Best Documentary: Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles (Prime Video)
As a father and a proud lover of all things relating to The Wiggles, this documentary provided plenty of insights about the popular band. It’s amazing hearing about how this band came to be right from the start, and audiences will take delight in going on a journey leading up to the present day. With interviews and clips showing the incredible highs and the many challenges and heartbreaks the group faced, I found it impossible not to be uplifted and, at times, incredibly touched. Break out the fruit salad and cold spaghetti because this is one of the year’s best documentaries.
TOP TEN FILMS OF 2023
Honourable Mentions: PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, Talk to Me, Aftersun, Babylon, & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3.
10. Red, White & Brass (Madman Films)
This is a wholesome family feature with a touching and heartwarming true story. I laughed a lot and found myself emotionally impacted by the film’s themes and messages, particularly during the finale. The pacing here is fast and snappy, and the plot heads straight to the point of the story without ever slowing down or feeling boring. It’s lively and highly entertaining, with a heartfelt journey that packs in many great themes and messages, making it perfect to be viewed by all ages.
09. The Royal Hotel (Transmission Films)
The Royal Hotel wasn’t what I expected. It was far more enjoyable and tense with unpredictable and uncertain characters. Performances are all excellent, including the leads Jessica Henwick and Julia Garner and the supporting cast, which includes the talented Hugo Weaving. The biggest issue was the pacing, which is slow or drags on. I found the building of tension and finale rewarding. After viewing a Kitty Green film for the first time and experiencing a trip to ‘The Royal Hotel’, I will now seek out her past work.
08. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Studiocanal)
I walked away from this John Wick film feeling extremely entertained. It’s a franchise that has improved and heightened the story and action areas over multiple films. As a finale, this is easily the greatest film within the series. The action is, again, impressive, jaw-dropping, wild and downright fun. Characters are deepened and developed as John continues on his mission. The stakes for him and the other characters are equally compelling. The film’s score once again doesn’t disappoint, and both the visuals and sound effects are perfectly completed, easily making this film one of the greatest action features of the year.
07. You Hurt My Feelings (Roadshow)
06. Women Talking (Universal)
Women Talking is a well-made drama film. It’s flawless in many areas, including its stunning dialogue, beautiful visuals and excellent directing from Sarah Polley. Performances are gripping, solid and unforgettable. The same can be said about the story as we witness the women discussing and questioning many areas surrounding their safety, the next generations’ future and considering what is right according to their beliefs and faith. Women Talking is a must-watch, and it is no surprise that the film is a worthy contender for best film at the upcoming Oscars.
05. Past Lives (Studiocanal)
Past Lives is a beautiful film with a profoundly moving story. It’s impossible not to be emotionally impacted by this film. With adorable dialogue that felt genuine, smooth captures and dramatic zoom-ins showcasing solid elements of tension and drama, Past Lives is an unforgettable experience that will hit the minds and hearts. Sure, it’s a slow-burning film, but I can’t deny it- I just wanted to take it all in and embrace the dramatic journey.
04. The Holdovers (Universal)
03. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures)
This new instalment felt like a wild amusement ride with high levels of entertainment from start to finish. Leading characters have many new, engaging, earnest, fun, and unexpected developments. The visuals are, once again, incredible, breathtaking, and downright jaw-dropping, packed with mind-blowing creativity thanks to over one-thousand animators who worked on this feature. The film leaves audiences desiring more as the credits roll. Some viewers will notice the runtime slightly; for me, it was more noticeable towards the finale. But given the entire experience and the journey this film offered long-time fans and newcomers; the runtime is a minor factor that is easy to forgive.
2. Oppenheimer (Universal)
The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer is both fascinating and extremely horrifying. This film is gripping and tense, funnily enough, feeling like a bomb waiting to go off. Visually, this film is a masterpiece thanks to Christopher Nolan’s direction, and the soundtrack by Ludwig Göransson is fantastic. Performances are outstanding, particularly that of the lead, Cillian Murphy. Don’t let the three-hour run-time scare you away from this stunning film experience.
FILM OF THE YEAR
01. Air (Warner Bros/Prime Video)
Overall, I enjoyed this film incredibly. Air is sensational, delightful, heart-warming and highly motivating. The entire on-screen cast is magnetic and energetic and communicates many heartfelt moments. Ben Affleck continues to shine brilliantly in his work as a film director, and the same can be said about Matt Damon’s leading performance. I also loved that Air had multiple themes, which are encouraging and touching, and there’s so much more here than a film about basketball and shoes. I walked away from this film feeling so uplifted that I could “fly”. Air is a must-watch and highly recommended; see “Just Do It”.