You never really know what you’re gonna get until you actually hit that ‘play’ button and start watching. So, unless you dedicate the time and patience to read up on some decent reviews or ask around, it’s a matter of a hit or miss. But, truth be told, reading up on reviews does serve its purpose, because you’ll be getting an idea of what to expect. And let’s face it, basing one’s decision on other people’s experience isn’t such a ground-breaking idea.

Reviews are written for all sorts of products or services. There are entire websites dedicated to this, not only to inform potential customers, but also to provide them with a holistic overview. Even if one of your hobbies happens to be online gambling, there are tons of reviews to go through, if you want to make an informed decision, that is. Take this Bonus Boss Casino Review as an example: it’s exhaustive, yet easy to read, explains the provider’s good features and ones which can be improved.

Of course, with the not-so-great movies, once they’re released the only way producers and actors can redeem themselves is through a sequel, assuming viewers would want to take the risk of wasting a couple of hours of their lives again. However, the movies we’re reviewing in this article do not fall into that category. In fact, we’re spotlighting seven movies that stand out not just as decent but as the cream of this year’s cinematic crop, greatly exceeding our expectations.

 1. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

This film is a heartfelt adaptation of Judy Blume’s 1970 novel. The story follows Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson), a young girl who is dealing with her parents’ differing religions. She talks to God about her emotions and thoughts.

The movie pleasantly surprised viewers with its exceptional humor and charm. It did way better than expected, even though it didn’t feature big-name stars. Abby Ryder Fortson’s clever portrayal really shines, and although Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates are part of the cast, the movie doesn’t rely on a star-studded ensemble to make us laugh. This movie stands as one of those great comedy films with actors who might not be super-known.

2. You Hurt My Feelings

Surprising audiences, the A24 comedy-drama You Hurt My Feelings features Beth and Dan, a seemingly content married couple. Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is taken aback when she accidentally overhears her husband (Tobias Menzes from Game of Thrones and The Crown) bluntly criticizing her latest work to his friend (Arian Moayed from “Succession). This revelation shakes her trust, leading her to doubt herself and her latest book.

Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023, the movie showcases Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s knack for surprising us with her witty and funny performances. We all remember her from her big hits like Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep, and it’s refreshing to see that her comic talent and impeccable timing are still on point. Critics are even saying that You Hurt My Feelings is one of the best movies of 2023.

3. Knock At The Cabin

Adapted from the novel “Cabin at the End of the World”, this film follows a group’s journey to a remote cabin, only to be visited by four strangers. These strangers claim they’ve been sent to forewarn the group about an upcoming apocalypse. Leonard (Dave Bautista), their leader, talks about a world taken over by darkness and a devastating pandemic. He says he was sent by some mysterious power to find this family, but he cannot quite come to grips with the purpose of this mission.

You never really know what to expect with M. Night Shyamalan recent movies. Sometimes they have and allegorical and eerie theme to them, but other times they can feel confusing and trying too hard to be meaningful. So, Knock at the Cabin could have easily gone in that confusing direction. Surprisingly, however, while not the year’s standout, the film proves quite solid, boasting profound symbolism, compelling acting, and a satisfactory final twist.

4. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons & Dragons has been on a wild ride. It all started back in 2013 when there were legal battles between Warner Bros. Pictures and Universal Pictures for the game’s rights. After lots of changes in writers and directors, the film finally came out in March 2023, thanks to Paramount Pictures.

Despite its rocky history, Honor Among Thieves turned out to be a great adventure film. With contributions from Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Rege-Jean Page, the movie achieved $200 million in box office success. While it might not be breaking any records like the biggest blockbusters, and a sequel might not be in the cards, it definitely proved people wrong. Not bad for a movie based on a board game, especially when we remember how bad adaptations like Battlefield Earth can be.

5. Plane

Plane takes audiences on a gripping ride with Gerard Butler as Brodie Torrance, an airplane pilot facing an extraordinary mission. Attempting a shortcut from Singapore to Tokyo across the South China Sea, Brodie gets caught in a fierce storm, leading to an emergency landing in hostile Philippine terrain. As tensions rise, Brodie must take charge, heading into the jungle and confronting rebels determined to disrupt his passengers’ safety.

Despite its turbulent production history, spanning over five years, Plane defied expectations as a gripping thriller, with Butler shining through in his performance, reminding everyone of his status as a prominent figure in Hollywood. The best part is that the movie’s modest $25m budget has proven well-spent, having impressively doubled its earnings within six months of release. That’s proof that it became way more successful than anyone expected.

6. Beau Is Afraid

In Ari Aster’s A24 film Beau is Afraid, led by Joaquin Phoenix, the story follows Beau, a man overcome by paranoia due to his rough neighborhood. When he steps out to attend his mother’s funeral, he becomes more aware of the severity of his delusions, which are clearly getting worse with each passing day. In fact, you’ll probably spend the film trying to decipher which parts are actually happening and which parts are only taking place inside the protagonist’s head.

The movie subverted audiences’ expectations in a couple of ways. Unlike Aster’s previous works, it merged comedy, drama, and horror in a unique blend, leading to mixed reactions from critics. While some appreciated Aster’s creative departure, others longed for a more straightforward psychological horror akin to Midsommar. Furthermore, Beau is Afraid took an unexpected turn by failing to recoup its $35 million budget, only earning $11 million at the box office by June 2023.

 7. Air

In this movie, Matt Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, a Nike talent scout who is challenged by CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) to find a star who can bring the company back to life. With the basketball shoe division facing closure, Vaccaro sets his sights on Michael Jordan, a rising basketball sensation who was the 3rd overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft.

Even though Air” might seem like a movie designed as a promotional tool for Nike’s shoes, the exceptional performances by Damon, Affleck, Jason Bateman, and Viola Davis, defy expectations. The movie goes beyond that and offers a compelling exploration of America’s sports fixation during the 1980s and 1990s. Air also does sa fantastic job of staying true to the real story.

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