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Top Cinematic Gems: The Best Movies of 2023

Regardless of the genre, the year was fantastic for movies, even if the majority of the subjects the films tackled were quite depressing.

I had an amazing film year; how about you? I saw hundreds of recently released films on every conceivable scale and budget, with a wide range of stories and styles. Some came from recent debuts like A.V. Rockwell, while others were from Martin Scorsese, who never stops.

While some are well-known or may soon become so, others hardly made a dent. others came from digital corporations, others from independents like A24 and the small KimStim, and some from what are now commonly referred to as legacy studios—a rather eulogistic word that implies influence but also obsolescence.

Not to minimize the film industry’s financial difficulties, but since the switch to synchronized sound, the movies have supposedly been on the verge of extinction. It was still recuperating at the start of the year from the shutdowns and slowdowns caused by the epidemic.

“As 2023 Commences, Anxiety and Unease Remain Following a Topsy-Turvy Year,” The Hollywood Reporter lamented, characterizing the fluctuations in the 2022 box office as “spectacular.” Nonetheless, a few Wall Street experts had high hopes for moviegoing. “We’re witnessing a renewed enthusiasm for the theaters,” one expert stated to Yahoo around the end of January. I was feeling optimistic after returning from the Sundance Film Festival bonanza.

Several of my favorite films had hit theaters as winter gave way to spring and summer, and I had previews of several more at Cannes, where I was once again encouraged by what I saw. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild’s May 2 strike and a number of surefire blockbusters failing to get moviegoers into theaters added to the unsettling drumbeat of industry news.

One headline said, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was “cursed,” while another said, “‘Mission: Impossible 7′ falls short of expectations.” The trades’ groans were replaced on July 14 by klaxon horns when a large portion of SAG-AFTRA went on strike. Barry Diller, the former head of Paramount, said two days later that the strikes may result in

Several of my favorite films had hit theaters as winter gave way to spring and summer, and I had previews of several more at Cannes, where I was once again encouraged by what I saw. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild’s May 2 strike and a number of surefire blockbusters failing to get moviegoers into theaters added to the unsettling drumbeat of industry news.

One headline said, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was “cursed,” while another said, “‘Mission: Impossible 7′ falls short of expectations.” The trades’ groans were replaced on July 14 by klaxon horns when a large portion of SAG-AFTRA went on strike. Barry Diller, the former head of Paramount, said two days later that the strikes may result in

This year, “superhero fatigue” and “overwhelming fatigue” were two more terms that frequently appeared in the press, which should come as no surprise. While it produced musicals, westerns, dramas, comedies, historical epics, detective and gangster stories, and genre hybrids, Old Hollywood also welcomed genre cinema.

While some were identical, others included original narratives, eye-catching illustrations, and creative embellishments. Nowadays, however, action-adventure franchises and serials make up the majority of the big studios’ income; they rely more on similarity than variation. As of November 30, action-adventure films, including a number of superhero movies, accounted for half of the top 20 highest earning domestic releases of this year.

It has been suggested that a variety of factors, including timeliness, inventiveness, meme-ability, and people’s dread of missing out, contributed to the huge attendance for both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” Whatever the cause of their success—talent certainly had a role—they demonstrated that the Wall Street analysts who were enthusiastic about movies were well on.

Another thing that this year and every week serve as reminders of is this: movies may be fantastic! They are able to transcend genre, play with it, and embrace it. Their quality may be thrilling, their storytelling varied, and their artwork captivating. Movies are about more than just the business, its ups and downs. “Gone With the Wind” producer David O. Selznick lamented in 1951 that “there may have been terrific pictures if there had

These are the films that I think are the best of the year; they are all now playing in theaters around the country.

Martorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”

In this terrifying epic, director Martin Scorsese retraces a horrific crime spree committed against the oil-rich Osage Nation by white Americans, including lovers, friends, ranchers, bankers, local law enforcement, and federally appointed guardians. The story of love and betrayal at its heart is a baroque plot driven by avarice and an unwavering conviction in racial supremacy, all of which combine to create an incredibly terrible narrative. A fantastic gangster film may be made out of Manifest Destiny. (At movie theaters)

“Oppenheimer,” a film by Christopher Nolan

Nolan follows J. Robert Oppenheimer, the self-proclaimed “father of the atomic bomb,” from his tormented adolescence to his latter agonized years, with his signature pointillist precision and enormous sweep. A significant portion of the movie centers on Oppenheimer’s work on the development of the atomic bombs that were unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. These devastating events, which killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people in total and ushered in the era of self-annihilation and human dominance. (At movie theaters)

    “Les Troisgros — Menu-Plaisirs” (Wiseman, Frederick)

    In this incredibly enjoyable film, Wiseman centers on the French chef family known as the Troisgros. Much of the movie is set in their renowned restaurant-hotel in the Loire, where the paterfamilias is in charge of a team that, like the genius behind the camera, creates one astonishing thing after another for the delight and delectation of others with love, inventiveness, choreography, sublime technique, and consideration for the wider world. (At movie theaters)

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    Steve McQueen’s “Occupied City”

    This British director (“Twelve Years a Slave”) utilizes daily scenes from modern Amsterdam to chart — street by street, address by address — the tragic destiny of the city’s Jewish population during World War II in his striking and formally demanding four and a half-hour documentary. Bianca Stigter, the wife of actor Steve McQueen, wrote the film, drawing inspiration from her book “Atlas of an Occupied City: Amsterdam 1940-1945.” (In cinemas opening on December 25)

    Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City”

    Much of the film is set in a small, fictitious Southwest town where cultures mix, romances blossom and fade, kids outsmart adults, and an unexpected alien landing occurs. With a narrative about storytelling that is sardonic, comical, and tragic, Anderson plays with many mediums and performing arts with skill and complexity, compassion and deadpan delivery, exquisite technique, and hypnotic colors. (Watch it via Peacock)

    Todd Haynes’ “May December”

    In this disquieting and bizarre film about the performance known as life, actress Elizabeth (played by Natalie Portman) travels to the place that served as inspiration for her next film. That would be housewife Gracie (Julianne Moore), who enjoys baking cakes and is also an ex-convict who was jailed for having sex with a minor whom she subsequently married. Charles Melton, who plays her sad husband, is excellent. Things get incredibly complex and then really depressing. (Watch it on Netflix)

      Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up”

      The most recent work by Reichardt follows Portland, Oregon-based sculptor Lizzy (played by Michelle Williams, in a very subdued yet revelatory role) as she gets ready for a new gallery display and deals with friends, family, a very terrible cat, and an injured pigeon. Since Lizzy views creating art as a self-creation and a way of life, I assume that her beautiful, understated film also functions in part as a directorial self-portrait. (Rentable on the majority of significant platforms)

      “My Political Biography: Orlando” (Bryan Paul Preciado)

      Preciado, a transgender philosopher and activist who was born in Spain and is shooting his first essayistic documentary, using Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando: A Biography” as a jumping off point to examine the intricacies and numerous cages associated with identity. With the help of twenty trans and nonbinary actors and a wide range of materials, Preciado has created a film that is simultaneously cerebrally stimulating and viscerally thrilling. It is lively and urgent. (At movie theaters)

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      “Stonewalling” (Otsuka Ryuji and Huang Ji)

      When this subtle, structurally demanding drama starts in 2019, Lynn (Yao Honggui), who is painfully young, is up against a lot of difficult obstacles, such as her abusive boyfriend, her argumentative parents, her lack of a career, and her unclear future. By the time the novel closes in early 2020, everyone has switched to surgical masks, and Lynn is worn out from trying every kind of job and hustle there is. In addition, she has something of worth now that she is pregnant. (Criterion Streaming)

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