Monday, January 1, 2024

Best of 2023 Part 2- Best of the Best

These are the films that I have no reservations about on almost any level. They are also the films I keep returning to again and again. They are in no particular order, largely because my feelings are constantly shifting the order

OUR MALES AND FEMALES has two of the most magnificent performances you'll see all year as two a parents ponder who will wash the body of their deceased trans child. I saw this early in January and it has never left me for a moment. This is one of the most moving films I've ever seen (period full stop). I saw it in January and it hasn't budged from one of the top two places on this list. 

BROOKLYN 45 - it doesn't matter that I know Ted Geoghegan, I would have thought this film was a masterpiece regardless of who made it. A staggering look at the evil men do during war, it's also has ghosts. This is a film that forcefully explains why genre films more often than not speak greater truths than simple "dramas". This is why many of the most thoughtful and best filmmakers, like Ted, are working in genre films, it allows them to say what has to be said and having it stick.  I have not stopped talking about it since I saw it...more so than any other film on this list which may make it my Best Film of 2023 (don't tell the others)

DECIDING VOTE - Jeremy Workman's look at a man who did the right thing knowing it would destroy his career. We should all aspire to this. Workman continues to be one of the greatest filmmakers working today.

VIOLENT NIGHT - Santa meets robbers in a joyously bloody action film,

LUCHA: A WRESTLING TALE- the story of a girls high school wrestling team and how finding an outlet changes lives 

36 SECONDS PORTRAIT OF A HATE CRIME - transcends being just about one crime by managing to explain why these things actually happen.

BLACK GIRLS PLAY - ESPN short doc about how hand games changed the world.

WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS - The Adams Family returns with a gruesome tale of carnies and demons. I both want to see it again and am terrified of ever doing so.

TRANSLYVANIE One of the greatest vampire films ever.

RIVER - the story of a town where time is resetting after 2 minutes. What grabs you for its technical prowess becomes a moving story of people. This is as good as films get.

STREET WISE - Ed Douglas insisted I see this film- and he was right. This noirish crime tale of a debt collector will kick you to the curb.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JONNY FAITH - Frank Noon gives a performance for the ages as country singer trying to find his son.

DEEP SEA - cinematic work of art about a young girl on a mythical boat. Its jaw dropping and possibly the greatest 3D film I've ever seen.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE best romance of the year (maybe the decade) is the story of a model and her handler. 

THE BOY AND THE HERON- the latest from studio Ghibli is the greatest film from Hiyao Miyazaki.  I've seen it numerous times and it just keeps getting better

GODZILLA MINUS ONE - one of the greatest films in the 70 year old series. The only true companion to the original film-albeit set in an alternate world. Not only are the monster scenes  great but we also have characters we care about. Best of all it only references the other films when it is absolutely perfect.

OTHER PEOPLE"S CHILDREN/REVOIR PARIS not so much the film but the work of the lead actress - each contain a mind-blowing performance from Virginie Efira. Why haven't I ever noticed her before?

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