18 Movies Like Dune: Part Two (2024)

Staff & contributors

The concepts of roads not taken and domino effects have received plenty of cinematic attention in their showier forms by way of multiverse comic book movies and dimension-hopping films like Everything Everywhere All At Once. But, though there’s no hint of sci-fi in Past Lives, Celine Song’s gentle film can count itself as one of the best treatments of that universe-spawning question: “what if?”

When her family moves from Seoul to Canada, teenage Na Young bids a loaded farewell to classmate Hae Sung and changes her name to Nora. Years later, they reconnect online and discover the spark still burns between them. This is no idealistic romance, though: Past Lives is told with sober candor. Song acknowledges real obstacles standing in the way of a relationship between the two — those pragmatic (distance) and, more painfully, personal (evolving personalities, American husbands).

Those two threads — unrealized romance and the transmutation of identity that so often takes place after migrating — are expertly entwined in Past Lives to produce a sublime, aching meditation on memory and time, practical love and idealistic romance, and all the complex contradictions that exist in between. That Song communicates so much and so delicately in only her first film makes Past Lives all the more stunning.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: An Min-yeong, An Min-young, Chang Ki-ha, Chase Sui Wonders, Choi Won-young, Emily Cass McDonnell, Federico Rodriguez, Greta Lee, Hwang Seung-eon, Isaac Powell, Jack Alberts, Jane Yubin Kim, Jay Karales, John Magaro, Jojo T. Gibbs, Kristen Sieh, Moon Seung-a, Moon Seung-ah, Park Jun-hyuk, Seo Yeon-woo, Shin Hee-cheol, Teo Yoo, Yim Seung-min, Yoon Ji-hye

Director: Celine Song

Rating: PG-13

Some films struggle to balance style with substance, but Problemista isn’t one of them. It’s brandished with Torres’ unique brand of surrealist aesthetic, which is colorful, freakish, and fun, while also accurately relaying the pains of coming to and making it in America as an outsider. We see Alejandro accept increasingly debasing gigs as he runs out of time and money in the deep maze that is America’s immigration bureaucracy. And all the while, he’s being both genuinely funny and painfully incisive. Torres is not the first person to point out that in this day and age, the monsters we face are overbearing employers, greedy bankers, and exploitative companies, but he just might be one of the few to do it with such imaginative grace.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Amy Zimmer, Bardia Salimi, Brian Belovitch, Carlos E. Navedo, Catalina Saavedra, Charlene Incarnate, Eudora Peterson, Glo Tavarez, Greta Lee, Greta Titelman, Isabella Rossellini, Jack P. Raymond, James Scully, Jason Furlani, Jordan Mendoza, Julio Torres, Kelly McCormack, Laith Nakli, Larry Owens, Logan J. Alarcon-Poucel, Megan Stalter, Miles G. Jackson, Paul Cooper, Roman Maldonado, Ronald Peet, Ruba Thérèse Mansouri, RZA, Sandra Caldwell, Shakina Nayfack, Sheila Moikangoa, Spike Einbinder, Theo Maltz, Tilda Swinton

Director: Julio Torres

Rating: R

Despite the amusing specificity of its title, this lovely documentary from director Les Blank is really for all of us. Through the example of gap teeth — a physical feature many of the participants here report being made to feel self-conscious about — the film makes a rallying call to embrace ourselves and all of our physical “flaws.”

A big part of what makes this film so heartening is that so many of the women featured here (including model Lauren Hutton) have come out on the other side of loathing their gap teeth, giving us a tangible example of what it looks like to love yourself in spite of other people’s opinions about your body. What’s more, even within a limited runtime, Blank finds space to devote to exploring other aspects of the featured women’s lives — their art, professions, religious practices — and thereby quietly expands the film’s focus from physical beauty and onto the myriad beauties of life itself. It’s an ironic pleasure that Gap-Toothed Women ultimately refuses to define its subjects by the very feature described in its title, and instead gives us this life-affirming shot of wisdom for the ages.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Lauren Hutton, Lauren Moore, Sandra Day O'Connor

Director: Les Blank

You would expect a courtroom drama to be built around damning pieces of evidence, passionate speeches, or certain social issues lending weight to the investigation. But what makes Justine Triet's Palme d'Or-winning Anatomy of a Fall so remarkable is how direct it is. Triet doesn't treat this case like a puzzle for the audience to participate in solving; instead she fashions this trial into a portrait of a family being eroded by even just the suggestion of distrust. It ultimately has far less to do with who's responsible for the death of a man, and more to do with the challenge of facing the reality that the people we love are capable of being cruel and callous to others.

Which isn't to say that Anatomy of a Fall doesn't still possess qualities that make it a great courtroom drama—doubt only continues to pile up with every new piece of information that's revealed to the audience, until we begin to interpret characters' expressions and actions in a contradictory ways. But the way Triet executes these reveals is just so skillful, choosing precisely how to let details slip and obscuring everything behind faulty memory, intentional dishonesty, or any other obstacles that usually come up during an investigation.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Alexandre Bertrand, Anne Rotger, Anne-Lise Heimburger, Antoine Bueno, Antoine Reinartz, Arthur Harari, Camille Rutherford, Christophe Devaux, Cyril Karenine, Emmanuelle Jourdan, Florent Chasseloup, Iliès Kadri, Isaac Abballah, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Jehnny Beth, Judicaël Ajorque, Kareen Guiock, Laura Balasuriya, Maud Martin, Milo Machado-Graner, Nesrine Slaoui, Nicholas Angelo, Nola Jolly, Pierre-François Garel, Saadia Bentaïeb, Sacha Wolff, Samuel Theis, Sandra Hüller, Sandrine Chastagnol, Savannah Rol, Sophie Fillières, Swann Arlaud, Wajdi Mouawad

Director: Justine Triet

Rating: R

Even a straightforward documentary on the New York East Village visual artist David Wonjarowicz (pronounced VOY-nuh-ROH-vitch) would be thrilling, given the energy and the irreverence of his artworks especially during the AIDS epidemic from the 1980s to the 1990s. But director Chris McKim goes above and beyond, essentially imagining how Wojnarowicz would have directed his own film. McKim treats the movie like a collage in itself, expertly blending footage and sound together not just to capture the artist's fury, but to remember how deeply he loved, transcending space and sickness. As an account of the underground New York art scene at the time, a profile on a supposed enfant terrible, and a tribute to all those who lost their lives to a disease accelerated by discrimination, Wojnarowicz is a beautiful, complex tapestry.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: David Wojnarowicz, Fran Lebowitz, Nan Goldin

Director: Chris McKim

Bill Forsyth, an acclaimed Scottish director best known for his films Local Hero and Gregory’s Girl, directs an underrated masterpiece with the 1987 drama Housekeeping. Adapted from Marilynne Robinson’s outstanding novel, Housekeeping is the story of two sisters, Ruthie and Lucille, who are orphaned and raised by their peculiar Aunt Sylvie. 

As the young sisters grow apart, Ruthie gravitates toward her transient aunt. This is a movie about not quite fitting in—about feeling like your life exists just outside of modern time, somewhere off to the side of railroad tracks running over frozen water. Sylvie shows Ruthie that there is more to life than their small, cold town of Fingerbone. In fact, there is a whole world out there, calling to misfits like them.

Housekeeping is deftly directed, balancing both humor and tragedy. Christine Lahti’s performance is also, with no exaggeration, one of the greatest of all times, as she conveys so much of Sylvie’s yearning to go, go, go with as little as a glance toward the beckoning horizon.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Andrea Burchill, Anne Pitoniak, Betty Phillips, Bill Smillie, Bob Hughes, Brian Linds, Christine Lahti, Dolores Drake, Georgie Collins, Karen Elizabeth Austin, Leah Penny, Margot Pinvidic, Sara Walker, Sheila Paterson, Wayne Robson

Director: Bill Forsyth

Rating: PG

With a title like this, it was expected that Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World would be critical of today’s current circumstances, but the film takes a more startling approach. Radu Jude’s longest narrative feature is a day in the life of a disgruntled, underpaid production assistant, and as she drives between interviewees injured from work accidents, the film alternates between the black-and-white, terribly mundane reality, her Tiktok-filtered satirical rants as Bobiță, and an old colored film of a Romania decades past. It's a cynical depiction of how vulgar it is to be alive today, but it’s also more honest as Jude refuses to cling to the past.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Adina Cristescu, Adrian Nicolae, Andi Vasluianu, Dorina Lazăr, Ilinca Manolache, Ioana Iacob, Katia Pascariu, László Miske, Nicodim Ungureanu, Nina Hoss, Ovidiu Pîrșan, Rodica Negrea, Șerban Pavlu, Uwe Boll

Director: Radu Jude

Warm and nourishing as the film's cuisine, Soul Food is a celebration of the modern African-American family, represented here by the Josephs. The Chicagoan family has a longstanding tradition of making dinner together every Sunday—a ritual, we’re told, that's lasted for at least 40 years. However, when the matriarch Big Mama Joe gets hospitalized, the simmering tension between her daughters boils over and threatens to break them apart. Many of the struggles they go through are familiar but not cliché, as writer-director George Tillman Jr. draws from his own experiences in a close-knit, extended family. So even if some plot lines feel unresolved, the film is well-paced, soulfully scored, and evenly balanced between the three sisters. Like the food cooked on-screen, this movie will still leave you hungering for more.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Brandon Hammond, Gina Ravera, Irma P. Hall, Jeffrey D. Sams, John M. Watson Sr., Marcia Wright, Mekhi Phifer, Mel Jackson, Michael Beach, Nia Long, Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Rating: R

For the longest time, it was always about how wrestling was affected by David Arquette; this documentary finally turns it around and asks how Arquette was affected by pro wrestling. We get interviews from his family that mostly look down on his silly wrestling phase; and from established wrestling personalities that, despite dated fan perceptions, welcome him at every turn. We really get in the weeds of Arquette’s motivations, anxieties, and training for a comeback tour on the indies. The audio levels may be a little erratic, but the intangible rawness combined with its polished nature make this a very fitting film for the wild man.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: André Roussimoff, Aurelian Smith Jr., Bill Goldberg, Billy Corgan, Booker Huffman, Brett Giehl, Brian Yandrisovitz, Brian Zachary Pillman, Chris Jericho, Chris Klucsarits, Conan O'Brien, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, David Penzer, Dusty Rhodes, Elizabeth Hulette, Ellen DeGeneres, Eric Bischoff, George Murdoch, Harvey Levin, Hulk Hogan, Jack Perry, James Ellsworth Morris, Jay Leno, Jeffrey Jarrett, Jerome Saganovich, Jerome Young, Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, Jim Fullington, Joe Rogan, Joseph Ryan Meehan, Julian Micevski, Karen Yu, Ken Anderson, Kevin Nash, Kurt Russell, Lewis Arquette, Luke Perry, Mark LoMonaco, Maxwell Friedman, Michael Lee Alfonso, Mick Foley, Monty Sopp, Mr. T, Nathan Blauvelt, Nicholas W. Wilson, Noah Nelms, Oprah Winfrey, Page Falkinburg Jr., Patricia Arquette, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Richmond Arquette, Rob Strauss, Rosanna Arquette, Scott Colton, Scott Hall, Tony Schiavone, Vince Russo, Wendy Williams

Director: David Darg, Price James

Rating: R

Set in the British colonial era, Captain Miller is more unapologetically violent than its counterparts, but it’s not mindlessly so. Sure, the film has plenty of spectacle with numerous battles between townsfolk versus British colonialists, some scenes having gruesome, gory deaths. But in between these battles is Dhanush as the central character, contemplating the oppression from his fellow countrymen, the dignity denied to him from both the colony and more privileged locals, and the choices he chooses to make in spite of this. It’s not a straightforward bad versus good anti-colonial film like RRR, and it may not be as emotionally compelling, but Captain Miller is certainly a unique take on British colonialism with all of director Arun Matheswaran’s signature style.

Genre: Action, Adventure, War

Actor: Abdool Lee, Aditi Balan, Alexx O'Nell, Ashwin Kumar, Bose Venkat, Dhanush, Edward Sonnenblick, Elango Kumaravel, Jayaprakash, John Kokken, Kaali Venkat, Mark Bennington, Nivedhithaa Sathish, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Shivaraj Kumar, Sumesh Moor, Sundeep Kishan, Swayam Siddha, Viji Chandrasekhar, Vinoth Kishan

Director: Arun Matheswaran

The Bloody Hundredth was produced as an accompaniment to fellow Apple TV+ production Masters of the Air, and it shows. In writing and editing, it doesn’t feel grand enough to stand on its own despite having big stars like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg come in and lend their presence. That said, it’s still a compelling story, made even more valuable by the real-life heroes who recall their experiences onscreen. This, plus the rich archival footage that accompanies them, is what makes an otherwise straightforward documentary well worth watching.

Genre: Documentary, History, War

Actor: Adolf Hitler, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Frank Murphy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Stewart, John 'Lucky' Luckadoo, John A. Clark, Joseph Stalin, Robert 'Rosie' Rosenthal, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Winston Churchill

Director: Laurent Bouzereau, Mark Herzog

Rating: PG-13

If you’re new to the story, I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me feels difficult to understand. The film adaptation portrays the novel through abruptly cut sequences, meticulously framed naturalistic frames, and monologue and dialogue that mean more than what’s being said, on top of Juan Pablo’s gradual descent into a criminal network. It’s as disorienting as being in Barcelona feels for Mexican couple Juan Pablo and Val. However, this film feels like a new approach in adapting novels – the multiple perspectives and epistolary portions adeptly portrayed through typed up screens and alternating perspectives (and direction) between the couple. It doesn’t feel like something that you’ve likely seen before.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Actor: Aimar Vega, Alexis Ayala, Ángel Zermen, Anna Castillo, Ariana Van X, Bel Gris, Bruna Cusí, Carmen Beato, Clara Roquet, Darío Rocas, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Jelen García, Juan Carlos Remolina, Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño, Juan Minujín, Natalia Portnoy, Natalia Solián

Director: Luis Fernando Frías de la Parra

Rating: R

The level of access that A Thousand Cuts gets to both the side of the press and of the administration is ultimately what makes it valuable. By being on the ground with journalists doing honest-to-goodness hard work, the film reframes Duterte's war on drugs (really a campaign to terrorize the poor into submission) as an information war between news outlets and government propaganda. Unfortunately, in the process, the film also winds up excluding the voices of working class people and how they both engage and are engaged by all this information. There should be a way to honor the work of these journalists without accidentally positioning them above the public they serve.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Amal Clooney, George Clooney, Leni Robredo, Maria Ressa, Patricia Evangalista, Pia Ranada

Director: Ramona S. Diaz

As a sluggishly paced, three-hour spiritual drama with little dialogue and even less plot, Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell certainly won't convert anybody who isn't already interested in slow cinema. Even those who don't mind these types of films in which "nothing happens" might feel that it doesn't weave its themes of faith and suffering tightly enough. But there's more than enough beauty to contemplate here, courtesy of Dinh Duy Hung's stunning cinematography, which invites us to simply inhabit the world and to stop looking for answers. This may sound like a copout, but it's quite the experience to have a film force you to rethink how you're viewing it, as you're viewing it.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Le Phong Vu, Nguyen Thi Truc Quynh, Nguyen Thinh, Vu Ngoc Manh

Director: Pham Thien An

, 2024

If there's one thing that Bosco does that's really worth admiring, it's that it works around its lower budget much for effectively than many other films its size. It would be easy to make a prison drama—set mostly between bare walls and corridors—look cheap, but this one clearly puts in the effort to communicate how its protagonist views his claustrophobic surroundings, instead of just aiming for bland realism. That said, the story Bosco tells unfortunately doesn't display the same tightness and elegance. The film tries to articulate itself in a more poetic way but it just ends up being too clean, too measured versus the reality of prison life. And whichever supporting characters pop up are far too underdeveloped to complete the world being presented to us.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Aubrey Joseph, Brandon Rogers, D.C. Young Fly, Darell M. Davie, Jim O'Heir, John Lewis, Nikki Blonsky, Theo Rossi, Thomas Jane, Tory Lanez, Tyrese Gibson, Vivica A. Fox

Director: Nicholas Manuel Pino