We review films. You see films. You need to know where to see those films. You may want to know what we thought of those films. Here’s where you can read what we thought of the film you’re about the see. Click on the film links to read THE FULL BYT REVIEWS.

Adrift Now playing in D.C.

In the grand tradition of shipwreck films such as The Martian, All is Lost, and Castaway, the movie Adrift leans heavily on the star power of its lead. The same goes for Adrift’s Shailene Woodley, who plays Tami. Luckily, Woodley manages to remain an compelling actress to watch. Whether it be in her breakout film The Descendants, the tween obsession The Fault in Our Stars, or my personal favorite The Spectacular Now, Woodley proves she can carry a film on her shoulders. There’s also a quality to her, separate from her acting roles, and it plays an important part in the success of Adrift. It’s Shailene Woodley the “star” and her image as the outdoorsy, outspoken, hippie chick that protests and is arrested at Standing Rock that seals the deal on this film. -Diana Metzger

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Ant-Man and the Wasp Now playing in D.C.

Three years later, the sequel to the zippy tale that introduced movie-going audiences to one of the more oddball heroes in the Marvel stable performs another astonishing trick: proving that after the punishing drudgery of Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can still be fun. -Benjamin Freed

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Avengers: Infinity War Now playing in D.C.

While Marvel has dominated theaters for the last decade, that might actually be to their detriment when it comes to Avengers: Infinity War. Despite promising stakes and all-out Marvel war, the audience knows where Marvel’s money comes from. The casual audience member can tell that Marvel has a much clearer potential investment in characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy or Spider-Man then say, Falcon or Wong. In addition to this, when ultimate power and unlimited potential is on the table, it’s also hard not to imagine how limitless possibilities actually means a lack of stakes. When everything is possible, nothing really matters in the long run. -Ross Bonaime

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Damsel Now playing in D.C.

Damsel has been grounded with beautiful landscapes shot by frequent Jeff Nichols cinematographer Adam Stone, and the savagery that is expected from Westerns isn’t watered down, which makes the sharp turns the film takes hit even harder. Like the best parodies, Damsel also makes itself a fine version of the genre it’s lampooning. Yet with a powerful, sparse and modern score by The Octopus Project, the film never hides that this is a modern tale taking on classic film ideas. -Ross Bonaime

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Dark Money Now playing in D.C.

Dark Money is rightly designed to rile you up, but there are moments Reed would’ve been well-served to dial it back in places. A vignette about Watergate, for instance, seems poignant at first, but ultimately muddles the plot. The Montana history lesson, while fascinating, could’ve been tightened up in favor of a bit more about the Koch family, who get by with just a passing reference. Bullock features more prominently than the other pols—yes, he was the attorney general who tried to keep Montana’s corporate-money ban intact after Citizens United and now he’s the governor trying to clean up the mess—but it would’ve been nice to see a bit more of Jones, who makes a convincing conservative argument about the toxicity of corporate money. -Benjamin Freed

Deadpool 2 Now playing in D.C.

If a remake is ever proposed, finding someone better suited to the role would be difficult, and Ryan Reynolds spent years trying to get the “correct” Deadpool movie out. The enthusiasm surrounding this character is such that Reynolds is himself a marketing machine, and he snags a writing credit as well as his producing credit. Ryan Reynolds is much smarter than us. -Vesper Arnett

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Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot Now playing in D.C.

The pacing and narrative incoherence are what make this film so inert. Flashback and flash-forward for useful storytelling tools, and yet the thrust of most any narrative – particularly for a story like this – should only go in one direction. Instead, most of the scenes lack any context (there are no titlecards indicating the year any scene takes place), so the only drama can occur within the confines of one moment. The AA meetings are admittedly well-written and acted, with cameos from Kim Gordon and Udo Kier. -Alan Zilberman

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The First Purge Now playing in D.C.

Say what you will about The Purge franchise, but their marketing has always been on point. Since The Purge: Anarchy, the folks at Blumhouse have gone all out on the political overtones, giving Anarchy a movie poster where the American flag is made of guns and setting their third film in the middle of an election year (and then calling it The Purge: Election Year). The advertising around their fourth film is their best yet, with the posters taking a starker, sleeker and more obvious approach. For a film series that has never known the word subtlety, it was their most obvious gambit yet.

And I’m not quite sure if they pulled it off. -Kaylee Dugan

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Hereditary Now playing in D.C.

Festival hype can be a bit of a problem. I’ve written about it before; in the insulated community during a prestigious film festival, critics lean toward hyperbole over accuracy. The early praise for Hereditary is just the latest example. At the Sundance premiere, critics suggested the film is the scariest thing they’ve seen in years, saying it is full of “unspeakable horror.” That sounds exciting, even if it runs the risk of setting expectations so high. Luckily, critics who review film around its theatrical release – myself included – do not write from a festival bubble. I am happy to report Hereditary is indeed an intense film, more creepy than scary, and just may make your skin crawl. -Alan Zilberman

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Incredibles 2 Now playing in D.C.

A lot has happened in the past fourteen years. No one had a smartphone in 2004. Our country was enmeshed in the Iraq War. I still had hair. Fourteen years ago is also when The Incredibles premiered. It was the heyday of Pixar, when they could no wrong. More importantly, the superhero genre did not yet dominate the pop culture landscape. This was before The Dark Knight, The Avengers, and cinematic universes. An original superhero film still had novelty, which part of what made The Incredibles such a delight. Now we have Incredibles 2, released months after Avengers: Infinity War. This sequel continues the story as nothing has changed in the past fourteen years. That is to the film’s credit, and also its detriment. -Alan Zilberman

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Now playing in D.C.

Sequels rarely surpass or equal their originals, especially in the Jurassic world. There’s a reason why The Lost World and Jurassic Park III aren’t treated as canon within the world of the reboot. The fun of Jurassic World was similar fun to the original Jurassic Park itself: audiences get to see what an actual dinosaur theme park would look like. The original movie only showed a prototype, but the reboot showed the park in all its populist, commercialized glory and then had the joy of seeing it get destroyed. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom not only tries to add in big details as canon that never existed in the original, it also feels a lot less ambitious in the process. -Diana Metzger

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Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again Now playing in D.C.

Ten years ago, I reviewed the original Mamma Mia for this very site. Spoiler alert: I hated it. Like, A LOT. I was in my 20s, I was not broken in any way, and I didn’t need this movie. I thought it was silly and over-the-top and, frankly, more than a little embarrassing. Fast forward a decade, and well, I have changed, the way America consumes entertainment has changed, the way America IS has changed. And Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again is maybe just what we needed this summer. -Svetlana Legetic

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Ocean’s 8 Now playing in D.C.

Ocean’s 8 is the sort of film that’s all too rare nowadays: an entertainment for adults that succeeds through the sheer force of its star power. Director Gary Ross and screenwriter Olivia Milch – daughter of David – do not depend on the charisma and cool of Steven Soderbergh’s three Ocean’s films. Instead, this is its own thing, a heist where feminist empowerment is more important than being the most clever. It has no aspirations for greatness, and instead trusts that its audience will chuckle and nod along with each gag and twist. -Alan Zilberman

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RBG Now playing in D.C.

The structure of the film is like long-form profile you might find in Vanity Fair or New York Magazine. Cohen and West introduce Justice Ginsburg, with a mix of playful teases and evocative quotes, before they dig into a more traditional biography. They gloss over her early life – she was just Ruth Bader back then, a reserved young woman who grew up in Brooklyn – focusing instead on her career is a civil rights advocate. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spoke before the all-male court so that men and women would have equal treatment under the law. We hear excerpts from her arguments, and quiet forcefulness of what she says is disarming. -Alan Zilberman

 

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Now playing in D.C.

Taylor Sheridan, screenwriter of the Sicario films, presents the southern border is a lawless hellscape where terrorism and warfare run rampant. A lot has happened since Sicario first hit theaters. The guy who said “[Mexican immigrants] are rapists” is now our President. At our southern border, the government separated thousands of immigrant children from their parents, with no clear plan to reunite them. In other words, Sicario: Day of the Soldado could not have come at a worse time. A large cohort of the movie-going public is not in the mood for a nasty thriller about cartel warfare. But if Day of the Soldado does poorly at the box office – and it probably will – it won’t be just because of the political climate this summer. It will be because the movie is terrible. -Alan Zilberman

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Now playing in D.C.

You remember the end of A New Hope, right? Han Solo arrives at the Death Star at the last possible moment, blasting Darth Vader’s ship, which allows Luke to complete his mission. It is arguably the emotional high point of the film, where the plucky innocent and the weary scoundrel unite with a common purpose. Solo: A Star Wars Story is like that scene, except it lasts for two and a half hours. Despite its frequent action and character reversals, it is an oddly static film, with roguish heroism as its primary constant. The actors all do fine work – in particular, Alden Ehrenreich is convincing as Han – yet they work in favor of a film with few surprises and zero risks. It might be the first inessential Star Wars film. -Alan Zilberman

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Sorry to Bother You  Now playing in D.C.

You probably should not read this review. Instead, you should buy a ticket to Sorry Bother to You and see it for yourself. The less you know about the film, the better. I can tell you it is a dark satire about race, late-stage capitalism, and American life. It is hilarious, borderline unhinged, and one of the year’s best films. When you buy a ticket, you’ll want to bring a friend, since this is the sort of film you will need to talk about afterward. -Alan Zilberman

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SuperFly  Now playing in D.C.

2018’s Superfly has made Priest look more like The Weeknd, moved from New York to Atlanta, and updated the soundtrack from Curtis Mayfield to Future. Certainly Director X’s Superfly update feels timely – and will likely feel just as aged in fifty years as the original does now, if not more so – an anti-hero for the present day that highlights the strengths of this character. -Ross Bonaime

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TagNow playing in D.C.

Even if you don’t see this movie in theaters, expect to see it on cable every day in six or seven months, because sometimes we need to turn our brains off. -Vesper Arnett

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Now playing in D.C.

The new documentary, the feel good film of 2018 that’ll inspire a thousand think pieces on how and why we need to act more like Fred Rogers, does not need to exist. It’ll win Best Documentary at next year’s Academy Awards. -Brandon Wetherbee

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