En español | Is it us, or do we yearn for a nostalgic concert movie about once a week these days? After David Byrne lifted our hearts with American Utopia, Stevie Nicks arrives this week to break them just a little with a personal concert that’s as full of emotion as when Bruce Springsteen took his story (and songs) to Broadway in 2018. In other words, it’s movie gold, and maybe it’s no coincidence that “gold” is right there in the title. Along with this gem, there’s more indie film alchemy on screens this week, plus our preview of Netflix’s remarkably addictive new drama featuring an orphaned chess prodigy. Checkmate!
Stop draggin’ your heart around and watch this movie right now
Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
Desperate to see a concert after pandemic captivity? Now there’s a humdinger that doubles as a documentary, packed with fascinating reminiscences that cast light on immortal tunes. Stevie Nicks, 72, the only woman to be inducted twice into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (after 22 men were), presents her live 2017 stage show that’s studded with hits and unheard treasures from what she calls “the dark gothic trunk of lost songs.” Between songs, she tells her life story and its intersection with her autobiographically tinged tunes — from the days when she was a waitress and house cleaner supporting her man and Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, to instant wealth and trouble, to her collaborations with geniuses. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” is richer when you know the backstory of Tom Petty and their mutual producer Jimmy Iovine (her then-boyfriend). And who knew “Stand Back” was modeled on “Little Red Corvette” and that she charmed Prince into playing on it? Her show will charm you. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it here: Video on demand
There may be no trick-or-treaters this year, but here’s what you can do instead
Grab some treats, dim the lights and settle in with one (or more!) of our new list of scary movies for grownups. You’ll find horror classics worth revisiting, plus newer films like Get Out that subvert the genre in ways that are as bracing as a ghost passing through you. Click here, if you dare: Scary Movies for Grownups: Your Custom Halloween Watch List
Entertaining indie watch of the week
Grifters Debra Winger, 65, and Richard Jenkins, 73, raised their daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) right, teaching her the con artist game. But when they recruit new protégée Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), things go awry. Not your run-of-the-mill grifter picture, it’s by indie cinema’s Queen of Quirk, Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know). It’s one eccentric comedy but cult heroine July’s best movie yet, and there’s real moral tension in Melanie’s campaign to save Old Dolio from her self-serving parents. —T.A.
Thought-provoking indie watch of the week
The Last Shift, R
The busy Richard Jenkins plays a restaurant worker who’s forced to train his replacement, a young Black writer (Shane Paul McGhie), after 38 years on the graveyard shift at Oscar’s Chicken & Fish, so he can go retire and care for his mom in Florida. The writer and the elder try to open each other’s eyes to reality, and their colliding minds add up to a thoroughly entertaining take on race, class, age, retirement and morality. Jenkins, who won Oscar nominations at 62 (The Visitor) and 71 (The Shape of Water) and an Emmy at 68 (Olive Kitteridge), has a subversive half-smile and a jiujitsu acting style that knocks you over with understatement. The New Yorker says his everyman-nobody persona has “the unassuming air of an assistant bank manager.” You should watch everything he’s ever made. —T.A.
Watch it here: In theaters only
Put this at the top of your Netflix queue right now
The Queen’s Gambit
Who knew the smash number 1 critical hit on Netflix would be a miniseries about a pill-popping orphan-child chess prodigy (Anya Taylor-Joy)? She’s a skyrocketing talent (who’s been cast in the next Mad Max spin-off), and her chess champ is a superhero with spectacular problems. But the show’s emotional anchor is its love story between the eccentric kid and the orphanage janitor (Bill Camp, 59), her chess teacher and surrogate dad and the show’s secret weapon. No intergenerational relationship on-screen this year can match the warm tears they’ll make you shed. And while you’re at it, catch up on Camp’s amazing string of prestige hits: 12 Years a Slave, Lincoln, The Looming Tower, Molly’s Game, The Night Of, Birdman and Love & Mercy.
Watch it here: Netflix
RELATED: Need a little Netflix to get you through the first holiday season wave during a pandemic? We thought so, which is why our critics sift through the deluge of new films and series arriving this month to pick out the must-watch gems. It’s right here: The 12 Best Things Coming to Netflix in November
Hike! These movies put you right on the gridiron
Football fans, rejoice. The NFL is back (sort of), and we’re back with a critic-picked list of the best football movies to stream right now. This means you can have game night, well, every night. Get the whole list here (foot-long franks and beers optional): 15 Great Football Movies to Stream Between NFL Games
Calling All Goodfellas Fans!
Can you believe Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning gangster film turns 30 this year? If you love this movie as much as we do, you’re going to love matching wits with our latest quiz, which tests your Goodfellas trivia chops. Come on and play, because it’d be a shame if something had to happen to your family: 30 Years Later, How Well Do You Know Goodfellas?
If it’s fall, it must be biopic season!
Forget the pumpkin spice lattes, it’s time for Oscar-seeking films about famous people, and we are here for it. And so will you be, when you check out our critics’ roundup of the best biopics coming to screens big and small (mostly small). Mark you calendars and cozy in for some fascinating films, here: 10 New Biopic Movies and TV Shows to Watch This Fall
Got a case of cabin fever? Have we got the movies for you
We know, we know. All those incredible vacations have likely been put on the back burner for now, so our critics went into movieland and brought back a list of glorious films that take place in all your favorite vacation spots. It’s double-fisted escape, and no TSA lines! Get the whole list (and start your escape right now), here: 15 Movies to Ease Your Postponed Vacation Blues
If you loved Da 5 Bloods, or BlacKkKlansman, or Do the Right Thing, or…
Then you know that Spike Lee is one of America’s most influential filmmakers working today. But what you might not know is the full scope of his work, including these five critic-picked Spike Lee Joints that you should put to the top of your streaming list pronto. Get the list and catch up, right here: The 5 Best Spike Lee Films You Haven't (Yet) Seen
Backward AND in High Heels Department
Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; Lia Toby/PA Images via Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Women directors — long sidelined — are tearing it up in movies right now. And to celebrate their achievements, we’ve rounded up the 13 essential female filmmakers you need to be following — from Ava DuVernay to Kathryn Bigelow (plus links to their films available online).
Get the list: 13 Female Directors You Should Discover Right Now
Bone up with biopics!
If your summer reading list leans more to beach reads than big biographies, you can still get that history fix with a great biopic — those movies that elevate a well-known life (or bring to light a lesser-known but equally deserving one), in what’s usually a star (and Oscar-worthy) turn. We’re talking Gandhi, Churchill and Queen Elizabeth, not to mention Loretta Lynn, Harvey Milk, Ray Charles and many more. Use our brand-new list of 17 amazing biopics streaming right now to dig in. And don’t worry: Those doorstop biographies will be right there on the bedside table when you’re ready to read them again.
Get the list: 17 Entertaining Biopic Movies to Watch Now
You won’t believe which movies turned 50 this year
Does it feel like you saw M*A*S*H only yesterday? How about Love Story? These are just two of a big batch of memorable films that were all released in 1970 — yep, 50 years ago. Our critics have chosen 11 that are really worth a rewatch — so join the fun and see which ones you think have stood the test of time. Get the list and where to stream them here: You Won’t Believe The Movies That Are Turning 50 in 2020
More of the very best movies online
It’s truly amazing how many incredible movies there are available on mainstream platforms like Amazon, Netflix and others. Our critics round up the very best for you, no matter what your interest. Check out the latest “Best of” lists from AARP critics. There’s never been a better time to catch up on movies you always intended to watch.
Other movies to watch
On the Rocks, R
OK, it’s not as good as director Sofia Coppola’s famous Bill Murray hit Lost in Translation, but the pair’s reunion 17 years later is certainly good fun. Rashida Jones excels as a thwarted writer and mom suspecting her emotionally AWOL tech-bro husband (Marlon Wayans) is having affairs. So her still-goatish art dealer dad (Murray, 70) takes her on the town (which looks like a Woody Allen movie) to stalk the guy as he woos waitresses and philosophizes about men’s necessarily wandering eyes. Jones also plays well off her friend who has passionate romances during hurricanes (Jenny Slate), and with Barbara Bain (Mission: Impossible), 89, as her grandma. It’s as light as a petite madeleine, but who doesn’t want a tour of Manhattan’s swankiest spots with roué Bill Murray at the wheel?
Watch it here: Apple TV+
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s only Oscar-winning hit will just hate this infinitely duller adaptation of the novel about a wife (Lily James) who frets about her tall, dark, extraordinarily handsome rich husband Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer) and the late first wife who seems to exert a posthumous power over him. The melodrama flatlines mostly, but it’s worth watching for Kristin Scott Thomas, 60, as the formidable Mrs. Danvers, bane of the second Mrs. de Winter’s terrified existence. When Scott Thomas is onscreen, it feels like a real movie. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it here: Netflix
The Trial of the Chicago 7, R
An utterly wonderful, vivid dramatization of the trial of Chicago’s 1968 demonstrators, with bravura performances by Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Michael Keaton as Ramsey Clark and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale. —T.A.
Watch it here: Netflix
RELATED: Frank Langella tells AARP about The Trial of the Chicago 7, his string of history-based hits and the best time of his life — his 80s, here: All Rise for Frank Langella
What the Constitution Means to Me
Already seen Hamilton!? Try this rousing Pulitzer Prize finalist by Heidi Schreck, rated the number 5 best play on Broadway by Time. It’s filmed by Marielle Heller, the incandescent director of must-see films A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Diary of a Teenage Girl. As a teen, Schreck paid for college by winning speech contests at American Legion halls, and then got obsessed with her topic: the U.S. Constitution. Her funny, searing monologue is eye- and mind-opening, and deeply personal. She notes how the Constitution might better serve women, like her own $75 mail-order bride great-grandma, who died in a mental institution. This is the most inspired dramatization of history on stage and film since Hamilton! — Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it here: Amazon Prime
Martin Eden, Unrated
Jack London is having a great year in Hollywood: first Harrison Ford in his The Call of the Wild, and now Luca Marinelli (from Charlize Theron’s grownup-friendly superhero flick The Old Guard) stars in his autobiographical novel about a writer. Martin is a poor sailor who saves a nobleman from a thug in Naples. So the rich kid invites him home, and uneducated Martin gets besotted by a rich girl (Jessica Cressy), who gets him reading and thinking. His hifalutin ideas about society, individualism, class and Herbert Spencer’s wildly popular distortion of science, social Darwinism, grow him into a bona fide writer — yet one who’s tormented and misunderstood. Intellectually, the book and film are a muddle, but a beguiling one. —T.A.
Watch it here: Virtual cinemas
The War With Grandpa, PG
Robert De Niro is both a towering icon of Scorsese gangster flicks and high-art tragedy and the king of blockbusters about the Focker family. In his latest silly featherweight comedy, he’s an irascible guy who moves into his grandson’s bedroom, so they conduct a prank-war over its possession. Grandpa’s shaving cream gets switched with foam sealant. The conflict is somewhat Home Alone-like, but more illogical, as when De Niro, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour and Cheech Marin challenge the kids to a trampoline volleyball match and the ref rules on the first round: “Age-appropriate team 1; AARP team none.” —T.A.
Watch it here: In theaters
RELATED: Find out what Jane Seymour thought about playing for laughs with Robert De Niro, in her new interview with AARP: Jane Seymour Shares Her Special View of England’s Royal Family
Herb Alpert Is…
In the ’60s, John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus — but Herb Alpert sold more albums than the Beatles in 1965–66, and his Tijuana Brass cover of “A Taste of Honey” puts the Fab Four’s to shame. You likely remember the Whipped Cream … and Other Delights cover, and hits like “Tijuana Taxi,” which Questlove in this documentary calls “the happiest music in existence.” Like the TJB, this movie is apt to make you happier. —T.A.
Watch it here: In theaters and streaming online
The Artist’s Wife, R
Nobody could play a famous artist descending irritably into Alzheimer’s better than Bruce Dern, but Ingmar Bergman protegee and Oscar nominee Lena Olin (Enemies: A Love Story) is even better as his wife, who goes from denial of his condition to horror as he rails irrationally (and spends $94,000 on a clock) to her own midlife rebirth as an artist. Olin and Dern are perfect together, and this is the rare film about dementia that focuses not just on the patient but also on the distraught caregiver. —T.A.
RELATED: Find bold new solutions for the world’s brain health crisis on the AARP Disrupt Dementia page
The Glorias, R
Oscar-nominated Tony and Emmy winner Julie Taymor (Frida, The Lion King) dramatizes Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem’s eight-decade life, with four actresses in the part: Ryan Kiera Armstrong as the child Gloria, besotted by her doting traveling salesman dad (a wild-haired Timothy Hutton); teen Lulu Wilson as Gloria coping with her dad’s irresponsibility and caring for her mom, a thwarted journalist with mental illness; Alicia Vikander as the young writer discovering India and exposing U.S. sexism; and Julianne Moore as the grownup Gloria conquering the world — but heartbreakingly losing the ERA fight. Bette Midler is terrific as feminist firecracker Bella Abzug. —T.A.
Watch it here: Amazon Prime
Bill & Ted Face the Music, PG-13
Watch the reunion of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the third episode of their time-tripping fantasy comedy. The music they face this time is aging, but assigned by stern Holland Taylor, they’ll write a song to save the universe, see their future selves in a retirement community, and find reassurance that friendship and rock will never die.
Watch it here: In theaters and video on demand
RELATED: The most important woman in Bill & Ted’s universe — Holland Taylor — tells AARP about her latest hit, and her excellent career.
I Am Woman, Unrated
The most uplifting music biopic since Bohemian Rhapsody stars the winsome Tina Cobham-Hervey as Helen Reddy, the Aussie single mom who improbably conquered Hollywood, scoring 14 Top 10 and four No. 1 hits. She wrote, “I am strong, I am invincible,” and women responded. It’s a love story about her marriage to fellow nobody Jeff Wald, who managed her career and then with increasing success those of Tiny Tim, George Carlin, David Crosby, Sylvester Stallone, and Barbra Streisand’s husbands Jim Brolin and Elliott Gould. —T.A.
Watch it here: Virtual cinemas
Critical Thinking, Unrated
Besides starring in billion-dollar-grossing movies, John Leguizamo, 56, is also a born teacher (don’t miss his hilariously inspirational lecture-movie Latin History for Morons). How ideal, then, is his latest outing — as director and star — in this highly entertaining true tale of the Miami Black and Latino students who became the first inner-city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship. Matched up against 1988’s Stand and Deliver — another inspiring true story with a brainy underdog motif — Leguizamo’s performance may play Edward James Olmos’ to a draw, but he runs the board when it comes to his work in the director’s chair. The kids fizz with Leguizamo’s infectious spontaneous energy. It’s the kind of movie that gives you hope for America. —T.A.
RELATED: 12 Latinx Directors You Need to Know