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What to Watch on TV and at the Movies This Week

‘Ticket to Paradise,’ ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ ‘Empire of Light,’ ‘The Whale’

What’s on this week? Whether it’s playing on cable, streaming on Prime Video or Netflix or opening at your local movie theater, we’ve got your must-watch list for the week. Start with TV and scroll down for movies. It’s all right here.

On TV this week …

Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Divorcees (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) jet to Bali to prevent their lovestruck daughter (Dopesick's Kaitlyn Dever) from making the mistake they made: getting married. Clooney and Roberts are friends in real life, and this is their fifth movie together, so their bickering is masterfully amusing.

Watch it: Ticket to Paradise, coming to Peacock Dec. 9

Don’t miss this: Julia Roberts’ Best Rom-Com Roles, Ranked!

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Your Netflix watch of the week is here!

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

Del Toro’s classic Pan’s Labyrinth deepens its scary children’s fable by setting it in fascist Spain; similarly, his eye-grabbing stop-motion animation adaptation of the Pinocchio story is set in fascist Italy. When a Mussolini official demands, “Who controls you, wooden boy?” Pinocchio retorts, “Who controls you?” It’s more ominous than the Disney version, though the songs aren’t nearly as good. The voice acting is marvelous: Ewan McGregor as the cricket narrator; Christoph Waltz as the evil puppeteer after Pinocchio; Cate Blanchett as a malevolent monkey with a chance at redemption; and eerie Tilda Swinton as two characters, the Wood Sprite who makes Pinocchio a boy and Death, who gives him life advice.

Watch it: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, on Netflix Dec. 9

Don’t miss this: The 16 Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in December

Your Prime Video watch of the week is here!

La La Land (2016)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play two young lovers chasing their dreams — and dancing their hearts out — in contemporary Los Angeles in director Damien Chazelle’s modern-day update of an old-fashioned movie musical, which won six Oscars. It’s also a testament to L.A.’s traffic cops, who closed down a section of the freeway so Chazelle could shoot the picture’s “Another Day of Sun” opening number, turning a bumper-to-bumper jam into a spectacular car-top song-and-dance number.

Watch it: La La Land, on Prime Video

Don’t miss this: The Best Things Coming to Prime Video in December

What’s new at the movies

 Empire of Light, R

Olivia Colman keeps killing it. She follows her Oscar-nominated turn in The Lost Daughter and 20 episodes as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown with another challenging role. She’s Hilary, a single, bipolar, British cinema employee who wobbles while working at the seaside Empire Theater in the 1980s, circa Chariots of Fire. Surrounded by coworkers — Colin Firth as an unsavory theater manager, Micheal Ward as the Black ticket-taker confronting skinhead prejudice, and Toby Jones as the projectionist whose religion is the light that emanates from his movie machine onto the screen below — Hilary struggles between the numbness she feels on lithium and the giddy heights she reaches without her meds. While Hilary and these disparate characters attempt to connect in tumultuous times, the script from writer-director Sam Mendes is muddled and the direction uneven, creating a piece of movie-house nostalgia with larger aspirations that never entirely comes into focus. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)

Watch it: Empire of Light, coming to theaters Dec. 9

 The Whale, R

After decades off Hollywood’s radar, Brendan Fraser leaps back into the spotlight as a front-runner for the best actor Oscar, playing Charlie, an online college writing teacher who left his wife for a man. His lover died, and he treated his grief by overeating to the point of dangerous obesity. His late lover’s sister (Hong Chau) visits to harangue and take care of him. His enraged ex-wife (formidable Samantha Morton) gives him bad vibes, as does his neglected, remarkably nasty teen daughter (Sadie Sink). A young missionary from a local cult (Ty Simpkins) tries to redeem Charlie, or rather himself. It’s as grueling and overwrought as director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan but not excruciating like his notorious Jennifer Lawrence film Mother! What makes it a must-see is Fraser’s daring, difficult, deeply moving performance as an infinitely kind and regretful man at the end of his rapidly fraying rope.  —Tim Appelo (T.A.)

Watch it: The Whale, coming to theaters Dec. 9

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 Emancipation, R

Will Smith does a good job of projecting indomitable, embittered nobility as Peter, the real-life hero who escaped from slavery, eluded hounds and slave hunters through Louisiana’s croc-and-snake-infested swamps, and joined a Black unit of the Union Army. An 1863 photo of his whip-scarred back in Harper’s Weekly helped inspire the abolition movement. Ben Foster is sinisterly good as Peter’s satanically relentless racist pursuer, and Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is a marvelous action director. William N. Collage’s screenplay is weak, and the story often feels generic. But Smith’s performance and Fuqua’s gift for grueling spectacle carry the film. If only Smith hadn’t done that slap at the last Oscars, this movie would have more Oscar buzz.

Watch it: Emancipation, in theaters now and on Apple TV+ Dec. 9

 Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, PG-13

Like many first dates, Spoiler Alert gets off to an awkward start. But, as it turns out, it’s a modern Terms of Endearment (a movie that’s referenced), teary and endearing. Jim Parsons plays entertainment journalist Michael Ausiello in this adaptation of his memoir of love, TV and tragedy. He warms to a nerdy, vulnerable role he seems born to play. The TV-obsessed “former fat kid” falls in love for the first time with a hot photographer, Kit Cowan (the charming Ben Aldridge). They gradually grow closer, and Cowan comes out to his parents in a wonderfully calibrated scene that’s all the better for their casting: Sally Field and Bill Irwin. Fast-forward 13 shared Christmas trees, a separation and Cowan’s diagnosis, which brings the pair to the cancer ward and the altar, too. We know from the beginning where the witty and warm Spoiler Alert is headed, but not how moving that journey will be. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, in theaters

 The Inspection, R

Jeremy Pope (TV’s Pose) is meteoric as Ellis French, a 25-year-old gay homeless person estranged from his single mother (a heart-wrenching Gabrielle Union, 50) who hits the wall hard. French envisions two options: He’ll die like those in poverty around him and become a nameless statistic, or join the Marines and try to turn his life around under extreme conditions. Sharply written and directed by Elegance Bratton based on his military experience, this is a powerhouse boot camp story. Race, sexuality and comradeship collide under the gimlet eye of Laws (a propulsive Bokeem Woodbine), a sergeant intent on breaking down the new recruits. Observant, insistent and unsparing, wrapped around characters that feel real and rounded, The Inspection closed the New York Film Festival and introduces audiences to Bratton, a strong new voice in moviemaking. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Inspection, in theaters

Neil Young: Harvest Time, Unrated

If you liked The Beatles: Get Back, try Neil Young’s documentary about the making of his 1972 smash hit Harvest, an album so good, Dylan complained that Young was invading “my thing.” Young tapped a similar vein of Americana in immortal tunes like “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man,” “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Are You Ready for the Country?” Seeing his creative process in a movie that takes you back to a groovier time is wonderful. It’s only screening in limited theaters starting Dec. 1. If you can’t make it to the movie, there’s a 50th-anniversary boxed set of the album, released Dec. 2, which also includes performances from his 1971 BBC concert.

Watch it: Neil Young, Harvest Time, in limited theaters

Don’t miss this: Neil Young on His New ‘World Record,’ Beck NFL Controversy and Converting Kanye to Climate Action

 Top Gun: Maverick, PG

Feel the need for speed? Tom Cruise’s biggest hit returns to the big screen for two weeks. See the exhilarating epic about the gravity-defying flyboy in IMAX if you can.

Watch it: Top Gun: Maverick, in limited theaters Dec. 2–15​

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

Scrooge-like critics were chilly toward this animated musical version of Dickens’ holiday chestnut, with voices by Olivia Colman, Luke Evans, Jonathan Pryce and Jessie Buckley. But audiences liked it.

Watch it: Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: Holiday Movie Preview Guide 2022

And for more holiday fun: ​12 Fantastic New Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Emma Corrin (The Crown’s Princess Diana) plays a wife whose impotent World War I vet husband wants her to get discreetly pregnant by another man of their class — but she scandalously falls for a gamekeeper (Jack O’Connell from Skins) in a terrific, sexy adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s steamy novel.

Watch it: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, on Netflix

​Three Pines (Amazon original)

Alfred Molina (Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2) plays Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in this eight-episode adaptation of Louise Perry’s best-selling detective novel, which also stars Rossif Sutherland (Donald’s son and Kiefer’s brother), Anna Tierney (daughter of Star Wars actor Malcolm Tierney) and Canadian singer Roberta Battaglia. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache in a 2013 British TV movie, but judging from the trailer (and the fact that it’s made by the producers of The Crown), Amazon is giving this adaptation a major upgrade.

Watch it: Three Pines, on Prime Video

 The Menu, R

The marvelous, multitalented Ralph Fiennes is the best thing on the menu in this clever culinary delight. On an isolated 12-acre island, celebrity Chef Slowik (Fiennes) has created an exclusive, one-night-only feast for a handpicked selection of guests: irritatingly arrogant Tyler (Nicholas Hoult): his last-minute date, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy); an uncouth, fading Hollywood star based on Steven Seagal (John Leguizamo); and a food critic and killer of restaurant dreams (Janet McTeer). A variation on an Agatha Christie closed-room mystery, the wonderfully written and tautly directed entertainment skewers its characters while playfully attacking elite foodie culture and its acolytes. Delicious. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Menu, in theaters

 All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, R

Two worlds collide — fine art and Big Pharma — in this compelling documentary about artist-activist Nan Goldin. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur, Goldin led an ACT UP–style protest against its mega-donors, the Sacklers, whose Purdue Pharma paid billions to settle lawsuits involving the opioid crisis. Goldin pursues her cause with passion and recklessness, and reveals her life story: She rose from early tragedy to fame as a photographer in the art-and-drug scenes of Provincetown and Manhattan, and became an opioid addict for three years after wrist surgery. She makes a flawed but relatable heroine, challenging museum orthodoxy while bringing down the Sackler Goliath, using her own towering reputation as collateral. —T.M.A.

Watch it: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, in theaters

 Bones and All, R

This Romeo & Juliet about cannibals is creepy and seductive, fluid, gorgeously shot and gracefully acted. It won Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) the best director award at the Venice Film Festival, and Taylor Russell won best young actor as an “eater,” a mortal hungering for human flesh and hitting the road to seek the mother she never knew (Chloë Sevigny). Funky stranger Sully (Mark Rylance, at his most insinuating and alarming) invites her home, explaining their common bond. Sensing ulterior motives, she hops the next bus out, only to meet Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a handsome, wiry lad who shares her eating disorder. They munch their way west, sharing secrets. With Sully in pursuit, their road-trip romance can’t last — but, baby, they were born to run. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Bones and All, in theaters

Good Night Oppy (Amazon Original)

Think Wall-E, only for real. Documentarian Ryan White hooked up with the special effects wizards of ILM to tell the story of the two Mars rovers NASA shot into space back in 2003 for what were supposed to be three-month missions. Astonishingly, one rover, Spirit, kept going for seven years; the other, Opportunity, for nearly 15. The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “celebration of unabashed nerdiness and enthusiastic problem-solving, the sort of movie that feels designed to attract Wall-E-loving children, who can then be shaped into the engineers and astrophysicists of the future.”

Watch it: Good Night Oppy, on Prime Video

 Spirited, PG-13

​Perennial Christmas elf Will Ferrell meets perennial yuletide favorite Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. What follows is a modern musical twist in this instant classic produced for holiday rewatching for years to come. Funnyman Ferrell stars as the Ghost of Christmas Present who’s tasked with redeeming the irredeemable Manhattan spin doctor Clint Briggs (an irresistible toe-tapping Ryan Reynolds). As Briggs’ number two, digging up oppo research as it sucks away her soul, is Kimberly (a Broadway-caliber Octavia Spencer), caught between good and bad, gifts and coal. Any excuse leads to a musical number, from solo ballad to full-on West Side Story street ensemble, something that repeatedly peeves ghost wrangler Marley (the phenomenal bass Patrick Page). It’s a funny, bouncy romp with strong singing and dancing talent and just the right touch of snark to please any Scrooge. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Spirited, on Apple TV+

Dead to Me, Season 3

Despite her MS diagnosis, Christina Applegate, who just got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 50, is back on her comedy/mystery/drama about two women (Applegate and ER’s Linda Cardellini) who bond amid a soap opera’s worth of car crashes, betrayals, furtive burials, identical twins and bizarre plot twists. Applegate is still funny after all these years, but this season feels more poignant than the last one, and livelier. The show’s 30 million fans should be pleased.

Watch it: Dead to Me, on Netflix

 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, PG-13

In the most eagerly anticipated superhero movie of all, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman)  fight to protect Africa’s best-kept-secret kingdom. Instead of recasting the first film’s central role of King T’Challa after beloved star Chadwick Boseman died of cancer, the sequel makes the character’s death an emotional engine driving the plot. Nyong’o said this “put our grief to good use.”​

Watch it: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in theaters

Don’t miss this: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: Strong Women, Spock-Like Fish Men

 The Fabelmans, PG-13

​In the front-runner for the best picture Oscar, boy meets camera — hilarity and pathos ensue. That’s the good part of Steven Spielberg’s wobbly autobiopic about movie nut Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel Labelle) growing up absurd (and Jewish) in white-bread suburbia 60 years ago. As electronics genius Bert Fabelman (Paul Dano) drags his wife (Michelle Williams), three daughters and Sammy from South Jersey to points west, Spielberg studs the film with inspired household slapstick but falls short on revelation or epiphany. He and cowriter Tony Kushner diagram rather than dramatize the temperamental clash between an orderly scientific dad and a disorderly artistic mom; the couple forms a fraught emotional triangle with a ubiquitous best friend (Seth Rogen). Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin and David Lynch steal scenes, but Spielberg’s film sense (sort of) saves the day, especially when Sammy stages mini epics with his Boy Scout troop and uncovers family secrets in home movies. If you’re Sammy, or Steven, movie love conquers all. —Michael Sragow (M.S.)

​Watch it: The Fabelmans, in theaters

 Nope, R

A little bit Close Encounters, a little North by Northwest, Jordan Peele’s big, glossy, funny, gross, scary, wild Western UFO tale Nope is nonstop entertainment. It follows a man-of-few-words (Daniel Kaluuya) struggling to maintain the family’s Hollywood horse-wrangling business while a suspicious disc cruises above their inland California ranch. Joined by his fast-talking sister (a delightful Keke Palmer), an alien-obsessed techie (Brandon Perea) and a traumatized former child star (Steven Yeun), they battle to survive and capture the wily alien — on film. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard veteran character actor Michael Wincott as the dour cinematographer singing Sheb Wooley’s 1958 “The Purple People Eater” in his gravelly voice. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Nope, on demand

​​Yellowstone, Season 5

In Kevin Costner’s smash-hit modern Western, two-fisted John Dutton (Costner) gets elected Montana’s governor, and his ruthless daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) gets a worthy new opponent: Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri), a corporate shark for Market Equities. Reilly predicts, “It’s gonna be like two Goliaths.”

Watch it: Yellowstone, on Paramount Network

Don’t miss this: Kevin Costner Rides Higher Than Ever in TV’s Most Unexpected Smash Hit, ‘Yellowstone’

The Crown, Season 5

In what Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) calls her “annus horribilis [horrible year],” Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) reveals the adultery of Prince Charles (Dominic West) with Camilla Parker (Olivia Williams). Lesley Manville plays Elizabeth’s naughty sister Princess Margaret, and onetime Bond star Timothy Dalton flying ace Peter Townsend, the love of her life. Manville tells AARP it’s about time that grownup characters are depicted with passionate love interests. “It really annoys me when there’s an assumption that once you’re over 50, we mustn’t show those people being interested in romance. I mean, nonsense! It’s just insulting. It amazes me how long its taken for women to get where they are, from kings having our heads chopped off, to get into a point where we don’t tie our bodies up in corsets anymore.”

Watch it: The Crown, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: ‘The Crown’ Is a Tragic Royal Triumph

Falling for Christmas

A rom-com about a blue-collar ski lodge owner (Glee star Chord Overstreet) who looks after a recently engaged, spoiled-rotten heiress (Lindsay Lohan) after a holiday skiing accident gives her amnesia.

Watch it: Falling for Christmas, on Netflix

And get in the holiday spirit: The Best TV and Movie Santas of All Time

 Causeway, R

Jennifer Lawrence returns to her indie roots in a melancholy yet redemptive drama, playing Lynsey, an Afghanistan war vet recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Rebuilding her life in working-class New Orleans, she moves back in with her alcoholic mother (Succession’s Linda Emond). Lynsey’s always had to be the adult in the room; she went to war pre-traumatized. To regain her independence, she gets a job as a pool cleaner — this is the kind of movie where you feel every stroke of the leaf skimmer. She also befriends a brokenhearted, beer-drinking, one-legged mechanic (a grounded and compelling Bryan Tyree Henry). He gradually teaches Lynsey how to make peace with loss, live simply and create a family of choice, not biology. Causeway is a small film with a big heart. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Causewayin theaters and on Apple TV+

 My Policeman, R

Yes, pop star Harry Styles can act too! Here he plays a 1950s British copper who falls in love with an urbane, older museum curator (David Dawson), yet also marries a lovely young schoolteacher (Emma Corrin, young Diana in The Crown, Season 4). Only 40 percent of critics liked it, but 96 percent of audiences did, because it’s an honest tearjerker with terrific actors, including Rupert Everett as the curator who reunites with his policeman decades later, after suffering a stroke. —T.A.

Watch it: My Policeman, on Prime Video

The White Lotus, Season 2

Heiress Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) is back, now married but lonelier and needier than ever, in the darkly comic hit about spoiled, neurotic rich guests at a luxury hotel where a mysterious murder occurs. This time it’s in Sicily, and visitors include an irritable attorney (Aubrey Plaza), an outrageously flirty Italian American (F. Murray Abraham), his adulterous Hollywood-macher son (The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli) and assorted Sicilian sex workers.

Watch it: The White Lotus, on HBO

All Quiet on the Western Front

If you liked the movie 1917, you may enlist to watch this adaptation of the 1929 best-selling novel by Erich Maria Remarque, who was wounded five times as a teenage soldier in World War I. The 1930 movie version is one of the greatest war films ever made; this version, the first from Germany, is that nation’s entry for the 2022 foreign-film Oscar.

Watch it: All Quiet on the Western Front, in theaters and on Netflix

 Armageddon Time, R

In James Gray’s moving, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story set in 1980 Queens, New York, a headstrong, bratty boy who daydreams of artistic glory (Banks Repeta) gets in trouble at school along with a Black classmate (Jaylin Webb) who dreams of joining NASA. His distraught parents (utterly brilliant Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong) send him to a private school packed with bullying racists. Only his doting Holocaust-escapee granddad (Anthony Hopkins, dazzling as ever) really understands the lad. It’s a thoughtful meditation on class, race and national decline. And the dinner-table family quarrels are among the most lifelike you’ll ever see. —T.A.

Watch it: Armageddon Time, in theaters

 The Banshees of Inisherin

King Kong vs. Godzilla is a pipsqueak squabble compared to the titanic acting duel of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in this fable set in a spectacularly quaint 1923 village off Ireland’s coast. It’s an Oscar magnet with a perfect 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score. Sweet, dim farmer Pádraic (Farrell) demands that bright, gloomy composer Colm (Gleeson) explain why he’s abruptly ended their best friendship. The “feckin’ nutbag” won’t, and threatens violence if Pádraic won’t let him be. A black comedy with more than a wee bit o’ green, it makes you feel resident in the way director Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took you to that feisty town. The locals couldn’t be more feckin’ perfect, from the village “eejit” (Barry Keoghan) to Pádraic’s bookishly brilliant sister (Kerry Condon) to Mrs. McCormick (Sheila Flitton), the Inisherin version of a Macbeth witch. In a way, the irresistible dialogue is the main character. See it and you’ll speak Irish for a week. —T.A.

Watch it: The Banshees of Inisherin, in theaters

Don’t miss this: The 10 Best Movies Set in Ireland

 Aftersun, R

The fall season’s emotional surprise is this Cannes film fest prizewinner. Young Scotswoman Sophie (Celia Rowson-Hall) reflects on a resort holiday two decades earlier to celebrate her 11th birthday with her dad, Calum (a muscular and moving Paul Mescal). The drama hinges on young Sophie (Frankie Corio), a sunny youngster who shares a deep, often wordless bond with her father. As Sophie splashes around, plants a first kiss and plays video games, cracks begin to show in Calum’s cheerful, caring façade. He’s holding on to life by their love’s thread, trying to repress his demons. But it’s a fool’s errand. I wept buckets, because writer-director Charlotte Wells so honestly realizes Sophie and Calum, and the potency and poetry of their father-daughter connection. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Aftersun, in theaters

 Till, PG-13

In an all-too-true story from 1955, an ebullient 14-year-old Chicago boy Emmett Till (scene-stealer Jalyn Hall), while visiting kin in Mississippi, is accused of whistling at a white woman, and lynched. His grief-and-guilt-stricken mother Mamie (dynamic, devastating Danielle Deadwyler) insists on an open casket for the world to witness his beaten and bloated body. Reluctantly, she travels to Mississippi to testify before an all-white jury of the killers’ peers. This powerful period drama, with marvelous costume and production design, ties Till’s death to local efforts to intimidate Blacks from exercising their right to vote. It bridges the past and 2022, when the Emmett Till Antilynching Act defined lynching as a hate crime. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Till, in theaters

 Tár, R

Masterful Cate Blanchett, 53, plucks our heartstrings as the fictional Leonard Bernstein protégé Lydia Tár, the ruthless, passionate superstar conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. At the pinnacle of an international career, she meets her Waterloo in the cancel culture she disdains, thanks to her woman problem. She grooms talented young musicians, like her long-suffering assistant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Noémie Merlant), and callously abuses them emotionally and/or sexually. For her, it’s all about the music, not the morals. It’s an epic character study that got a six-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, though it lacks a final movement that delivers a crescendo of feeling. Maestro or monster? Tár’s both. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Tár, in theaters

 The Woman King, PG-13

Muscular and well oiled, Oscar winner Viola Davis, 57, vanquishes and vanquishes again as the emotionally and physically scarred General Nanisca, who cuts through rival tribes and European slavers in a war epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood, 53. Set in the 19th-century West African kingdom of Dahomey, this violent, female-driven history centers on the triumph of Nanisca’s women-only army, loyal to King Ghezo (an underused John Boyega). It’s also the tale of new recruit Nawi (The Underground Railroad’s outstanding Thuso Mbedu) and her journey under Nanisca’s critical eye from abused daughter to machete-wielding warrior. While the movie’s treatment is surprisingly conventional, the tale of women empowered to own their own bodies couldn’t be timelier. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Woman King, in theaters

Don’t miss this: Viola Davis’ 10 Fiercest Roles (So Far!)

Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.