — documentary

This Is Personal — documentary

This Is Stand-Up — documentary

This Is the Year — comedy

Thor: Love and Thunder — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Those Who Wish Me Dead — drama

A Thousand and One — drama

A Thousand Cuts (2020) — documentary

A Thread of Deceit: The Hart Family Tragedy — documentary

Three Headed Beast — drama

Three Minutes—A Lengthening — documentary

Three Thousand Years of Longing — fantasy

Through the Night (2020) — documentary

Ticket to Paradise (2022) — comedy

Tick, Tick…Boom! — musical

Tiger 3 — action

Tiger Nageswara Rao — action

Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison — comedy

Till — drama

Time (2020) — documentary

Time Is Up (2021) — drama

The Times of Bill Cunningham — documentary

Time Still Turns the Pages — drama

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made — comedy

The Tinder Swindler — documentary

Titane — horror

The Tobacconist — drama

To Catch a Killer (2023) (formerly titled Misanthrope) — drama

Together (2021) — comedy/drama

Together Together — comedy/drama

To Kid or Not to Kid — documentary

To Kill a Tiger — documentary

To Kill the Beast — drama

Tom and Jerry — live-action/animation

Tommaso — drama

Tom of Your Life — sci-fi/comedy

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers — documentary

Too Late (2021) — horror/comedy

Top Gun: Maverick — action

The Torch (2022) — documentary

Totally Under Control — documentary

To the Moon (2022) — drama

Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare — drama

The Tragedy of Macbeth — drama

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts — sci-fi/action

Traveling Light (2022) — drama

The Trial of the Chicago 7 — drama

Triangle of Sadness — comedy/drama

The Trip to Greece — comedy

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts — documentary

Trolls Band Together — animation

Trolls World Tour — animation

Troop Zero — comedy

The True Adventures of Wolfboy — drama

The Truffle Hunters — documentary

Trust (2021) — drama

The Truth — drama

The Tuba Thieves — documentary

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar — comedy

The Turning (2020) — horror

Turning Red — animation

The Tutor (2023) — drama

‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas — documentary

Twas the Night (2021) — comedy

The Twentieth Century — comedy

Two of Us (2020) — drama

Tyson (2019) — documentary

Tyson’s Run — drama

Ultrasound — sci-fi/drama

Umma (2022) — horror

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent — action/comedy

Unbelievable (premiere episode) — drama

Uncaged (also titled Prey) – horror

Uncharted (2022) — action

Unconditional (2023) — documentary

Uncorked — drama

Under the Volcano (2021) — documentary

Underwater — sci-fi/horror

Undine (2020) — drama

Unfavorable Odds — comedy

Unhinged (2020) — action

The Unholy (2021) — horror

The United States vs. Billie Holiday — drama

Un Rescate de Huevitos — animation

The Unthinkable — drama

Until We Meet Again (2022) — drama

Up From the Streets: New Orleans: The City of Music — documentary

Uprooting Addiction — documentary

Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own — documentary

Utama — drama

Uunchai — drama

Vaalvi — comedy/drama

Vaathi (also titled Sir) — drama

Vadh — drama

Val — documentary

Valley Girl (2020) — musical

The Vanished (2020) (formerly titled Hour of Lead)— drama

Vanquish (2021) — action

The Vast of Night — sci-fi/drama

Veetla Vishesham — comedy/drama

Vengeance (2022) — comedy/drama

Vengeance Is Mine (2021) — action

Venom: Let There Be Carnage — sci-fi/fantasy/action

A Very Good Girl — comedy/drama

The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee — comedy

The Vigil (2021) — horror

Vijayanand — drama

Vikram (2022) — action

The Village in the Woods — horror

Violent Night — action/comedy

Violet (2021) — drama

Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations — documentary

The Virtuoso (2021) — drama

Vivarium — sci-fi/drama

Voyagers — sci-fi/drama

Waikiki (2023) — drama

Waiting for Bojangles — comedy/drama

Waiting for the Barbarians — drama

Waiting for the Light to Change (2023) — drama

Wander Darkly — drama

The Wandering Earth II — sci-fi/action

Warrior King — animation

The War With Grandpa — comedy

Watcher (2022) — horror

Watson — documentary

The Way Back (2020) — drama

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme — documentary

We Are Little Zombies — comedy/drama

We Are Many — documentary

We Are the Radical Monarchs — documentary

Weathering With You — animation

We Broke Up — comedy

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story — comedy

Welcome to Chechnya — documentary

We Need to Do Something — horror

Werewolves Within — horror/comedy

Wes Is Dying (formerly titled Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying) — comedy

West Side Story (2021) — musical

The Whale (2022) — drama

What Happens Later — comedy/drama

What Jennifer Did — documentary

What’s Love Got to Do With It? (2023) — comedy/drama

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali — documentary

What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? — documentary

What We Do Next — drama

What We Found — drama

What Will Become of Us (2019) — documentary

The Wheel (2022) — drama

When I Consume You — horror

When the Streetlights Go On — drama

When You Finish Saving the World — comedy/drama

Where the Crawdads Sing — drama

Whisper of the Heart (2022) — drama

The Whistlers — drama

White Noise (2022) — comedy/drama

The White Storm 3: Heaven or Hell — action

A White, White Day — drama

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody — drama

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America — documentary

Wicked Little Letters — comedy/drama

Widow of Silence — drama

Wig — documentary

Wildcat (2022) — documentary

Wildflower (2023) — comedy/drama

Wild Indian — drama

Wild Men (2021) — comedy/drama

Wild Mountain Thyme — drama

Willy’s Wonderland — horror

The Windermere Children — drama

Wine Crush (Vas-y Coupe!) (formerly titled Vas-y Coupe!) — documentary

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey — horror

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 — horror

Wish (2023) — animation

The Witch 2: The Other One — sci-fi/horror/action

Witch Hunt (2021) — horror

Wojnarowicz — documentary

Wolf (2021) — drama

The Wolf and the Lion — drama

The Wolf House — animation

The Wolf of Snow Hollow — horror

The Woman King — action

Woman on the Roof — drama

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem — documentary

Women (2021) — horror

Women Talking — drama

The Wonder (2022) — drama

Wonder Woman 1984 — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Wonka — musical

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation — documentary

Words on Bathroom Walls — drama

Work It — comedy/drama

The World to Come — drama

The Worst Person in the World — comedy/drama

Worst to First: The True Story of Z100 New York — documentary

Wrath of Man — action

The Wretched — horror

A Writer’s Odyssey — fantasy/action

The Wrong Missy — comedy

A Wu-Tang Experience: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre — documentary

Wyrm — comedy

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse — horror

X (2022) — horror

XY Chelsea — documentary

Yaara Vey — drama

Yakuza Princess — action

¿Y Cómo Es Él? — comedy

The Year Between — comedy/drama

Yellow Rose — drama

Yesterday Once More (2023) — drama

YOLO (2024) — comedy/drama

You Are Not My Mother — horror

You Cannot Kill David Arquette — documentary

You Don’t Nomi — documentary

You Go to My Head — drama

You Hurt My Feelings (2023) — comedy

You Should Have Left — horror

You Were My First Boyfriend — documentary

You Won’t Be Alone — horror

Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn — documentary

Zack Snyder’s Justice League — sci-fi/fantasy/action

Zappa — documentary

Zara Hatke Zara Bachke — comedy/drama

Zeros and Ones — drama

Zola — comedy/drama

Zombi Child — horror

The Zone of Interest — drama

Zwigato — drama

Review: ‘Maidaan,’ starring Ajay Devgn

April 12, 2024

by Carla Hay

Ajay Devgn in “Maidaan” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Maidaan”

Directed by Amit Sharma

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India and other parts of the world, from 1952 to 1962, the dramatic film “Maidaan” features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Against the odds, Syed Abdul Rahim, also known as Rahim Saab, takes India’s national soccer team, which was on a losing streak for years, to the Olympics and to the 1962 Asian Games. 

Culture Audience: “Maidaan” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in sports biopics, movies about soccer, and stories about underestimated people who overcome challenges.

A scene from “Maidaan” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Maidaan” did not need to be a three-hour movie, but this drama about soccer coach Syed Abdul Rahim, also known as Rahim Saab, is undoubtedly inspirational. The team players needed more character development, but the soccer matches are exhilarating. “Maidaan” is reliably predictable, mainly because what Rahim (played by Ajay Devgn), who was nicknamed S.A., achieved is already well-known to many people and is the type of subject matter that gets made into a movie like this one. However, “Maidaan” gives more insight into the behind-the-scenes challenges and the power struggles within the All India Football Federation that affected Rahim’s in his life and his quest to turn India’s national soccer team in to a world-class championship team.

Directed by Amit Sharma, “Maidaan” (which means “field” in Hindi) was co-written by Sharma, Saiwyn Quadras, Aman Rai and Atul Shahi. The movie takes place in chronological order, from 1952 to 1962, during which Rahim had a transformative reign as the head coach of India’s national soccer team. As “Maidaan” shows, it was a turbulent experience where Rahim got resistance at various times from certain members of the All India Football Federation board of directors, which votes for who will be the head coach.

“Maidaan” opens in 1952, with a scene that was unfortunately all too common for India’s national soccer team: The team loses a match. In this case’s India was playing against Yugoslavia’s national soccer team and lost in a humiliating 10-1 final score.

Rahim is shown in a conference room meeting with members of the All India Football Federation. At this point in his career, Rahim had been a teacher (with a college degree in arts), a professional soccer player, and a coach for soccer teams in his birthplace/hometown of Hyderabad, India. Rahim tells the assembled federation committee members that India’s national team has been on a losing streak for three main reasons:

  • The team members play in bare feet.
  • India’s domestic matches are 70 minutes each, while international teams have 90-minute matches.
  • Too much belief in old team stars who need to retire.

Rahim confidentially tells the federation committee that if they elect him to be the head coach of India’s national soccer team, he can help the team achieve something that the team had not achieved since it began doing international tours in 1924: Win a championship. Although there are some skeptics on the committee, Rahim gets enough votes to become the head coach. Rahim doesn’t promise quick success with this goal, but he is sure he can achieve this goal if he find the right team players. (In real life, Rahm became the head coach of India’s national team in 1950, not 1952.)

“Maidaan” then has the expected montage of Rahim traveling to various places in India (such as Calcutta, Punjab, Bombay and Kerala) to find the players who will be on his “dream team.” They include forward Tulsidas Balaram (played by Sushant Waydande); striker PK Banerjee (played by Chaitanya Sharma), who was the team’s captain for a period of time; goalkeeper Peter Thangaraj (played by Tejas Ravishankar); striker Neville D’Souza (played by Aryann Bhowmik); and striker Chuni Goswami (played by Amartya Ray). The casting for “Maidaan” is very admirable, since all of the actors portraying the star team members resemble the real-life people and are convincing as professional athletes. (For the purposes of this review, the characters in the movie are referred to by their first names.)

One of the first things that Rahim does that’s a revolution in Indian soccer is that he requires the team members to wear shoes, which obviously reduces cuts and bruises to the team members’ feet. “Maidaan” does a pretty good job of showing how this wasn’t an easy adjustment for most players, who were accustomed to being barefoot while playing the game. Getting shoes for the team members was also fraught with financial issues, because India’s cash-strapped national soccer team couldn’t afford large expenditures. n the early years, they often had to use previously owned or donated shoes.

The players themselves also needed a lot training in other areas. “Maidaan” shows that there was a lot of raw talent that Rahim had to hone into finely tuned and disciplined athleticism. When Rahim first meets Tulsidas, Rahim says that Tulsidas is talented but needs more stamina. PK is heartthrob with a large female fan base, so Rahim tells him not to get distracted by dating fans. Chuni is kind of a prima donna, so Rahim has to train Chuni to be more of a team player.

Meanwhile, during Rahim’s career that is depicted in the movie, he has two main adversaries: a powerful All India Football Federation board member Shubhankar (played by Rudranil Ghosh) and influential sports journalist Roy Chaudhary (played by Gajraj Rao), who were early and very vocal skeptics of Rahim. Because of their initial skepticism, Shubhankar and Roy want to be proven they were right, so they want to see Rahim fail, even if it means that India’s national soccer team will fail too. Various scheming ensues between these two manipulative haters.

As for Rahim’s personal life, it’s a secondary part of the story. He has a stereotypically loyal and loving wife at home named Saira (played by Priyamani), who is supportive of Rahim, even though she knows that his job requires him to frequently be away from home. Rahim and Saira have two children: son Hakim and daughter Seerat. In the beginning of the movie, Hakim (played by Devyansh Tapuriah) is about 9 years old, while Seerat (played by Nitashi Goel) is about 5 years old. Hakim as a teenager and young adult is played by Rishabh Joshi.

Rahim is obviously a workaholic, but the toll that it takes on his marriage seems a little too glossed over in the movie. Rahim’s frequent absences from home and obsession with soccer have caused him to have a somewhat distant relationship with Hakim, who desperately craves Rahim’s attention. It should come as no surprise that Hakim decides to become a player on India’s national soccer while still being an engineering student at a university.

Rahim took the team to the Asia Games and the Olympics more than once. The outcomes of these experiences won’t be revealed in this review. However, it’s enough to say that a big part of these experiences was how Rahim and the team dealt with racism and xenophobia. Rahim becomes under increasing pressure when a championship title becomes more elusive than he imagined. And, since this is a sports movie, there are the expected injuries that happen during crucial moments in or before a match.

Devgn gives an impressive (but not award-worthy) performance as Rahim, who is not presented as flawless or “too good to be true.” Rahim can be stubborn, impatient and arrogant. However, Rahim is also an empathetic and motivational leader who inspires his team instead of intimidating them.

The supporting cast members also do fine jobs in their roles, although Shubhankar is written as bit of a two-dimensional villain. Considering the movie’s three-hour runtime, there could have been more shown in the movie about the individual players. The most that viewers will see about the indivdual players’ personal lives is when PK tells Rahim that PK is distracted during a practice session because PK’s father has lung cancer. If you know what happened in real life to Rahim (a heavy smoker), then you will already know that Rahim will have his own health crisis in this story.

“Maidaan” has moments when the movie’s pacing drags. However, viewers who have the patience to keep watching will be rewarded in the movie’s final hour, which is the best part of the film. The 1962 Asian Games depicted in the movie have some adrenaline-charged, immersive scenes that will make viewers feel like they’re experiencing the matches right along with the players. A.R. Rahman’s stirring musical score also adeptly heightens the moods in each scene. “Maidaan” is not a groundbreaking sports movie, but it’s competently made, and it delivers exactly what it’s supposed to deliver in crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Zee Studios released “Maidaan” in U.S. cinemas and in India on April 10, 2024.

Review: ‘What Jennifer Did,’ starring Bill Courtice, Deborah Gladding, Alan Cooke, Hong Ngo, Nam Nguyen, David MacDonald and Fernando Baldassini

May 11, 1024

by Carla Hay

Samantha Chang (actress) in a re-enactment scene in “What Jennifer Did” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“What Jennifer Did”

Directed by  Jenny Popplewell

Some language in Vietnamese with subtitles

Culture Representation: The documentary film “What Jennifer Did” features a predominantly white group of middle-class people (with two Asians and one black person) who are interviewed about the case of Vietnamese Canadian woman Jennifer Pan, who went on trial for the murder of her mother and the attempted murder of her father, in a “murder for hire” crime that took place in 2010, in Markham, Ontario.

Culture Clash: Jennifer Pan was accused of planning this murder-for-hire plot because her parents disapproved of her wanting to date a convicted drug dealer and they found out she lied about having a university degree.

Culture Audience: “What Jennifer Did” will appeal primarily to people interested in true crime documentaries, but this lazily made documentary is dull, omits important information, and offers no further investigations or new insights.

Bill Courtice in “What Jennifer Did” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“What Jennifer Did” has a cheap and unfinished quality to it. This true crime documentary has a sluggish pace and leaves out many necessary facts. The re-enactments and dramatic embellishments are also tacky. The interviews for the documentary repeat a lot of what is already shown in the police interrogation archival videos.

Directed by Jenny Popplewell, “What Jennifer Did” treats viewers like idiots. For the first half of this 87-minute documentary film, it lumbers along by trying to look like a “whodunit” murder mystery, when it’s obvious who the culprit is. And if viewers don’t know who the culprit is before seeing “What Jennifer Did” (which is a turgid rehash of the case), the title of the documentary says it all. There’s no mystery here.

One of the sloppiest things about “What Jennifer Did” is that the documentary doesn’t even mention the date of the crime in an explicit way. Observant viewers will have to notice the time stamps on surveillance videos shown intermittently in the documentary to find out the year the crime took place. The prime suspect’s age on the night of the crime is never mentioned either. Viewers have to make some deductions about what her age was when the crime happened (she was 24), based on the choppy and vague interviews that the documentary has with a few of her acquaintances.

And yet, it’s repeated to the point of irritation that the Canadian city where the crime took place (Markham, Ontario) is considered a safe area, and the murder was a shock to the community. It would have been sufficient to have this “Markham is a nice area” commentary once or twice. But when it’s said in various ways four or five times in the documentary, it’s gets to be tiresome and unnecessary.

Here are the facts of the case that are not detailed in the documentary: Jennifer Pan (the prime suspect in this case) was born in Markham on June 17, 1986. Her parents—mother Bich Ha Pan and father Huei Hann Pan, also known as Hann—were refugees who moved from Vietnam to Ontario at separate times (Hann relocated to Ontario in 1979), and they met when they were living in Ontario. Jennifer has a younger brother named Felix, who was born in 1989. Shockingly, Felix is never mentioned in this documentary about a crime that was motivated by turmoil in this family. The murder of Bich and the attempted murder of Hann happened in their home in Markham, on November 8, 2010.

The documentary mentions that Bich and Hann worked for the same car parts company (but doesn’t mention the name of the company), where Bich was a “supervisor,” and Hann was a “machinist.” In the documentary, these parents are described as strict, hard-working, upwardly mobile, status-conscious, law-abiding, overprotective and demanding. The documentary makes sure to mention superficial things, such as the types of cars that these parents had (Bich had a Mercedes; Hann had a Lexus), but fails to mention more meaningful and interesting aspects of these parents’ lives for better context, such as what they went through as refugees to escape from Vietnam and to start new lives in Canada.

Jennifer was at home with her parents on the night of this crime. But if you were to believe the selective and incomplete facts presented in this documentary, you would think that Jennifer is an only child. “What Jennifer Did” completely erases her brother Felix from this story. Even if Felix wasn’t available for an interview, it’s absolutely irresponsible for this documentary’s filmmakers to make it look like he doesn’t exist. (Luckily, Felix wasn’t home during the crime.) Felix’s reactions to the case are in public records which aren’t very hard to find.

A great deal of “What Jennifer Did” consists of showing archival footage of interviews that Jennifer had with investigators at a York Regional police station. After each archival clip is shown, the documentary shows its own interviews with investigators repeating what was already shown in the archival footage. Among those interviewed are police detectives Bill Courtice (who was the case’s lead investigator), Deborah Gladding (who is a victim liaison officer), Alan Cooke and David MacDonald.

In her initial interviews with police, Jennifer said on the night of November 8, 2010, three black men she didn’t know did a home invasion with guns, demanded money from her parents, and tied up Jennifer and her parents. Jennifer said that she was taken upstairs, while her parents were downstairs. Bich and Hann were both shot. Bich did not survive. Hann was shot near one of his eyes and was in a coma.

Jennifer had no injuries and made the 911 call for help while she said she had her hands tied behind her back and her shoulder tied to a staircase. She also said she used her hands to call 911. The 911 call is played in the documentary. When police arrived, they found cash and other valuable items in the house. They also found there was no forced entry into the home.

You don’t have to be a true crime aficionado to see major holes in Jennifer’s story from the beginning. So-called “home invader thieves” demanded cash but left a lot of cash behind. They knowingly left a witness behind with no injuries while two other witnesses were shot. And how exactly did Jennifer call 911 with her hands, when she said her hands were tied behind her back and one shoulder was tied to a staircase? The police initially overlooked these inconsistencies because they couldn’t believe this meek-looking, soft-spoken young woman had anything to do with this crime.

Video surveillance footage from a neighbor eventually showed that Jennifer was telling the truth that three men entered the home that night through the Phan family home’s front door. The door was unlocked, but Jennifer says she didn’t know why. Did these men force their way in, or were they invited in advance? If you don’t know the answer, then you aren’t paying attention to all the obvious clues that Jennifer’s story was a lie from the beginning.

Unfortunately, “What Jennifer Did” drags out this fake suspense in annoying ways, such as showing repetitive shots of police detectives looking contemplative while driving in their cars, or Gladding saying how she had a lot of empathy for Jennifer, whom she believed was an innocent victim—until there was indisputable proof that Jennifer wasn’t an innocent victim at all. The documentary’s re-enactment scenes (with actress Samantha Chang portraying a mid-20s Jennifer) are often shown in dream-like slow-motion. Many of the interviewees talk slowly, as if they are bored by this documentary. Many viewers who know what a good documentary is will be bored too.

One of the major aspects of the case has to do with Danny Wong, Jennifer’s drug-dealer ex-boyfriend. He was the main reason why Jennifer had so much resentment toward her parents, who understandably did not want her dating a drug dealer and forbade her from being in contact with him. Wong is not interviewed for the documentary, but the documentary has some archival video footage of an interview that he did with police after he knew that Jennifer’s parents were shot.

In this archival interview, Wong is never convincing when he tells police that he stopped being a drug dealer after he got arrested for it. At the time of the home invasion, Wong had an alibi He claimed to be living a law-abiding life as an employee at a fast-food restaurant. Wong told police that the main reason why Jennifer’s parents didn’t approve of him was that he wasn’t making enough money in this low-paying restaurant job. (In other words, Wong was downplaying his drug-dealing activity in this police interview.)

Jennifer is not interviewed in the documentary, nor does she need to be. She’s a proven pathological liar and doesn’t need to have a platform to say more lies. She still maintains that she never planned to have her parents murdered. An update on her case is mentioned in the documentary’s epilogue.

Among the many big lies that Jennifer told that were exposed in this case was Jennifer fooled her parents and other people into thinking she graduated with a pharmacology degree from the University of Toronto. She was never enrolled in the university and forged a University of Toronto degree as part of the deceit. It’s mentioned that Jennifer chose pharmacology because she and her parents knew that her grades weren’t good enough in high school for her to become a doctor, lawyer, scientist or engineer, which were the preferred professions that her parents wanted her to have.

However, the documentary never explains how Jennifer’s parents—who are repeatedly described as overbearing and intrusive about what Jennifer did with her time—could be conned into not going to a graduation ceremony that Jennifer knew did not exist for her. The documentary mentions that Hann was so controlling, he used to drive Jennifer to Ryerson University (in Toronto), when she fooled her parents into thinking she was enrolled there, before she faked her enrollment in the University of Toronto. It’s also mentioned that when Jennifer was in middle school and in high school, her parents pushed her into entering pianist competitions that she often won and had plenty of trophies and photos to prove it.

How could these “overbearing” parents miss out on a graduation ceremony, which would be a major milestone that these parents would want photos of too? It’s one of many details that the documentary overlooks and does not explain. Even if Jennifer was going to financially gain from her parents’ death, through an inheritance and/or life insurance policy, the documentary makes it look like Jennifer would have been her parents’ only heir, when that is simply not true.

“What Jennifer Did” is also vague about Jennifer’s employment history after she faked graduating from the University of Toronto. It’s briefly mentioned that she had trouble finding a job as a pharmacist. It doesn’t take a genius to know why she couldn’t be a pharmacist. However, the documentary doesn’t say if she found other types of work or had any type of employment at the time of the crime.

Jennifer was accused of paying for these hit men to carry out this murder-for-hire plot. The money that her parents gave to Jennifer for her fake “university tuition” had already been spent long ago. Where did she get the money to pay for this murder for hire? Don’t expect “What Jennifer Did” to answer that question.

And you can’t really trust a documentary that refuses to mention the important fact that the two victim parents had another child who was affected by this horrible crime. The documentary presents a factually incorrect narrative impression that Jennifer was an only child who felt emotionally smothered by tyrannical parents, who both wanted to keep her as sheltered and family-oriented as possible. But if these parents had so much suffocating control over Jennifer’s life, why didn’t they check up on Jennifer and her supposed university enrollment?

It’s not quite victim blaming, but the documentary presents a narrow and misleading view of the Pan family by having missing or contradictory information. Because “What Jennifer Did” deliberately does not mention Jennifer’s brother Felix, the documentary does not include the parental relationship that Bich and Hann had with Felix, or the sibling relationship that Jennifer had with Felix, to further explain the family’s dynamics. Did the parents treat Felix differently from Jennifer? Obviously, the documentary doesn’t answer that question because it wants to pretend that Felix does not exist.

Three people who knew Jennifer are interviewed in the documentary: Hong Ngo, a Pan family friend; Fernando Baldassini, who was Jennifer’s piano teacher; and Nam Nguyen, who was Jennifer’s friend in high school. Ngo says she knew about Jennifer faking her university education and says that Jennifer’s parents demanded that Jennifer pay back the money they thought went to college tuition. However, the documentary does such a bad job of interviewing people, it’s never made clear when Ngo found out this information.

Baldassini doesn’t offer any information that’s substantial, since it’s obvious he didn’t know what really went on behind closed doors in the Pan family home. Baldassini says the only sign of trouble that he saw was when Jennifer broke down and cried one day during a piano lesson. According to Baldassini, Jennifer said during this meltdown that her parents were driving her crazy. Baldassini says it was the first and only time he saw Jennifer distressed. Not surprisingly, Baldassini says he was completely shocked when Jennifer was accused of masterminding the crime that got her parents shot.

Out of all the interviewees, Nguyen has the most information to share about Jennifer’s volatile relationship with Wong, which lasted off and on, for six or seven years. Nguyen says that Jennifer and Wong frequently argued and broke up. The final breakup was in 2008, and the former couple agreed to be platonic friends. Wong had a girlfriend when the crime happened. By all accounts, Jennifer was obsessed with Wong and was not happy that he had moved on to dating someone else. Nguyen also mentions that he, Jennifer and many of the students at their high school came from Asian immigrant families who expected all family members to be high achievers.

As for the three men who entered the Pan family’s home that night, their names are mentioned, but their photos are never shown in the documentary. It’s a very strange and unexplained omission, considering the outcome of the case. These omissions are just more examples of shoddy filmmaking on display. Any courtroom trials in this case are just briefly mentioned as an epilogue in the documentary.

“What Jennifer Did” completely ignores the racial implications of this case. Many people (including members of the media and investigating police officers) were quick to believe that three black men committed this crime on their own and that a seemingly innocent-looking Asian woman couldn’t have anything to do with it, even though there were massive early clues that she was involved. The police got a lot of answers and evidence when they finally did something they should’ve done earlier: check Jennifer Pan’s phone records.

Between the unexplained omissions of important details and the lackluster way that this story is told, “What Jennifer Did” is a disappointing and irresponsible documentary that could have told so much more to this story. The documentary obviously took more time setting up props and hiring actors for re-enactments than caring about presenting a lot of crucial facts. Viewers will learn more from reading the Wikipedia page for Jennifer Pan than in wasting time watching “What Jennifer Did.”

Netflix premiered “What Jennifer Did” on May 10, 2024.

Review: ‘Sasquatch Sunset,’ starring Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Christophe Zajac-Denek and Nathan Zellner

April 10, 2024

by Carla Hay

Jesse Eisenberg and Christophe Zajac-Denek in “Sasquatch Sunset” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

“Sasquatch Sunset”

Directed by Davd Zellner and Nathan Zellner

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed part of the United States, the comedy/drama film “Sasquatch Sunset” features a group of Sasquatch characters that have human and primate characteristics.

Culture Clash: A family of four Sasquatches wander around a wooded area and get into various conflicts and predicaments.

Culture Audience: “Sasquatch Sunset” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and are interested in watching a movie that has nothing but actors pretending to be ape-like animals in a wooded area, with no real story in the movie.

Nathan Zellner in “Sasquatch Sunset” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

Overrated and vapid, “Sasquatch Sunset” looks like a self-indulgent student film for actors pretending to be Sasquatches. There’s no plot or imagination, just repetitive grunting and intentional gross-out scenes until the movie’s underwhelming ending. Perhaps the best thing about “Sasquatch Sunset” is the competent prosthetic makeup and hairstyling for the Sasquatch characters. (There are no human characters in this movie.) But those are just visual aesthetics that can’t make up for a weak story.

Directed by brothers David Zellner and Nathan Zellner, “Sasquatch Sunset” was written by David Zellner. Nathan Zellner plays one of the movie’s four main Sasquatch characters, which do not have names. There are also no captions that translate what these Sasquatches are saying or thinking. It wouldn’t matter anyway because “Sasquatch Sunset” is so boring, these Sasquatches wouldn’t have anything memorable to say, even if they did speak a human language. (Sasquatches are fictional creatures that have human and primate characteristics. The legend of Bigfoot, which most people think is a hoax, is about a Sasquatch.)

“Sasquatch Sunset” takes place in an unnamed part of the United States but was actually filmed in Humboldt County, California. In 2024, “Sasquatch Sunset” screened at three of the most prominent film festivals in the world: the Sundance Film Festival (where “Sasquatch Sunset” had its world premiere), the Berlin International Film Festival and the SXSW Film and TV Festival. “Sasquatch Sunset” being at these festivals says more about the “Sasquatch Sunset” filmmakers’ film festival connections than it does about the quality of “Sasquatch Sunset.” Ari Aster (writer/director of “Hereditary,” “Midsommar” and “Beau Is Afraid”) is one of the executive producers of “Sasquatch Sunset,” and he has an almost cult-like fan base who thinks he can do no wrong.

Because “Sasquatch Sunset” has no plot or context, viewers are just left to watch a series of disjointed scenes showing the aimless lives of Sasquatches who live in this wooded area. There are several Sasquatches in the movie, but only four are at the center of this flimsy story. A young adult male Sasquatch (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and a young adult female Sasquatch (played by Riley Keough) are a “couple” with a male child Sasquatch (played by Christophe Zajac-Denek) and an older male relative (played by Nathan Zellner), whose biological relationship with the others is never clearly defined. This “senior” relative could be a grandfather or an uncle or a cousin. It doesn’t really matter because all of these characters are empty and become tiresome to watch after a while.

“Sasquatch Sunset” takes place in a year of the life of these Sasquatches, with the change of seasons indicated by captions on screen. If you think it’s fun to watch people pretending to be Sasquatches as they bang a tree with sticks, then this movie is for you. If you think it’s hilarious to watch the kid Sasquatch get his tongue stuck in a turtle, then this movie is for you. If you think it’s appealing to watch Sasquatches urinate, vomit, defecate, have sex, scratch and smell their crotches, throw feces, and commit attempted rape, then this movie is for you.

Viewers will learn nothing about the movie’s characters except that they exist in this wooded area. The female Sasquatch becomes pregnant and gives birth in a storyline that is very predictable and shallow. There are indications that humans lived in this area (an abandoned campsite and an abandoned building), but there’s no explanation for why there are no humans in the story. This movie did not need to have humans in it to make it a worthwhile watch. “Sasquatch Sunset” just needed to have something worth watching.

“Sasquatch Sunset” is an insult to aspiring and talented filmmakers who are looking for a big break because “Sasquatch Sunset” is proof that certain filmmakers who get preference in the industry can get funding to make crappy movies that get into prestigious film festivals, just because these filmmakers have the right connections and want to cultivate an image of having “indie cred” by making incoherent garbage. Meanwhile, these filmmakers are over-praised by certain people who think this praise makes them look like cool, or they’re just too afraid of being independent thinkers in a fawning group of ingratiators. Maybe “Sasquatch Sunset” will appeal to people who like to be “under the influence” of whatever substance when they watch movies, because this clouded judgment might overlook all the things that are wrong about this stupid and dull movie. “Sasquatch Sunset” is also an insult to viewers who can see through this sham and who know that this dreadful and sloppy movie is a waste of time for anyone looking for a good story.

Bleecker Street will release “Sasquatch Sunset” in select U.S. cinemas on April 12, 2024, with an expansion to more U.S. cinemas on April 19, 2024.

Review: ‘Civil War’ (2024), starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sonoya Mizuno and Nick Offerman

April 9, 2024

by Carla Hay

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Cailee Spaeny in “Civil War” (Photo by Murray Close/A24)

“Civil War” (2024)

Directed by Alex Garland

Culture Representation: Taking place on the East Coast of the United States, the action film “Civil War” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with some Latin people and African Americans) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: During a civil war in the United States, a team of four war journalists take a tension-filled and dangerous road trip to the White House to try to get an interview with the U.S. president, who is under siege. 

Culture Audience: “Civil War” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners, filmmaker Alex Garland, and war movies that have observations about political turmoil.

Stephen McKinley Henderson in “Civil War” (Photo by Murray Close/A24)

“Civil War” has some gripping action sequences, but it’s not a non-stop action flick about gun-toting heroes. It’s an effective commentary about war journalism, political unrest, and the psychological toll on people caught in the crossfire. The movie is set in the 21st century, but the themes in “Civil War” are timeless.

Written and directed by Alex Garland, “Civil War” had its world premiere at the 2024 SXSW Film and TV Festival. It’s not a typical war movie because much of the story takes place during a road trip from New York state to Washington, D.C., with journalists as the central characters. The movie gives an accurate depiction of how being a war journalist requires a certain mentality, skills and attitude, including the ability to document what’s happening without getting involved.

The movie begins with an unnamed U.S. president (played by Nick Offerman) privately rehearsing a speech by himself at the White House before he gives the speech live on camera. “Civil War” does not offer a detailed explanation for why there is a U.S. civil war in this story, but it’s mentioned in the movie that Texas and California have split off into a faction called Western Forces, which want to bring down the U.S. government. As eventually revealed in th movie, this U.S president is currently under siege by Western Forces, which want to assassinate him.

However, during this speech, the U.S. president is trying to put on a brave face during this crisis. He says of the U.S. military defense against this Western Forces attack: “Some are calling it the greatest history in the history of mankind.” During his speech rehearsal, he changes this statement to: “Some are calling it the greatest history in the history of military campaigns.

The movie then shows the four central characters who go on a “race against time” road trip to try to interview the U.S. president at the White House before he is possibly assassinated. Joel (played by Wagner Moura) is addicted to the adrenaline rush of being a war journalist. He is the one who plans to interview the U.S. president. Joel’s jaded photojournalist partner is Lee Smith (played by Kirsten Dunst), who is considered one of the top war photographers in the media.

The original plan was for Joel and Lee to go on this trip by themselves. However, they are accompanied by a longtime journalist named Sammy (played by Stephen McKinley Henderson), who has an “elder sage” personality and uses a cane. Also along for the ride is an eager-to-learn aspiring photojournalist named Jessie Cullen (played by Cailee Spaeny), who thinks of Lee as one of her idols.

Lee isn’t very happy about adding these two people to the trip. However, Lee reluctantly agrees to have these extra two journalists join them in the press van. Sammy wants to prove that he’s useful in a media job that often discriminates against elderly and disabled workers. Joel thinks sensitive newbie Jessie can learn a lot from Lee.

Jessie and Lee met early on in the film when Lee came to Jessie’s aid during a violent street conflict between protesters and military police officers. During this conflict, Jessie accidentally got hit in the face with a police club while she was taking photos. Lee later found out that Jessie was staying at the same hotel when Jessie approached her in a lounge area to thank Lee for Lee’s help.

The rest of “Civil War” shows the harrowing events that happen during their dangerous and often-chaotic journey. However, there is also some dark comedy and a burgeoning camaraderie between these four journalists. It should come as no surprise that Jessie is the one in this group who goes through the biggest personality transformation because of what she experiences during the mayhem.

Jesse Plemons (who is Dunst’s real-life husband) has an uncredited role as a militant enforcer who holds certain people captive. Plemons’ role in the movie is not as big as his appearance in the “Civil War” trailer suggests: His screen time is less than 10 minutes. Two of Joel’s journalist friends named Tony (played by Nelson Lee) and Bohai (played by Evan Lai) have small but pivotal roles in the second half of the movie.

“Civil War” has several cast members who were also in Garland’s 2020 sci-fi/drama limited series “Devs.” Spaeny and Henderson are “Devs” alumni. “Devs” star Sonoya Mizuno has a brief role in “Civil War” as a rival journalist named Anya. Jin Ha also has small supporting role as an unnamed sniper who’s in a standoff with an unseen person or persons shooting from a large residential house. Karl Glusman is in the same scene as an unnamed spotter who’s working with the sniper.

“Civil War” invites viewers to think about how you or people you know would react if this civil war really happened in the United States. There are scenes in the movie that show how some people want to block out the realities of this war and pretend that it’s not happening. Others want to jump in and do what they can to fight for causes they believe in, even if it means they will die. Other people are somewhere in between and acknlowedge the war but are just trying to survive without taking sides. “Civil War” doesn’t try to pass judgment on what unfolds in the movie, but it is an impactful story that shows there are no easy answers when it comes to war.

A24 will release “Civil War” in U.S. cinemas on April 12, 2024.

Review: ‘The Tuba Thieves,’ starring Nyeisha ‘Nyke’ Prince, Geovanny Marroquin, Russell Harvard and Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe

April 8, 2024

by Carla Hay

Geovanny Marroquin (pictured at left) in “The Tuba Thieves” (Photo courtesy of PBS)

“The Tuba Thieves”

Directed by Alison O’Daniel

Some language in American Sign Language with subtitles

Culture Representation: The documentary film “The Tuba Thieves” features a racially diverse group of people (African Americans, white, Latin and Asian) who are connected in some way to music or the deaf community.

Culture Clash: The experiences of deaf people are contrasted with those of people with hearing abilities.

Culture Audience: “The Tuba Thieves” will appeal primarily to people interested in stream-of-consciousness documentaries that don’t tell a cohesive story but just show a collection of moving images.

Manuel Castañeda in “The Tuba Thieves” (Photo courtesy of PBS)

“The Tuba Thieves” has a misleading title and tries too hard to be an avant-garde documentary about deaf people. It’s really a pretentious, disjointed and tedious film that wants to fool people into thinking that it’s got something important to say. Don’t expect to learn very much about the people in the documentary, which has an unfocused collection of “slice of life” scenes awkwardly placed with re-enactments. “The Tuba Thieves” had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and made the rounds at several other film festivals in 2023, including CPH:DOX and the Sydney Film Festival.

Directed by Alison O’Daniel, “The Tuba Thieves” has this logline: “From 2011
to 2013, tubas were stolen from Los Angeles high schools. This is not a story about
thieves or missing tubas. Instead, it asks what it means to listen.” What’s in this documentary are very boring scenes of some deaf people having dull conversations. Surely, their lives are more interesting than what ended up in this sloppily made film.

The deaf person who is most prominently featured in “The Tuba Thieves” is Nyeisha “Nyke” Prince, whose occupation is not mentioned in the documentary but she describes herself as “fashion blogger, hair stylist and model” on her social media accounts. Prince is not seen doing any fashion blogging, hair styling or modeling in weak and uninteresting film. Instead, she’s shown having forgettable conversations with other deaf people, including her lover Russell Harvard, who calls himself Nature Boy in the movie.

There are a few non-nudity scenes of Prince and Harvard in bed together. And then at one point, it’s shown that Prince has become pregnant during the making of the film, and she knows that he unborn child is a girl. The only real insight into Prince’s personality is when she has a conversation with an older friend named Warren “Wawa” Snipe and expresses her concerns about how good her mothering skills will be when she won’t be able to hear things, such as her baby crying.

Even less is revealed in the documentary about Geovanny Marroquin, who was a drum major at Centennial High School in Compton California, during the fall semester of 2011, when eight tubas were stolen. If you think it’s fascinating to see Marroquin get a palm reading or climbing out of a house window, then “The Tuba Thieves” is the movie for you. Marroquin says nothing in the documentary about the his perspective of being a student at the school that had these thefts. Centennial High School band leader Manuel Castañeda is shown re-enacting finding out that the tubas have gone missing.

“The Tuba Thieves” has some scenes of journalist Sam Quinones, who covered the news about the tuba thefts in The Los Angeles Sentinel. In one of the scenes Quinones interview, Hector Aguirre and Erik Huerta, who were students at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California, when four tubas were stolen during the winter break of 2011-2012. That’s about the extent of any “investigation” shown in the movie. Aguirre and Huerta have nothing meaningful to add to the story. Quinones is also seen doing an unrelated interview with Voces del Rancho members Mariano Fernandez and Edgar Rodriguez about Mexican singer Chalino Sánchez, who used tuba instruments in his songs and who became popular in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

“The Tuba Thieves” production notes describe the documentary’s re-enactment scenes: “In ‘The Tuba Thieves,’ Los Angeles life during the time of the tuba thefts is interrupted by unconventional reenactments of historic concerts: an irritated man leaves John Cage’s 1952 premiere of 4’33″ (where a pianist sat at a piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds without playing a note); punks and Deafies intermingle at the 1979 final punk show at
an infamous Deaf Club in San Francisco; and students tell how they organized a 1984 surprise Prince concert at the Deaf University Gallaudet.” In other words, “The Tuba Thieves” has meaningless filler.

Also in this meandering documentary are scenes of airplanes flying. Why? Just to have sounds of airplanes in the movie. There’s also hidden camera footage of wild animals (such as lions) in an area that appears to be the Hollywood Hills. Watching an entire documentary about these animals would be infinitely more entertaining and informative than the self-satisfied and empty tripe that’s in the “The Tuba Thieves.”

PBS released “The Tube Thieves” in New York City on March 15, 2024, with an expansion to more U.S. cities, as of March 22, 2024. The movie will premiere on the PBS series “Independent Lens” on a date to be announced.

Review: ‘The Family Star,’ starring Vijay Deverakonda and Mrunal Thakur

April 7, 2024

by Carla Hay

Vijay Deverakonda and Mrunal Thakur in “The Family Star” (Photo courtesy of Sarigama Cinemas)

“The Family Star”

Directed by Parasuram

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hyderabad, India, and in New York City, the comedy/drama film “The Family Star” features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A workaholic architect, who is the main financial caretaker for his large family, physically beats people up in various circumstances and has a volatile relationship with a woman who becomes his tenant. 

Culture Audience: “The Family Star” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and stupid movies with egotistical main characters.

Vijay Deverakonda and Vennela Kishore in “The Family Star” (Photo courtesy of Sarigama Cinemas)

“The Family Star” is a disgusting glorification of toxic masculinity. This horrible movie excuses the arrogant protagonist’s physical abuse of his love interest. The film’s messy tone goes from melodrama in the first half to wretched comedy in the second half. “The Family Star” is a shameful and shoddy waste of time and has the putrid gall to literally describe the abusive main character as a “superhero” multiple times in the movie. It shows an appalling and warped attitude about what it means to be a decent and respectful human being.

Written and directed by Parasuram, “The Family Star” has a total runtime (about 159 minutes) that is as bloated as the protagonist’s ego. “The Family Star” has an unrelenting materialistic message that a man is a “hero” if he provides gifts and financial security to his loved ones. The problem is that the movie’s protagonist does a lot of things to show that he’s definitely not a hero: He physically beats up people in business deals. He cruelly slaps his love interest very hard in the face because she described him as financially struggling. He is obsessively controlling over who can spend money on his family. The movie’s fight scenes are over-the-top idiotic because the central character has superhuman strength with no explanation.

In “The Family Star,” the jerk who is grossly elevated to “superhero” status is Govardhan (played by Vijay Deverakonda), a 25-year-old bachelor architect who financially supports several family members who live with him in Hyderabad, India. The family members are his grandmother, his two older brothers, his brothers’ wives, his two nephews and three nieces. The children’s ages range from about 5 to 11 years old. Almost all of these relatives of Govardhan do not have names in the movie, which is the movie’s way of saying that Govardhan is the only family member who matters the most in this trashy story.

Govardhan’s grandmother (played by Rohini Hattangadi) tells Govardhan that he needs to get married so that he doesn’t have to carry the burden of taking care of his brothers’ families. One of Govardhan’s brothers (played by Ravi Prakash) is an unemployed alcoholic. The other brother (played by Raja Chembolu) has a struggling business and is heavily in debt. The brothers’ wives (played by Vasuki Anand and Abhinaya) are passive and mainly react to whatever Govardhan does.

It’s mentioned several times in the movie that whenever something needs fixing in the household, Govardhan takes care of everything. He also helps with grocery shopping and cooking. “The Family Star” keeps trying to make Govardhan look like he’s caring and responsible. And there are times he can be affectionate to his family members. But the reality is that he uses his “head of household” status as a way to manipulate and control his family and other people in his life. He also has a nasty temper and often verbally lashes out at people, including his family members.

Govardhan is obsessed with social class status and being upwardly mobile. He is middle-class, but he wants to be thought of as “upper middle-class.” Throughout “The Family Star,” it’s pretty clear that Govardhan is on an ego trip about being the family “breadwinner,” and he likes feeling superior to everyone in the household. Govardhan also likes to make his family members feel guilty that he’s their main source of financial support. He takes advantage of that guilt by acting like a dictator to his family. He also likes using his “breadwinner” position as a way to boost his public image, so that people can admire him for being such a “great” family man.

At Govardhan’s office job, an attractive female co-worker (played by Divyansha Kaushik), who’s about the same age as Govardhan, seems to be in love with Govardhan. She has proposed marriage to him several times, but he has rejected her proposals every time. (These marriage proposals are not shown in the movie, but they are mentioned in conversations.) Govardhan smugly tells her that he’s too caught up in his family’s problems and responsibilities to get married.

“The Family Star” is so stupid, there’s a scene early in the movie where Govardhan does a business pitch in a meeting for one of his ridiculous architectural designs. His design is a three-bedroom household that is only 600 square feet. Govardhan says that people who are psychologically happy with this small living space won’t complain. However, it’s obvious that the real size problem is Govardhan’s small mind.

Govardhan has a penthouse that he barely uses. This penthouse is next to the place where Govardhan lives with his family. The penthouse is being rented by a wealthy young woman named Indu (played by Mrunal Thakur), who is a graduate student at Central University. A flashback shows that before Indu rented the place, she was warned that Govardhan is very protective of his family and doesn’t want his family’s privacy to be disturbed. She decided to rent the place anyway.

Govardhan doesn’t really like a stranger living on his property. He has told his grandmother that he’s going to tell Indu to leave. However, Govardhan has been postponing this eviction conversation with Indu for two reasons: First, he doesn’t really want give up the rent money he’s getting from Indu, who makes sure that Govardhan sees that she carries large wads of cash. Second, Govardhan is infatuated with Indu, but he doesn’t want to admit it to anyone yet.

Govardhan is such a control freak, he tells Indu that she can’t buy delivery meals because the kids in the household will want the same meals when they see the meals being delivered. Govardhan orders Indu to only have meals that she can cook in her own home, or else she can go out somewhere else to eat instead. Indu tells Govardhan that if the kids request certain things to eat, there’s nothing wrong with agreeing to their requests. Govardhan strongly disagrees.

The real issue for Govardhan is that Indu has been trying to befriend the women and children in the household. She is kind to them and often gives them gifts. Govardhan is insecure and feels threatened that Indu (who has a lot more money than he does) will be more respected than he is by his family members.

One day, Indu treats the women and children to a party dinner at a shopping mall’s food court. They all have a good time. But when Govardhan finds out, he has a temper tantrum and orders his family members to stay away from Indu. Meanwhile, Indu sees and hears Govardhan go on this rant, and she feels insulted, but she eventually forgives Govardhan, and they start dating each other.

“The Family Star” is an annoying, tedious mishmash showing the ups and downs of the relationship between Govardhan and Indu. It’s a repetitive loop of Govardhan doing something wrong, Indu getting upset and distancing herself from him, and then she eventually goes back to him. It’s the movie’s terrible attempt to make a co-dependent, abusive relationship look romantic.

The scene where Govardhan slaps Indu on the face happens in front of several of her university colleagues. This slap was not done in self-defense. Govardhan slapped Indu because he was angry that Indu did an academic report where she truthfully described Govardhan as having financial problems. What makes the scene even more heinous is that no one says or does anything about this physical assault, which is a crime where the attacker should be held accountable. However, “The Family Star” makes this physical abuse look acceptable and eventually acts like the slap never even happened.

The movie’s not-funny-at all attempts at comedy, especially in the second half of the film, have no imagination and just regurgitate things that have been seen and done in so many other romantic comedies where a rich woman is being courted by a man who is not wealthy. In this part of the movie, Indu’s student lifestyle completely disappears and turns into something else that involves Indu’s business mogul father (played by Jagapathi Babu) and one of his hapless employees named Samarth (played by Vennela Kishore), who is ordered to spend time with Govardhan, for reasons that are explained in this garbage movie.

“Family Star” has a pathetic “battles of the sexes” storyline that’s phony and unappealing. All of the acting performances in “The Family Star” are mediocre or substandard. The musical numbers are unimpressive. Everything about “The Family Star” is creatively bankrupt, so it deserves to be the flop that it is.

Review: ‘Someone Like You’ (2024), starring Sarah Fisher, Jake Allyn, Robyn Lively, Bart Johnson, Scott Reeves and Lynn Collins

April 6, 2024

by Carla Hay

Jake Allyn and Sarah Fisher in “Someone Like You” (Photo courtesy of Fathom Events)

“Someone Like You” (2024)

Directed by Tyler Russell

Culture Representation: Taking place in Alabama and in Tennessee, the dramatic film “Someone Like You” (based on the novel by Karen Kingsbury) features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few black people) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: An architect, who was in love with his former high school classmate, finds out after she dies that she has a long-lost twin sister, and they fall in love with each other, even though the twin has a boyfriend. 

Culture Audience: “Someone Like You” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the novel and faith-based movies that take an overly simplistic approach to adult love stories.

Jake Allyn and Sarah Fisher in “Someone Like You” (Photo courtesy of Fathom Events)

“Someone Like You” is a cloying and boring drama where some creepy actions from a lovelorn suitor are glossed over in unrealistic ways. It’s also a faith-based movie that treats a love triangle like a sappy teen romance novel without adult maturity. In addition, “Someone Like You” has some questionable ways in which the movie depicts complicated issues of how families are affected by adoption and in vitro fertilization.

Written and directed by Tyler Russell, “Someone Like You” is based on the 2020 novel of the same name, written by Karen Kingsbury. Some of the details in the movie have been changed from the novel, such as the U.S. states where the story takes place. But the overall plot is the same. Because the entire plot of the movie is revealed in the movie’s trailer, there’s no suspense over who will fall in love and end up as a couple in the story.

“Someone Like You” begins in Birmingham, Alabama, by showing a successful architect named Dawson Gage (played by Jake Allyn), who is in his mid-20s and frustrated because the woman he considers to be the love of his life does not want a romantic relationship with him. Dawson is in love with his female best friend from high school: London Quinn (played by Sarah Fisher), an aspiring actress/dancer, who knows that Dawson is in love with her, but she just wants to have a platonic friendship with him. (In the “Someone Like You” book, Dawson and London live in Portland, Oregon.)

How successful of an architect is Dawson? He has already designed and built several homes (including the house where London and her family live) and at least one public leisure area in a park. London works as a barista at a cafe owned by her mother Louise Quinn (played by Lynn Collins), who has had kidney problems for years and needs a kidney transplant. London’s best friend at work is barista Hanna Smith (played by Lindsay Ross Davenport), who is married to Chris Smith (played by Brandon Hirsch), who is Dawson’s architect best friend at Dawson’s job. How convenient.

Dawson and London are compatible in a lot of ways: They both love adventurous sports, and they spend a lot of their free time at a local lake, where they often go jet skiing together. But there’s one thing that Dawson and London don’t agree on: religion. London (who was raised as an only child in a non-religious household) is agnostic and doesn’t believe in praying. Dawson is a very religious Christian who regularly prays and attends church services.

One night, Dawson and London are hanging out together and are about to go somewhere to have a meal. Dawson is driving and parks on a street where he has to put payment in a parking meter. As he’s using the meter, London is standing outside the car in the street when she gets hit by a car. The movie doesn’t show the gruesome details, but the scene with London dying on the street is unrealistic because in real life, she would have injuries that are a lot worse than what’s shown in the movie, based on the impact of the crash and how far away she was thrown from Dawson’s car.

London is taken to a hospital but tragically does not survive. She died without knowing a big family secret: London was conceived by in vitro fertilization and has a twin who was given up for adoption when the twin was a fertilized embryo. It’s a detail that’s different from the “Someone Like You” book, which had London’s parents telling her this secret before she died, and London gave permission to find this long-lost twin.

In the movie, London’s father Larry (played by Scott Reeves) and London’s mother Louise are not only grieving over London’s death but they also feel extremely guilty for not telling London this family secret. London also grew up thinking that she was conceived naturally. Dawson’s parents are deceased, so the Quinns have been like a second family to him. One day, Dawson visits the Quinn household to check in on Larry and Louise and to walk the family Laborador Retriever named Toby. London’s parents then confess this family secret to Dawson.

Louise and Larry explain to Dawson that because of Louise’s kidney condition, she could only carry one child at a time, and Louise nearly died giving birth to London. And so, Louise and Larry made the decision to donate the other embryo to an infertile couple and chose not to find out what happened to the embryo. But now, with London dead, both parents have conflicting feelings about finding their other biological child.

Dawson thinks London would have wanted to find out what happened to her twin. Louise agrees, and she wants to know too. At this point, London’s parents don’t know the gender of the embryo.

However, Larry strongly disagrees about finding out what happened to the embryo. Larry thinks that if London’s twin is alive, this sibling and the adoptive family deserve to have privacy about this matter. Larry, by the way, doesn’t do much in this movie but mope around and occasionally sing a corny song while playing an acoustic guitar.

Lovesick and grieving Dawson can’t let go of the idea that London’s twin is somewhere and deserves to know about London. And so, with Louise’s blessing (and knowing that Larry would not approve), Dawson does an investigation to find out what happened to the embryo. The “investigation” doesn’t take long in the movie.

Louise gives Dawson the name of the doctor who handled her in vitro treatments. Through a phone call to this doctor’s office, Dawson finds out that this doctor referred patients to two fertility specialist doctors, who also happen to be a married couple: Dr. Jenny Allen (played by Robyn Lively) and Dr. Jim Allen (played by Bart Johnson), who both live in Nashville, Tennessee. (“Someone Like You” was filmed in Tennessee and Alabama.)

A quick Internet search leads to Dawson seeing a family photo of this couple with their two daughters: Andi Allen (also played by Fisher) and Amy Allen (played by Mary Marguerite Hall), who’s about three or four years younger than Andi. They all live in the same household. (In the book, the Andi character is named Maddie West, and she lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.)

Andi looks exactly like London, except London had blonde hair, while Andi’s hair is light brown. Dawson knows he’s found London’s twin. And quicker than you can say “cringeworthy plot development in a hokey romance movie,” Dawson is off to Nashville to find Andi.

Before Dawson comes into Andi’s life, the movie shows Andi has recently celebrated her 24th birthday. On every birthday, her mother Jenny has a tradition of telling Andi the story of how Andi was born. Although Jenny really did give birth to Andi, what Jenny and Jim have kept a secret from Andi is that Andi was conceived in vitro and is not their biological child. However, Amy is the biological child of Jenny and Jim.

Andi celebrates her birthday with a small party at her home. Also at the party is Andi’s boyfriend Matt Bryan (played by Austin Robert Russell), a young lawyer who plans to propose marriage soon to Andi. At the party, Matt shows Jim the engagement ring and ask Jim for his blessing in Matt’s marriage proposal to Andi. Jim enthusiastically approves because he thinks Matt is a great guy and a perfect match for Andi.

It doesn’t take long for Dawson to find Andi in person. Dawson discovers that she works as a guide at the Nashville Zoo. Dawson goes to the zoo and pretends to be a sketching artist sitting at the same bench for hours, as he stares at Andi while she works. Andi notices this stranger gawking at her like a stalker and tries to ignore him.

Dawson eventually approaches Andi and tells her why he’s been staring at her and why he’s there. Dawson tells Andi about London and says that he’s certain Andi is London’s long-lost in vitro twin. Dawson assumes that Andi knows that she’s adopted. But Andi doesn’t believe Dawson and says he must have her mistaken for someone else. Dawson gives her his business card (which has his cell phone number), in case Andi changes her mind and wants to contact him. And you already know that she will.

When Andi goes home and tells her mother Jenny about this stranger with this bizarre story, Jenny breaks down and confesses the family secret, which is also confirmed by Jim. They both tearfully say to Andi that they wanted to tell her the truth about where she came from since she was 12 years old. They also assure her that they have always thought of Andi as their real daughter. Andi angrily says that they should’ve told her the truth as soon as she was old enough to understand adoption.

Andi is so upset, she grabs her some of her things and leaves. She says goodbye to Amy but doesn’t say goodbye to her parents. Andi also doesn’t tell her family where she’s going and when she’s coming back. At first, she stays at a motel. But then, when Andi makes the inevitable phone call to Dawson, he invites her to go to Alabama to meet Louise and Larry. Dawson doesn’t seem to care too much about how Jenny and Jim feel and is more concerned about giving Andi an in-person history of her dead sister London.

The rest of “Someone Like You” is a mawkish slog of Dawson giving Andi a tour of London’s life and falling in love with Andi, even when he knows that she has a boyfriend and a life of her own in Nashville. Louise invites Andi over to the Quinn family home, where Andi gets more overload of information and tearful memories about London. Larry is uncomfortable at first with the circumstances that brought Andi into his home, but he eventually warms up to Andi, especially when someone (preferably a biological family member) is needed to donate a kidney for Louise’s kidney transplant.

It should come as no surprise that Louise invites Andi to temporarily live with her and Larry until Andi is ready to decide what to do about her relationship with her adoptive parents. Even though Dawson constantly compares Andi to London in his conversations with Andi, he later says to Andi that he started to think of Andi as her own person, not as an extension of London. This revelation conveniently comes around the same time that Dawson finds out that Andi is just as religious as he is. Somehow, this insipid movie wants to convince viewers that Dawson’s creepy confession of finally seeing Andi as her own person is supposed to be a flattering way to get someone to fall in love.

And what about Matt, Andi’s loyal boyfriend back in Nashville? The movie quickly resolves that issue in a way that’s very dismissive of the loving and respectful relationship that the movie depicted Andi and Matt as having in the beginning of the film. If Andi can fall in and out of love this easily, what does that say about her and her quickie romance with Dawson?

But a “fairy tale” love story cannot be stopped in a mushy movie such as “Someone Like You.” And how many jet skiing couple scenes does this movie have, in order to pound the idea into viewers’ heads that jet skiing is Dawson’s way of trying to seduce a love interest in a movie where there’s no sex? The answer: Too many.

Most of the acting performances in “Someone Like You” are very mediocre. Allyn is very stiff as Dawson and is never convincing as the passionate charmer that Dawson is supposed to be. As the characters of Andi and London, Fisher is just doing a forgettable version of generic heroines in romance novels.

Most of the supporting characters in “Someone Like You” are very hollow or downright unnecessary. There is a very weirdly written character named Beth (played by Yvonne Landry), who is Andi’s co-worker at the Nashville Zoo. Beth is hyper, talkative and very anti-marriage. When Beth first meets Andi, she praises Andi for not having a wedding ring or engagement ring. “Marriage is for the birds,” Beth says, before commenting that eagles have the same mates for life.

When Beth (who tells annoying bad jokes) finds out that Andi is in a serious relationship with a marriage-minded boyfriend (Matt), Beth expresses her disappointment. In other words, Beth is written as a radical feminist and is coded as possibly being a lesbian or queer woman, based on how Beth subtly flirts with Andi. There is absolutely no reason for this Beth character to be in the movie but to depict someone who doesn’t believe in marriage as being someone who is odd and possibly mentally off-kilter. It plays into offensive stereotypes that are often inaccurate.

Dawson is grieving over London, but he falls in love so quickly with Andi, it come across as infatuation with London’s look-alike, despite Dawson denying it. There’s no rule in life that says people need a timetable on when to move on from a dead “soul mate” to find love with another “soul mate.” However, there is a limit to the emotional credibility in “Someone Like You.” And there’s an expiration on how much viewers can tolerate all of the movie’s overly sentimental cheesiness, which quickly becomes stale and unappealing.

Fathom Events released “Someone Like You” in U.S. cinemas for a limited engagement from April 2 to April 11, 2024.

Review: ‘Wicked Little Letters,’ starring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Anjana Vasan, Gemma Jones, Joanna Scanlan, Malachi Kirby, Lolly Adefope, Eileen Atkins and Timothy Spall

April 6, 2024

by Carla Hay

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley in “Wicked Little Letters” (Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh/Sony Pictures Classics)

“Wicked Little Letters”

Directed by Thea Sharrock

Culture Representation: Taking place in the early 1920s, in Littlehampton, England, the comedy/drama film “Wicked Little Letters” (inspired by real events) features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few Asians and black people) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Two women, who have opposite personalities and who happen to live next door to each other, get into an escalating feud when one of the women is accused of anonymously sending hateful and obscene letters to the other woman and several other people they know in the area. 

Culture Audience: “Wicked Little Letters” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and well-acted satires about crime and discrimination.

Timothy Spall in “Wicked Little Letters” (Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh/Sony Pictures Classics)

“Wicked Little Letters” not only has an accused libelous harasser on trial but this smart and funny satire also puts sexism, xenophobia and classism on trial. Top-notch performances give an incisive edge when the comedy gets too slapstick. The movie’s ending is a bit rushed, but the overall story should be enjoyable for viewers who like movies that poke fun at societal flaws and hypocrisies.

Directed by Thea Sharrock and written by Jonny Sweet, “Wicked Little Letters” had its world premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is inspired by real events that took place in early 1920s England, when people in the small coastal town of Littlehampton were receiving anonymous, handwritten letters that had obscene insults directed at the letter recipients. “Wicked Little Letters” is partly a mystery about who is sending the letters and partly a send-up of how people react to the letters.

“Wicked Little Letters” also takes place in Littlehampton but condenses the real timeline of events from about three years to about a little over one year. The movie begins by showing that religious and conservative Edith Swan (played by Olivia Colman) has received the 19th letter in a series of obscene hate letters sent to her anonymously. Edith is a middle-aged, never-married bachelorette with no children. She lives in a townhouse with her parents: domineering and gruff Edward Swan (played by Timothy Spall) and passive and devoted Victoria Swan (played by Gemma Jones), who are understandably upset but the letters.

Edith shows this offensive letter to her parents. An outraged Edward wants to file a police report about these letters, but a reluctant Edith says she wants to avoid the embarrassment of making these letters public. Edith also says that whoever sent the letters deserves forgiveness and compassion. Eventually, Edward convinces Edith that they should file a police report because the only way for the letters to stop is to catch the culprit, and they need the help of law enforcement. Edith reluctantly agrees to give a statement to police.

Edward storms off the local police deparment and tells the investigating officer on duty about the letters. Constable Papperwick (played by Hugh Skinner) listens to what an angry Edward has to say and replies by saying that Constable Papperwick will fill out a form that will be filed for the police report. That response isn’t good enough for Edward, who thinks that Constable Papperwick isn’t taking the matter seriously. Edward insists that there should be a formal investigation.

Constable Papperwick relents and goes to the Swan home to do an interview with the Swans. Edward is quick to name the only person whom he thinks is sending the letters: a single mother named Rose Gooding (played by Jessie Buckley), who recently moved to the area from Ireland and who lives next door to the Swan family. Rose, who says her husband died in World War I, lives with her tween daughter Nancy (played by Alisha Weir) and Rose’s boyfriend (played by Malachi Kirby), who treats Nancy (who’s about 10 or 11 years old) and Rose with kindness and respect.

Edith then backs up the theory that Rose is sending the letters by telling Constable Papperwick more about why Rose is the most likely suspect. Rose and Edith actually started out as friendly acquaintances after Rose moved in next door. But some conflicts began to arise between the two women, who have opposite personalities.

The Swan family and Rose share a bathroom, which Edith says Rose often leaves in messy condition. Edith thinks that Rose is a foul-mouthed slob, while Rose thinks that Edith is an uptight prude. The Swan family also disapproves of Rose because she sometimes likes to have rowdy fun and get drunk at bars, which the Swans think is a very unladylike lifestyle.

Edith, who is nosy and judgmental, thinks it’s horrible that Rose dated several men before she began dating Bill. The Swans also don’t really approve of Rose because she’s Irish and an unmarried woman who’s “living in sin” with a lover. And it’s not said out loud in the movie, but it’s implied that because Bill also happens to be black, the Swans dislike that Rose and Bill are in an interracial romance.

At one point, someone anonymously called Child Protective Services against Rose. Nothing came of the CPS investigation, but Rose suspects that Edith is the one who called CPS to get Rose in trouble. All of these circumstances have made Rose the subject of gossip in the community, even before the obscene letters started being sent.

The tensions between Edith and Rose got worse during a birthday party for Edward, when a man at the party insulted Rose, and she punched him. This altercation ruined the party, and Edith put all the blame on Rose. Shortly after this party, Edith began receiving the obscene letters, which crudely accuse Edith of being promiscuous and kinky. The Swans tell Constable Papperwick that Rose is the only obvious suspect because she’s the only person they know who frequently curses like the curse-filled rants that are in the letters.

Constable Papperwick believes the Swans and immediately arrests Rose, who is charged with libel. Rose vehemently denies anything to do with the letters. Constable Papperwick and his boss Chief Constable Spedding (played by Paul Chahidi) think they have an easy open-and-shut case in proving that Rose is guilty. However, police officer Gladys Moss (played by Anjana Vasan), the only woman in the police department, is skeptical that Rose is guilty because there is no real evidence against Rose. Constable Papperwick and Chief Constable Spedding both think that doing a handwriting analysis is a waste of time and doesn’t count as evidence.

When Gladys expresses her concerns to Constable Papperwick and Chief Constable Spedding, these higher-ranking male cops are dismissive and condescending to Gladys in repeatedly sexist ways. Gladys suggests they should investigate further, because she thinks that Rose could be the target of a setup. Constable Papperwick sneers at her: “Woman officers don’t sleuth.” Chief Constable Spedding orders Gladys to stay out of the case. After Rose gets bailed out of jail, the obscene letters are sent to many more people in the community. And the scandal becomes big news in the United Kingdom.

In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, “Wicked Little Letters” shows the double standards that women face in society and how harsher judgments are placed on women if they do certain things that men are allowed to do without such judgment. Rose’s arrest is essentially because she does not conform to what this conservative community thinks a woman should be like: Rose sometimes gets drunk, she frequently swears, and she occasionally gets into fights to defend herself. A man doing the same things would not be condemned so severely.

Later in the movie, Rose finds out that Gladys is not allowed to marry and have children if she wants to keep her job as a police officer. It’s a sexist workplace rule that obviously doesn’t apply to men. When Rose asks Gladys why she wants to be a police officer, she says it’s because her father was a police officer, and she wants to do the work more than anything else. Gladys also has an adolescent niece named Winnie Moss (played by Krishni Patel), who also wants to become a police officer, and Gladys is mentoring Winnie.

The sexism doesn’t just come from men. An early scene in the move shows that Rose’s daughter Nancy likes to play acoustic guitar, but Rose tells Nancy, “Nice girls don’t play guitar.” (To her parental credit, Rose also tells Nancy to focus more on her academic studies.) On a more extreme level, Edith (who craves the approval of her strict and patriarchal father) has very bigoted ideas of what females should and should not do to be considered “respectable” and “feminine” in society.

“Wicked Little Letters” has some twists and turns in the story, which stays mostly faithful to the strange-but-true events that happened in real life. Although the names of the main characters have not been changed for the movie, some of the supporting characters were fabricated for the film. Rose finds some unlikely allies with three women who are Edith’s friends in a Christian women’s club that gets together to play cards: open-minded Mabel (played by Eileen Atkins), jolly Ann (played by Joanna Scanlan) and cautious postal worker Kate (played by Lolly Adefope), who is initially very suspicious of Rose.

“Wicked Little Letters” can get somewhat repetitive in showing how the odds are stacked against Rose. However, the investigation and the subsequent trial are intriguing and take comedic aim at the snobs in the community who are often hypocrites blinded by their own prejudices. The movie does not make adversaries Rose and Edith into caricatures. There are layers to Rose that show she’s a loving and responsible parent, not the unfit mother that she has been described as by her critics. Edith is also not quite as prim and proper as she appears to be.

Rose’s fiery personality and Edith’s reserved personality are seemingly at odds with each other. But Rose and Edith—just like Gladys—also share the common experience of being oppressed by sexism that wants to dictate or control how they should live their lives, simply because they are female. The heart of the film is in the admirable performances of Buckley, Colman and Vasan, who skillfully blend the film’s zippy comedy and the more serious drama. Amid the story about a criminal investigation and trial, “Wicked Little Letters” has poignant observations about female independence and female friendship—and what can be gained or lost under certain circumstances.

Sony Pictures Classics released “Wicked Little Letters” in select U.S. cinemas on March 29, 2024, with an expansion to more U.S. cinemas on April 5, 2024. The movie was released in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2024.

Copyright 2017-2024 Culture Mix
CULTURE MIX