When you watch and write about movies for a living, there are eight words you get very familiar with — and dread seeing every time.

“We are not screening the film for review.”

Hollywood releases hundreds of movies a year, and almost all of them are screened for critics multiple times. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, studios have continued to pre-screen their upcoming movies online through a variety of secure viewing platforms. So when a movie is not screened at all — as was the case last month with Fox’s The New Mutants — it is typically a sign that the studio is so certain they’ve got a stinker on their hands that they don’t even want to show it to anyone on the off-chance they’re wrong.

Typically ... but not always. Warner Bros. didn’t show Tenet to critics prior to its release, at least not in most areas of the United States. It received mostly positive reviews anyway. That’s not an isolated incident, as the following list shows. These movies were not screened for critics for a variety of reasons — but no matter the reason, the ten titles that follow are all worth your time.

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