By Tony Beal
A group of girls start a fight club to try to get with their crushes.
“Bottoms” is a true-blue contender for the title of most anarchic movie of the year, given the reality it presents. Every character and scenario is exaggerated to the max, and it’s an absolute blast to watch everyone adopt the most extreme approaches to everything, from singing to fighting. The superb cast sells it all, from leads Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri to even the minor background characters. Emma Seligman’s direction is simpler compared to her debut, “Shiva Baby,” but it complements the tone of the film. The visuals and tropes of a typical comedy (paired with a familiar soundtrack) contrast sharply with the Mad Max-esque actions on screen. It’s a truly unique and entertaining piece.
“The Equalizer 3”
Robert McCall finds himself defending a small Italian town from the mafia.
The third installment in this series once again delivers what fans expect: Denzel Washington brutalizing bad guys in unique and gory ways. This time around, director Antoine Fuqua infuses the action scenes with a horror-like atmosphere, showing McCall stalking his prey from the shadows and using distorted angles, thanks to the work of DP Robert Richardson. This approach helps the film stand out from its predecessors, even though it sometimes reverts to a more conventional style in certain scenes and exhibits pacing issues reminiscent of earlier installments. Intriguingly, the film also delves into the deeper aspects of McCall’s character, questioning if he can ever find true peace and whether there’s more to his life than violence. These reflective moments create a striking contrast to the film’s brutal scenes. This is arguably the best installment of the series, and it could serve as a fitting conclusion.
“Miguel Wants to Fight”
A young man wants to get in a fight before his life goes through a major change.
Short and sweet aptly describes Oz Rodriguez’s new movie. At its core, the film presents a moral tale about the perils of succumbing to peer pressure and allowing fiction to shape one’s worldview. Rodriguez adeptly navigates the young cast through two contrasting styles: reality and imagination, which feel like distinct films yet seamlessly blend together. This is not to undermine the cast’s contribution; they certainly hold their own, delivering heartfelt performances as surprisingly well-developed characters, especially given the film’s brief duration. The movie serves as a testament to what can be achieved with limited resources and time. I eagerly anticipate Rodriguez’s next project.
“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah”
Two BFFs find their friendship tested against the dangers of middle school drama.
A more traditional comedy, this film isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s not bad either. Sunny and Sadie Sandler are the clear standouts of the movie. The latter’s deadpan delivery and the former’s exaggerated humor truly make them shine. The film’s primary drawback is its repetitiveness, often recycling the same beats to pad its runtime. Its structure is peculiar, seemingly introducing specific plot points either too early or too late. While I appreciate its attempts at originality and its refreshing depiction of Judaism compared to other representations in this medium, overall, it doesn’t quite gel.
“The Exorcist: Believer”
“The Marsh King’s Daughter”
“Dumb Money” (Wide Expansion)
“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour”
“Anatomy of a Fall” (Limited)
“Fair Play” (Netflix)
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” (Theaters & Peacock)
“The Holdovers” (Limited)