The 10 Best New Movies (Right Now)

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The 10 Best New Movies (Right Now)

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. Palm Trees and Power Lines

Release Date: March 3, 2023
Director: Jamie Dack
Stars: Lily McInerney, Jonathan Tucker, Gretchen Mol
Rating: R
Runtime: 110 minutes

Lea (Lily McInerney) never wanted to dine and dash, but when you’re 17 years old and don’t have the money to pay the bills of the friends who’ve already bolted, it doesn’t seem you have much of a choice. Unfortunately, she isn’t as quick as they were, and is caught by an aggrieved diner employee. He grabs Lea, they tussle, he slaps her. All of a sudden, Tom (Jonathan Tucker) is right there beside her, telling the employee what he thinks of a grown man slapping a teenage girl, and giving Lea a crucial chance to get away. He finds her walking home a little later, checks she’s okay and offers a lift. They get to chatting, and swap numbers. A frisson develops, which soon morphs into a romance. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem—it’s just that Tom is literally twice Lea’s age. An adult. And as their relationship progresses, and he starts systematically cutting her off from her friends and her mom (Gretchen Mol), it becomes more and more clear that he’s far from the hero he first appeared. Palm Trees and Power Lines is the feature debut of Jamie Dack, adapted from her 2018 short of the same name. Although Dack takes her movie to some dark places, she takes it there slowly. Carefully. Despite the delicate nature of the subject matter, nothing in her filmmaking could fairly be described as exploitative. She sidesteps potential pitfalls of romanticization by including no score, and setting her story in a suburb that may be on the California coast, but is still devoid of warmth or color. She wants us to see the relationship between Tom and Lea for what it is, without any stylistic flourishes, or even prettified images, clouding the clarity of our vision. Dack’s chief directorial asset is the ability to always show the feelings and motivations of both of her leads at the same time; it’s like we’re watching her film in an emotional split-screen. Although it would be a valuable educational tool, to say Jamie Dack’s film ought to be shown in schools implies too dryly didactic an experience; that it’s little more than a PSA about the threat of grooming, meant to be heeded, but not felt. While Palm Trees and Power Lines certainly functions as a cautionary tale, it derives the intensity of its power from the uncomfortable degree to which we’re compelled to empathize with Lea as she makes a string of increasingly perilous decisions.—Chloe Walker

9. EO

Release Date: February 21, 2023
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Ko?ciukiewicz, Isabelle Huppert
Rating: NR
Runtime: 86 minutes

On paper, an existential Polish remake of a 1960s French arthouse classic about a donkey’s journey might seem intimidating or uninteresting—flat, droll, inaccessible high art—but writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski is a filmmaking wizard, a Swiss army knife of style and technique that knows how to get your attention with creativity and empathy alone. His rate of constantly evolving expression, executed with the taste and tact of a living legend pushing 85, sucks you in. That, and the most loveable lead, EO. Skolimowski’s contemporary take on Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar stays true to the simple ass-centricity of the original. The plot summary is the same: We follow a donkey through good times and bad. But make no mistake, EO is the wildest donkey film of the fall. Heck, maybe even the whole year. Every second counts. Blink and you might miss a surprise throat cut, lasers bursting through the forest or Isabelle Huppert smashing plates. Where EO (think: Eeyore, or the sound a donkey makes) ends up is as sudden and bewildering to us as it is to him, a paragon in the psychic art of weathering change. EO is innocence incarnate, a pure, blameless, unsuspecting victim around every corner (something you can’t get out of a human character), but he’s not fragile. There’s a near-mechanical will to live, a steely, preternatural sense of survival inside him that won’t give up. EO endures. Skolimowski gets more out of a donkey than most filmmakers get out of a person. EO is experimental and surreal, but not in a brash, over-your-head, alienating kind of way. If anything, it’s just the opposite. Every moment is innovative or imaginative, as if Skolimowski is spinning a wheel of his favorite tricks and applying them to each section as it lands, the prospect of wedding such varied expressions a challenge in itself. Through EO, Skolimowski offers a fresh perspective on our own frailty, our own getting blown with the wind, through life, pain, death and rebirth in an endless cycle. Perhaps the most transfixing moment of EO is near the end: A single waterfall tracking shot reversed into a hypnotic natural rhythm, the water folding into itself as if to be reborn. EO seems to be getting at the rhythm of life—up, down, happy, sad, joyous, torturous, cyclical, always changing, never fully understood. That’s how we see ourselves most preciously in EO. We’re never in control, even when we think we are.—Luke Hicks

8. Attachment

Release Date: February 9, 2023
Director: Gabriel Bier Gislason
Stars: Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

To love someone is to graft together two lives, whether you’re joined at the hip or connected by a long digital umbilical cord spanning thousands of miles. It’s a joining of two independent beings, and with that joining comes a certain acknowledgement that you’re not only giving a part of yourself away, but allowing that part of you to move freely around the world without you. It’s a moving, beautiful thought, but in the right context it can also be a terrifying one. It’s a universal dilemma, which makes it perfect fodder for horror storytelling. In Attachment, writer/director Gabriel Bier Gislason examines that dilemma with keen, incisive eyes. Attachment begins with attraction, the sudden collision of two women who simply seem to fit together. Leah (Ellie Kendrick), a visiting academic from London, meets Maja (Josephine Park), a Danish woman with a past as an actress, in a cute and endearing encounter in a library. They strike up a conversation, which turns into a weekend affair, which turns into a more complicated relationship when an accident leaves Leah with an injured leg and a harder road back to London. Rather than leaving her new flame to recover by herself, Maja makes the decision to follow Leah to London, where she meets her girlfriend’s overbearing mother Chana (Sofie Gråbøl), a devout Jewish woman who values her daughter’s health and safety above everything else, to an often unhealthy degree. As the trio settles into an awkward new dynamic, Maja and Leah try their best to forge a real, lasting relationship from the strange circumstances of their togetherness, while Maja does her best to get along with the suspicious and often standoffish Chana. But within that sincere desire to forge a connection, new wrinkles emerge. If you’re willing to settle into Attachment’s pace and follow down all its dark and complex corners, you’ll be rewarded with a quietly upsetting, deeply affecting horror film that nails its romance and family dynamics with clarity.—Matthew Jackson

7. Skinamarink

Release Date: January 13, 2023
Director: Kyle Edward Ball
Stars: Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul, Jaime Hill
Rating: R
Runtime: 100 minutes

This is a daring, unsettling, inscrutable and at times deeply boring venture into the farthest boundaries of horror esotericism, utterly unlike anything that most viewers will have ever seen before. If someone hosted a filmmaking competition where the stated goal was to engineer a work as divisive as it possibly could be, surely Skinamarink would be a shoo-in to win the grand prize. Created on a budget of $15,000 (Canadian!) as the feature debut of filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball, and dedicated to assistant director Joshua Bookhalter, who passed away during post-production, Skinamarink is an exercise in experimental, sensory-driven horror filmmaking. Now, when one says “sensory-driven” in this context, one might expect that to imply a certain lushness that overwhelms the senses, a la James Cameron’s approach in Avatar: The Way of Water. Skinamarink, however, is more like the opposite—the film’s ultra grainy visual aesthetic and muddy audio (with cleverly hardcoded subtitles) slowly but surely hypnotizes the viewer into a state of heightened suggestibility, until the viewer’s mind begins to provide its own hallucinatory meaning to what it is seeing. Ostensibly, Skinamarink is about a pair of siblings: four-year-old Kevin and six-year-old Kaylee. They live in an unassuming little house with their unseen father, with the status of Mom a veiled mystery that hints at pain and separation. One night, they awake to find that the house seems changed—doors and windows have disappeared, and any parental presence is missing. Objects are strewn around in seeming patterns, while a deep, gargling voice whispers from the darkness. “Oneiric” is the most perfect single word for the experience. Its images are like watching closed circuit security camera footage of someone’s mental projections during a fever dream. Its sounds recall things heard in the dead of the night from a childhood bedroom, and then blissfully forgotten by morning, only to be recalled in a moment of terror decades later. I look forward to watching the wider world discover Skinamarink, feeling for all purposes as if they’ve blundered into a parallel dimension. Like the titular child of The Twilight Zone’s “Little Girl Lost,” they’ll watch as a familiar place becomes a seeming prison, bound by dream logic, boundless and empty. I certainly won’t forget it.—Jim Vorel

6. Infinity Pool

Release Date: January 27, 2023
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman, Jalil Lespert
Rating: R
Runtime: 117 minutes

Heartbeats and cumshots are the alpha and omega of Brandon Cronenberg’s vacation in White Lotus hell, where the tourists loosen their collars and let loose their lizard brains. The limbic system and the most basic biological processes of life dominate Infinity Pool, the filmmaker’s descent into a slimy, sexy, terrifying world where death is just another game for rich people. It’s a hit-and-run satire of Western nonsense, dismantling the havoc our destination-hopping upper-crust wreaks on other cultures and the faux-mystical enlightenment hawked by gurus and Goop fools—those too wealthy to have real problems, those aspiring to achieve this status, and those taking lucrative advantage of both. In this tropical trial, they spill into each other, forever and ever. Ego death has nothing on Brandon Cronenberg’s brilliantly warped resort. The dangled, juicy lure isn’t subtle: A seemingly normal couple being approached by weird (probably swinging) Europeans always leads to trouble. We’d be fools not to be suspicious of Gabby (Mia Goth) and Al (Jalil Lespert) when they come up to their estranged hotel-mate couple James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman). One of them is played by Mia Goth, which is a sure sign to hightail it back to your room and flip the “do not disturb” sign. But James is a novelist, with one bad book to his name (The Variable Sheath, a fantastic fake title) that only got published because he married the rich publisher’s daughter. Gabby’s proclaimed fandom strokes the part of his ego that’s all but shriveled up and crumbled to dust—he’s weak, he’s hungry for it, he’s the perfect mark. When the white folks inevitably do something irreversibly horrible to the locals of Li Tolqa, their unprepared alienation in their culture is disturbingly hilarious. They don’t speak the language, and can’t read the forms the cops ask them to sign. But it’s stranger than that. Brilliant production design, location scouting and cinematography lock you into a late-night freakout. Getting too deeply into what exactly happens in Infinity Pool is like outlining the recirculating edge of its title’s horizon-flouting construction. It won’t take away from its pleasures, but you can’t really understand until you’re in it. Until Cronenberg drives you down an unlit backroad, long enough that you start wondering if you’re dreaming or awake. But what’s clearest in this gallows comedy is that its characters exist. The people who think they’ve solved reality, the conceited class with the luxury of being horny for death, because death has never been real to them. Infinity Pool’s inspired critique of this crowd is fierce and funny, its hallucinations nimble and sticky, and its encompassing nightmare one you’ll remember without needing to break out the vacation slideshow.—Jacob Oller

5. Saint Omer

Release Date: January 13, 2023
Director: Alice Diop
Stars: Kayije Kagame, Guslagie Malanga, Valérie Dréville, Salimata Kamate, Aurélia Petit, Xavier Maly, Robert Canterella
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 122 minutes

In the largely white seaside commune of Berck-sur-Mer, nestled in France’s northernmost reaches, literature professor Rama (Kayije Kagame) stands out. This is primarily a matter of her skin color, a rich, flawless pecan in striking contrast to the town’s oatmeal-hued locals. But there’s also the fact of her dimension, her statuesque frame. When she first arrives in Berck, people turn their heads. In the best case scenario, Rama’s steely beauty leaves them stunned. In the worst, they simply see her for her Blackness. Rama’s outsider status is central to her role in Saint Omer, Senegalese filmmaker Alice Diop’s latest film and departure from her traditional mode as a documentarian. Like Frederick Wiseman’s A Couple, Saint Omer welds fiction with fact; it’s based on the awful case of Fabienne Kabou, who in 2016 was tried for leaving her 15-month-old child to her death on the beach at high tide. Diop attended the trial, and the experience clearly made an impression on her. Saint Omer views Kabou’s crime and the story unfolding in its wake through the lenses of motherhood and daughterhood, arguing that neither can be disentwined from the other. Like Diop, Rama travels to Berck to witness the trial of a woman accused of murdering her 15-month-old; here, that figure is Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanga), a student and Senegalese immigrant. And like Diop, Rama intends to fashion Laurence’s transgression into narrative fiction, as a retelling of the tale of Medea. Not that Saint Omer treats Laurence as a monster, of course. Diop peels back layer after layer of humanity in the film, confronting Laurence’s awful deed head-on and clear-eyed all while sparing her judgments made through blinders. There is a version of Saint Omer where the horror of the subject gives way to horror as a genre; Diop has instead gone for a straight ahead interpretation of a nauseating tragedy, where the only thing harder to swallow than infanticide is the realization that there’s very little anyone burdened by Rama’s doubts can do but learn to live with them.—Andy Crump

4. M3GAN

Release Date: January 6, 2023
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Stars: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 102 minutes

Long before M3GAN hit theaters, the film’s titular cyborg, who can best be described as a mashup of Renesmee from Twilight (if she was a raging sadist) and a yassified Baby Annette, became a viral sensation. Somewhat miraculously, M3GAN manages to live up to its spectacular advertising. (Though in retrospect, this new triumph in horror camp shouldn’t be that surprising, as Malignant’s James Wan and Akela Cooper, AKA the people who gave us this scene just last year, co-wrote the film). After losing both of her parents in a tragic car accident, young Cady (Violet McGraw) moves in with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), a toy company roboticist partially responsible for PurrpetualPetz: Stuffed animals that have human-like teeth and, among other things, take shits. Realizing she is not equipped to care for a youngster, Gemma makes it her mission to finish building M3GAN—or Model 3 Generative Android—a robot designed specifically to be your child’s most loyal BFF. Soon enough, M3GAN starts to take her “protect Cady at all costs” programming a little too literally (who could’ve seen that coming?), resulting in a string of darkly comical sequences of violence—one of which may or may not involve the talking doll zealously wielding a nail gun. M3GAN is more than just another solid entry into this horror subgenre. I might even be so bold as to say that it is horror’s newest camp classic, and M3GAN one of the greatest horror icons of recent years. M3GAN, somewhat miraculously, perfects the horror-comedy tone, able to consistently toe the line of too silly—from M3GAN’s passive-aggressive, condescending and sickly sweet timbre (nailed by Jenna Davis, the “penny nickel dime” girl from Vine), to her raggedy blonde wig—without ever actually crossing it. M3GAN’s most impressive feat, at the end of the day, is that it gives us cinematic sickos exactly what we want without sacrificing greatness in the process. And yes, what we want is a breakdancing, murderous doll. Is that such a crime?—Aurora Amidon

3. Return to Seoul

Release Date: February 17, 2023
Director: Davy Chou
Stars: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-rok, Guka Han, Kim Sun-young, Yoann Zimmer, Louis Do De Lencquesaing, Hur Ouk-sook, Emeline Briffaud, Lim Cheol-hyun, Son Seung-beom, Kim Dong-seok
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

We first meet Freddie (Ji-Min Park) at age 25, when she impulsively travels to Seoul after a flight to Japan is canceled. We’re not given this context until well into the movie, instead thrown into Freddie’s life as she checks into a hostel and almost immediately starts accumulating Korean drinking buddies. Like the character, we have little choice over how we’re brought into this world or how we grow into it. Though Freddie may work furiously to hide it, she’s just as confused as we are. Uncertain if she belongs in this culture of her birth, or if she even wants to. Some of Freddie’s new friends speak fluent French, but most do not, which has the dialogue switching between Korean, French and English as the characters work to understand one another. It’s a depiction and theme that will continue throughout the film: The arduous work of human connection, especially across language barriers and cultures, and through the unique perspective of a transnational adoptee. While director Davy Chou may not exactly embody his subject matter, he is not unfamiliar with the experience of returning to a place you have never been (or have no memory of), looking for a kind of connection. The child of Cambodian parents who fled their home to escape the Khmer Rouge, Chou grew up in France, first visiting Cambodia at the age of 25. He uses Return to Seoul to, among other things, explore that first/second-generation immigrant experience of being complexly, confusingly torn between two cultures. However adept the filmmaking, such a piece would fall apart without the right central actor. Park is a revelation in what is, unbelievably, a debut performance. Regardless of when or where we find her, Park simultaneously imbues Freddie with a vulnerability and impenetrability, characterized by a vibrant, exhausting defiance she brings to each and every interaction. I cannot believe this is Park’s first role. Because we almost exclusively see Freddie during her visits to Seoul, it’s unclear what other factors—outside of her identity as a transnational adoptee—might influence her restlessness. Though I missed the larger context of Freddie’s life, Return to Seoul’s commitment to staying in the moment creates an engrossing cinematic experience, an inextricable character portrait both intimate and fathomless.—Kayti Burt

2. Knock at the Cabin

Release Date: February 3, 2023
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
Rating: R
Runtime: 100 minutes

Knock at the Cabin has a twist that audiences won’t see coming, if only because it defies what people have come to know about director M. Night Shyamalan. It’s a twist, but it isn’t, but it is, but it also isn’t. But in Knock at the Cabin—adapted from the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay—it’s less about the destination than the journey. A film preoccupied with the frequent use of intimate, shot/reverse-shot close-up conversations, Knock at the Cabin opens with one between Leonard (Dave Bautista) and Wen (Kristen Cui—no Haley Joel Osment, but she’s mostly fine). Leonard bears Bautista’s imposing figure, but Bautista knows how to handle himself with a gentle touch. He’s soft-spoken and warm, and has a tenderness implicit in his presence akin to a large stuffed animal. Accompanied by two women, Adriane (Abby Quinn) and Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), and a hot-headed man named Redmond (Rupert Grint, whose first feature role in eight years proves he’s a force of nature), Leonard and his group forcibly enter the Airbnb housing Wen and her adoptive dads, Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and Eric (Jonathan Groff). The groups was united by shared visions of a forthcoming apocalypse that will bring about the end of humanity, and the only way to stop it is if this particular family makes the choice to sacrifice one of themselves willingly. Knock at the Cabin is, perhaps, the quickest 100-minute film ever made. From the quiet and meditative opening sequence—the last moment of normalcy in Wen’s life—the film is propelled forward with a sense of urgency that parallels that of the doomsday group. Even in moments of calm, there is a constant, tense and invigorating momentum forward. If you’re a fan of Shyamalan’s, or just familiar with his style, you’re accustomed to “dialogue real people wouldn’t say” and “actions real people wouldn’t take.” It’s an oft-held complaint about Shyamalan’s films by his naysayers, but it’s not a creative deficiency. It’s just part of Shyamalan’s cinematic language, one that functions in a sort of un-reality that prioritizes story, emotion and theme over pedantic logistics in dialogue. At this point, you’re either with it or you’re not. And if you are, Knock at the Cabin could be seen as career-best work.—Brianna Zigler

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Release Date: December 9, 2022
Director: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Stars: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett
Rating: PG
Runtime: 114 minutes

Guillermo del Toro has never shied away from infusing the harsh realities of life and death into the journeys of his young protagonists. His fascination with the intersections of childhood innocence and macabre whimsy are what make him the ideal co-director of Netflix’s newest Pinocchio adaptation, a work that marvelously marries the filmmaker’s flair for dark fantasy with the equally strange fairy tale elements of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 The Adventures of Pinocchio. Like all successful marriages, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio brings out the very best of both parties. The stop-motion musical is an artistic triumph that colors Collodi’s cherished storybook characters with humanity and depth to craft a mature tale about rebellion, mortality and the love between a parent and child. This rendition marks the 22nd film adaptation of the Italian novel, and while it remains true to the grisly nature of Collodi’s original stories, it boldly departs from its dated moral lessons. In The Adventures of Pinocchio (and notable renditions thereafter), Pinnochio’s many escapades are structured as cause-and-effect narratives that serve to caution children against defiant behavior. In Disney’s 1940 animated feature, an evening of fun and relaxation on “Pleasure Island’’ nearly turns the wooden boy into a salt-mining donkey. In the original serial La Storia di un Burattino, delinquent behavior leads him to a gruesome death. These values of compliance and servility are reversed by del Toro’s fascist setting. In his Pinocchio, disobedience is a virtue—not a crime.
These moral examinations are given a sense of urgency in death—a theme that informs so much of the film’s mind and soul. Where previous adaptations are preoccupied with life—with the puppet’s extraordinary consciousness and the hope that he may someday become a “real boy”—del Toro’s Pinocchio is interested in what our mortality can teach us about being human. In the film, death is never too far away from the protagonist or his loved ones. Death touches Carlo, then remains close to Pinocchio throughout his epic journey. The beauty of del Toro’s Pinocchio is that death isn’t treated with the usual dread and cynicism we typically see in the Western world. Here, death is mysterious, ethereal, soaked in gorgeous blue light. Death is not something to be feared, but respected and accepted when the time comes, because the notion that we will someday—maybe unexpectedly—leave this earth is what makes our time here so beautiful. I don’t typically advise listening to crickets, but believe Sebastian J., because the story of Pinocchio has never been told quite like this.—Kathy Michelle Chacón