After nearly two years of a global pandemic that deeply impacted our lives, we have collectively dug ourselves out, for the most part while also knowing on some level we will never be the same. The signs of the time, pre and post-pandemic were reflected in the movies and throughout the movie industry. All that to say, movies are back, baby! And some movies in 2023 actually got audience off of the couch and into theaters- thank you- Barbenheimer- although on some level it's clear that sooner-than-normal or straight-to -treaming may for a very long time, if not forever, be embedded in the system... especially for smaller films.
2023 will also be synonymous with the WGA and SAG strikes going well over 100 days. While it was debilitating for the industry, especially the members, a few significant releases got out just before the strikes, and even more once an agreement was reached. The fierce union negotiators managed to strike a deal with the studios, just in time release and promote the end-of-the-year Oscar contending movies.
Here is my annual "Top Ten" Movies of 2023. These are in order of and a loving blending of my fav/best from #1 to #10. Hooray for Hollywood and go support in-theater movies when you can.
'Past Lives'- This is a great example of a pitch perfect film and of a debut filmmaker not over-reaching. This film is a wonderful blend of drama and little bit of romance while navigating themes of identity and culture. Go here for my full review - https://www.paulafarmer.com/film-blog/past-lives-film-review
'Monster'- This movie about perspective and context will have you pondering the themes and question for quite awhile after experiencing it. For my full review, go here - https://www.paulafarmer.com/film-blog/monster-movie-review
'Poor Things'- This is as quirky, creative and wild, yet substantive as any of the director Yorgos Lanthimos' earlier works ('The Favourite,' 'The Lobster'), if not more so.
'The Holdovers'- Although this is not necessarily one of Alexander Payne's masterpieces, like 'Sideways' and 'About Schmidt,' it is a quintessential Payne movie hitting all the hallmarks he is known for, like attention to detail, subtlety, perfect balance of drama and humor. It is both moving and delightful, and a must see for any fan of the filmmaker. The three main actors, Paul Giamatti, D'avine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa, give outstanding and believable performances.
'American Fiction' - Go to my full review here - https://www.paulafarmer.com/film-blog/american-fiction-review