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AARP’s Best Movies From the First Half of 2023

AARP’s top picks from January to June include ‘Air,’ ‘Creed III’ and ‘Past Lives’

Photo Collage: MOA Staff; (Source: LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli Ade/MGM, Jeong Park/A24, Murray Close/Lionsgate, Apple TV, A24, Blue Fox Entertainment, Ana Carballosa/Prime)

Want to see a film that’s worth your time? Use our biannual must-see list to make sure you don’t miss a winner. Here are our picks for the best movies released between January and June 2023, available on your favorite streaming platforms or in theaters — or both! (Come back in December for our favorite flicks from the whole year.) 


Amazon Studios


Director Ben Affleck’s best movie since Argo (2012) is a funny, stirring, all-American triumph about the intersection of passion and capitalism. Matt Damon, 52, delivers gritty humor and unexpected insight as Nike’s Sonny Vaccaro, who persuades company cofounder Phil Knight (Affleck, 50) that signing Michael Jordan could turn his running-shoe empire into an NBA powerhouse. Viola Davis, 57, understates to perfection as Jordan’s mom, who conjures a business plan that empowers athletes and transforms the industry. The result is a film that salutes and embodies entrepreneurial art. Rated R


Eli Ade/MGM

Creed III

Sylvester Stallone rooted Rocky’s strength and resilience in gritty, unpretentious Philadelphia neighborhoods. First-time director/star Michael B. Jordan roots Adonis Creed’s in the loving, creative life he builds in Bel-Air with his brilliant rock composer wife (Tessa Thompson) and feisty young daughter (Mila Davis-Kent). When Creed’s bitter South L.A. bestie (Jonathan Majors) emerges from 18 years in the slammer to claim the heavyweight title, Creed must honor this street bond while proving that a super-civilized man can be as dangerous in the ring as any jail-hardened bruiser. Rated PG-13


Yogi Berra Museum/Sony Pictures Classics

It Ain’t Over

Slugger Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (1925-2015), who got his nickname for his tendency to sit cross-legged like a yogi and inspired the cartoon Yogi Bear, earned a Purple Heart in World War II, won 10 World Series rings and played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball. He wasn’t pretty, but Berra had a beautiful swing and a penchant for catchphrases, including “It ain’t over till it’s over.” This sturdy sports documentary, filled with game footage, home movies and knowledgeable talking heads, ensures Yogi’s exalted status in the annals of America’s pastime. Rated PG

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Murray Close/Lionsgate

John Wick: Chapter 4

As John Wick, Keanu Reeves, 58, manages to bring a stoner sensibility to a stone-cold assassin. Joining him in the fourth installation are Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, the late, great Lance Reddick, Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgård as Wick’s effete Parisian archenemy, the Marquis. In magnificently choreographed, violent set piece after set piece — at the Osaka Continental hotel, and in Paris up and down Sacré-Coeur’s 300ish steps and amid chaotic traffic circling the Arc de Triomphe — the thrills are immersive. Rated R


Open Road Films/Everett Collection


Covert CIA Agent Tom Harris (Gerard Butler, 53), about to leave Afghanistan for his daughter’s graduation, gets yanked back for one last high-risk mission. In this nonstop action movie shot in Saudi Arabia, the weathered and weary Harris confronts ISIS, the Taliban and the Pakistani secret service, trying to keep his beleaguered Afghan translator (Homeland’s Navid Negahban, 55) alive. It’s an explosive adventure that hurtles from beginning to end, while underscoring the notion that terrorism and belief in Allah aren’t identical. Rated R


Magnolia Pictures

Little Richard: I Am Everything

Audiences will be dancing to “Tutti Frutti” and toe-tapping to “Lucille,” as Lisa Cortes’ Oscar-bound documentary about Little Richard Penniman unfolds. Performance footage dominates alongside family photographs, archival clips and insightful talking heads including John Waters, 77, Billy Porter, 53, and Mick Jagger, 79. The preacher’s son from Macon, Georgia, with an ecstatic performance style and raucous piano-playing influenced the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown, and he wildly wiggled his pelvis long before Elvis swung and swayed. The movie shows how he came to feel insufficiently recognized and struggled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Christian beliefs. Not rated


Blue Fox Entertainment

Mending the Line

In the spirit of A River Runs Through It, fly-fishing’s healing power strings this solid PTSD veteran drama together. Actor Brian Cox, 77, in his first film since Succession, bristles as Ike Fletcher, a grumpy Vietnam vet living a solitary life in Montana. After he faints mid-river, VA Dr. Burke (Patricia Heaton, 65) forbids him to fish solo. Enter Colter (the compelling Sinqua Walls), a physically and psychologically damaged Black Marine three months out of Afghanistan. Burke believes she can heal two birds with one salve: fly-fishing. If she can convince Fletcher to take Colter under his wing, the elder might gain a fishing buddy, while the younger might find a path to peace. Rated R

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Past Lives

When her old friend Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) visits from her native country, a modern Korean American woman, Nora (Greta Lee), finds herself at a romantic crossroads. Will she remain with the supportive Manhattan hipster husband Arthur (John Magaro)? Or is the power of the past so compelling that she’ll embrace the soulmate best friend, now grown, whom she left in Korea two decades before when she emigrated with her family? In this leisurely, graceful, mesmerizing romance, the magnetic Lee navigates between the past and the present, pragmatism and magical possibilities, who she was versus who she is — and weighs the life she’s chosen against what might have been, and still could be. Rated PG-13


Laurent Le Crabe/Film Du Losange

Saint Omer

A Senegalese student living in Paris drowns her 15-month-old daughter. A French-born novelist (four months pregnant) attends the trial at the Saint-Omer Criminal Court, seeking material for a book about a modern-day Medea. In Alice Diop’s shortlisted French Oscar entry, Kayije Kagame and Guslagie Malanda play women contemplating motherhood from opposite sides of the judicial dock. Both are intellectuals of the African diaspora struggling to be seen in the world while coping with universal challenges: withholding mothers, impossible expectations and emotional denial. Diop uses a 2013 legal case, mixing fact and fiction to explore her characters. She asks the unaskable: What could possibly make a mother slay her daughter, and what can audiences learn from the plight of a woman who does the unthinkable? Rated PG-13


Mary Cybulski/Roadside Attractions

Somewhere in Queens

More than a comedian, Ray Romano, 65, won raves in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and he’s superb in this partly autobiographical film about a doting, dysfunctional blue-collar dad who gets way too involved in his son’s romantic life with good intentions and bad results. It’s Romano’s auspicious directing and cowriting debut, like a funny (but deeper and more dramatic) takeoff on Everybody Loves Raymond. Rated R


Apple TV

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

“Still” may be the last adjective we’d think of when discussing Back to the Future’s Michael J. Fox, 62. The diminutive Canadian found domestic TV success at 16, then stole the show Family Ties as Alex P. Keaton, the conservative son of left-leaning parents, with his hyper-physicality and targeted zingers. In this moving bio-doc, he addresses the kinetic youngster he was, and the wall he hit on the cusp of 30 in 1991, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Decades later, married with four grown children, the ’80s icon reveals how he copes with pain and muscle tremors, how his priorities shifted when forced to confront the stillness beneath the shaking surface — and how his quick wit remains utterly unimpaired. Rated R  


Jeong Park/A24

You Hurt My Feelings

Martin Scorsese, 80, has Leonardo DiCaprio. Nicole Holofcener, 63, has Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 62, a comedian with pinpoint timing who has the power to blatantly misbehave and charm nonetheless. Manhattan author Beth (Louis-Dreyfus) overhears her therapist husband (The Crown’s Tobias Menzies) confiding his equivocal opinion of her unpublished novel and freaks out about her literary ambitions, maternal failures and inability to ever feel satisfied. When is having enough, enough? Swift, strongly acted, with sharp dialogue and wicked insight, You Hurt My Feelings finds the bitter humor in the minor apocalypses of the bourgeoisie. Together, Holofcener and Louis-Dreyfus have upended the modern romantic comedy. Rated R

Where to Watch

These movies are available on your favorite streaming platforms or in theaters — or both! There are many websites and apps you can use to find out where to stream films, including:

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