Spring brings some truly magnificent films, and it made narrowing down the choices this month that much harder. We’ve (finally) made it through awards season, bringing a whole host of new choices that will surely garner attention next year. This month offers a ton of streaming options (perfect for anyone who missed some of last year’s best), and we’ve also got some legendary action films to check out. Speaking of, action fans have a lot to be excited about, with John Wick: Chapter 4 and Creed III in theaters now and The Woman King streaming on Netflix.
2023, Dir. Michael B. Jordan, In Theaters Now, PG-13
When an old friend returns to his life, Adonis Creed is forced to face memories he had sworn to forget. What follows is his most challenging fight yet, in the ring and in his personal life. Michael B. Jordan directs the latest Creed installment, and his vision for the film manages to avoid clichés while staying true to the inspiring story of Creed (and the Rocky franchise that preceded it). The film also features incredible performances from Tessa Thompson and Jonathan Majors, who stands out as Damien “Diamond Dame” Anderson. If you don’t make it to the theater in time (or just want to spend more time in the Creed universe), be sure to check out the previous films in the franchise, all streaming now on Amazon Prime and HBO Max.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
2022, Dir. Joel Crawford, on Peacock and In Select Theaters, PG
The latest installment of Puss in Boots is a remarkable fever dream, and it will make you ponder your life’s meaning a little more than you might expect. When Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) discovers that he’s on his last of nine lives, he must reckon with his past and pursue the adventure of a lifetime. The film features a fun cast of voice actors, including Salma Hayek, Florence Pugh, and Olivia Colman, and its colorful and boisterous animation makes it engaging from beginning to end.
Triangle of Sadness
2022, Dir. Ruben Östlund, Hulu, R
Ruben Östlund’s films always have a bite to them, and it’s why he’s one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers. The movie’s first half is set on a luxury yacht and takes a hit at everything from vapid influencers to the ultra-wealthy. It’s the film’s second half that turns the movie’s commentary on its head: how do the power dynamics of our current world change when everyone’s left to fend for themselves, with no money or status to rely on? The film packs a punch without being heavy-handed, and it’ll make you laugh, squirm, and (depending on your ability to stomach it), get a little disgusted.
The Woman King
2022, Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood, Netflix, PG-13
The Woman King is a dynamic historical epic that’s riveting from the start. The film follows the Agojie, the all-female group of warriors who protected the kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa from the 18th through the 19th century. The movie’s costumes, music, and set design are beautiful and immersive, and it includes brilliant performances from Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, and Thuso Mbedu. The film manages to capture a specific era in history while also honing in on the deeply personal stories of its characters, which makes watching the story unfold that much more captivating. It’s a feat not many filmmakers are able to pull off with such spark, and it’s why Gina Prince Bythewood’s film was one of the best pictures of 2022.