'Knives Out,' 'Clemency' and 14 more critics' picks to watch at home

'Knives Out,' 'Clemency' and 14 more critics' picks to watch at home

From the An in-depth guide to keeping yourself (and your family) entertained at home series

Movie recommendations from Los Angeles Times critics Justin Chang (J.C.) and Kenneth Turan (K.T.). Titles are available on video-on-demand (VOD) platforms or streaming services as noted.


"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" - A deeply moving companion piece to last year's "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Marielle Heller's subtly directed drama casts an excellent Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers and Matthew Rhys as a cynical journalist who is transformed by their encounter. (J.C.) PG. VOD

"Clemency" - Chinonye Chukwu's gripping movie, starring Alfre Woodard as a death-row prison warden, is a sterling piece of American realism, powered by the transfixing spectacle of a great actor at the peak of her powers. (J.C.) R. VOD


Actress Alfre Woodard says she became interested in acting early due to her family's enjoyment of storytelling. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

"Dark Waters" - If this story of a whistleblower attorney, who worked for more than 20 years to expose decades of heedless environmental contamination, sounds familiar, to a certain extent it is. But this film is not business as usual, with the presence of director Todd Haynes and star Mark Ruffalo the key reasons why. (K.T.) PG-13. VOD

"Emma" - A very satisfying new version of Jane Austen's sprightly novel has been directed in high style by Autumn de Wilde, making her feature debut, with a shrewd selection of gifted young performers, starting with Anya Taylor-Joy, very different than in her breakthrough role in Robert Eggers' "The Witch," in the title role. (K.T.) PG. VOD

"Ford v Ferrari" - A barnburner of a motion picture that mainlines heart-in-mouth excitement and tug-at-the-heart emotion in a career-defining effort by director James Mangold, this glorious throwback combines a smart, modern sensibility with the best of traditional storytelling, plus sterling acting by stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale and a tip-top supporting cast. (K.T.) PG-13. VOD


Christian Bale and Sibi Blazic arrive at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

"Hustlers" - A movie about the seductions of the flesh and the satisfactions of a well-executed con, it reconfigures Jennifer Lopez's cinematic image with brazen intelligence and purpose as she gives her most electrifying screen performance since "Out of Sight." Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria. (J.C.) R. VOD


LOS ANGELES, CA - January 19, 2020: Jennifer Lopez arriving at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on Sunday, January 19, 2020. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times/TNS)

"I Lost My Body" - As inventive a piece of animation as you're likely to see, this extraordinary film is about a hand with a mind of its own, and if that sounds a little crazy, this dark, strange and altogether wonderful feature will make you believe. Directed by France's Jeremy Clapin. (K.T.) NR. Netflix


The Oscar-nominated, French animated feature "I Lost My Body." (Netflix)

"The Invisible Man" - Led by a superb Elisabeth Moss, this Universal reboot of a classic horror title is a gaslighting thriller expertly retooled by writer-director Leigh Whannell for the era of #MeToo. (J.C.) Available Friday on VOD

"The Irishman" - Its possibly true story of the life and crimes of a Mafia hitman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, is a revelation, as intoxicating a movie as the year has seen, allowing director Martin Scorsese to use his expected mastery of all elements of filmmaking to ends we did not see coming. (K.T.) R. Netflix


Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is both defender and confidante to Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) in "The Irishman." (Netflix/TNS)

"Knives Out" - Rian Johnson's deliriously entertaining country-house murder mystery brings together a splendid cast (led by Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas), an ingenious script and a razor-sharp indictment of class inequality and moral rot in contemporary America. (J.C.) PG-13. VOD

"Little Women" - As written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring a transcendent Saoirse Ronan, the seventh and latest big-screen version of Louisa May Alcott's novel is here and it's a pip, with its strong, unmistakable message and even stronger emotions reinforcing each other to splendid effect. (K.T.) PG. VOD


Crane Beach on Ipswich Bay in Massachusetts is where the seaside scenes in "Little Women" were filmed, such as this one featuring, from left, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen as the March sisters. (Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures/TNS)

"The Lighthouse" - Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe give towering performances as a pair of feuding 19th century lightkeepers in this mad, magnificently crafted New England gothic from "The Witch" writer-director Robert Eggers. (J.C.) R. VOD

"Marriage Story" - An emotionally lacerating experience, a nearly flawless elegy for a beautifully flawed couple played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, both in peak form. Writer-director Noah Baumbach, a peerless observer of domestic pettiness and passive-aggressive behavior, puts every unflattering detail under his dramatic microscope. (J.C.) R. Netflix


"Marriage Story," starring Scarlett Johansson, left, and Adam Driver, is nominated for Best Picture and available to stream on Netflix.

"Parasite" - Winner of the best picture Oscar and Cannes' Palme d'Or, Bong Joon Ho's deviously entertaining thriller about two very different families is an ingenious weave of domestic dark comedy, class allegory and, ultimately, devastating tragedy. (J.C.) R. VOD

"The Two Popes" - Who knew that serious talk about the future of the Catholic Church could be the source of so much fun? Written by Anthony McCarten, directed by Fernando Meirelles and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, this sprightly film offers spirited conversations as well as a playful side. (K.T.) PG-13 Netflix


Jonathan Pryce portrays Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio/Pope Francis in the movie “The Two Popes.” Pryce was nominated for a Best Actor award for his portrayal opposite of Anthony Hopkins (Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict), who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award. [Peter Mountain/Netflix]

"Uncut Gems" - Adam Sandler gives the performance of his career as a Manhattan jewelry dealer and gambling addict pinballing from one bad decision to the next in Josh and Benny Safdie's relentlessly tense thriller. (J.C.) R. VOD

"Waves" - Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown and Renee Elise Goldsberry play a South Florida family weathering tragedy in this emotionally turbulent, formally astonishing drama from writer-director Trey Edward Shults ("Krisha"). (J.C.) R. VOD

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