En español | This couldn’t be a better week for grown-ups. We have a long-awaited sequel to an Eddie Murphy comedy classic, a delectable documentary about truffle hunting in Italy and a fascinating look behind the world of reclusive author J. D. Salinger. It’s all coming to small screens, so pop some extra popcorn and pass the remote!
Fun is back at the movies this week, and we couldn’t be happier about it
Coming 2 America, PG-13
Fun is back at the movies with Eddie Murphy’s Coming 2 America! The hilarious, big-hearted sequel three decades in the making has a fairy-tail plot. Happily married Prince Akeem (Murphy, 59, who also plays multiple supporting characters) ascends the Zamundan throne after the death of King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones, 90). The rules of succession demand a male heir. So Akeem and wingman Semmi (Arsenio Hall, 65) go back to Queens – and the illegitimate son (Jermaine Fowler) he unwittingly left behind. Does comic chaos ensue? Definitely. The cast is so delicious – charismatic Wesley Snipes, 58, as the evil general from Nextdoria, brassy baby mama Leslie Jones, 53, and funky Tracy Morgan, 52, as the lad’s uncle, to name a few. The jolly, juicy film, with vivid costumes and sets, and musical guests John Legend, Gladys Knight, 76, and Salt-N-Pepa, also dances out with a fairy-tale ending. Long live the king of Zamunda – and a beat you can groove to. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)
Watch it: Coming 2 America, coming March 5 on Amazon Prime Video
DON’T MISS THIS: Eddie Murphy’s 10 Best Movies, Ranked
Transport yourself to Italy with this top-flight documentary
The Truffle Hunters, PG-13
In the waning days of a longstanding rural Italian tradition — hunting truffles with hounds — this documentary charmer from Greg Kershaw and Michael Dweck, 63, offers an authentic picture of mature men passionately dedicated to the hunt of the ridiculously expensive delicacy. Bracing and joyous, the film unearths complex, canine-loving characters who bicker and haggle their way into the audience’s hearts. In the process, the film unpacks a fascinating indigenous subculture — and reveals a group of individualistic men at one with nature living a traditional life on the very fringe of the big-money global food economy. —T.M.A.
Watch it: The Truffle Hunters, coming March 5 to select theaters and on demand
DON’T MISS THIS: Jodie Foster just snagged an AARP Movies for Grownups Award and a Golden Globe for The Mauritanian! And we’ve got the scoop from the actor/director on her searing performance, as well as her complete embrace of aging. Read all about it, here: Jodie Foster Is Getting Older and Glad About It
Book lovers, this one’s for you!
My Salinger Year, R
For J. D. Salinger completists, the dramatic adaptation of Joanna Rakoff’s memoir may be unmissable. The coming-of-age drama opened the 2020 Berlin Film Festival and stars Margaret Qualley (the glowing daughter of Andie McDowell, 62) as the eager aspiring poet who, via a job in a Manhattan literary agency in the 1990s, encounters the famously reclusive novelist “Jerry” (Tim Post, 58), and takes it on herself to read and respond to his sizeable fan mail. It’s a glossy, straightforward approach to the brush-with-greatness-I’ll-be-dining-out-on-forever story. Sigourney Weaver, 71, always a delight, is a welcome counterbalance as Salinger’s tart and to-the-point New York literary agent, who tells her young worker bee: “Writers make the worst assistants.” —T.M.A.
Worried you’re missing Netflix’s next great movie or show?
We hear you. Which is why every month, our critics pick the must-watch new movies, series and specials that have just arrived on your favorite streaming platform. Don’t miss the new list, right here: The 13 Best Things Coming to Netflix in March
This one’s for all the jazz buffs out there
As everyone gets excited for the new Billie Holiday biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, to arrive on Hulu this month, it seemed like the perfect time to get into the jazz mood with some of the best films on the subject. Leave it to our critics to find jewels from 1950 through 2020 (two are even animated)! Turn the lights down low and settle in with our brand new list: Get in the Swing With These 8 Irresistible Jazz Movies
Speaking of awards, we’ve got the Movies for Grownups Awards!
Takashi Seida/Paramount Pictures; Regine de Lazzaris aka Greta/Netflix; Patti Perret/Amazon Studios; Josh Ethan Johnson/A24; John Russo/Getty Images; Atsushi Nishijima/HBO
Sure, there are the Oscars and the SAGs and the Globes. But Movies for Grownups fans know we’ve got our own awards season, and it’s a doozy. There’s no better way to turbocharge your watch list than by checking our list of award winners. (The awards will be broadcast on the PBS show Great Performances on March 28 at 8 p.m. ET — check local listings — at pbs.org/moviesforgrownups, and on the PBS Video app.)
Get the list: AARP's Movies for Grownups Winners
What’s your favorite George Clooney movie?
It’s tough, right? The megastar has helmed a long list of terrific movies (and broke out on a beloved TV series), but let’s name names. In honor of Clooney’s being named AARP’s 2020 Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award winner, our critics have not only named his Top 10 roles, but they’ve ranked them! Is our No. 1 your No. 1? Check out the list (and enjoy the watching), right here: The 10 Best George Clooney Roles, Ranked
And speaking of stars we love, we talked to Stanley Tucci
The popular actor takes on a tender role in Supernova, which pairs him with Colin Firth as a gay couple facing down the looming prospect of early dementia. Tucci spoke with AARP about preparing for the role and the joy of reuniting with Firth. Read the whole interview, here: Stanley Tucci Explores the Landscape of Love and Early Dementia
Paging Mr. Ripley fans ...
You may already love novelist Patricia Highsmith without knowing it. Did you love the chilling thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley? How about Strangers on a Train? Or the taut drama of Carol? If any of these movies tickled your fancy, you’re a fan of the prolific novelist whose birthday we celebrate this month. Go deeper with our definitive look at the best film adaptations of her novels you can stream right now, including some scoop on new movies and series coming up soon. Get the list and links, here: The Ultimate Guide to the Films of Novelist Patricia Highsmith
Feeling overwhelmed with all the streaming services on your TV?
Disney, HBO, Peacock … it seems like every time you turn around (or turn on the TV), another streaming service is vying for your attention (and subscription dollars). Which streaming services out there are really worth the money? How do you decide what to pick? Here’s what you need to know about your options on Apple, BET, CBS, Disney, HBO and NBC: Too Many TV Streaming Service Choices? Here’s What You Need to Know
Geena Davis has something to say, and we all need to listen up
You may know the actress best for her star-making turn in 1991’s Thelma and Louise, but you may not know that her experience on that film inspired her to found an institute focused on gender bias in the media. AARP caught up with Davis this week to discuss her latest research — a sobering look at how women over 50 are portrayed in film. Read more (and get riled up), here: Geena Davis Calls Hollywood’s Age Bias ‘Dismal’
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
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
The Father, PG-13
AARP Movies for Grownups Best Actor Award winner Anthony Hopkins scores the performance of a lifetime as a man afflicted with dementia in a film that takes you inside his disintegrating reality — and also inside the experience of his daughter Anne (The Favourite Oscar winner Olivia Colman), who looks after him and faces terrifying decisions about his treatment. Like Memento or A Beautiful Mind, the movie is a Rubik’s Cube of shifting memories and moments. Hopkins’s London octogenarian alternately rails against his caregiver and flirts with the new one (Imogen Poots), who resembles his younger daughter Lucy. He’s furious that Anne plans to run off to Paris with her beau — but that guy seems to be two people (sometimes played by Mark Gatiss, sometimes Rufus Sewell). More disconcertingly, sometimes daughter Anne seems to be another person (Olivia Williams). It’s a head-spinning masterpiece, and Hopkins tops himself as an actor. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it: The Father, in limited theaters Feb. 26, wide release March 12, video on demand March 26
If you liked Frances McDormand in Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, you’ll love what’s likely her third Oscar-honored performance as the no-nonsense heroine Fern, a prickly widow who loses her job in Empire, Nevada. She hits the road in an RV, picking up work wherever she can: drugstores, restaurants, grim Amazon warehouses. When somebody calls her homeless, she says she’s just “houseless” — no victim, but a self-reliant pilgrim who genuinely likes work and cherishes her rolling residence. Her trek is grittily realistic, and some of the folks she meets at the occasional urban-nomad gatherings at Arizona’s La Paz fairgrounds — called the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous — are real people telling their own stories. A fiction film, it’s inspired by a nonfiction book. But it also plays like an epic myth, set in spectacular landscapes John Ford movies made famous. McDormand, 63, makes Fern a symbol of stubborn persistence, and a very particular person — solitary yet also social, deeply responsive to nature, too independent to yield to the courtship of a wonderful fellow nomad (genius actor David Strathairn, 72) or her sister’s wish to live a settled conventional life. Fern is living proof that not all who wander are lost. —T.A.
Judas and the Black Messiah, R
Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield co-starred in Get Out. Now they own top billing in a very different American horror story, one that underscores systemic racism in sorely too timely a fashion. It recounts the FBI’s targeting of Chicago Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. Kaluuya portrays the firebrand socialist who was building the first multiracial “Rainbow Coalition” to fight poverty, substandard housing and police corruption. That rattled FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who infiltrated Hampton’s group with an informant named Michael O’Neal (Stanfield). Director Shaka King’s retelling is raw when it needs to be (there is gunplay) and stylish from start to brutal conclusion. Hampton was killed on Dec. 4, 1969, in a pre-dawn raid by a contingent of the Chicago police. Was Hampton the savior of the title? The film is sure to ignite conversations. But Stanfield nails the role of the betrayer whose actions are tinged with greed, fear and, yes, love. Judas is a late but commanding entry to the award season. —Lisa Kennedy (L.K.)
Watch it: Judas and the Black Messiah, in theaters and on HBO Max
Robin Wright, 54, having cut her teeth directing episodes of House of Cards (where she starred as First Lady/President Claire Underwood), ascends to direct her first feature. Earnest, forthright and well acted, the drama of soul-searching widow Edee (Wright), a bereaved “cidiot” — a city person clueless about country life — who pulls a U-Haul toward the Wyoming sunset, is an adventure about self-reliance, solitude and renewal. Crossing Jack London with Nomadland, an off-the-grid Edee confronts bears, suicidal rage, cold chili straight from the can and her own ignorance of basic wilderness survival skills. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Land, in select theaters and on demand via Focus Features
In a sweet, funny, poignant tale inspired by director/writer Lee Isaac Chung’s own family, the squabbling Korean American family of Jacob Yi (The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun) flees a soul-crushing life as California chicken factory workers to chase the American dream to a farm in the Ozarks. They’re shunned by some, but another outsider, a local extreme Christian (a brilliant Will Patton, 66), pitches in on the planting. A good story gets great when the kids’ immigrant grandma (Yuh-Jung Youn, 73, Korea’s Meryl Streep) moves in, puzzling kids with her love of swearing, gambling, TV wrestling and funny foods like the wild crop minari. “Grandma smells like Korea!” complains one kid — who then bonds with her. A film that’s a trip to the heartland in more ways than one. —T.A.
Watch it: Minari, in theaters and on demand via A24 Films
French Exit, R
At 62, Michelle Pfeiffer is on a comeback after years offscreen, in hits like Murder on the Orient Express and Avengers: Endgame. In French Exit, she plays sexy, haughty, waspish Manhattan widow Frances Price, who’s blown her fortune, explaining, “My plan was to die before the money ran out, but I kept and kept on not dying — and here I am!” So she grabs her furs and flees to Paris for a last stylish splurge. What’s the former Catwoman doing playing a fancy cat lady whose put-downs are as icy as her martinis? Courting an Oscar in her flashiest role since her early ’90s heyday. The film is quirky and twee, but Pfeiffer gives a convincing inner life to Frances, who’s so odd that to get a waiter’s attention, she sets fire to the flowers on her table. As an actress, Pfeiffer is on fire. —T.A.
Watch it: French Exit, in limited theaters
The Mauritanian, R
The Mauritanian is an adaptation of the best-selling memoir Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1990 when the U.S. backed them, and was sent to Guantanamo from 2002-2016. Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Looming Tower) is fantastic as the prisoner who was never charged but fell in love with American pop culture behind bars. Jodie Foster, 58, plays his defense attorney and Benedict Cumberbatch his military prosecutor — who quit after discovering Salahi confessed only after 70 days of torture, then recanted (and passed a polygraph). The film is dramatically clunky but marvelously acted. —T.A.
Watch it: The Mauritanian, in theaters
Hot Money, R
As this lively documentary produced by Jeff Bridges, 71, and directed by Susan Kucera argues, we could all lose more than our life savings thanks to our ever-riskier, unthinkably complex, debt-saturated, utterly terrifying global financial system. The film’s father-son Virgils, Gen. Wesley Clark and his son Wesley Clark Jr., take the viewer on a one-of-a-kind road trip into the existential world of climate change and global finance, discussing the Armageddon that lurks just beyond the horizon with a raft of experts. Hot Money is an eye-opening trip to the Wild West of finance — and we could all be goners. —T.A.
Watch it: Hot Money, on demand
Malcolm & Marie, R
A movie star is born in Zendaya. The 24-year-old Emmy-winning Euphoria star plays the titular actress-model haunted by addiction. In a slinky, shimmery gown, Marie returns from the movie premiere of her director partner Malcolm (an assured John David Washington). And, after removing her stilettos, she picks up her verbal knives for a relationship fight over slights big (she alleges he stole her life for his movie and withheld credit) and small. Recalling the fierce scenes between Elizabeth Taylor and husband Richard Burton in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the pair rip off the Band-Aid, revealing all that is bad and good about each other in a nightlong act of emotional carnage. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Malcolm & Marie, on Netflix
In the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished file, John (Viggo Mortensen, 62), the mild, partnered gay son of conservative Midwesterner Willis (Lance Henriksen, 80), brings his ailing father with Alzheimer’s to his Los Angeles home. The reunion doesn’t improve the pair’s fraught relationship. Mortensen draws on his experience as a committed, collaborative actor of intense emotional truth and deep research for his powerhouse late-career directing debut. The result is a visceral and urgent drama propelled by the searing dynamics between father and son exacerbated by the disease that has shredded any last filter Willis might once have had. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Falling, in select theaters and on demand via Modern
In their third and best film together, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, both 60, play a couple coping with one man’s early-stage dementia on a sentimental journey through England’s Lake District in a cozy RV. It’s an understated yet amazing movie, not so much about the depredations of the disease but how it affects a relationship, and how love does and doesn’t conquer all. Firth plays a well-known pianist about to do a concert; Tucci is racing to finish writing his latest novel before his memory starts playing too many tricks on him. He’s still witty, razzing his man in ways that illuminate their lifetime together. As they take in the spectacular sights and visit relatives touting miracle cures, their lives sink downward to darkness on extended wings, making the most of each moment, exulting in the treasure of each other. —T.A.
Watch it: Supernova, in theaters now and on streaming
The Midnight Sky, PG-13
As the star of this existential drama about a dying scientist racing to prevent a group of astronauts (David Oyelowo, Demián Bichir, Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler, 55) from returning to Earth after an apocalypse has destroyed civilization, George Clooney acts beautifully. He directs many space-calamity scenes on a par with the seven-Oscar-winning Gravity (in which he played an astronaut), plus a cross-country Arctic trek that’s often as gripping as The Revenant (which The Midnight Sky’s writer also wrote). But the plot has fuzzy logic and the characters are a bit sketchy. Still, there’s about an hour’s worth of epic, ambitious, thoughtful, deeply heartfelt story in there. Clooney remains one of our most promising up-and-coming directors. —T.A.
Watch it: The Midnight Sky, in select theaters and on Netflix
There could be few better ways to recognize to recognize Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr.'s enduring legacy than to watch director Sam Pollard’s devastating documentary. Its subject? The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surveillance of, and obsession with, the civil rights leader, from 1963 to his assassination in 1968 and spearheaded by J. Edgar Hoover. Prolific Emmy winner Pollard (who has chronicled Zora Neale Hurston, Sammy Davis Jr., and August Wilson) weaves rich black-and-white archival footage with the shrewd insights of political experts and historians. —T.M.A.
The Dissident, PG-13
On Oct. 2, 2018, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post opinion writer and free-speech advocate who had fled his home nation and gone into exile in the U.S., entered his country’s embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. To marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, he required legal proof that he was single. Little did he know he was walking into an ambush. In the devastating documentary from Oscar winner Bryan Fogel, this vicious political assassination unspools like an international true-crime drama. Bold, brutal and controversial, Fogel’s picture may get a deserved Oscar nomination for best documentary. —T.M.A.
RELATED: How Will Moviegoing Change in 2021?
One Night in Miami, R
Oscar- and Emmy-winning powerhouse actress Regina King, 49, flexes her muscles behind the camera as a feature film director — and it’s clear it will be the first of many. For her debut, she opts for a talky screen adaptation of Kemp Powers’ 2013 play, which imagines a fictional February night in Miami. That 1964 evening, boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), athlete Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and crooner Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.) gather, party and discuss what it meant, and what the obligations were, to be a successful Black man in ‘60s America. —T.M.A.
News of the World, PG-13
Tom Hanks plays a Civil War veteran who makes his living riding from town to town to bedazzle locals by reading aloud thrilling newspaper stories from all over America — they don’t get papers and most can’t read. He winds up stuck with the last thing he needs: a feral 10-year-old who lost her white parents in a Native American raid, and then her adoptive family. His job is to take her back to her family, whom she doesn’t remember — she wants to escape back to Kiowa country. Director Paul Greengrass’s Jason Bourne movies are jittery, but this one’s a stately, old-fashioned epic. There’s action, but what drives the story is the deep emotion. —T.A.
Watch it: News of the World, in theaters
Promising Young Woman, R
The dazzling Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a once-stellar med student in this smart, stylish revenge flick for the #MeToo era. To the consternation of her baffled parents (Jennifer Coolidge and Clancy Brown), Cassie is working at a coffee shop, turning 30 and living with them. She’s also spending nights at bars pretending to be blotto to lure men to assault her so she can avenge her childhood friend and med school classmate Nina, whose life was ruined by a sex scandal. (Everyone involved in her downfall got off scot-free.) Alison Brie (Mad Men), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man) are terrific as Nina’s victimized victimizers. —T.A.
Watch it: Promising Young Woman, in theaters
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, R
Viola Davis and, in his last role, the late Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) star in Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson’s illustrious tale of Ma Rainey, the 1920s Mother of the Blues. It’s hard to say which actor scores the more towering performance. It’s like a duet between geniuses — or, since they’re fighting bitterly over how Ma should record her music, old-dirty-blues-tent-show style or hepcat modern jazz style — an acting duel. Both win, as do all of us. —T.A.
Watch it: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, in theaters and on Netflix
RELATED: Viola Davis tells AARP about Ma Rainey, August Wilson, aging, her big break and what happens when you get everything you always wanted. Read it here: Viola Davis Finds a Powerful Voice
ALSO RELATED: Get the full story on August Wilson’s remarkable Pittsburgh Cycle — 10 plays that explore the American Black experience in every decade of the 20th century — and discover how to get a taste (or more) of each play, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, here: The Essential Guide to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Playwright August Wilson
The Life Ahead, PG-13
At 86, Sophia Loren is back! In her terrific new tearjerker, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, she heartwarmingly plays a former prostitute, Holocaust survivor and caretaker for streetwalkers’ children. She looks after an orphaned African street kid (Ibrahima Gueye), grudgingly at first, and develops a deep bond with him.
Watch it: The Life Ahead, on Netflix
RELATED: Sophia Loren tells AARP about her comeback and her six life lessons
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. 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: The War With Grandpa, 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
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: The Trial of the Chicago 7, on 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