The 10 Best New Movies

Yoshiko Yap

When searching for the latest and greatest cinematic offerings, the shifting distribution landscape makes one thing abundantly clear: No matter how badly we’d like for the big screen to be the place for the best movies, it’s simply not the case. Sure, the theatrical experience claims plenty of worthy films, but with on-demand video rental and the overwhelming number of streaming options—two areas where indie and arthouse cinema have been thriving as theaters shove them aside for more and more Marvel movies—alternative viewing methods bear consideration if you’re after a comprehensive list of the best new fare.

This list is composed of the best new movies, updated every week, regardless of how they’re available. Some may have you weighing whether it’s worth it to brave the theater. Some, thankfully, are cheaply and easily available to check out from your living room couch or your bedroom laptop. Regardless of how you watch them, they deserve to be watched—from tiny international dramas to blockbuster action films to auteurist awards favorites.

Check out the 10 best new movies movies right now:

10. Little Richard: I Am EverythingRelease Date: April 21, 2023
Director: Lisa Cortés
Rating: NR
Runtime: 98 minutes

How do we honor a blueprint? Followed as they are over and over again, year after year, decades upon decades, they soon become taken for granted as part of the everyday. They are the air we breathe and the cosmos as we know it. Lisa Cortés sets out her microscope and her telescope to pay tribute to one of rock n’ roll’s foundational architects with her documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything. Elegantly shifting her lens between Little Richard’s biography and the history of the music that sprung forth from him, Cortés traces a nearly impossible trajectory without losing a grounded sense of context. Little Richard Wayne Penniman of Macon, Georgia, was born with a constellation of identities that would set him apart forever. Black, poor, queer, femme and disabled, Richard quickly formed his own sense of the world and how to move through it. He taught himself music and how to survive with equal bravado. With an exceptional arrangement of interviews from artists that knew him or were inspired by him alongside brilliant critical commentary from folks like scholar Zandria Robinson, ethnomusicologist Fredara Hadley and musician Jason King, we get a detailed impression of a figure, his talents and his contexts. With all the ways Little Richard defied the norm, Cortés and her team rightfully spend time defining and discussing queerness not just as sexuality but as a non-normative “presence” in the world—a way of being that defies accepted categories. Such a mature and critical consideration of queerness helps us understand Little Richard and the public’s reaction to him. He was among the first celebrities to be loud and proud of their queerness and sexuality. Cortés and crew never let us forget that he was queer history just as much as rock n’ roll history. By dialing into Richard’s visual metaphor of himself as “the living flame”–a “quasar” of the music industry—Lisa Cortés crafts his biography as a creation myth. As I Am Everything poetically demonstrates, Little Richard’s entrance into the musical void was The Big Bang of rock, a collisional spark that generated so much heat and joy that it created a new genre. A new sensation. Best of all, it’s a sensation we can return to over and over when we listen to his music or hear him in the inspiration of others. Little Richard’s gift is infinite, and we honor it best by sharing it, living truthfully and letting it all hang out.—B.L. Panther


9. Blind Willow, Sleeping WomanRelease Date: April 14, 2023
Director: Pierre Földes
Stars: Kwon Hae-hyo, Lee Hye-young, Park Mi-so, Song Seon-mi
Rating: NR
Runtime: 100 minutes

There are already several wonderfully meditative, carefully realized adaptations of Haruki Murakami short stories – namely Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s Burning and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s 2021 Oscar-winning Drive My Car – yet many of the Japanese literary icon’s most famous works have long been deemed unfit for cinematic translation. This likely has to do with Murakami’s penchant for employing elements of magical realism. The vivid, often fantastical scenes he creates through prose could easily come off as awkward, incongruous or simply unsatisfying on the screen, even within the seemingly limitless capabilities of modern VFX technology. By adapting several Murakami short stories with particularly surreal elements via animation in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, writer, director, animator and composer Pierre Földes is able to evocatively distill the mystical streak that permeates loosely connected plotlines, unfolding in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Tokyo in 2011. The film incorporates six of Murakami’s short stories from three separate collections: The Elephant VanishesAfter the Quake and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Even casual Murakami readers will recognize that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the (slightly altered) first chapter of which was originally published as The Elephant Vanishes, is a major component of this film. It’s not the sole focus, but it lushly conjures many specific details, from Komura’s missing kitty-turned-vanished wife to the inquisitive teenage neighbor who allows him to camp out in her backyard. Though the film only delves into the first chapter of the novel as it appears in Elephant, it’s difficult to imagine another film tackling The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and succeeding in capturing the hazily idyllic yet overwhelming foreboding atmosphere that Blind Willow does so effectively. The triumph and allure of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is owed to the specific animation style that Földes utilizes, which is a visually intriguing combination of motion capture and 2D techniques. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a refreshing take on a popular author’s oeuvre. It’s also ambitious in its own right, especially as it arrives on the heels of the aforementioned Murakami adaptations that have received substantial acclaim.—Natalia Keogan


8. Rye LaneRelease Date: March 31, 2023
Director: Raine Allen-Miller
Stars: David Jonsson, Vivian Oparah, Simon Manyonda, Benjamin Sarpong-Broni, Poppy Allen-Quarmby
Rating: NR
Runtime: 82 minutes

Part of the joy of making a romantic comedy is reimagining the stakes of a story, relitigating what is deemed cinematic. Rather than the traditional blockbuster terrain, you are charting the more familiar fallout from relational misunderstanding. Romantic comedies are bound by relatability, and truly great romantic comedies understand this relatability grows from specificity. Where many recent examples of this genre fall short is in dodging this degree of specificity, scared to ground an audience in the monotony of the everyday. Rye Lane leans into this perceived monotony, animating everything with the promise of new love. Rye Lane takes place over the course of a day, following Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) as they wander across South London, concocting new, increasingly ridiculous ways of spending time together. They use local landmarks as a set of interpersonal stepping stones, guiding one another through the physical ruins of their own romantic histories. Everything is captured in sharp, bright colors, reflecting the joy buried in every corner of this city. But the color scheme is only one way director Raine Allen-Miller navigates the playfulness of Dom and Yas’ dynamic. She stages elaborate setups to heighten their budding relationship: A cinema full of multiple Doms, passionately cheering Yas on as she recreates her recent breakup, is both a funny joke and a constructive character beat, showing two people who bond over a shared way of coping. Allen-Miller experiments with the focus and angle of the camera, switching between the extremes of the fish-eye lens and wide shots to capture the blurred and busy texture of the city. Their love story is one dedicated to recontextualizing their surroundings, to overhearing an embarrassing conversation and seeking out the other’s amused gaze, to buying burritos from the stall in Brixton and letting the other one order for you. Each new location is a gateway into understanding the other person, a prompt for a new story. In this way Rye Lane builds a lovingly transportive setting. Thanks to Rye Lane’s specificity and care for its central relationship, Allen-Miller has made one of the best British comedies–certainly one of the best London-based films—of the last decade.—Anna McKibbin


7. Walk UpRelease Date: April 7, 2023
Director: Hon Sang-Soo
Stars: Kwon Hae-hyo, Lee Hye-young, Park Mi-so, Song Seon-mi
Rating: NR
Runtime: 97 minutes

The social influences of one’s surroundings—namely the various dwellings we inhabit—act as a clever framing mechanism in South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s Walk Up. Specifically, the film visits each floor-spanning apartment of one particular building, characters neatly shuffling between each residence as they navigate personal employment woes and fluctuating relationship tensions. As Hong makes his way through the building from the ground up, the interpersonal connections between characters shift—romances blossom and fizzle, familial ties strengthen and disintegrate, rental power dynamics sweeten before souring—until they ultimately reset, ready to unfold anew. Filmmaker Byung-soo (Kwon Hae-hyo) and his daughter Jeong-su (Park Mi-so) arrive at a building owned by Ms. Kim (Lee Hye-young), an old friend of the director. Ms. Kim gives the two a tour of the three story edifice, which houses her own work studio on the basement level, her own residence on the first floor, an intimate restaurant owned by a woman named Sunhee (Song Seon-mi) and an apartment rented by a reclusive artist on the top level. After briefly entering each unit (and probably violating a couple lease agreements in the process), the three retire to Ms. Kim’s apartment for an evening of copious wine drinking. As the young woman departs to fetch more wine from a convenience store, the next segment begins with Byung-soo, Ms. Kim and Sunhee eating a meal at the latter’s restaurant, wherein we find the film’s thesis of art, financing and the general impossibility of the two—creativity and capital—coexisting. “For them, a film is purely a means of making money,” Byung-soo drunkenly laments when he reveals that the plug was pulled on his most recent film just weeks before it was set to enter production. “Money is the only standard to judge anything.” Clearly, Hong is working through some personal disappointments as it pertains to his own metric of “success” here. By the time Walk Up comes to a conclusion, all of the characters appear in front of the building. They are either on their way elsewhere, appearing for an overdue visit or returning to perform job duties inside. This set-up mirrors the very beginning of the film, and relationships that have been fortified or abandoned since have miraculously seemed to regress into their original dynamics. Has Hong simply gone full-circle, setting these individuals up to relive the previous events and perhaps make different choices? Or does the suffocation of our small quarters cause us to become callous and self-centered? Does leaving our most intimate spaces allow us to embrace possibilities that we’ve since considered closed-off or impossible? Without the looming pressures of rent, work-from-home set-ups and casual business meetings, Hong suggests that we might just finally be free.—Natalia Keogan


6. How to Blow up a PipelineRelease Date: April 7, 2023
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Stars: Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner, Jake Weary, Irene Bedard
Rating: R
Runtime: 100 minutes

Andreas Malm’s 2021 book How to Blow Up a Pipeline saw its argument for more climate activism morph into an argument for different climate activism. Money isn’t cutting it. Protests aren’t either. Maybe sabotage will. Its vitality flows like an antidote to the poisonous nihilism surrounding the climate crisis from progressives; its fiery points threaten the crisp piles of cash collected by conservatives. Filmmaker Daniel Goldhaber’s air-punching, chair-clenching, heart-in-mouth adaptation is the best way to convert people to its cause—whether they’re dark green environmentalists or gas-guzzling Senate Republicans. Adapting a nonfiction treatise on the limits of nonviolent protest into a specific, heist-like fiction is a brilliant move by Goldhaber and his co-writers Ariela Barer and Jordan Sjol. In its execution of a carefully crafted plan, held together by explosive and interpersonal chemistry, it thrusts us into its thrilling visualized philosophy. How to Blow Up a Pipeline isn’t naïve enough to rely on optimism, opting instead to radicalize competence. Think of How to Blow Up a Pipeline like a word problem. The most exciting word problem you can imagine, where the two trains leaving the station collide in an explosive snarl of steel, your onboard loved ones saved only by quick thinking and teamwork. How to Blow Up a Pipeline contextualizes its concepts into actions so we can better understand, internalize and identify with them. There’s not a moment lost getting us there. Malm’s chapters (”Learning from Past Struggles,” “Breaking the Spell” and “Fighting Despair”) are elegantly transposed, their high-level arguments humanized into character and conversation. The ensemble—led by student protestors Xochitl (Barer) and Shawn (Marcus Scribner), whose plan organically gathers together surly Native bomb-builder Michael (Forrest Goodluck), horny crustpunk couple Rowan (Kristine Froseth) and Logan (Lukas Gage), terminally ill Theo (Sasha Lane) and her reluctant girlfriend Alisha (Jayme Lawson), and disillusioned landowner Dwayne (Jake Weary)—is colorfully drawn and filled out through savvy, well-cut flashbacks. Everyone has their reasons, and we have everyone’s back. By structuring its simple plot (blow up a goddamn pipeline) as a zigzag, How to Blow Up a Pipeline builds its team without losing steam. It’s as efficient and thoughtful in its planning as its heroes, and the results are just as successful. It’s as satisfying as any good bank job, only it’s stealing a little bit more time on this planet from the companies looking to scorch the earth. Responding to tragedy not with hopelessness but with proficiency, it’s not a dreamy or delusional movie. It knows its sabotage doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It understands that people get hurt. What makes How to Blow Up a Pipeline great, is that it so deftly wins us to its cause anyway. It’s absolutely electric filmmaking.—Jacob Oller


5. Are You There God? It’s Me, MargaretRelease Date: April 27, 2023
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Stars: Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Elle Graham, Benny Safdie, Kathy Bates
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 111 minutes

If there’s one certainty amidst the chaos of puberty, it’s that you’re going to feel misunderstood. Misunderstood by your friends, your siblings, your sex ed teacher and, above all, by your parents. Indeed, when you start to undergo those pesky physical and emotional changes, it inevitably feels as though no one on this godforsaken planet can empathize with what you’re going through–that is, of course, unless you’re lucky enough to stumble across a Judy Blume book. Given the weight that Blume holds for so many kids and former kids, embarking on a film adaptation of one of her works poses a challenge. I’m happy to report, though, that Kelly Fremon Craig’s adaptation of the iconic 1970 novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret delivers nearly flawlessly. Margaret follows the young Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson), whose parents Barbara (Rachel McAdams) and Herb (Benny Safdie) move her to a new school in New Jersey for her final year of elementary school. Margaret’s journey of self-discovery is a fascinating and satisfying watch. Craig moves Margaret along at a gratifying pace. Its sunny, pastel color palette, whip-smart comedy (a scene where Margaret and her mother discuss training bras deserves a spot in the Comedic Timing Hall of Fame) and ecstatic musical montages make Margaret an exhilarating, ecstatic and thought-provoking watch. While Craig nails Margaret’s storytelling and tone, this film simply wouldn’t achieve such poignancy and empathy without the stellar lead performance from young breakout Fortson. The budding star is effortlessly funny and brings a stunning level of maturity to her voiceover; when she rattles off an astute, “adult” comment, it feels like she really means and understands what she’s saying. While Fortson is the backbone that holds Margaret together, she’s not the only actor that brings something delightful and delectable to the table. Graham shines, playing the well-intentioned mean girl with masterful physical humor and surprising tenderness, while McAdams serves as Margaret’s emotional core in her best major role in a while. McAdams’ magnificent performance makes Craig’s grasp on Blume’s book even more clear: The 1970 novel was never just for young girls. It was, and remains, for generations upon generations of women. That’s the true beauty of it.—Aurora Amidon

4. Other People’s ChildrenRelease Date: April 21, 2023
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Stars: Virginie Efira, Roschdy Zem, Chiara Mastroianni, Callie Ferreira-Goncalves, Michel Zlotowski, Yamée Couture, Victor Lefebvre
Rating: NR
Runtime: 104 minutes

French director Rebecca Zlotowski tackles the subject of a “biological clock” and the social pressures surrounding it with grace and levity, undoubtedly impacted by her own experience as a child-free woman in her 40s. Her film Other People’s Children doesn’t merely focus on a woman weighing her options when it comes to the prospect of motherhood; it also exemplifies the myriad ways that we can foster genuine, compassionate bonds with kids—particularly those acting outside the “parent” label. Fortysomething Rachel (a dazzling Virginie Efira) is a high school teacher in Paris who, by all accounts, is living her best life. She maintains a friendly-enough relationship with her ex-husband (Henri-Noël Tabary), is devoted to her dad (Michel Zlotowski, the filmmaker’s father who’s appeared in a few of her earlier films) and sister Louana (Yamée Couture) and has recently begun to learn to play guitar. It’s during one of her weekly lessons that she finally goes out for a drink with Ali (Roschdy Zem), a fellow student whose presence has encouraged Rebecca’s own perfect attendance. He makes her laugh, they hit it off and eventually become lovers. As their relationship escalates, Ali tells Rachel about his 4-year-old daughter, Leila (Callie Ferreira-Goncalves), who he maintains full custody of. Interestingly, Zlotowski herself became unexpectedly pregnant during the making of this film, a fact that makes the central struggle of Other People’s Children all the more fascinating and poignant. Funny, frank and never adopting a fatalist viewpoint, Other People’s Children entrenches itself in a full spectrum of human (though largely feminine) emotions that concern prospective parenthood. Its thoroughly French sensibility (humorous nudity, gratuitous shots of the Eiffel Tower and several café/bistro scenes) is only bolstered by the Jewish identity of Rachel and her family, yet the relationship between her and proudly Arab Ali never serves as fodder for milquetoast observations of religious difference (lord knows Europeans typically can’t resist these oft-tepid surveys). Coupled with Audrey Diwan’s vital film Happening from last year, French women directors are creating a necessary canon of child-free womanhood, past and present, assured and uncertain.—Natalia Keogan


3. John Wick: Chapter 4Release Date: March 24, 2023
Director: Chad Stahelski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Ian McShane, Bill Skarsgård, Shamier Anderson, Clancy Brown, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama, Lance Reddick, Scott Adkins
Rating: R
Runtime: 169 minutes

Early in John Wick: Chapter 4, our titular Baba Yagaplayed by Keanu Reeves after a decade as a near-mute terminator monk, his monastic frock a fine three-piece bulletproof suit and his tonsure a greased-down mane the color of night—is still in hiding following Chapter 3’s cliffhanger. Of course, an ever-increasing bounty on his head hasn’t stopped him from continuing to murder a lot of people, including the Elder (George Georgiou), who’s not the same Elder from Chapter 3, because, as this new Elder explains, he killed the last guy and took over, as the Elder did before that guy, and the Elder before that guy did to the guy before that guy. The convoluted hierarchy of the John Wick Murderverse exists only to multiply and grow more convoluted: In Chapter 2, no one sat above the High Table, except for, as introduced in Chapter 3, the Elder, who sits above and also beside it, but apparently has his share of problems. Just as the membership of the High Table is susceptible to sociopathic sibling rivalry (see Chapter 2), there will always be another Elder to kill, another personal war to wage, another henchman to shoot repeatedly in the face. “No one, not even John Wick, can kill everyone,” we hear said in an awed tone. But no, he must kill everyone. This is what we want and this is how this ends, how John Wick can be free: He kills the whole world. If Chapter 3 began immediately following Chapter 2, rarely letting up from its video game formula as levels grew more difficult and bad guys became more immune to John Wick’s superpower (murder), then Chapter 4 is the franchise’s most deliberate entry yet. With three movies worth of stakes and worldbuilding behind it, Chad Stahelski’s latest hyper-violent opus is a modern masterpiece of myth-making indulgence and archetypal action cinema. Stahelski and Reeves know that their movie must inhale genres, superstars, models, singers, Oscar winners and martial arts icons, DTV and prestige alike; consume them and give them space to be sacrificed gloriously to a franchise that values them. Behold Donnie Yen—who feels absolutely at home in the Murderverse—but also Hiroyuki Sanada and Rina Sawayama and Clancy Brown and Scott Adkins, the latter given a lengthy neck-snapping set piece that’s both scene-chewing madness and an expected physical display from Adkins. It’s all patient and omnivorous and beyond ridiculous. Stahelski wields bodies to push them to god-like ends. Everything on screen is stupendous. This is what we want, to watch John Wick murder the whole world, forever and ever amen.—Dom Sinacola

2. Chile ’76Release Date: May 5, 2023
Director: Manuela Martelli
Stars: Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Sepúlveda, Hugo Medina, Alejandro Goic, Antonia Zegers, Marcial Tagle
Rating: NR
Runtime: 100 minutes

Decades after his death, Alfred Hitchcock’s name is still instinctively used to describe taut political thrillers like Manuela Martelli’s feature debut, Chile ’76. Set 3 years after Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende, the film steeps in unease for 90 minutes; it’s the product of a nation contemporarily inclined toward fractured partisan politics, as if Martelli intends for her audience to face the historical rearview as a reminder of what happens to democracies when they catch a case of hyper-polarization. The first appropriate qualifier for Chile ’76 that anyone should reach for is “urgent.” But rather than “Hitchcockian,” the second qualifier should be “Pakulan.” Chile ’76 shares in common the same pliable atmospheric sensibility as the movies of Alan J. Pakula; Martelli roots her plot in realism one moment, then surrealism the next, oscillating between a sharp-lined authenticity and dreamlike paranoia. Martelli is an optimist, her belief being that when faced with incontrovertible proof of genuine government tyranny, the average citizen will do their part to buck the system even if it might mean getting disappeared by the bully president’s goon squad. The sensation of the film, on the other hand, is suspicion, the relentless and sickening notion that nobody can be trusted. Whether the thrumming electronic soundtrack or Soledad Rodríguez’s photography, composed to the point of feeling suffocating, Chile ’76 drives that anxiety like a knife in the heart.—Andy Crump


1. Showing UpRelease Date: April 7, 2023
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Stars: Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, André Benjamin, Heather Lawless, Amanda Plummer
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes

Two years after her affecting First Cow hit theaters, Kelly Reichardt doesn’t stray from the Pacific Northwest setting where four of her other films take place. This time, she trades 17th century Oregon County for the present-day Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, where her exasperated lead, Lizzie (Michelle Williams), works as a day job. When she’s not working, Lizzie is crafting uncanny, rigid portraits of women in disjointed poses, whether in watercolor on paper or in tangible clay, the latter of which being the medium she’s chosen to showcase in an upcoming show. But before Lizzie can arrive at her big day, she has to navigate a whirlwind of chaos: Her dysfunctional family; the contentious relationship with her landlord, neighbor and fellow artist, Jo (Hong Chau); and a poor, injured pigeon that her cat, Ricky, tormented one night. In her fourth collaboration with Reichardt, Williams is better than ever. Possibly overdone in beleaguered, regular-woman makeup this time around, Williams still best showcases just how lived-in of an actress she can be in Reichardt’s work. Every sigh she utters feels pulled down by weights, her slouch hurts to look at; her exhaustion bounces off the screen and infects the audience like an illness. And in spite of how done-up she is in order not to look like an actress, it is primarily in the physicality of her performance and the candor of her dialogue that she is believable as Lizzie, struggling artist. There is never a moment where Michelle Williams slips through the performance. But she’s also surprisingly droll, with Reichardt and co-writer Jonathan Raymond penning a number of lines made comic in Williams’ perfect deadpan. Lizzie strikes as the new apex of Williams and Reichardt’s consistently fruitful relationship, each installment since 2008’s Wendy and Lucy another rung reached in which the two have further hewn the synchronicity between artist and muse. Like Lizzie’s patchy figures, Reichardt’s camera fixates on obscured body parts and jerky zooms as it follows Lizzie working towards her opening night amidst a near-comical string of setbacks. However, the throughline humming through all the maelstrom of Lizzie’s life is creative insecurity. It comes across in how Lizzie carries herself, how she speaks about her art and how she speaks to others. It’s the light, minimalist touch of Reichardt’s atmosphere and her nurturing of interpersonal subtleties that engenders an overwhelming emotional intensity as Lizzie finally sets up her work on display in the gallery. One single, small row of figures in the middle of a large, empty space.—Brianna Zigler

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