A good start to the year with seven films in the fight.
The Pale Blue Eye
#FF23 The Pale Blue Eye is a decent enough thriller, following a bizarre crime and threads that don't quite match up.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 22, 2023
The last act doesn't work, and is on the long side, but the rest is solid enough. The leads put in good performances selling the faux-supernatural elements
Empire of Light
#FF23 Empire Of Light is a love letter to the cinema experience, the racism of the 80s, mental health issues...— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 22, 2023
Its biggest problem is that it has way too many plot threads. Colman and Ward are both very good, but nothing gets a chance to breath. No subtlety either.
#FF23 Tár is an excellent film styled as a biopic of a masterful, but deeply flawed, conductor.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 22, 2023
Blanchett puts in an incredible performance, even by her own standards, with direction to match. The oner at Julliard is jaw dropping. Worth every minute of the lengthy runtime
#FF23 Babylon is a mess of a movie.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 22, 2023
There are fun, big, extended sequences, and solid moments throughout, but nothing holds together. The cast are having fun, and it's an interesting period, but there's no real story here.
There might be a film in here if you cut an hour.
#FF23 M3GAN is probably exactly what you expect if you've seen a trailer.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 29, 2023
A fun, light horror about an increasingly dangerous doll, like Child's Play. It's entertaining, well made, and more than a bit silly. Williams does well in finding the right tone.
#FF23 The Fabelmans is a light biopic of Spielberg's barely-disguised upbringing.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 29, 2023
The cast are excellent, particularly Monaghan as the artistic, flighty mother. Throughout we see the awe Sammy does in the world of film, but without much weight.
Okay, but toothless.
#FF23 Aftersun follows a father and daughter on a 90s holiday.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) February 5, 2023
Its true marvel is there's no dark narrative drama. It just shows an honest slice of a relationship, with great, naturalistic performances. It captures the feel of a home movie, intercutting DV footage.
The January Winner
Despite some very good films, this is an easy win for Tár: incredible performances, good drama, gorgeous film.