by Mark Ahn
Honorable mentions: Asteroid City, Killers of the Flower Moon – In a year full of masters releasing new work, I needed more time to think about these two. Not making my top ten is not a statement of lack of quality or dislike, but my own recognition that I had a longer way to go in thinking about them. Please enjoy what our Rob DiCristino wrote about them in the links.
The “sorry to have missed you” list:
The Zone of Interest
9, 10. John Wick: Chapter 4, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part 1
8. Godzilla Minus OneJurassic World have ruined me. Not to spoil those sequels too much, but I’d argue that the heart of why those sequels don’t work as well as they could have is that the human characters are so devoid of any humanity that we’re actively rooting for the dinosaurs to win. This movie decides to swing the momentum in the direction of the humans, as if to remind the audience that a giant lizard emerging from the ocean would actually be a terrifying, not a joyful, experience. It’s weird to even write that out, but that’s how far into the ocean we’ve gone.
7. Barbie, Oppenheimer (together)
6. Anatomy of a Fall
5. The Holdovers
3. The Killer
2. Past Lives
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
It’s aesthetically so beautiful. The soundtrack is fantastic. Everything about the story is meaningful and character-driven. I’m as burned out as anyone on comic book properties, but this one avoids the fatigue by taking the multiverse concept and actually incorporating it in a way that’s (stop me if you heard this one) meaningful and character-driven, rather than content-driven. I cared so much about everything that was happening; I didn’t think about whether it was animation or not. It completely immersed me in a story in way that nothing else in 2023 did, and that seems pretty deserving of being top of the list.