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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.

Apollo 11 Now playing in D.C.

Like President Kennedy’s famous proclamation “We choose to go the Moon,” the new documentary Apollo 11 sounds simple in its purpose. Using archival footage and audio, director Todd Douglas Miller and his team recreate the voyage undertaken by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Within that simplicity, however, is an audacious technical marvel of imagery, sound, and nonfiction storytelling. There simply has never been a documentary quite like this. As an assembly of archival footage, it is a massive undertaking. In terms of cinema, it is breathtaking real-life thriller. This film will help ensure that no generation ever forgets just what was accomplished that fateful July. -Alan Zilberman

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Now playing in D.C.

“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary,” Fred Rogers once said. “The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone.” Mister RogersNeighborhood was all about feelings, teaching children how to deal with all the emotions that were completely new to them. Rogers was a man of care and love, a bursting heart that could easily see what made a person who they are, and help them with their emotions, no matter what their age. Rogers was a man free of cynicism or snark, which makes director Marielle Heller such a strange, and yet perfect choice to present Rogers on the screen. -Ross Bonaime

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A Hidden Life Now playing in D.C.

Even at 174 minutes — the longest theatrical release of his career — A Hidden Life is Malick’s most complete film in the uneven near-decade since The Tree of Life. It’s also a much sharper look at internal resistance to the Nazis than Jojo Rabbit, which used Scarlett Johansson’s character more for chipper relief… Franz’s commitment to nonviolence and tolerance is heartfelt, and the rippling impacts his decision makes on his family are tangible. -Benjamin Freed

Bad Boys For Life Now playing in D.C.

These heroes are still egotistical monsters, incurious about due process or even their own mortality. Jokes and skulls are cracked without much thought – this film is a series of moments strung together, without much attention to the greater whole. This is why you might have a deadly fight scene, a stupid one-liner, and a maudlin character moment within seconds of each other. -Alan Zilberman

Bombshell Now playing in D.C.

Bombshell is not the home run we’d hoped for. The story follows the lead up to the reckoning that was the #metoo movement in conservative media during the campaign of the (now-impeached) President Trump. It’s a shame; the cast tries its hardest with what it has, but it is far too simplified for something we just saw happen in real time less than four years ago. In knowing that it’s all still happening, it loses steam.  Perhaps it’s too worried about going too far into the present — there’s no mention of Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) or Gretchen Carlson’s (Nicole Kidman) current gigs — so it falls short of the much bigger impact of what happened to these women for speaking up. -Vesper Arnett

Clemency Now playing in D.C.

The powerful performances in Clemency and Chukwu’s directing, which allows big emotions to run their course in a natural way, are undercut by a screenplay that knows it wants to criticize the death penalty, but doesn’t know quite how to do it without muddling the message and weakening the point. -Ross Bonaime

Color Out of Space Now playing in D.C.

The best Nicolas Cage films in recent years know how to capitalize on Cage’s insane energy. When you cast Cage, you know what you’re getting. Mom and Dad and especially Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy knew how to harness the madness for the sake of the wild stories they’re telling. When it comes to Color Out of Space, a loose adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, directed by Richard Stanley, who hasn’t made a narrative film since 1996 and was fired from The Island of Dr. Moreau, it’s hard to imagine any other actor but Cage fitting into this odd combination. -Alan Zilberman

Dark Waters Now playing in D.C.

Dark Waters, the latest based-on-true-events conspiracy thriller, seems to tread familiar ground.  It shares much in common with Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s 2015 Oscar winner about sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy, insofar that piles up hidden offense after hidden offense in the form of an investigation, and how it overwhelms audiences untill we’re thoroughly seething with outrage. Mark Ruffalo stars, as exasperated as ever. Though in this case, the villain is a negligent corporation throwing money at its problems, lining the pockets of powerful men while government institutions prove too slow or entirely incapable of holding them accountable for their misdeeds. Dark Waters may not feature the caliber of performances that Spotlight has in spades, and its muddled script leaves much to desired, but what it lacks in polish it makes up for in visual curiosity. It’s an unorthodox undertaking for director Todd Haynes, a pioneer of queer cinema, but he nevertheless succeeds in bringing to the film a situation-appropriate sense of weariness and decay. -Beatrice Loayza

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Dolittle Now playing in D.C.

Let’s talk about Cats for a minute. The hallucinatory shit show that was unleashed upon the world three weeks ago was immediately seen as a nightmare of cinematic proportions, a disaster of bad ideas and was quickly theorized to become the next Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Cats is better than Dolittle. -Ross Bonaime

Ford v Ferrari Now playing in D.C.

The middle hour of Ford v. Ferrari is a muscly, metallic sequence of roaring engines, whirring dust clouds, and Carroll and Ken’s irresistible determinism to build a prize-winning car. Yes, it’s a men-on-a-mission story set during a time when American exceptionalism (even though Miles was British) still seemed achievable, but the cast, working off a long-gestating script by brothers Jez and John Henry Butterworth, with Jason Keller, makes those moments feel earned. -Benjamin Freed

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Frozen II Now playing in D.C.

Most Disney animated fairy tale sequels were relegated to the straight-to-video path; there’s just not that much interesting to say after “happily ever after.” Luckily, and due to tons of youngsters screaming “Let It Go” ad nauseum all the way to the multiplex back when the original Frozen came out in 2013, Frozen 2 has hit the big screens. If you have a child or a passionate love for Idina Menzel’s singing, you’ll be dragged to the theaters. One of the best qualities of the sequel is the visually arresting animation. There’s a big focus on nature (that explanation will come later) as the characters travel outside the land of Arendelle into a magical forest—with gorgeous vistas and waves of oceans that feel real as a National Geographic documentary at times. The animation is superb, the rest of the film feels not disappointing necessarily, but a bit disconnected. -Diana Metzger

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The Gentlemen Now playing in D.C.

Director Guy Ritchie’s new film The Gentlemen requires patience before it reaches a mostly satisfying ending. It’s not quite a return to form as far as his British crime films are concerned, though it is still entertaining when it unshackles itself from its contrived plotting. The Gentlemen follows a private investigator named Fletcher (Hugh Grant) as he explains an elaborate story to a man named Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) who works closely with semi-retired-well-suited hustler/drug dealer/notable rich dude Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey). He’s trying to buy Raymond for an awful lot of cash, and as insurance he has drafted the story into a screenplay, and threatens to publish it if he doesn’t get paid. Raymond and Mickey Pearson have done something bad while trying to secure a deal, but we won’t learn what right away. -Vesper Arnett

Jojo Rabbit Now playing in D.C.

Ads for Jojo Rabbit describe the film as an “anti-hate satire.” Before I get to the film, a comedic drama set in Germany during World War 2, I want to parse this phrase. From Swift’s modest proposal onward through Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, satirists have used humor and irony to ridicule the powerful. Satire is inherently anti-establishment, and hatred is ingrained in so much of what the establishment seeks to accomplish. Can there be such a thing as “pro-hate satire”? I don’t think so. Any attempt would not be satire, but propaganda. It is like Fox Searchlight and writer/director Taika Waititi want to assure audiences that they do NOT endorse Nazism, or Hitler. The thought behind this assurance encapsulates the issues with Jojo Rabbit rather elegantly. -Alan Zilberman

Jumanji: The Next Level Now playing in D.C.

When Jumanji was rebooted with 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the premise flipped the idea of the original book and film. Instead of the game coming to life in the real world, people from the real world went into the game. Since Jumanji was updated to a video game, the real world characters could pick their in-game avatars, and half the fun of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was watching Dwayne Johnson do his best impression of a nerdy kid and Jack Black pretend to be a teenage girl. The sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, wisely goes all-in on the constant impressions of the original with great success. Jumanji: The Next Level naturally tries to double up what worked in the original: bigger comedy, crazier action, and more characters. This is one of the few sequels where bigger is actually better. -Ross Bonaime

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Just Mercy Now playing in D.C.

It was an inevitability that Bryna Stevenson’s memoir, “Just Mercy,” would find its way to being adapted into what seems like the rarest of cinematic birds these days — a courtroom drama. In the hands of writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), the film of the same name doesn’t break too much new ground for the genre, but it does unpack a case that still feels deeply relevant nearly a quarter-century later. -Benjamin Freed

Knives Out Now playing in D.C.

Knives Out is great fun, and worth seeing more than once. Director Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) proves once again that he is among the most vivid writers of mystery dialogue in film today. Fans of mystery and film noir may remember his first feature film Brick, and perhaps could reach some conclusions of the plot sooner than those unfamiliar with his pre-Star Wars work. The only disappointment to Knives Out is the absence of the Radiohead track of the same name. Boo. -Vesper Arnett

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Little Women Now playing in D.C.

Little Women is so buoyant and joyous, so it is easy to miss the anger that informs it. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the beloved novel has genuine infection for its characters, the March sisters in particular, although along with that affection comes a sense of frustration. These characters are independently minded, you see, yet they are stuck in a story that suffocates their freedom. Unlike past versions of Little Women, Gerwig includes a strain of necessary revisionism. Her follow-up to Lady Bird is somehow even more accomplished, the sort of film that will invite countless revisits. It’s that good. -Alan Zilberman

Queen & Slim Now playing in D.C.

Movies about outlaws are almost as old as the movies themselves. This kind of story is perfect for a popular medium, since an outlaw’s appeal is that they get away with it, bucking a system that works against any kind of rebellion. It was only a matter of time until appealing outlaws got the Black Lives Matter treatment. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, Queen & Slim is about two good-looking black people who become reluctant outlaws and folk heroes. Waithe takes the road movie structure and deepens it with plausible characters, a heartfelt romance, and bitter commentary on modern race relations. -Alan Zilberman

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The Turning Now playing in D.C.

With a screenplay by The Conjuring writers Carey and Chad Hayes, The Turning is far too ambiguous for its own good. Scares don’t seem tied to anything of consequence, the spirits of the estate may or may not exist, dreams occur within dreams, and Kate’s potential loss of sanity isn’t truly an issue until the film decides all of a sudden during its twist that it most certainly is an issue. If anything, The Turning’s dumb twist only explains why not much in the films adds up anyways. By the end, The Turning ends up feeling like a lack of meaningful choices and inconsequential scares. -Ross Bonaime

Uncut Gems Now playing in D.C.

Josh and Bennie Safdie’s Uncut Gems is a lot of things. This film is going to draw a lot of comparisons with the Coen brothers, and there are too many parallels for that not to be a worthwhile exercise. But in its fascination with the abstract and otherworldly in its imagery, its reliance on ‘80s-esque synth-and-sax music, and its refusal to follow generic conventions and borders, it feels more than a little inspired by Panos Cosmotos. Uncut Gems isn’t Mandy – nothing is – but it’s got as much of that in it as Blood Simple or No Country for Old Men. -Max Bentovim

Underwater Now playing in D.C.

Underwater wears its love for Alien right on its sleeve. In its opening moments, Underwater features a title card that looks fittingly similar to Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, and the film’s establishing shot of an underwater drill station reminds of the workmanlike, disheveled Nostromo. Kristen Stewart’s Norah spends plenty of time running around in her underwear like Ripley, the discovery of a new species underwater is oddly familiar, and when you’re seven miles underwater in the Mariana Trench, things start to look as alien as miles away in space. But even with all the Alien homages, Underwater differentiates itself almost immediately, as director William Eubank does away with any slow build of dread and gets right into the action, rarely pumping the brakes. -Ross Bonaime

1917 Now playing in D.C.

As if trying to outdo Steven Spielberg’s massive Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan, or the twisty restructuring of time in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Mendes’ approach to this material is little more than a way to showoff, a directorial approach that doesn’t match with the story Mendes tells. To paraphrase another film that wore its technical achievements on its sleeve, Mendes was so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. -Ross Bonaime

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