We all love going to the movies to see the next big-budget, high profile blockbuster that Hollywood has to offer. However, some of the most rewarding movie-going experiences come out of taking the time to seek out the flicks that often fall through the cracks, which may be smaller in scale, but big in everything else imaginable. The following are a few titles heading to AMC Theatres in 2024 that have hit our radar for their potential to be some of the year’s most refreshing hidden gems.
A filmmaker behind some of the most important stories told in cinema and on television alike is Ava DuVernay. After making her feature-length directorial debut with 2010’s I WILL FOLLOW, she brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life story to the big screen with SELMA in 2014, dramatized the shocking events surrounding the Central Park Five case with the Emmy-winning Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” in 2019 and, a year earlier, expanded her vision to fantasy with an adaptation of A WRINKLE IN TIME for Disney. Her next project may be her most ambitious yet.
Based on the non-fiction book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson, ORIGIN stars Academy Award® nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as the author herself as she strives for answers to how the unspoken system of dehumanizing racial division that dominates our society came to be. The star-studded cast of this drama — which has been selected as an AMC Artisan film — also includes Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, Nick Offerman and more.
Get Tickets ORIGIN opens January 19
The Monk And The Gun
Two things we never thought we would ever see in a movie together are a Bhuddist monk and a firearm. Yet, that is just what happens in the aptly titled THE MONK AND THE GUN — the sophomore effort from the writer and director of 2019’s acclaimed drama, LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM, Pawo Choyning Dorji — which is set to release in February.
Set in Bhutan during its transition into a democracy, the movie follows an American (Harry Einhorn) seeking to purchase a rare rifle, only to discover it has fallen into the possession of a monk (Tandin Wangchuk) who has been ordered to bring it to his lama. Hailed by critics as an endearing and sharp satire, THE MONK AND THE GUN has already been a success at Telluride, TIFF and other film festivals, and is the official Bhutanese submission for the 96th Annual Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category.
THE MONK AND THE GUN opens February 9
Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson are two actors whose most iconic roles are each known for their expertise in fighting with their fists. Swank won her second Oscar® for playing an aspiring boxer in Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY in 2004 and Ritchson more recently embodied author Lee Child’s titular hulking hero in the hit Amazon Prime series, “Reacher.” However, the actors are coming together in a new film as two people who, instead, fight with their hearts.
Based on a true story, ORDINARY ANGELS follows a Kentucky hairdresser named Sharon Stevens (Swank) who learns about recently widowed working class father, Ed Schmitt (Ritchson), and his struggles to care for his two young daughters — one of whom has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Sharon promises to do everything that she can to help these people in this inspiring drama from director Jon Gunn that proves miracles can happen in the most unexpected ways.
Get Tickets ORDINARY ANGELS opens February 23
After a court jury’s decision led to the acquittal of four police officers charged with assaulting a Black man named Rodney King, it inspired a violent uproar in early 1990s Los Angeles. The ripple effect of that verdict and the resulting riots is still felt to this day and is reflected in an upcoming drama called 1992.
Directed by Ariel Vromen, who also co-writes with Sascha Penn, the film stars Tyrese Gibson as a man named Mercer, who is struggling to make a new life for himself and rekindle his relationship with his son (played by Christopher A’mmanuel) following the devastating events surrounding the Rodney King trial. Meanwhile, another father and son duo (played by Ray Liotta in one of his final performances and Scott Eastwood) conspire to rob the factory where Mercer works, causing their lives to intersect in intense ways in this crime thriller.
1992 opens March 15
One of the most popular acts in modern Christian music is For King + Country, which is composed of Australian brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone. Their older sister is also a well-known Christian music act known professionally as Rebecca St. James. This year, fans can witness the story of their rise to fame in UNSUNG HERO.
In addition to teaming up with Richard Ramsey to write and direct the film, Joel also portrays his own father, David Smallbone, who moves his family of nine from the land down under to the United States, in hopes of giving them a better life following the devastating end of his music company. He and his wife, Helen (Daisy Betts), come to discover that their children have been gifted with wonderful talents that will earn them fame and fortune beyond their wildest dreams.
UNSUNG HERO opens April 26
Keep your eyes peeled for when these potential hidden gems come to an AMC Theatres location near you!