1. The Holdovers
Paul Giamatti re-teams with ‘Sideways’ director Alexander Payne for this wonderful 1970-set film that takes place at a New England boarding school. Giamatti is the outcast Professor Hunham, made to stay behind over Christmas break with any students who must remain on campus. What follows is a charming and absolutely delightful comedy-drama in the vein of ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Wonder Boys’. The whip-smart script from first-time screenwriter David Hemingson is a thing of brilliance, and co-stars Da’Vine Joy Randolph and newcomer Dominic Sessa round out the ingredients of what’s destined to become a perennial holiday watch… and may just be the best film of the year.

2. Anatomy of a Fall
This mesmerizing courtroom drama about a German woman (Sandra Hüller) accused of murdering her French husband at their isolated chalet won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and will certainly be in the conversation for several Oscar nominations. Half in French and half in English, it’s a twisty and mind-bendy drama that will have you guessing right up until the end… and then even after. Hüller anchors the film with an honest and gripping portrayal of a woman falsely accused (or is she?) in this masterful mystery from director and co-writer Justine Triet (‘In Bed with Victoria’).

3. The Zone of Interest
As harrowing as it is thought-provoking, this British (though German-language) film by director Jonathan Glazer may demonstrate the banality of evil more than any film in history. On one level, it’s a presentation of the mundane day-to-day life of SS officer Rudolf Hess (Christian Friedel) and his family in the house they shared next door to the Auschwitz concentration camp. On an entirely other level, it’s a brutal and terrifying reminder of the atrocities committed steps away from his front door. Though nothing is shown, per se, the horrible truth is presented audibly, as, throughout the film, we hear gunshots, screams, and the roar of the crematoriums in the near distance. It’s a brilliantly crafted and haunting paradoxical masterpiece that stands among the most important films of the year.

4. Oppenheimer
The father of the atomic bomb gets the Christopher Nolan treatment in this fascinating, in-depth film set against the backdrop of the scientist’s 1954 national security clearance hearing. Cillian Murphy is outstanding in the lead role, and the incredible supporting cast—including Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Josh Hartnett—elevates the film even higher. Nolan’s razor-sharp script and brilliant direction (along with Hoyte van Hoytema’s beautiful cinematography) make the film a clear Oscar front-runner already—and we’re barely halfway through summer.

5. American Symphony
This fascinating documentary about musician Jon Batiste’s journey to compose his ‘American Symphony’ is not only a study of musical genius and creativity but also compassion, as Batiste and his wife Suleika are, at the same time, also coping with her ongoing leukemia treatment. Equal parts engrossing and heartbreaking, the film (from Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman) coasts on Batiste’s charm and infectious personality, but it becomes an Oscar frontrunner thanks to its innate humanity.


  1. American Fiction
  2. Godzilla Minus One
  3. Killers of the Flower Moon
  4. Maestro
  5. May December
  6. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One
  7. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
  8. Last Stop Larrimah
  9. David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived
  10. Leave the World Behind
  11. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
  12. Ballerina
  13. Flora and Son
  14. Wonka
  15. Candy Cane Lane
  16. Next Goal Wins
  17. The After
  18. The Pigeon Tunnel
  19. Nyad
  20. If You Were the Last
  21. Totally Killer
  22. The Creator
  23. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
  24. No One Will Save You
  25. Love at First Sight
  26. A Haunting in Venice
  27. The Equalizer 3
  28. Bank of Dave
  29. The Jewel Thief
  30. Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song
  31. Barbie
  32. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
  33. Leo
  34. The Killer
  35. Gran Turismo
  36. Billion Dollar Heist
  37. Timeless Heroes – Indiana Jones & Harrison Ford
  38. The Family Plan
  39. Genie
  40. The Marvels
  41. It’s a Wonderful Knife
  42. Strays
  43. Who Done It: The Clue Documentary
  44. Haunted Mansion
  45. Happiness for Beginners
  46. Your Christmas or Mine 2
  47. The Beanie Bubble
  48. Family Switch
  49. Wish
  50. Quiz Lady
  51. Office Race
  52. Poor Things
  53. Expend4bles
  54. How to Fall in Love by the Holidays
  55. EXmas
  56. Saltburn
  57. Reptile
  58. The Monkey King
  59. Fingernails
  60. The Mill
  61. Heist 88
  62. Love Is in the Air
  63. Vacation Friends 2
  64. Retribution
  65. The List
  66. The Out-Laws
  67. Dashing Through the Snow


73. Best. Christmas. Ever!
It’s not even Thanksgiving, and of course Netflix is already rolling out the Santa-stuffed fare. Let’s just hope it gets better from here. Heather Graham and Jason Biggs star as Charlotte and Rob, a quintessentially bland middle-class couple who wind up spending the holidays with one of Charlotte’s friends (Brandy)—the one who annually sends out the over-the-top, ultra-braggy family newsletter. Desperate to prove her friend’s life is too good to be true, Charlotte proceeds to bumble and stumble along, causing all kinds of eye-roll-worthy hijinks on the way to, naturally, discovering the importance of friendship and caring. Heck, this mess isn’t even something you can leave the kids with for a spell while you get some chores done, thanks to an entire plot about kids seriously questioning whether Santa even exists. Bah!

74. Meg 2: The Trench
You would think a movie about giant terrorizing sea monsters would prominently feature giant, terrorizing sea monsters. Not so much, with this forgettable sequel to the also-forgettable 2018 original. Jason Statham is back as noble ocean-guy Jonas Taylor, helping explore the depths in the name of science. Yes, the big sharks are hovering around here and there, but they don’t really figure into the plot (such as it is) until the whack-a-doodle last half-hour when things finally begin to kick in. But by then, it’s way too late…you probably won’t stick around that long anyway.

75. Old Dads
If you haven’t had your fill of tired and lazy boomer jokes lately, this Netflix original should be right up your alley. Written and directed by and starring comedian Bill Burr alongside Bobby Cannavale and Bokeem Woodbine, it’s a non-stop softball rant about the Gen X/Gen Z divide, stuffed with every ‘joke’ you’ve heard in the past five years about political correctness, progressive schooling, and helicopter parenting. Had Burr chosen to really sink his teeth into his own material and create a ‘Falling Down’-style tirade for the 21st century, he might have been onto something, but as it is, ‘Old Dads’ is little more than an old, grumpy Boston guy yelling at people to get off his lawn for 100 minutes.

76. Five Nights at Freddy’s
Based on the recent video game series, this horror film (in theory, anyway) is designed to bring all our deep-seated childhood fears of animatronic animals to life. What we end up getting, though, is a beyond-sluggish snoozer that meanders all over the place before fizzling out with a whimper. Josh Hutcherson stars as the security guard assigned to keep an eye on the shuttered Chuck E. Cheese-esque joint populated by monstrous robotic animals, but the PG-13 rating and way-too-timid script cut this thing off at the knees before it even gets going.

77. Heart of Stone
Oh my word, what happened HERE?! Gal Gadot stars in this woefully uninspired action flick as a secret agent assigned to keep a new-fangled AI system out of the hands of the bad guys. Director Tom Harper, who gave us 2019’s fairly entertaining ‘The Aeronauts’ has fallen flat on his face with this epic fail, which includes tropes galore, mind-numbingly bad expositional dialogue, and a plot that even the worst comic book writer would want nothing to do with. It’s apparently the start of a Jason Bourne-like franchise for Gadot, but hopefully, she will come to her senses and run in the other direction, far away from this abysmal mess.