With the exceptions of 12 Angry Men and maybe the first two Godfather flicks, I literally can't think of another movie so abundant with exceptional ensemble acting in juicy character roles; you could expand the Oscars' Supporting Actor roster from five nominees to 10 and still pack it solely with deserving Chicago 7 performers.

I think I'm speaking literally when I say that, had The War with Grandpa been released in any other year, I'd probably have found it close to unbearable. But this isn't any other year. And beyond being grateful simply for cineplexes – some of them, at least – staying open these days, I find myself inordinately appreciating the movie-going experience, which turns out to include the sound of other patrons, for 100 minutes, howling with delight at a dopey little comedy.

Despite the bitchiness and anguish inherent in the material, Netflix's new streaming version of The Boys in the Band is one of the very few releases of the last six months that feels absolutely suffused with joy. You won't necessarily find it in the characters, and certainly not in most of the things they say and do. But as a filmed reunion for the cast and director of Broadway's 2018 Tony Award winner – a revival of playwright Matt Crowley's iconic examination of urban gay life in 1968 – there's so much love baked into the presentation that you might find yourself grinning even when situations are at their most dire, and they frequently are.

Although Andrew Cohn's indie dramedy takes a more intriguing turn than you may initially expect, his film is almost pure formula, and formula you're likely familiar with: it's Chico & the Man; it's Superior Donuts; it's every entertainment in which a cranky (white) senior and a sassy upstart (of color) bicker and banter their way to mutual acceptance. But it stars Richard Jenkins, and that alone makes it more worthwhile than this well-meaning diversion might've otherwise been.

No matter how many Thin Red Lines or Person of Interests Jim Caviezel makes, he's always going to be identified as He Who Was Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ – which makes his casting in this political thriller so on-the-nose it may as well be a nostril.

As contemporary romantic comedies go, The Broken Hearts Gallery is like something you'd create from a kit. The instructions are easy to follow, every expected piece is dutifully included, and there's no veering from the manual – what you wind up getting looks remarkably similar to what's pictured on the box. (Or, in this case, the poster.) But a pandemic-era lack of cineplex options can make you inordinately grateful for simple, much-appreciated qualities such as charm and wit and personality, all of which writer/director Natalie Krinsky's debut feature has in abundance.

Given its epically convoluted particulars, cagey metaphysics, and dialogue that's frequently (and most likely intentionally) indecipherable, Christopher Nolan's long-awaited action thriller Tenet boasts a narrative that I couldn't spoil even if I wanted to. And I kind of really want to, if only to explain why, after two-and-a-half hours, my brain was practically bleeding from the strain of trying to figure this thing out.

Writer/director Josh Boone's fledgling-superhero saga The New Mutants is ironically titled considering there's nothing remotely new about it. Not the story, not the storytelling, not the overall crumminess of its execution, and certainly not the film itself, which was originally planned for release in the spring of 2018, and then was delayed and re-scheduled and delayed and re-scheduled until it was finally unleashed, like a sacrificial lamb, on August 28.

Even though I didn't really care for either offering during my first double-feature since March, I wouldn't have traded the collective three-and-a-half hours of Unhinged and Words on Bathroom Walls for anything. Except, maybe, for better scripts.

The following five films from 1957 to 1985 were all the first feature-length releases by directors who have been, or were, significant cinematic forces for more than 30 consecutive years. Don't even try fighting me over inclusion three, because you know you love it, too. Um … right?

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