Similar to last year, a number of great movies came out all within a few weeks of each other, movies that deserve to be shared and earned a glowing recommendation from me. The past few weeks of releases have been nothing short of great. Some are going to be in the thick of Oscar consideration while others are simply very well-made movies. These are four films that have been released in the past few weeks that need to be seen.
“Dolemite is My Name” is Eddie Murphy’s comeback to the big screen, paying homage to blacksploitation movies of the 1960s and 70s. Murphy walks in the footsteps of real-life musician, comedian, actor and director Rudy Ray Moore, who takes on the stage name of “Dolemite.” The film follows a strikingly similar story structure to “The Disaster Artist,” another movie about a man’s pursuit of making a movie that everyone knows is awful except for him. The first half of the movie was what I found the most engaging, mainly because of Murphy’s electric performance. This is vintage Eddie Murphy in a role it seemed like he was born to play. His rise from poor record shop clerk to a comedy sensation was easily the most interesting part of the film. Once it starts to dive into the making of the “Dolemite” movie, the film starts to feel very familiar. It feels scene-for-scene like the second half of “The Disaster Artist,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just feels less engaging then it could have been. “Dolemite is My Name” is a solid little movie that you should check out when it comes to Netflix on Friday, Oct. 25. Grade: B-
“Jojo Rabbit” is the next quirky comedy from rising director Taika Waititi. This is a sweet, heartbreaking and hilarious satire of Nazi Germany, as well as a story about spreading a positive message of love. The way comedy is infused into the setting of Nazi Germany is pitch-perfect, especially considering how poorly this is an idea could have gone. Watiti is excellent as an exuberant and ridiculous Adolf Hitler, which is definitely something I never expected to write. The whole cast does a brilliant job without a single weak link. My one flaw would be that the film feels a lot longer than it is or needs to be. I was fully immersed in the world this film sets up until it overstays its welcome by repeating its message over and over again. Regardless, I had a blast with “Jojo Rabbit” and think it is one of the year’s best films. Grade: A-
“The Lighthouse” is an utterly insane film that certainly won’t be many people’s cup of tea, yet I was totally riveted by it. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe deliver two of the strongest performances of the year as two men going insane working at a lighthouse. The film takes its time setting up its story, which was where I was a little disconnected at first. But, once a certain scene with a seagull happens, I was locked in for every second. I did not want this film to end and could have totally watched another hour of Pattinson and Dafoe in the strangest, most uncomfortable and often hilarious confrontations. The movie is beautifully shot with excellent production design and, if it wasn’t so weird, would probably nominated for a few Academy Awards. This movie is fantastic and you should definitely see it if you’re up for a slow burn that is totally nuts. Grade: A
The latest film from mastermind filmmaker, Bong Joon-Ho, “Parasite” is a stunning thriller that will have you holding your breath for its entire 134 minute runtime. I had no idea what this movie was about and I am so happy I didn’t because of how many twists and turns the story takes. All of the performances are stellar and the writing is so close to perfect. The way he chooses to unveil certain revelations and keep plot points hidden until they are necessary is the work of a genius. This movie is designed to grab your attention and never let it go. There are one or two scenarios that go a bit too far, but the whole movie is insane, so these moments don’t stand out too much. “Parasite” is by far the best thriller of the year and is one of the year’s best. Grade: A