“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.”
– Roger Ebert, Film Critic
Best Comedy Film: Barbie
Runner Up: Bottoms
Best International Film (Tie): Godzilla: Minus One, Monster
Runners Up: The Origin of Evil, The Promised Land
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Runners Up: Robot Dreams, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Best Action Film: John Wick: Chapter Four
Runner Up: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning
Best Horror/Sci-Fi Film: When Evil Lurks
Runners Up: Evil Dead Rise, Thanksgiving
BEST MOVIES OF 2023
- The Color Purple
- John Wick: Chapter Four
- Poor Things
- Creed III
- Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret
- You Hurt My Feelings
- Somewhere In Queens
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
- Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning
- Fair Play
- Killers of the Flower Moon
- Anatomy of a Fall
- The Promised Land
- Godzilla: Minus One
- Dream Scenario
- The Iron Claw
- The Origin of Evil
- Rye Lane
#2: Past Lives
Past Lives is nothing short of a stunning debut for Song. It’s rich, emotional, and quietly poignant with a trio of spectacular performances. Magaro plays Arthur with incredible self-awareness, clearly understanding the situation at hand. The communication shared between him and Nora is very strong, which is why their relationship feels so solid. Even so, that doesn’t mean the insecurities involved don’t exist. They do and they’re warranted.
Giving subtle yet powerful, moving portrayals, Lee and Yoo pierce the soul with great ease. You ache for them the entire time, but especially during their shared moments of deafening silence. Their rekindling just feels right, so our natural response is for Nora and Hae Sung to figure it out and live happily ever after. However, Song isn’t giving us a farcical fairytale or some threadbare rom-com. We are being blessed by a complicated, melancholy drama of love, fate, and free will that’s patient, raw, and assuredly authentic.
Past Lives is a real rarity in how beautifully it presents love in all of its suffering and splendor and how it shapes and shifts who we are through the various phases of life.
After five collaborations, Cillian Murphy is finally writer/director Christopher Nolan’s leading man in a mesmerizing and masterful character study presented on an unbelievably enormous scale. It’s Nolan like you have never seen him before, crafting a visceral, immersive, operatic, and chilling to the core historical drama where the fuses of victimization, scientific discovery, desire for power, Communist paranoia, and our world’s destruction are lit and ready to explode. With stunning visuals, spectacular cinematography and editing, a splendid score, and deafening sound – this is unquestionably a crowning achievement for Nolan and the entire cast and crew.
As the “American Prometheus” himself, Murphy delivers a career-best performance of a complicated man grappling with his extraordinary brilliance/arrogance, his flaws of a husband/father, and his moral torment that eats away at him. His creation would eventually become his own personal damnation. The supporting cast is outstanding with sensational turns from Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, and Emily Blunt. But no one can outshine Robert Downey Jr. as the cunning and insecure Lewis Strauss. He hasn’t been this exceptional in a very long time, reminding us of what he’s truly capable of as an actor.
Told with the perfect balance of an intricate biopic, a riveting courtroom drama, and a race against time war thriller, Oppenheimer is a special American epic that proposes difficult questions back when the atomic bomb was created and the ripple effects we see today. They are the consequences of Oppenheimer’s creation that continue to threaten our very existence. The film’s final few minutes feel exceedingly relevant and significant. There’s an emotional heft to it all once the screen fades to black that instantly makes this horrifying though fully breathtaking, unforgettable, and purposeful.Listen to “Ep. 142: Best of 2023” on Spreaker.
Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.
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