2021, Dir. Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith, Disney+, PG
This beautiful and imaginative animated film is a must-watch. Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz) is a fifteen-year-old girl who lives in the mountains of Columbia with her family. Nearly all of the Madrigals possess a magical gift (from superstrength to controlling the weather), and yet Mirabel was never granted any powers herself. When her family’s magic starts to wane, Mirabel realizes that she may be just what they need to survive. The film is a wonderful metaphor for finding your strengths, and the story does an incredible job delving into the Madrigal family’s past (and unrelenting love for each other). The film’s animation is gorgeous, with vibrant details illuminating the screen in every shot. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original songs guide the story, and you can recognize his signature joyful and upbeat style throughout the film.
2022, Dir. Matt Reeves, In Theaters(and coming to HBO Max on April 19th), PG-13
The latest iteration of Batman feels bold and original, which is impressive considering how many Batman films we’ve seen in recent memory. The film follows Batman (played by a brooding Robert Pattinson) as he attempts to decipher the meaning behind a chilling series of clues. The mystery leads him to the darkest depths of Gotham City, including the mysterious nightclub the Iceberg Lounge. The film is a gothic and ominous detective story that boasts some truly frightening villains (including Paul Dano as the Riddler) and a standout performance from Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, A.K.A. Catwoman.
2022, Dir. Steven Soderbergh, HBO Max, R
Kimi is a fresh new thriller with a remarkably contemporary story. The film follows Angela Childs (Zoë Kravitz), a Seattle tech worker who works from home and struggles with agoraphobia. When she hears an unsettling crime over the data stream at work, she knows in her heart that she must report it and do what’s right. The only problem? It will require her to confront her worst fears and leave her apartment. The film’s sweeping score gives the film a uniquely modern feel, and director Steven Soderbergh does a wonderful job incorporating current themes (like big tech corporations and the COVID-19 pandemic) with precision and grace.
The Lost Daughter
2021, Dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Netflix, R
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut is haunting and lyrical. Based on Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name, the movie follows Leda (Olivia Colman), a college professor on vacation alone in Italy. She soon becomes fixated on a young mother (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter, who bring up long-buried memories of being a new mom herself. The thriller moves at a fantastic pace, delving deeper into Leda’s psyche and past as the mysterious story unfolds. Olivia Colman gives a startling performance as Leda, and the film is a stunning debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal.