7 Movies Like Night Swim (2024)

Staff & contributors

Art is a hobby for most people, but for musician Jon Batiste and writer Suleika Jaouad, art is part and parcel of this thing called life. Of course, it’s part of their work, and it’s how they make a livelihood, but it’s more than that– it’s almost a spiritual ritual they cling to, especially when Jaouad finds out that her leukemia has returned. American Symphony mainly depicts the creation of said orchestral work, but director Matthew Heineman translates the symphony into cinematic form, culminating in a performance played over the intimate moments between Batiste and Jaouad. It’s not just a documentary of a performance, but a documentary about art, about creation despite life’s pains, perhaps to survive life’s pains. It’s a powerful work that makes it easy to believe in art as imperative for life, and vice versa.

Genre: Documentary, Music

Actor: Anna Wintour, Billie Eilish, James Taylor, Jon Batiste, Jonathan Dinklage, Justin Bieber, Lenny Kravitz, Louis Cato, Questlove, Simon Helberg, Stephen Colbert, Stevie Wonder, Suleika Jaouad, Trevor Noah

Director: Matthew Heineman

Rating: PG-13

While not having world-ending stakes or large-scale operations, Sixty Minutes just works as an action movie. Sure, the plot is familiar and a little far fetched, but the film maximizes the potential of its premise, with excellently choreographed fight sequences working in tandem with the cinematography to reflect the MMA fighter leading the movie. Each moment isn’t wasted, with the action escalating each time Octa finds out about the hidden information kept from him about the match he’s planned to skip, and the film easily keeps track of his journey through neon-lit stopwatch faces and maps. And when we (and Octa) feel tired from all the fighting, the film ends right on time after sixty (and twenty nine) minutes.

Genre: Action, Drama

Actor: Alain Blazevic, Aristo Luis, Balázs Megyeri, Bettina Hoppe, Bruno Salgueiro, Dennis Mojen, Emilio Sakraya, Eniko Fulop, Florian Schmidtke, Georg Blumreiter, Harry Szovik, Janna Striebeck, José Barros, Laurent Winkler, Livia Matthes, Ludger Bökelmann, Marie Mouroum, Mehmet Ateşçi, Morik Heydo, Nyamandi Adrian, Paul Wollin, Philipp Droste, Steffen Jung, Tatjana Šojić, Tayssir Khalfallah, Vassilis Koukalani

Director: Oliver Kienle

Rating: R

, 2023

Rewind picks up rather quickly with a marriage montage, invoking the infamous first 10 minutes of Up. But this is no classic Pixar tearjerker. This is a good old-fashioned Pinoy telenovela romance, featuring a life-changing car accident, a saint-like child, and an emotionally dead relationship. It explores a premise anyone can instantly connect with, which challenges the comforting notion that a quick burst of reparations makes up for a lifetime of errors. This touching story leaves little room for downtime, but every minute coasts on cheesy writing and a religious slant to deliver a didactic message straight out of a mildly entertaining homily.

Genre: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction

Actor: Ariel Ureta, Chamyto Aguedan, Coney Reyes, Dingdong Dantes, Ina Feleo, JC Alcantara, Jordan Lim, Joross Gamboa, Lito Pimentel, Marian Rivera, Mary Joy Apostol, Neil Coleta, Pamu Pamorada, Pepe Herrera, Sue Ramirez

Director: Mae Cruz-Alviar

Besides the futuristic tech that pops in and out, there’s not a lot about The Kitchen that signals it as a sci-fi film. Neglected housing projects and violent raids have become too common to count as dystopian, so it often feels like The Kitchen could’ve gone without labeling itself as part of the genre (the real world is bad enough). But underneath those layers is a subtle but sublimely tender story about father and son finding each other amid the rubble of real life. First-time directors Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, The Black Panther) and Kibwe Tavares delicately balance the personal and the political, never undermining the former as many socially aware films do. If Kaluuya and Tavares had fleshed the world it built a little more and removed the parts, such as the sci-fi elements, that did not work out, then Izi and Benji’s story would have been memorably devastating, instead of just affecting.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: BACKROAD GEE, Demmy Ladipo, Ewart James Walters, Fiona Marr, Henry Lawfull, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Ian Wright, Jedaiah Bannerman, Kane Robinson, Karen Williams, Lola-Rose Maxwell, Neville Watson, Rasaq Kukoyi, Rhys Yates

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Rating: R

After being blindsided by the trailer, it’s no wonder the newest Mean Girls shocked cinema viewers who were just expecting a rehashed version of the original, rather than a film version of the Broadway musical hit. This version misses some moments, like the iconic four-way phone call, and some of the numbers were staged quite strangely, but all-in-all, this film was not that bad. It still captures the core of the original, making the message of being one’s self more clearer, while making some updates to better match its new and younger audience. Mean Girls might still be trying to make fetch happen, but it’s still fun enough to watch, especially with its talented cast.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Allison Winn, Angourie Rice, Ashley Park, Auli'i Cravalho, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Ben Wang, Brian Altemus, Busy Philipps, Christopher Briney, Connor Ratliff, Gabriella Cila, Jaquel Spivey, Jazz Jennings, Jenna Fischer, Jon Hamm, Lindsay Lohan, Mahi Alam, Megan Thee Stallion, Nia Sioux, Reneé Rapp, Sofia Dobrushin, Tim Meadows, Tina Fey, Vanessa Merrell, Veronica Merrell-Burriss

Director: Arturo Perez Jr., Samantha Jayne

Rating: PG-13

Known best for his horror films, writer-director Christopher Smith’s latest stint in the genre has dropped on Hulu. Consecration is one of many supernatural horror films set in convents and churches, as the Catholic Church’s notorious silence is easy fodder for potential fears. There’s some of that here, as Grace, portrayed by the excellent Jena Malone, tries to uncover the truth, not just for her brother’s murder but for her own past. However, there’s no secrecy in this murder mystery with the dialogue holding no subtlety at all. Even as the cast makes the most of it, Consecration drags down any possible tension or intrigue with its painfully straightforward dialogue and incoherent timeline shifts.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Actor: Alexandra Lewis, Angela White, Charlotte Palmer, Danny Huston, Ian Pirie, Janet Suzman, Jena Malone, Kit Rakusen, Marilyn O'Brien, Steffan Cennydd, Thoren Ferguson, Will Keen

Director: Christopher Smith

Rating: R

After a strong first act that has lots of fun playing with fake identities donned by its characters (and with a particularly entertaining supporting turn from Bill Nighy), Role Play slows down significantly and only ends up spinning its wheels. In its attempt to inject some more drama into the central relationship between Anna (who goes by Emma with her family) and Dave, the film articulates itself awkwardly, overemphasizes the obvious, and loses precious time for the plot develop in interesting ways. By the third act, Role Play practically teleports itself into entirely new circumstances, where the emotional stakes are neither high enough or clear enough to begin with.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

Actor: Angus McGruther, Bill Nighy, Connie Nielsen, Cornell Adams, David Oyelowo, Dominic Holmes, Jade-Eleena Dregorius, Jonathan Failla, Julia Schunevitsch, Kaley Cuoco, Lucia Aliu, Moritz Berg, Rudi Dharmalingam, Simon Delaney, Sonita Henry, Stacy Thunes, Steffen Jung, Stephanie Levi-John

Director: Thomas Vincent

Rating: R