4 Movies Like Silent Night (2023)

Staff & contributors

Despite what its title suggests, the real thrill of this documentary isn’t the mysterious 1998 robbery of a royal Austrian jewel, but the many other criminal escapades of Gerald Blanchard’s that are chronicled here. Blanchard, who appears on camera for much of the doc, remains cagey (for legal reasons) about how exactly he orchestrated the titular crime, but even if he divulged his secrets, the jewel theft pales in comparison to his earlier exploits: his ballsy teenage shoplifting, slippery escapes from police custody, and subsequent spree of audacious bank heists.

The Jewel Thief benefits from a wealth of remarkable footage thanks to Blanchard's penchant for videotaping his criminal antics. This exhibitionist tendency is corroborated by testimonies from the many other interviewees featured here, including the two policemen who received taunting photos of Blanchard’s loot during their years-long cat-and-mouse chase. As indicated by the opening titles — “This is a true story… Mostly” — Blanchard also has a tendency to embellish his stories, which makes the fact-checking provided by these other participants a wise inclusion by the filmmakers. Ultimately, though, having such an unreliable subject isn’t a handicap — it’s a blessing, giving the documentary a winkingly ludicrous edge that helps it stand out in an overstuffed genre.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Director: Landon Van Soest

Rating: R

The big ideas swirling at the center of The Creator are about human heartlessness versus AI compassion, man’s coldness versus robot warmth. Unfortunately, the movie winds up being an unwitting example of the former: visual effects take precedence over emotion here, meaning you rarely feel any of the intended poignancy of this story about a soldier driven between warring sides by love.

Part of that effect might be because the premise is an iffy one to swallow, as The Creator drops during a time when the once-theoretical threats posed by AI start to become disconcertingly real. But mostly, the sterile feeling of the film is a product of the writing, as a shallow script prevents most of the cast from ever making their characters compelling. Though its lifelike effects are something to marvel at, The Creator never quite convinces us that any of its humans are real — a pretty gaping flaw for a movie that wants to sell us on the idea that robots might one day be sentient.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Allison Janney, Amar Chadha-Patel, Anjana Ghogar, Brett Bartholomew, Brett Parks, Chananticha Chaipa, Charlie McElveen, Dana Blouin, Eoin O'Brien, Gemma Chan, Ian Verdun, Jeb Kreager, John David Washington, Karen Aldridge, Ken Watanabe, Leanna Chea, Mackenzie Lansing, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Marc Menchaca, Mariam Khummaung, Mav Kang, Michael Esper, Monthatip Suksopha, Natthaphong Chaiyawong, Niko Rusakov, Pat Skelton, Pongsanart Vinsiri, Rad Pereira, Ralph Ineson, Robbie Tann, Sahatchai Chumrum, Sawanee Utoomma, Scott Thomas, Sturgill Simpson, Syd Skidmore, Teerawat Mulvilai, Veronica Ngo

Director: Gareth Edwards

Rating: PG-13

, 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

Less homage to Star Wars than it is a pastiche of that cultural juggernaut, a strong sense of déjà vu hangs over Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon. Unfortunately, in plainly appealing to the memory of its vastly superior inspiration so many times, it inadvertently reminds viewers of how much better its muse is. There are far too many direct copycat scenes here for Rebel Moon to craft anything like an identity of its own, but its derivativeness might be forgivable were it not so self-consciously, humorlessly straining for epicness.

Rebel Moon rises with narration from Anthony Hopkins and an operatic score — a promise of grandness it never lives up to. At two-hours-plus, this dreadnought announces its lofty ambitions for future franchise status at every turn, but never once earns it: the dialogue is creakingly expository and the acting is spotty, ultimately making it feel like the film has lazily assumed it's already secured all the interest it needs to justify a potential two further sequels and a galaxy of tie-in media. Though there are bright spots that suggest an actual movie lurks somewhere deep within its 134 minutes, Rebel Moon instead feels like a laborious couple of hours of scene-setting that arrogantly banks on you returning for more, despite doing little to deserve any more of your time.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Actor: Adam J. Smith, Alexander Ward, Alfonso Herrera, Anthony Hopkins, Bae Doona, Ben Geurens, Bonnie Morgan, Brandon Auret, Brett Robert Culbert, Caden Dragomer, Carolyne Chen, Cary Elwes, Charity Witt, Charlie Hunnam, Charlotte Maggi, Christine Kellogg-Darrin, Christopher Matthew Cook, Cleopatra Coleman, Cody Banta, Colby Lemmo, Corey Stoll, Danielle Burgio, Derek Mears, Djimon Hounsou, Dominic Burgess, Douglas Tait, Dustin Ceithamer, E. Duffy, Ed Skrein, Elise Duffy, Elizabeth Martinez, Fra Fee, Francis Ngannou, Gary Nohealii, Giovanni Lopes, Greg Kriek, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Isabella Brenza, James William O'Halloran, Jena Malone, Jordan Coleman, Josefine Lindegaard, Kayden Alexander Koshelev, Kendall Wells, Kingston Foster, Mark Steger, Matt Nolan, Max Pescherine, Michael James Bell, Michiel Huisman, Mingus Johnston, Napoleon Ryan, Patrick Luwis, Raphael Corkhill, Ray Fisher, Ray Porter, Rhian Rees, Richard Cetrone, Robbie Jarvis, Rory Gibson, Sam Bass, Sam Stinson, Samantha Win, Savanna Gann, Scott Subiono, Simon Potter, Sisse Marie, Sky Yang, Sofia Boutella, Staz Nair, Stella Grace Fitzgerald, Steven Allen, Stuart Martin, Thomas Ohrstrom, Tony Amendola

Director: Zack Snyder

Rating: PG-13