En español | No matter what you’re looking for on the big screen, this week’s new movies are here for you. Need a drama-heavy story? Matt Damon plays against type as an Oklahoma roughneck out to save his daughter trapped in a French jail. Need a laugh? The Rock has his hand on the rudder of Disney’s Jungle Cruise. How about a trip down memory lane? Our critics got out their metal detectors to mine the pure-gold beach movies of all time. Which means whether you’re masking up at the theater or settling in on the sofa, it’s a great week at the movies. Pass the popcorn!
Matt Damon is back with a family thriller
With its Amanda Knox vibes, Stillwater follows unemployed Oklahoma roughneck Bill Baker (an earnest Matt Damon, 50), who flies to Marseille to free his daughter, Allison (a bland Abigail Breslin), who has already spent five years in a French jail for killing her female roommate-lover. Directed by Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy, the movie also develops an unlikely liaison between local actress Virginie (Call My Agent’s Camille Cottin) and Bill, who cornily romances her by slow-dancing in dad jeans to the on-the-nose tune “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” But at least Bill’s handy, fixing her plumbing and electricity — and making dad jeans look good! McCarthy’s film, cowritten with two French screenwriters, seems to want to comprehend and empathize with this flawed hero, but the last word appears to go with the French, who think Americans are stupid — but good with their hands. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)
Watch it: Stillwater, in select theaters
The Rock is here to make your summer complete
Jungle Cruise (PG-13)
Snakes and cannibals and conquistadors — oh, my! In the latest movie inspired by a Disney theme-park ride, Emily Blunt is a WWI–era botanist who heads dauntlessly up the Amazon on a riverboat with a muscular captain (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson), braving rapids, scary animal attacks and undead people who want to kill them, all to find the Tree of Life, which cures all diseases. Can you hear the pitch? It’s The African Queen meets Romancing the Stone.
Speaking of the Rock: Who Is the Best Athlete-Actor of All Time?
Disneyland and Disney World fans, have we got a watch list for you!
With Jungle Cruise arriving this week, we went full-tilt nostalgic and found every Disney movie based on a ride from the parks. Sure, we all know about Pirates of the Caribbean, but you won’t believe what other films have sprung from park attractions. Take a Disney vacation on your sofa (and be amazed at the big stars in these quirky films). You don’t even need to stand in line!
Ready for some Arthurian magic?
The Green Knight (R)
With his expressive puppy-dog eyes and tall, gangly physique, leading man Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) steps into the chain mail of that English-major favorite Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur. A hard-drinking good-time guy canoodling with Alicia Vikander’s witchy and bewitching Essel, Gawain accepts the challenge of battling the mystical Green Knight (Ralph Ineson, 51) of Arthurian legend. When faced with adversity on this quest, Gawain sheds his wayward ways, building character and confronting his own mortality. With David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) behind the camera, this is your freshman English class on mushrooms. It’s not a bad trip. —T.M.A.
Watch it: The Green Knight, coming to theaters July 30
It’s Beach Blanket Bingo season!
Whether you’re on the beach or just want to go there in your mind, our critics have sifted through the history of beach movies to produce the sun-drenched list of our dreams. From Frankie and Annette to Meryl in the Greek Isles, it’s all here. Pass the sunscreen!
Get the list: The 12 Best Beach Movies of All Time
Your Netflix must-watch of the week is here!
If you thought director Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie The Dark Knight was a smart blockbuster, wait until you see this intricately tricky mindblower about a guy (Leonardo DiCaprio) who hacks into people’s dreams to steal their secrets.
Watch it: Inception, on Netflix, starting on Aug. 1
Don’t Miss This: The Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix This Month
Stoke that Olympics fever with these gold-medal movies
With nobody allowed in the stands at the Tokyo Olympics, we’re thinking it’s time to add in some drama to the next few weeks. In between catching the live action, check out our critics’ championship list of the best Olympics films streaming now.
Get the list: 14 Inspiring Movies About the Olympics
DON’T MISS THIS: What Was the Best Olympics Opening Ceremony of All Time?
Get ready to bookmark this ultimate movie watchlist
Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images; Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Miramax Films/Courtesy Everett Collection
Ready for some summer vacation homework that’s the most fun ever? Our critics scanned the entire film catalog from the 1930s to now to handpick just 30 films that you must — must — see. We’re not talking about the best films (everyone does that list) but rather the films that are essential. You want to have seen these movies not just because they’re great (they are), but because they ensure you’re tuned into their cultural moments, the power of their time. So when someone makes a Philadelphia Story reference or deadpans, “the Dude abides,” you know exactly what they mean. See which films made the big cut, watch them this summer (they’re all streamable), and let us know if you think we left an essential one off the list!
Get the list here: The 30 Movies Every Grownup Should Know
Are you up to speed on all the best movies opening this summer?
Don’t sweat it — our critics keep an eye on all the latest movie news so you don’t have to. We’ve just updated our list of must-catch summer films, so catch up with us and mark your calendars!
Get the list, here: Your Ultimate Guide to This Summer’s Best Movies
This new movie watch list has us wagging our tails
Love dogs? Of course you do! Which means you love movies with dogs, and in honor of National Take Your Dog to Work Day (but shouldn’t that be every day, really?), our critics rounded up the 10 best, heartwarming, tail-wagging films featuring pooches. They’re all available to stream online right now, so hit the list, let your best friend hop up on the sofa (just this one time) and take in some canine cinema!
Get the list: The 10 Best Dog Movies Ever Made
Love Dick Van Dyke? (Who doesn’t?)
Then you’ll be thrilled that the 95-year-old master of comic acting (and tap dancing) has just nabbed a Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of great performances. To celebrate that achievement, our critics examined the beloved entertainer’s legacy in movies and TV and plucked out his 10 best performances. Join the trip down memory lane this week with our brand-new watch list to stream: Dick Van Dyke’s 10 Greatest Movies and TV Shows
Love rom-coms but tired of watching millennials have all the fun?
Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection; James Hamilton/Focus World/Courtesy Everett Collection
We hear you. Which is why our critics found the 13 best romantic comedies that feature older actors! From an all-grown-up Spencer and Tracy in 1957’s Desk Set to Angela Bassett in How Stella Got Her Groove Back in the late ’90s to Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland in 2017’s The Leisure Seeker, these are love stories for folks who know a thing or two about love. Grab your favorite rom-com date and get streaming here: Grown-ups In (and Out) of Love: 13 Great Rom-Coms Starring Older Actors
Batter up! It’s baseball (movie) season!
D. Stevens/Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection; Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection; Juergen Vollmer/Popperfoto/Getty Images
It’s time to limber up and get ready for a season of America’s pastime with this all-star collection of great baseball films. They’re all streaming for you with a click of the remote control — which means you’ll have plenty of time to steam some hot dogs, pop open a beer or soda, and get ready to cheer. Root, root, root for the home screen here: 12 Great Baseball Movies to Stream Ahead of Opening Day
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
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
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
“Can you believe I found this online?” asks worried Mama Prisca (Vicky Krieps) of cautious Papa Guy (Gael García Bernal). Well, yeah, because if the deal looks too good to be true, that swanky resort vacation in the Dominican Republic, arranged by writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, 50, is going to be a bad family trip. Old is a gimmicky, yet briskly entertaining, series of frights. From the moment a guide shepherds a “select” group of guests to a private cove, one feels Jurassic Park jitters. When they start aging rapidly, it’s wild as one by one the grownups crack and fall, while the kids traverse puberty and beyond. Old’s worth going out to a theater for because, virus permitting, this is the kind of supernatural thriller where it’s more fun to cringe together. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)
Watch it: Old, in theaters
Midnight in the Switchgrass, R
Gator noir from down Florida Panhandle way gets the serious treatment from The Irishman producer-turned-director Randall Emmett, 50. He pairs world-weary FBI Agent Karl (Bruce Willis, 66), all whispers and caution, opposite loose cannon Rebecca (Transformers’ Megan Fox) in this creepy crime thriller about protecting young women assaulted on the fringes of the truck stop nation. The Feds pursue serial killer Peter (child star Lukas Haas, in a twisted turn) and cross forensic paths with state cop Byron (Emile Hirsch), on a holy mission to capture the devil he believes committed a string of murders of local women. Could they be chasing the same man? One thing’s for certain: We’re not planning a Florida road trip any time soon.
Watch it: Midnight in the Switchgrass, in theaters
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, R
Oscar winner Morgan Neville, 53, won fame for Keith Richards and Iggy Pop documentaries. Now he tackles a bigger bad boy: addict, rebel chef, best-selling memoirist and globetrotting TV star Anthony Bourdain, who hung himself in 2018 at 61. He captures Bourdain’s rock-star vitality and contradictions in superbly woven footage from his shows and the insights of his closest colleagues and friends (including Iggy). We see his rise from a literary neophyte and lousy TV performer to a great one who will eat anything on camera (like a still-beating Vietnamese cobra heart!). And we witness his final doom spiral, brutally dumping friends, betraying one wife after another, and refusing to deal with his demons except through workaholism and many jokes about suicide. Neville thinks he died of humiliation after tabloids caught Asia Argento cheating on him. Paradoxically, it’s a life-affirming saga, a masterpiece about a master whose genius it beautifully elucidates. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it: Roadrunner, in theaters
When mercurial Oscar winner Nicolas Cage, 57, stars in a drama entitled Pig, we don’t expect Babe. This stripped-down contemporary adventure twins closer with ’70s soul-searching pics such as Jeremiah Johnson. Cage’s one-named Rob, a hermitlike Oregon truffle hunter, is a victim of a crime. Some fiend has broken into his remote hovel and stolen his beloved pig. In the aftermath, he returns to civilization — Portland — searching for the missing truffle sniffer. There’s a winning simplicity to the story as a grimy Cage, in soiled long johns and with a deadpan, blood-striped, bearded face, searches high and low for his sweet-natured companion. Gradually, we scrape the schmutz away, revealing Rob’s successful past, miserable fall, and the tentative peace he’s made with himself in the wilderness. Playing oddly against expectations, there’s no Cage Rage, no showy violence or operatic monologues, just a simple, moving story of a broken man who lost his pig but, perhaps, has found his way. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Pig, in select theaters
Mama Weed, PG-13
Like a lighthearted Breaking Bad, this French confection stars chic glamour-puss Isabelle Huppert, 68, as a poorly paid Arabic-French interpreter for a drug squad about to bust a hashish importer. Trouble is, he’s the son of the beloved nurse of her aged mom (Liliane Rovère, 88, costar of Netflix’s must-see showbiz series Call My Agent!). So she thwarts the bust, lets him escape and, to support her mom, heists the hash, dons an Arab costume and becomes a drug lord, outwitting crooks and cops alike. It would be trivial without her, but with her it’s a blissful trip. —T.A.
Black Widow, R
Even if your universe seldom intersects with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you should see this one about the Avenger (Scarlett Johansson) and her hunter, Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt, 71). Because it has a superpower: female talent in a genre not noted for it. Besides Johansson, it’s got director Cate Shortland, 52; Little Women Oscar nom Florence Pugh as the Black Widow’s kid-sister figure and sparring partner; and Rachel Weisz, 51, as Melina, a spy who passed Russia’s elite female-assassin training program five times with flying colors, all red.
DON’T MISS THIS: Discover the Most Awesome Superheroines in Screen History, Ranked! — and watch each one in action!
No Sudden Move, R
In a thriller by the writer of Men in Black and director Steven Soderbergh, 58, two small-time criminals in 1954 Detroit stumble onto an opportunity that could make them rich — or dead. Curt (Don Cheadle, 56) and Ronald (Benicio Del Toro, 54) meet a shady bad guy (Brendan Fraser, 52) who offers $5,000 for a three-hour job “babysitting” a GM accountant’s family at gunpoint while the guy retrieves a crucial document from his home safe. The ensuing double crosses involve the two feuding gangsters, one crime buster detective (Jon Hamm, 50), three angry gangster bosses (Fraser, Bill Duke, 78, and Ray Liotta, 66) — or four if you count Matt Damon’s mysterious bigwig character), anti-Black urban renewal and loan redlining, and the auto industry’s enraged resistance to pollution-reducing catalytic converters. Soderbergh’s made better movies (like 1998’s similar Out of Sight), but it’s fun, fast, tricky, smart and socially significant. —T.A.
Watch it: No Sudden Move, in limited theaters and on HBO Max
Summer of Soul, PG-13
Ahmir Khalib “Questlove” Thompson won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for his debut documentary on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a huge, pre-Woodstock outdoor concert series. He unearthed 45 hours of performances by, among others, B.B. King, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Fifth Dimension and Stevie Wonder, much of it never before seen. An exhilarating cure for the summertime blues.
DON’T MISS THIS: Read more about the history of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival shown in Summer of Soul, and stream some of its greatest performances, here: Did You Know There Was a ‘Black Woodstock’ in 1969?
Rebel Hearts, Unrated
Right at the start of Pedro Kos’ fascinating, fast-paced documentary, the spry Filipino American activist and ex-nun Lenore Dowling tells a fellow marcher in the L.A. streets, “We got into trouble with the bishop.” That’s an understatement for what happened to the nuns of Hollywood’s Immaculate Heart of Mary liberal arts college in their 1960s clash with Catholic patriarchy in the controversial figure of Cardinal James Francis McIntyre. The women’s battle for justice under the wimple — and equal pay in the era of TV’s The Flying Nun and cinema’s Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows — landed the sisters in Life magazine under the cover line “The Pope’s Unruly Flock.” Both inspiring and revelatory, sharing the life wisdom of its well-educated subjects and a danceable soundtrack curated by music supervisor Tracy McKnight, Rebel Hearts is a blessed and joyful movie. —T.M.A.
Harvey Keitel, 82, is perfectly cast in the title role as Meyer Lansky, a Russian Jewish immigrant who sliced through society’s strata — and quite a few enemies — to become a mob kingpin. With his lizard’s watchful gaze and age-stiffened body, it’s an epic performance at the center of a modest true-crime drama. Sam Worthington is solid as David Stone, the journalist lucky enough to get the final testament of the mob survivor who died at 80 of natural causes in Miami Beach in 1983 — only for Stone to be ensnared in an FBI sting. The biopic notches the main events in Lansky’s lifetime using a flashback-heavy narrative and flat nothing-but-the-truth visuals from writer-director Eytan Rockaway, which make Lansky a surprisingly bloodless tale of one of the architects of the National Crime Syndicate and its Jewish subsidiary.
Watch it: Lansky, in limited theaters and on demand
F9: The Fast Saga, PG-13
Why on earth would any self-respecting grownup want to see the nine movies in the Fast and Furious franchise? Besides the over-the-top action and stars like Vin Diesel, 53, Helen Mirren, 75, Charlize Theron, 45, and Kurt Russell, 70? Here’s why: 9 Reasons You Should Give the Fast and Furious Films a Try
Watch it: F9: The Fast Saga, in theaters
I Carry You With Me, R
Oscar-nominated Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) started out by making a documentary about her middle-aged gay friends Ivan and Gerardo, who left Puebla, Mexico, to pursue the American dream. Then she added a narrative feature — two-thirds of the finished film — about the couple in their younger days, ably played by actors Armando Espitia and Christian Vasquez. The actors don’t resemble them, the two parts don’t meld well, and the narrative flashbacks are confusing. Still, it’s a dreamy, gorgeously shot tale of true love against all odds, and it tackles big issues in a heartfelt, thoughtful way. Not just an issue film, it’s resonantly emotional and cinematically beautiful. —T.A.
Watch it: I Carry You With Me, in theaters
DON’T MISS THIS: 12 Great LGBTQ Movies to Stream During Pride Month
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, PG-13
Puerto Rico-born, Manhattan-raised and Hollywood-bound (while still a teen!), the high-spirited EGOT winner Rita Moreno, now 89, had a bumpy start on the road to becoming the leading lady in her own life. Director Mariem Pérez Riera’s insightful, vibrant and entertaining doc captures the highs: an Oscar for playing Anita in West Side Story and featured roles in the classic musicals Singin’ in the Rain and The King and I. Add to the mix a Grammy for the soundtrack of The Electric Company kids’ TV show, a Tony for The Ritz and two Emmys (one for a guest appearance on The Muppet Show and another for The Rockford Files). There were also the lows: ethnic typecasting, visits to the casting couch that sent her to the therapist’s sofa and the dry spell that followed her Oscar triumph. And then — both a high and low — her seven-year affair with Hollywood’s hottest star, Marlon Brando, who drove her to the brink of suicide. We’re calling it now: This wise, life-affirming movie rises to its subject’s heights and will continue Moreno’s legacy of winning awards.
Watch it: Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, in limited theaters
DON’T MISS THIS: 8 Reasons Why Rita Moreno Is the GOAT in Entertainment
A Crime on the Bayou, Unrated
In 1966 in small-town Louisiana, Black teenager Gary Duncan attempted to dampen an escalating fight outside a recently integrated school. While separating the threatening white schoolboys from their Black schoolmates, he touched the arm of one of the bullies, who recoiled. That night, the police arrested Duncan for assault on a minor — and ignited years of legal battles, which eventually resulted in a Supreme Court battle led by Jewish attorney Richard Sobol. Their legal fight forged a lifelong friendship that also exemplifies the role that Jewish Americans, reeling from European anti-Semitism, had in the battle against domestic prejudice. The documentary’s grace and pacing — and the way Peabody Award-winner Nancy Buirski, eloquently draws out the heroism of ordinary extraordinary Americans — fit snugly in the writer-director’s acclaimed civil rights trilogy (which includes The Loving Story and The Rape of Recy Taylor). The true crime in the bayou? Arresting a man for his skin color. —T.M.A.
Watch it: A Crime on the Bayou, in limited theaters, on digital and on demand
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, R
Imagine if they made a Spy Kids comedy for adults? The answer is Patrick Hughes’ rollicking sequel to his 2017 box office hit, The Hitman’s Bodyguard. This time around, randy newlyweds — the hit man (Samuel L. Jackson, 72) and his sexy, thievin’ wife (Salma Hayek, 54) — join forces with Ryan Reynolds as a bodyguard recovering from some major career blowups in order to thwart the evil intent of a courteous terrorist (Antonio Banderas, 60). With suave Morgan Freeman (84) joining the cast for another round of cartoony mayhem, there will be blood and laughs and ridiculous car chases — and that’s a lot of fun to bring us back into theaters to chuckle and whoop together. —T.M.A.
Watch it: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, in limited theaters, on digital and on demand
Queen Bees, PG-13
Ellen Burstyn, 88, and James Caan, 81, may never receive the MTV Award for best kiss. However, in a delightful rom-com by Michael Lembeck, 72, — think Mean Girls in a retirement home, with Burstyn as the new gal on the block — the couple’s master class in screen chemistry is ageless. Add in a tart Jane Curtin, 73, the magnificent Ann-Margret, 80, generous Loretta Devine, 71, and the ubiquitous Christopher Lloyd, 82, and audiences have a recipe for an entertaining laugh-and-cry comedy, making Queen Bees an ideal date night or friends’ group evening out. Love is love and there’s no expiration date. Or, as Curtin’s bossy biddy says, tongue planted firmly in cheek, “Eighty is the new 18.” —T.M.A.
Watch it: Queen Bees, in select theaters, on digital, and on demand
Remember the last time a movie bewitched and bedazzled you? This elegant, contemporary romance by Christian Petzold (60), who wrote and directed Barbara, playfully revisits the European myth of the water nymph. The mysterious title character, portrayed by Paula Beer (who won Best Actress at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival), is a Berlin City Museum historian who reveals the secrets of east and west to foreign tourists. Bursting with life, Undine is actually an undercover water sprite who assumed human form after falling for a man. Naturally, there’s a catch: They both face mortal peril if he cheats. During a coffee break, she gets unceremoniously dumped by Johannes (Jacob Matschenz), whom she promises to kill for his betrayal. But then she immediately falls for the gentle underwater diver Christoph (Franz Rogowski). The potency of their passion is short-lived but shimmers with truth and harmony, a feeling that remains like an aftertaste of honey once the final frame fades to black. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Undine, in theaters and on demand
Under the Stadium Lights, PG-13
Don’t high school football films make you feel warm? Though this one doesn’t equal the genre’s gold standard — Denzel Washington’s Remember the Titans — the audience can rely on multiple adversity-crushing character arcs, the inevitable Gipper speech and the rousing big-game finale. Under the Stadium Lights dramatizes the true story of the Abilene Eagles’ road to the state championships through the faith-based lens of an activist team chaplain (Mel Gibson’s son Milo). He regularly reminds the audience of the holy trinity of Texas sports: faith, football and family. Laurence Fishburne (59) provides a charm pill as a team booster and father figure. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Under the Stadium Lights, in limited theaters, on digital and on demand
Don’t miss this: 15 Great Football Movies to Stream Right Now
Dream Horse, PG
If you liked The Full Monty and Seabiscuit, you’ll cheer for this Sundance festival crowd-pleaser about Jan (Toni Collette, 48), a bartender in a rundown Welsh mining town who gets pub patrons to pony up their last pence for a temperamental stallion they call Dream. Braggadocious accountant Howard (Homeland’s Damian Lewis, 50) doubts working-class rubes can compete with the posh toffs who raise racehorses. But Jan’s warm heart could melt glaciers, and the eccentric locals pitch in for the long-shot bet. The improbable true story (with terrifically filmed racing scenes) is inspired by the 2015 hit Sundance documentary Dark Horse. Stick around for the credits, when the real villagers join the actors playing them to sing along with Welsh crooner Tom Jones’ hit “Delilah.” —T.A.
Watch it: Dream Horse, streaming on demand
DON’T MISS THESE: 10 Great Horse Movies to Get You Excited About Triple Crown Season
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Unrated
In the vein of hit flicks from kids’ books — The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief, Jojo Rabbit — the family-friendly When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit follows a household of privileged Jewish Germans who, after Hitler’s 1933 election, flee to Switzerland, France and England. Directed by Caroline Link (Oscar and AARP Movies for Grownups winner Nowhere in Africa), from Judith Kerr’s bestseller, the autobiographical period drama is a moving but unsentimental WWII exodus story propelled by a spunky Jewish girl, Anna Kemper (a charming Riva Krymalowski). While Anna is forced to leave a favorite stuffed rabbit behind in her family’s Berlin atelier, she survives the dangers of exile and loss, finding security and wisdom in her close family bonds and a newfound spirit of self-reliance. —T.M.A.
Watch it: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, in theaters
In a rare villain role, Morgan Freeman, 83, plays a wheelchair-using ex-cop named Damon who’s gone to the dark side in this underworld potboiler. Directed by George Gallo (Midnight Run), Vanquish costars Ruby Rose as Damon’s loyal caretaker with a criminal past, which comes in handy when Damon blackmails her into picking up five packages in one bullet-riddled evening. —Chris Nashawaty (C.N.)
Watch it: Vanquish, streaming on demand
DON’T MISS THIS: Did you know Morgan Freeman began his film career at age 50? And has since made more than 100 movies? In honor of this iconic actor, our critics have named (and ranked!) Freeman’s 10 best films (so far). Get the whole list (and start streaming).
Senior Moment, Unrated
Star Trek’s William Shatner, 90, taps his easygoing charm while plausibly playing a “young” (72-year-old) former NASA test pilot who gets his license revoked for reckless driving when a new district attorney wants to get dangerous senior drivers off the very clean streets of Palm Springs. Without his wheels, Victor meets Caroline (a delightful Jean Smart, 69) on the bus, and their romance runs its bumpy course, with loopy Christopher Lloyd, 82, as his wingman and handsome Esai Morales, 58, as Caroline’s gay best friend. —T.M.A.
Watch it: Senior Moment, on Apple TV
DON’T MISS THIS: Need a little more Shatner in your life? We thought so, which is why we caught up with the iconic star to discuss his new movie and life at 90. Read all about it, here: At 90, William Shatner Hits Warp Speed
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
Tim Appelo is AARP’s film and TV critic. Previously, he was Amazon’s entertainment editor, Entertainment Weekly’s video critic, and a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, LA Weekly and The Village Voice.