Looking for what to see in theaters? Our feature, updated weekly, highlights our top recommendations for films currently in theaters, from new releases to restorations receiving a proper theatrical run. While we already provide extensive monthly new-release recommendations and weekly streaming recommendations, as distributors’ roll-outs can vary, this is a one-stop list to share the essential films that may be on a screen near you.

Chronicles of a Wandering Saint (Tomás Gómez Bustillo)

Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s charming, intelligent Chronicles of a Wandering Saint is a natural follow-up to the two short films for which he is known: Soy Buenos Aires (a strange, picaresque rags-to-riches tale) and Museum of Fleeting Wonders (a collection of dramatized paranormal happenings). In Chronicles, as in the two short films, he is primarily concerned with spiritual, ethical, and religious contrasts; scenarios in which miracles are mixed with coincidences, faith with rationality, and boredom with inspiration. But that is where the comparisons end; for Chronicles is in every way a more serious, controlled, and moving work of art, which stands with the very best of contemporary Argentine cinema. – Oliver W. (full review)

Evil Does Not Exist (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

Amongst a typically raucous lineup at this year’s Venice Film Festival comes Evil Does Not Exist, a work in which tensions rise over little more than the placement of a septic tank. It’s the latest from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and his first since 2021’s miraculous double-punch of Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Drive My CarEvil concerns a clash of urban and rural sensibilities: a story about a small but hardy group of people who wish to stop the development of a glamping site. Devotees of Kelly Reichardt’s sylvan melancholies will feel perfectly at home. – Rory O. (full review)

Family Portrait (Lucy Kerr)

One of our favorites from last year’s Locarno Film Festival, where it picked up the Boccalino d’Oro for Best Director, Lucy Kerr’s directorial debut Family Portrait finds Deragh Campbell searching for the family matriarch in an elusive portrait that has drawn comparisons to the films of Antonioni. Savina Petkova said in her review, “Family Portrait deals with inexplicable loss, but one that is contained, repressed, inarticulate. If Katy has not literally lost her mother, the absence is strong enough to become the film’s driving force. But what keeps creeping up in conversation is the actual loss of a relative to an unknown virus. Without exposing too much of the COVID reality that gripped the whole world not so long ago, Kerr alludes to the fact that we still haven’t learned how to talk about such traumatic passings. What’s omitted is also left offscreen, sharing is a whisper, mutuality is hard to reach. If the photographic medium fascinates us by giving reality its own image––one that’s separate from reality––cinema re-animates its stasis and shows us life in flux.”

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (George Miller)

Almost nine years to the day since Mad Max: Fury Road premiered in Cannes, George Miller returns to the Croisette with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. It’s a deafening roar of a film, full of the same improbable vehicles and breathless pursuits through the director’s signature dystopian outback, though now told through a lens that can feel a bit slick at times. It tells the story of how Imperator Furiosa (immortalized by Charlize Theron in 2015 and gamely reinterpreted here by Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy) came to be, tracking her journey from childhood and the Place of Abundance––an Edenic oasis of renewable energy and worrying red apples––to hardened warrior in the wastelands of Bullet Farm, Gastown, and The Citadel of Immortan Joe. The concerns that met the trailer––suggesting Miller had traded in his predecessor’s practical effects for CGI––are, I’m sorry to say, not entirely unfounded. But Furiosa can still boast moments to take the breath away. Did we need it? Probably not. Are the chase scenes still phenomenal? Absolutely. – Rory O. (full review)

Ghostlight (Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson)

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A masterfully crafted work with nearly no false notes, Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson’s Ghostlight is a tender drama bearing profound moments of humor and small triumphs. The smartly constructed script by O’Sullivan buries the lede, revealing new narrative information with each layer as we watch a nuclear family slowly come apart and, later, find solace in the wake of their son’s suicide. Anchored by a real-life family, the film feels as if it’s been meticulously workshopped with the same intimate collaboration that gave O’Sullivan and Thompson’s last feature, Saint Frances, its authentic nuances. – John F. (full review)

Green Border (Agnieszka Holland)

Before the New York Film Festival premiere of her latest opus, Green Border, legendary director Agnieszka Holland wished everyone a good screening: “I would tell you to enjoy the film, but that would not be appropriate.” It was an apt warning for the harrowing, exquisite film that unfolded. Green Border focuses on the treatment of migrants trying to cross from Belarus to Poland so they can find asylum in the European Union. As a result, Holland is now on the shit list of nearly every high-ranking Polish politician, from the president to the Minister of Science and Higher Education. What a shame they’re so blinded by their station that they can’t even appreciate magnificent works of art. Green Border is a riveting, finely crafted, deeply human accounting of the atrocities we make permissible in the name of nationalism. – Lena W. (full review)

Hollywoodgate (Ibrahim Nash’at)

If you witnessed the chaos unfold in Kabul airport two years ago, it probably won’t come as much of a surprised to learn the US Army left a helicopter or two in Afghanistan. More alarming might be the news, calmly delivered at the start of this profoundly unreassuring documentary, that the cache of weapons and equipment that remains is estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of $7,000,000,000. In Hollywoodgate, an out-of-competition premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week, the Egyptian journalist and filmmaker Ibrahim Nash’at risks life and limb to achieve the improbable: nestling his way in with the Taliban fighters in charge of an abandoned U.S. base and observing their attempts to utilize what the Army left behind. “The Americans left us an enormous treasure,” one General observes; Nash’at’s film offers a worrying insight into what they might decide to do with it all. – Rory O. (full review)

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 (Kevin Costner)

Everything that emerged in the lead-up to Horizon––the project’s scale, its runtime (181 minutes), the colon and hyphen in its title––has been pointing to one word; but calling something ‘epic’ has less to do with quantity than some movies would like us to think. In the most sweeping sequences of Dances with Wolves, Costner left the character all alone on the plains, dwarfed by the landscape and increasingly aware of his own place in it. Horizon, by contrast, seldom takes that kind of time to think. There’s a distinct lack here, too, of cinematic urgency, the sense that, regardless of length, there is somewhere the film needs to get to. The resulting feeling of watching Horizon will be familiar to anyone who’s ever binged a prestige show; but if that is a snag the viewer’s willing to overcome, Costner leaves plenty to enjoy. – Rory O. (full review)

The Human Surge 3 (Eduardo Williams)

If one ever wanted a peek at what the future of cinema could look like, Eduardo Williams makes a convincing case. Continuing his chronicling of community across the world in form-defying ways, The Human Surge 3 still feels closer to a dream I experienced than what most would define as a movie. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “The Human Surge 3, Williams’ second feature and follow-up to his 2016 The Human Surge (the first installment of a trilogy with no second chapter), is another stupefying project designed to push the medium toward new, uncharted paths. Like the first Surge, this too unfurls in its barest terms as a hangout movie, cartwheeling across three different countries (Sri Lanka, Peru, and Taiwan) to dog a few low-income twenty-somethings as they fritter away time with friends in-between odd jobs. But where the saga’s first episode played like three shorts stitched together, traveling across distinct settings in standalone segments, The Human Surge 3 trades that for something far more elliptical and confounding.”

Janet Planet (Annie Baker)

About halfway through playwright Annie Baker’s self-assured and pitch-perfect directorial debut Janet Planet, 11-year-old Lacy (Zoe Ziegler) rolls over in bed and turns to her mother Janet (Julianne Nicholson) with an innocent prompt. “You know what’s funny?” she asks. “Every moment of my life is hell.” At such a gentle moment, in such a casual way, she delivers a melodramatic gut-punch. You can’t help choking out a laugh. – Jake K-S. (full review)

Last Summer (Catherine Breillat)

Like last year’s May December, Catherine Breillat’s long-awaited return with Last Summer is a brilliant feat of tonal mastery. This tale of stepmother-stepson attraction is a perfectly articulated, morally ambivalent exploration of desire. Savina Petkova’s review out of last year’s Cannes noted, “Unlike the underlying cynicism of Brief Crossing––a film with a similar age gap and dynamic––Last Summer finds Breillat more open to the tenderness of love’s initial stages: Drucker lights up, she orgasms, she laughs, and even her lexicon changes. There are three sex scenes in the film, and all of them are magnificent: the camera keeps to one face at a time for a long––delightful––amount of time as features become distorted by the seismic force of orgasm. Certainly a departure from Sex is Comedy‘s brilliantly funny meta-exposé of erotic scenes, Breillat’s latest gives love a chance.”

Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger (David Hinton)

There’s an argument to be made that the single image which best exemplifies pure cinematic wonder is the Archers logo. The introductory title reel belonged to the production company of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, a guarantee that whatever film followed would whisk the viewer away to a world of ecstatic imagination. The British filmmaking duo delivered sweeping, epic tales on a vibrant cinematic canvas painted with a style uniquely their own, and often found themselves on the periphery of their country’s popular cinema during their careers. While they came to be appreciated in the decades that followed the peak of their creative output, they have long passed, so David Hinton’s riveting new documentary Made in England: The Films of Powell & Pressburger brings the most qualified voice possible to speak on their contributions to the medium: Martin Scorsese. – Jordan R. (full review)

Music (Angela Schanelec)

As puzzling as they are intoxicatingly enigmatic, no one is making films like Angela Schanelec. Her latest doesn’t buck the trend. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “Thirty or so minutes into Angela Schanelec’s Music, a character makes a startling discovery. We’re inside a prison on the outskirts of an unidentified Greek town, where Jon (Aliocha Schneider) is to spend a manslaughter sentence. And we’re watching him bathed in the cell’s cold light when he suddenly opens his mouth and starts to sing. It’s a moment that shatters the film, one of the loudest in a tale otherwise marked by wistful silences. Jon’s stuck a grocery list of classical composers to the wall, and he intones an aria from Vivaldi’s Il Giustino, ‘Vedrò con mio diletto.’ It’s the first time we hear him sing and it amounts to an otherworldly revelation, both for the young man crooning and those of us who listen: a human being waking up to a superpower.”

National Anthem (Luke Gilford)

At the beginning of National Anthem, writer-director Luke Gilford’s exquisite-looking and subversive debut feature, 21-year-old Dylan (Charlie Plummer) lives a particularly burdensome and monotonous life. Within his small, rural, isolated New Mexico community he supports his family by shoveling gravel at temporary construction gigs and returns to his one-bedroom home to feed and take care of Cassidy (Joey DeLeon), his younger brother. Most nights his alcoholic hairdresser mother goes out late and returns home with drunken flings, forcing her two sons to sleep on the couch. It’s a difficult, lonely existence, and throughout his primary caretaking Dylan sees no opportunity to escape. – Jake K-S (full review)

Robot Dreams (Pablo Berger)

By far one of the most delightful films of the year––even when it breaks your heart––Pablo Berger’s Robot Dreams is a deceptively simple take on companionship that uses robots and animals to tell a very human story about friendship and life. Adapted from Sara Varon’s 2007 graphic novel of the same name, Berger’s lively film respects the form, telling its story without dialogue and instead relying on music and sound effects to drive the story of Dog and Robot forth. Dog spends his life in a sterile East Village apartment, circa the 1980s––eating microwaved meals, playing pong, drinking Tab, and yearning for companionship in the shadow of his YOLO poster. Flipping around the channels, Dog stumbles across an ad for a companion robot and spends the next few days assembling his new friend. – John F. (full review)

Sing Sing (Greg Kwedar)

We are here to become human again.” This is the mantra of the Rehabilitation Through the Arts program, founded in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a prison just north of New York City, and the subject of Greg Kwedar’s emotionally restorative new feature. While led by a stellar Colman Domingo with an equally great supporting turn from Paul Raci, the majority of Sing Sing‘s cast knows the program all too well, either as alumni or currently going through it. That authenticity in casting carries through every frame and every line, as if Kwedar has walked these halls and been in these rooms, an observer to the intimate conversations he’s scripted alongside Clint Bentley. – Jordan R. (full review)

More Films Now Playing in Theaters

The Best New Restorations Now Playing in Theaters

The below list features newly restored films receiving a theatrical release run. For NYC-specific repertory round-ups, bookmark NYC Weekend Watch.

  • July Rhapsody
  • No Fear, No Die
  • Seven Samurai
  • Shoeshine
  • The Small Black Room

Read all reviews here.

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