Every month, Film Comment highlights some new (and old) films that we feel deserve a little extra  attention.

Ad Astra (James Gray, 2019) by Jonathan Romney

“Ad Astra uses science fiction for very intimate, personal purposes—and what’s distinctive about this gripping, sometimes preposterous film is the way that Gray sticks his neck out to balance the demands of intimacy and wham-bam spectacle.”


Monos (Alejandro Landes, 2019) by Devika Girish

“Any answer to how these adolescents got here is constantly deferred or denied, and the action teeters uneasily between menace and mirth: moments of violence turn out to be displays of joy and affection, the distinctions blurred by war’s ravages on unformed, pubescent minds.”


Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar, 2019) by Many Yañez Murillo

“Despite the reported amount of self-references and apparent dualities—between avatars and real people, and between different incarnations of the same character—Pain and Glory is probably Almodóvar’s most cohesive movie, a remarkable accomplishment since the narrative doesn’t rely on stylistic mannerisms, a baroque take on melodrama, or self-reflexive meta-artifices.”


Midnight Traveler (Hassan Fazili, 2019) by Kelli Weston

Fazili’s poetic account of his family’s desperate cross-country search for asylum is an instance of cinema as a political act, as Fazili and his wife, Fatima, also a filmmaker, embark with their two daughters on a perilous three-year journey across Europe.”


The Laundromat (Steven Soderbergh, 2019) by Nicolas Rapold

“Written by Scott Z. Burns, with Soderbergh co-producing, shooting, and editing (at his most centripetal), The Laundromat is a star-powered, experimental wake-up call, which chutes-and-ladders its way to distraction but keeps its eyes on the prize.”