There are a lot of first features opening today, and most of them are pretty good. This is encouraging, because it doesn’t feel like much else is good today.
Anyway. Here’s what’s playing.
The Accountant of Auschwitz: Susan was wowed by Matthew Shoychet’s clenched but comprehensive documentary at Hot Docs earlier this year; having just recently caught up to it, I can see why.
Fail to Appear: Antoine Bourges’ first feature — which just started a week’s run at the Lightbox — is a small, smart drama about two people trying to navigate the same system from different ends, and not managing it very well at all. Check it out if you’re in town.
Hereditary: No, Ari Aster’s much-heralded debut is not the second coming of Elevated Horror. (Also, “elevated horror” is a bullshit poser term — unless you’re talking specifically about one of these films.) But it’s taut and scary, and Toni Collette is amazing in it.
Hotel Artemis: Drew Pearce’s first feature takes the premise of Assault on Precinct 13 and updates it for an audience that’s seen John Wick and The Purge more times than they can count. Jodie Foster is terrific, Sterling K. Brown is great, Dave Bautista is a glorious treasure. It’s a blast, plain and simple.
Metamorphosis: Real-life partners Velcrow Ripper and Nova Ami take an artful look at climate change. Kevin is into it.
Ocean’s Eight: Everyone is having a great time and all, but making this a direct sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s delightful heist trilogy was the worst thing that could happen to this decent-enough caper picture, because you can’t help seeing how it never measures up.
Prodigal: Glenn was not particularly impressed by Michelle Ouilett’s small-town legal drama, which didn’t exactly make waves at the Canadian Film Festival earlier this year.
The Quest of Alain Ducasse: Glenn did, however, really enjoy this documentary from Gilles de Maistre about the eponymous chef’s quiet efforts to improve the way we eat.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: Morgan Neville’s tribute to the gentle, unwavering empathy of Fred Rogers is like an instruction manual for how to be human. I liked it a lot. So did Susan. So will you.
And that’s everything. Meet me in the secret bunker tomorrow, we start plotting at noon. Or maybe we’ll just go catch a matinee of Hotel Artemis.