Now Playing! April 2024

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No matter how many new movies come out each year, sometimes you just want something familiar. When skimming streaming options this past month, I stumbled upon one of my favorites: the 1994 cult classic Clerks. Directed by Kevin Smith, this sharply written comedy captures a day in the life of Dante (Brian O’Holloran), a clerk covering a shift at a New Jersey convenience store. The movie is a relatable tale for anyone who has pondered life’s meaning and goofed off with coworkers to make the minutes go by at work. The black and white, low-budget film also had a huge impact on independent cinema, encouraging aspiring filmmakers to realize they didn’t need a massive budget and big stars to create a masterpiece. Stream the film on Amazon Prime now, and check out my picks for the latest contemporary films to stream and see in theaters. 

Dune: Part Two

2024, Dir. Denis Villeneuve – PG-13 – Sci-Fi/Action – In Theaters Now and Streaming Soon on Max 

Denis Villeneuve’s massively successful sequel is expansive and otherworldly. The adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel continues right where the first left off, with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) forging ties with the Fremen people. Travelling through the vast desert of Arrakis and befriending Chani (Zendaya), Paul must reconcile his own feelings and fears with what will be best for the universe. The film is comprised of a superstar ensemble cast, including Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Josh Brolin in supporting roles. Though the film’s pace may be a little slow, its dedication to the source material and immersive world-building is captivating. 

Poor Things 

2023, Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos – Rated R – Comedy/Horror – Hulu

Poor Things is cult film director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest surreal and mind-bending work. Based loosely on Frankenstein, the story follows a young woman named Bella (Emma Stone) who is brought back to life by the scientist Godwin Baxter (a wonderful Willem Dafoe). Though Godwin tries to keep her safe from the world’s dangers, Bella is too curious to be confined. The story is hilarious, poignant, and strangely subversive. Emma Stone gives a career- defining performance as her eccentric and courageous character. As you watch her break the rules and question the society around her, you can’t help but be a little amazed by Bella Baxter.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

2023, Dir. Wes Anderson – PG – Fantasy –  Netflix 

Wes Anderson’s recent films have leaned in to his particular style that film-lovers have come to recognize well. Scenes are meticulously storyboarded, and each characters’ emotion seems curated to its finest detail. As a fan of horror, thrillers, and action, I must admit his latest films have felt a little still. Yet there were moments of his Oscar-winning short that reminded me of Anderson’s earlier works, and why I consider them some of my favorites. The film’s protaganist Henry Sugar is an unimaginably rich man with a scheme to get even richer. When he meets a man who can see without using his eyes (Ben Kingsley), Henry Sugar’s life gains new meaning and changes forever. The cast, which includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, and Ralph Fiennes, play their characters with sincerity and excitement to be in Wes Anderson’s world.

Anatomy of a Fall

2023, Dir. Justine Triet – Rated R – Thriller – Hulu

2023’s winner for Best Original Screenplay is an intense, existential thriller. When Samuel Maleski is found dead by his young son, the cause of his death is unclear. Though his wife Sandra (Sandra Hüller) tells authorities that the man must have fallen by accident, the circumstances leading up to his death make her the prime suspect for murder. This grim yet riveting tale investigates every aspect of the days leading up to Maleski’s death. As each detail is revealed, you’ll find yourself more uncertain of who or what may be responsible. It’s this willingness to experiment with ambiguity that makes the movie standout as a fresh, exciting film.

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