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. The Wrath of BeckyRelease Date: May 26, 2023
Director: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote
Stars: Lulu Wilson, Seann William Scott, Denise Burse, Jill Larson, Michael Sirow, Matt Angel, Aaron Dalla Villa, Courtney Gains, Kate Siegel
Rating: R
Runtime: 84 minutes

Clout-chasing tankie and dimwitted conspiracy theorist Jackson Hinkle declared this past April that “Gen Z is pro gun.” He was trying to be clever, and should’ve thought twice. Gen Z is demonstrably not pro gun, the only exception being one that proves the rule: Becky, Lulu Wilson’s mononymous psychopathic anti-hero protagonist of 2020’s Becky and its new follow-up, The Wrath of Becky. Becky loves guns, but mostly because they do handy work of blowing away white supremacists. Hinkle and Becky wouldn’t get along especially well. Granted, Becky doesn’t get along with anyone other than her Cane Corso pooch, Diego, and Elena (Denise Burse), her unofficial custodian and perhaps the only human worthy of her respect. The Wrath of Becky picks up a few steps ahead of where Becky left off, skipping past the police interrogation that concludes the latter to establish her as a ward of the state in the former. We don’t have data on how Zoomers feel about mindless ultraviolence, but the wholesale slaughter of hatemongers is a victimless crime, particularly when orchestrated with a total absence of pretense. Directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, taking over for previous directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion and tagging in with previous writer Nick Morris to co-write the sequel’s script, keep the premise simple: Fascists are horrible; let’s go kill ‘em all. The Wrath of Becky is “about” meaningful themes and ideas and events as a begrudging and unavoidable consequence of basing its heavies on the Proud Boys; it isn’t actually about anything other than the sheer titillating pleasure of watching the bad guys get dead. Nothin’ wrong with that! It’s built to thrill and made for chuckles, offset by Seann William Scott’s looming menace. Scott fulfills the same function as James in Becky: The funnyman stepping into the role of the heavy, uncovering the grim, callous side tucked in that persona. Wilson’s screen presence has expanded greatly since Becky, and her physicality matches her up well against Scott’s straight-faced intimidation. They’re a classic pairing, like the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, prey and predator in a reverse relationship: We know who’s supposed to be hunting who, but our expectations are continually upended with gory comedy. That The Wrath of Becky offers slapstick married with a kill tally and not much else is a feature, not a flaw.—Andy Crump


9. STILL: A Michael J. Fox MovieRelease Date: May 12, 2023
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Rating: R
Runtime: 94 minutes

Whether it’s from his ubiquitous celeb/cute guy status from Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies in the ‘80s and ‘90s or his two-plus decades serving as a public face/advocate for Parkinson’s disease, Fox certainly feels like one of the globe’s most “seen” figures of note. He’s also written four memoirs that encompass his career, family life and living with Parkinson’s Disease. All of which begs the question: What’s left for a documentary to tell about his life? The answer is “plenty,” as evidenced in STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie from director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). The intimate yet spritely doc gives the 61-year-old actor the opportunity to share with audiences an unflinching, witty and self-deprecating look at his life up to this point. Unlike other recent celeb docs told in the voice and with the consent of their subjects, like Tina (2021) and HBO’s upcoming Love to Love You, Donna Summer (2023), STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie doesn’t suffer from feeling like it was heavily curated, or even censored to avoid sensitive topics. To Fox’s credit, he’s unflinching in assessing the mistakes in his life, from his early boorish behavior, that came with fame, to his alcoholism, which stemmed from him trying to hide his diagnosis. And even with a tight 95-minute run time, Guggenheim paces the doc to hit the span of Fox’s life in an even and measured way. Nothing feels particularly skimmed over, and the use of so much film and archival footage has the added benefit of recontextualizing his whole public life and career into a more intimate understanding of the actual man. STILL is an impressive, inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking look at Fox’s ongoing journey, made all the more powerful for being told in his voice. Tara Bennett


8. BlackBerryRelease Date: May 12, 2023
Director: Matt Johnson
Stars: Glenn Howerton, Jay Baruchel, Matt Johnson, Michael Ironside, Cary Elwes, Rich Sommer, Saul Rubinek, SungWon Cho
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

There is much to love about Matt Johnson’s BlackBerry, and then there is the ineffable gravitational pull of its furious white-hot core: A 40-something pale man’s bald pate, so smooth it seems forged by eons of tectonic movement, from which erupts perfect sleazy ‘80s-business-guy bon mots alloyed to unbridled sociopathic rage. Johnson’s always been at the heart of his films, starring in The Dirties and Operation Avalanche and serving as the source of most of the chaos steering Nirvanna the Band the Show, his series with Jay McCarrol, but in BlackBerry he plays Doug, some guy who technically doesn’t even exist. No, Doug is nothing in BlackBerry next to the movie’s everything, Glenn Howerton as Jim Balsillie, a vessel for the alarming voice of Canada’s most radioactive co-CEO. Lives inevitably wilt in his orbit. “I’m from Waterloo, where the VAMPIRES hang out!” he hollers at a room of NHL executives, each syllable pronounced as if the sentence is punctuated by tombstones. Based on Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, the film tells of the rise and fall of the pocket device company, from its exploited beginnings in the mid-’90s as the brainchild of the timid, always-inward-looking Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and his best friend Doug, to the company’s collapse in the wake of the iPhone’s emergence (and more than one SEC violation on Jim’s part). Johnson’s regular cinematographer, Jared Raab, shoots the film more like D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ Clinton doc The War Room than The Social Network, BlackBerry’s inescapable predecessor, but Johnson’s aim is no less Icarus-like: To make a period piece about the founding of a transformational and dramatically tragic tech company with an inimitable, blackly comic performance at it center.—Dom Sinacola


7. Master GardenerRelease Date: May 19, 2023
Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Quintessa Swindell
Rating: R
Runtime: 100 minutes

In a short time lapse, a multicolored flower blooms in an all-white, spaceless place, hovering in studio photography limbo. It dissolves away, replaced by another. The screen splits and two bloom simultaneously. More flowers of various colors fade in and out while Master Gardener’s opening credits change over them. Veteran writer/director Paul Schrader has always had a visual obsession with beauty in isolation. Like one of the radiant sets placed neatly in the center of a blank room in Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, the flowers magnetize your attention and affection preemptively, setting the stage for an emotionally and thematically complex story. Master Gardener is just as much about the history and philosophy of gardening—and a kind of natural zen state found within—as it is the louder elements (of which there are many): The virulent neo-Nazi past of the born-again horticulturist Narvel Roth (a sage, stern, perfectly cast Joel Edgerton); the identity of Norma Haverhill (a fierce and unbecoming Sigourney Weaver, good as ever), the entitled owner of the southern estate he perfects the gardens of; Haverhill’s sexual exploitation of Narvel. Or, most prominently, the budding romance between the 40-something gardener and the dowager’s Black teenage grandniece, Maya (a tender and equally stern Quintessa Swindell). “Gardening is a belief in the future that things will happen according to plan” is the kind of thing Narvel needs to believe to move on from a life of presumed hate crimes, but it’s certainly gotten him somewhere. Rehabilitated through gardening, Narvel is a changed man—an open, patient, pastoral figure who speaks tenderly and chooses words carefully. His eyes swell up and he gets romantic thinking about the exchange people share with the earth when they walk on soil. He doesn’t look terribly unlike Ethan Hawke’s Rev. Ernst Toller from First Reformed, pacing calmly through the garden in his (mostly black-on-black) horticulture vestments, an exhibit-worthy collection of incredible outfits from costume designer Wendy Talley. Each layer of clothing is an unfolding petal revealing something about the character in the way only fashion choices can. Master Gardener might be bred to be divisive and confrontational, but there’s a sweetness to it, an ethos in Schrader’s old age that comes through like a concerned empathy for a narrow cultural conscience with a healthy dose of self-doubt. It’s a small, quiet film with a tiny cast, one chief location and a vested interest in how to blossom into one’s own in healthy, mindful ways—whatever that might mean for someone. Remarkably candid, Schrader said that the time he spent making Master Gardener was fraught with health issues, leaving him believing it would be his last film up until a very recent uptick in health. If it were his last, it’d be a fine one to go out on: Tender, tense, contemplative and somehow still in your face. But lucky for us, there’s more Schrader in the oven.—Luke Hicks


6. SanctuaryRelease Date: May 19, 2023
Director: Zachary Wigon
Stars: Margaret Qualley, Christopher Abbott
Rating: R
Runtime: 96 minutes

About three-quarters of the way through Zachary Wigon’s Sanctuary–his first new feature in nearly a decade since his debut The Heart Machine–we learn that “sanctuary” is a safe word. Ultimately, it’s more than just that—it does come to suggest the significance of the relationship between Rebecca (Margaret Qualley), a professional dominatrix, and Hal (Christopher Abbott), her paying sub, who engage in non-physical sessions of erotic roleplay. Hal Porterfield is the heir to a hotel empire, still reeling from the fairly fresh death of his domineering father, which has paved the way for his ascension to taking over the family business. In spite of the meaningful escort-client connection he’s built with Rebecca over an unspecified amount of time (enough for him to buy her a $32K “goodbye” present), Hal feels that having a secret side hobby being shamed into ejaculation isn’t a good look for an incumbent CEO. He decides, earnestly and gracefully, that it is best for the two of them to part ways. Rebecca doesn’t like that she has to lose her highest-paying client, and she begins jumping through a series of unhinged hoops in order to not necessarily keep Hal, but blackmail him into giving her a piece of his fortune. She reveals something that finally gets his attention: She has had hidden cameras recording all their sessions. There’s one concealed in their hotel room right now. This leads into an uproarious disco-set sequence in which the claustrophobic confines of the room (gorgeously designed by Jason Singleton) become an expansive labyrinth, cinematographer Ludovica Isidori using stimulating camera techniques to enhance Hal’s desperate pursuit of the camera (including one memorable moment, in which the camera, as if attached to Hal’s body by an invisible wire, moves in sync with his search). Removed from whatever it is that Sanctuary wants to say about power, pleasure, class and the extent to which our lives can be defined by our sexual proclivities, the film is a truly erotic thriller. Abbott and Qualley’s cat-and-mouse relationship aesthetically titillates bordering on softcore, and the fervor Wigon brings to his direction of the one-locale concept blows movies like Inside, another one-location film from this year, completely out of the water. Sanctuary is exciting and scintillating, a formally impressive and taut erotic thriller that showcases Wigon’s directorial capability and the prowess of the actors under his guidance.—Brianna Zigler


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. The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the FutureRelease Date: May 19, 2023
Director: Francisca Alegría
Stars: Leonor Varela, Mia Maestro, Alfredo Castro, Marcial Tagle, Enzo Ferrada, Luis Dubo
Rating: NR
Runtime: 98 minutes

Magical realism meets the real threat of environmental catastrophe in The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future, Chilean director Francisca Alegría’s feature debut following the success of her 2017 short And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye. Though the film can at times feel long-winded—a common predicament when transitioning from shorts to features—it is a heady and hypnotic parable for the irreparable ecological harm humans have committed, while insisting that it’s not too late to connect and reconcile with the land that nurtures us. When the toxic runoff from a cellulose factory begins polluting the Cruces River in verdant south-central Chile, fish begin dying in droves. As their corpses float atop the drifting water and begin to wash ashore, a haunting hymn appears to escape their lifeless lips. “Come close to us,” they chant in booming unison. “Is the end nigh?” Just when their urgent melody concludes, a woman named Magdalena (Mia Maestro) springs forth from the water’s depths, long hair cascading over a leather jacket and her hand clutching a motorcycle helmet. She gasps for air, crawling out of the river while still coughing up water. It turns out she died in these very waters decades earlier—her death ruled a suicide by local police—and has some unfinished business with the family that has grown up and moved on in her prolonged absence. When she walks into an electronics store to appear before her would-be widow (Alfredo Castro), he immediately suffers an acute heart attack. Worried about her father’s hysterical insistence that her dead mother has returned from the grave, Cecelia (Leonor Varela) brings her two children to spend some time with her on the family’s dairy farm while she cares for the aging patriarch. Little do they know, the cows also have a song to sing, and Magdalena’s presence is more than an old man’s apparition. Though the premise hints at a horror movie, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future never ventures into supernatural vengeance. Instead, the film incorporates the horrors of the world around us—ecological, political, domestic—to craft a modern fable of immense guilt slowly transforming over time into paralyzing denial, complete with a resolution that promotes the prosperous power of atonement. The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future is Alegría’s assertion that we can only move forward by candidly confronting and protecting what we have previously harmed. Hope is far from lost, despite the prevalence of despondent environmental nihilism—the nature of Earth is to breed and support new life, an act of cultivation that is either hugely abetted or quashed by human intervention. It’s not too late to confront, assess and ameliorate the damage we’ve already done, as long as we’re not too cowardly to admit that we’ve seriously fucked up. —Natalia Keogan



3. 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


2. Past LivesRelease Date: June 2, 2023
Director: Celine Song
Stars: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 minutes

Named partially for inyun—a Korean concept encompassing fate, intention and consequence, like a reincarnation-bridging butterfly effect—Past Lives’ bittersweet romance brings to mind Longfellow’s ships passing in the night. Not because the decades-spanning relationship between Greta Lee’s Nora and Teo Yoo’s Hae Sung is inconsequential, but because it is consequential in spite of its briefness and its emotional opacity. It reminds us that it is possible to encounter magic, conjured by the flow of everyday actions, when we pass people multiple times along our lives’ intertwining rivers. It reminds us that tethering your life to someone else’s to brave the current together is an act of defiant perseverance. Drawing from a long tradition of yearning romances, while showcasing debut writer/director Celine Song’s unique abilities with precise writing and delicate scene-crafting, Past Lives flows from decade to decade with ease, encompassing immigration, coming-of-age, and creative and romantic ennui—only to reach a heartrending acceptance of our exquisite inability to have it all. Nora isn’t really caught between East and West, just as she is never really caught between her childhood crush Hae Sung and her husband Arthur (John Magaro). Whenever we meet her—whether as a kid, about to leave Hae Sung and Korea behind, or as a twentysomething connecting with him on Skype, or as a married woman hosting his visit to New York—she’s made her choices, or has had them made for her. Song’s strongest thematic thrust as she navigates the film’s three acts—spanning Nora’s childhood, loneliness, reconnection, loss and re-reconnection—is that this isn’t exceptional. Drawing from her own experience and a keen sense of psychology, Song writes clever, contained, jewel box conversations. They can have the hesitant, rekindling awkwardness of Yi Yi, or—thanks to an effective use of hairstyling and wardrobe (as well as the posture and demeanor of its leads)—the ambling melancholy of Richard Linklater’s meditations on time’s passage. But they all allow Lee and Yoo (both in star-making performances) quiet depth. Past Lives is a powerful and delicate debut, a beautiful necklace strung with crystalized memories. Its ideas on love and time, and how one impacts the other, are simple and sear across your heart. It is about all the potential people we could have been, and how none of them matter as much as the person we are—and the fool’s errand of trying to figure out what we’d be if we cobbled ourselves together differently. Those possibilities are best left in the past. Besides announcing Song as a brilliant observer of dialogue, interaction, and tone, Past Lives is a strikingly romantic movie about what composes our lives. We are the decisions we make, and the decisions others make for us. But we are also the collection of connections we make, living ship’s logs, dutifully recorded. Each repeat encounter is a minor miracle, and every first encounter has that potential. And there can be love in each, however brief.—Jacob Oller

1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseRelease Date: June 2, 2023
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Stars: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae, Jason Schwartzman
Rating: PG
Runtime: 136 minutes

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse webs its way into a far more jaded world, one overstuffed with superhero sequels, and specifically, multiverse storytelling. And yet Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings in and, yet again, wipes the floor with its genre brethren by presenting a sequel that is both kinetic and deeply emotional. The script by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Dave Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) smartly builds upon the foundation of its already established characters, their relationships and the ongoing consequences from the first film to further explore the lives of secret teen superheroes Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) a year after the first film. The writers do so with a clear agenda to not only best themselves visually, but by upping the game of the now-familiar multiple-timeline tropes. Together with the talents of directing team Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra), Kemp Powers (Soul) and Justin K. Thompson (Into the Spider-Verse), Across the Spider-Verse—across the board—swings for the cinematic fences in the rare sequel that feels like every frame has been crafted with the intention of wringing every bit of visual wonder and emotional impact that the animators, the performers and the very medium can achieve. The hybrid computer-animation meets hand-drawn techniques established in the first films returns with a more sleek execution that’s a bit easier on the eyes, which affords the animators to get even more ambitious with their array of techniques and character-centric presentations. The depth and breadth of the animation and illustration styles are jaw-dropping. There are frames you just want to fall into, they’re so beautifully rendered and conceived. If there’s any critique, it’s that the more action-centric sequences are almost too detailed, so that the incredible work of the animators moves off-screen so quickly that you feel like you’re not able to fully appreciate everything coming at you. As a middle film in the trilogy (Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is due in theaters in 2024), it’s a joy to be able to say that Across the Spider-Verse stands well on its own, based on the merits of its story and stakes. There’s also a killer cliffhanger that sets the stage for a third chapter that doesn’t feel like it’s cheating its audience like some other recent films have done (cough Dune cough). In fact, repeat viewings of Across the Spider-Verse to bridge the gap until the final installment next year sounds like a great way to savor this film as it so richly deserves.—Tara Bennett