The year so far hasn’t been your typical, everyday, everyday year at the movies. Release dates have continued to change, with more than one major release moving to the more secure surroundings of 2023. The slate of major new releases is still a bit (okay, a lot) thinner than typical.
There is plenty to be happy about, from critically acclaimed films like RRR and Top Gun: Maverick to virtuosic independent treasures like British chef thriller Boiling Point and Aftersun. Here are our top picks for the year thus far.
IMDB : 6.7
In a biography that manages to be both heartbreakingly sad and PG Wodehouse-funny, Terence Davies gives Great War poet Siegfried Sassoon a moving, flawlessly staged treatment. While Jack Lowton steals the show as the younger version of the once-closeted gay writer who tries to find himself amidst the swarming gadflies of London’s post-war social scene, Peter Capaldi plays the writer in his elder, jaded years.
2. Decision to Leave
Forget the hammer fights and octopus drinking of Oldboy; Park Chan-slow-burning, wook’s intellectual side is on display in this film. A detective and a young widow are entangled in a complicated dance involving a murder, an investigation, and a lot of barely restrained sensuality in this thriller with a Busan setting.
Jordan Peele spent the pandemic fusing sci-fi, horror, and westerns to create a completely new kind of monster movie while the rest of us were perfecting sourdough. Without disparaging any of our baking efforts, the outcome was even better: a creepy, unsettling, and occasionally humorous third Peele effort, fueled by Keke Palmer’s electrifying performance, an epic score, and eerie sound effects.
4. All Quiet on the Western Front
Seen 1917? Prepare for 1918 now. The Great War is in its final stages when Erich Maria Remarque’s classic antiwar novel is set, according to Netflix’s frequently breathtaking German translation. The key word here is “dying,” as this depiction of conflict is the most violent movie you’ll see this year, with a cacophony of exploding shells, rumbling tanks, and the rat-a-tat of bullets.
5. Everything Everywhere All at Once
There is a small devoted group out there that considers the Swiss Army Man to be an underappreciated classic. For the rest of us, this high-concept multiverse sci-fi serves as the first legitimate example of what the Daniels’ filmmaking talents are capable of. With Michelle Yeoh transitioning from laundry owner suffering through marital turmoil to action star and back again, as well as through a variety of other escapades, she essentially plays a Mike Leigh role.
6. The worst person in the world
IMDB : 7.8
The heart and soul of this heartwarming and creative depiction of one millennial life that plays out over several years in Oslo belongs to Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve. Her medical student-turned-writer is a fantastic representation of the doubts and ambiguities of early adulthood: a whole mix of competing goals, times of directionless and emotional rawness that seems endlessly real. She is certainly not the worst person in the world.
A divorced father (Paul Mescal) and his little daughter (the effortlessly stylish Francesca Corio) navigate the highs and lows of an eventful trip to the Turkish coast in this sun-washed and achingly tragic drama from Scottish director Charlotte Wells. Wells varies the visual style to convey how hazy, distant memories may seep into your bones. Each scene is set in flashback.
8. Brian and Charles
The biggest surprise of the year is this bittersweet British comedy, which is incredibly endearing, amusing, and heartbreaking. Sure, it’s a strangely shaped box, with Charles Petrescu, the robot it names, being made from the head of an old washing machine that was placed on top of an expressionless mannequin. However, his relationship with lonely inventor Brian Gittins (David Earl) ignites into a spectacular bromance that explores what it means to be human – and half-washing machine – through a much-harder-than-it-looks feat of physical humour, off-beat conversation, and genuine heart.
9. Hit the road
Panah Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker, has had a bittersweet 2022: not only did the country’s oppressive regime sentence his father, the legendary auteur Jafar (The White Balloon), to six years in prison, but it also marked the release of his debut film, a seductive but subtly turbulent family drama set on the country’s dusty highways. And what a debut it is; it’s full of biting comedy and social commentary on rural modern life, and six-year-old Rayan Sarlak gives a standout performance as the mischievous kid in the backseat of his family’s SUV.
A lot of Hollywood remakes of Scandinavian thrillers seem completely unnecessary, but others make perfect sense. In this exquisite adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 classic Ikiru, Bill Nighy’s terminally sick civil servant rages, very nicely, against the passing of the light with a little assistance from Aimee Lou Wood from Sex Education as his life-affirming assistant. Nighy has never been better, giving a magnificent performance that ought to leave everyone speechless.
Which one of these have you watched? Let us know in the comments below.
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