The 5 best films screening in Santa Monica this week

If you're looking to forgo the latest franchise mega-blockbuster in favor of the best-reviewed movies in theaters, this week presents a handful of top options around Santa Monica.

From a 1970s classic to an edge-of-your-seat horror flick, here are the five movies to see in and around Santa Monica this week, based on critical scores sourced from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
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Day for Night

A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew.

Considered one of director Francois Truffaut's best, this 1973 film has a 100 percent positive critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's screening at the Laemmle Royal on May 10. Get tickets here.

The Death of Stalin

The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire from Armando Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop). Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale). But as they bumble, brawl, and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government?

Satirical comedy "The Death of Stalin" enjoys a 96 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes; it's also playing at Laemmle's Monica Film Center (1332 2nd St.) through May 10. Get tickets here.

A Quiet Place

In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

With a current critical score of 95 percent, positive feedback for the horror film has been anything but muted. It's playing at AMC Santa Monica 7 (1310 3rd St.), ArcLight Santa Monica (395 Santa Monica Pl.e, Ste. 330) and AMC Dine-In Theatres Marina 6 (13455 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey). Get tickets here.


Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him a transfer from the town in which he is stagnating, to a better place. His situation is delicate. He must ensure that nothing overshadows his transfer. He is forced to accept submissively every task entrusted to him by successive Governors who come and go as he stays behind. The years go by and the letter from the King never arrives. When Zama notices everything is lost, he joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous bandit.

"Zama" currently holds a 93 percent critical score. It's playing at Laemmle's Royal Theatre (11523 Santa Monica Blvd.) through May 10. Get tickets here.

Let the Sunshine In

Juliette Binoche delivers a luminous performance in the deliciously witty, sensuously romantic new film from acclaimed director Claire Denis (White Material). Isabelle (Binoche) is a divorced Parisian painter searching for another shot at love, but refusing to settle for the parade of all-too-flawed men who drift in and out of her life. What reads like a standard romantic comedy premise is transformed, in the hands of master filmmaker Denis, into something altogether deeper, more poignant, and perceptive about the profound mysteries of love.

The French film has a current positive rating of 91 percent from critics; it's screening at Laemmle's Royal Theatre (11523 Santa Monica Blvd.) through May 10. Get tickets here.
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