The newly released films I see in 2023 will appear here. I now include films seen in the cinema and new releases watched via streaming at home, as that’s the future for film releases post-pandemic. The text reviews beneath each film are what I said on social media about each one.
2023 Total: 9. (Seen in cinema: 6. Seen via home streaming: 3.)
The 2022 page is here. It links to the previous year, and so do the others, going back to 2015 when I started the One Film Per Week cinema thing.
Wedding Season (film on Netflix) is a lite but good romcom. It has a bit of a 27 Dresses feel due to the many weddings the lead characters attend in and around the Indian diaspora in New Jersey. The leads pretend to be a couple at these weddings to get their parents and extended family to stop trying to set them up with partners. The outcome is as you’d expect. Nice journey to it though.
It has a good message about 2nd generation immigrants making their own way in the world. I liked it.
Stromboli is okay. It’s about a group of traumatised people who have booked time at a retreat on Stromboli — run by your archetype guru and his Indian assistant. Over the course of the film, various role-playing activities and flashbacks show what traumatic experiences have influenced the individuals’ lives.
I liked it, but I have a lot of questions. Did Sara go to the island to attend the retreat? How does the guru Jens know so much about Sara? Might need a second watch.
That’s Amor made me grin like a loon. It’s very easy to dismiss feel good films like this. I let go of the cynicism that can be directed at rom-com films of this ilk a while back.
This is a well-made romcom that hits all the beats. The cast are great, and the material is good. I don’t recall seeing Riley Dandy in anything else. I’ll be rectifying that. Recommended.
The Fabelmans did nothing for me. It’s a bland film. Neither inspiring nor annoying. I wonder if it would have been funded if the names attached weren’t Spielberg and Kushner.
I’m baffled by the glowing reviews. It’s average. Not a must-see by any stretch. I’d rather have watched a documentary about Spielberg’s life and career.
Take Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, the Ryan Murphy & Ian Brennan mini-series Hollywood, and Hail, Caesar. Put them in a big story blender and sprinkle on some powdered debauchery before cooking at the temperature of Southern California.
Let the resulting film stand until cool & slice to 188 minutes. Call it Babylon and send it out into the world for consumption. It’s not a classic. It’s not even a must-see. It’s way too long. By about a third. It hasn’t much story. Average.
M3GAN is fun. It’s not scary, and most of the violence is just offscreen. It’s a typical AI gone bad story, but done reasonably well. Most of the story beats are predictable, but that’s fine.
It’s not as good as other comedic ’horror’ films I love such as Happy Death Day and Ready or Not. But it’s a fun watch without loads of jump scares.
I actually think that the AI components are reminiscent of Ex Machina. And the violence in M3GAN is comparable to what Ava does near the end of Ex Machina.
A lot is going on in Tár film. It has themes that touch on social climbing and forgetting your roots, the corrupting influence of power and strong influence over subordinates, megalomania, social and occupational rise then fall, and the regret that leads too.
It also flirts with cancel culture, mental health, and asymmetrical relationships. The lead character is a person who is hard to like—superbly played by Cate Blanchett. The sound is superb, as is the music.
I thought about rating it 9/10, but it’s overly long and is a bit full of itself in bits. Still a good film. But it could have been a masterpiece with some tweaking, in my untrained opinion.
Empire of Light is a dark film about dark themes. Mental health, depression, racism, loneliness, and urban decay. If that hasn’t made you gallop to the cinema to see it, then I don’t know what will!
Joking aside, there are some lighter moments in the connections made between characters. It’s an okay, but ultimately forgettable film.
I enjoyed A Man Called Otto. It’s a heartfelt story about life, love, loss, family, depression, community, neighbourhood, modernity, corporate greed, and redemption. I laughed out loud several times, and my eyeballs got a good wash. Strong 8/10 rating from me. I will rewatch I expect.