January 2023 Movies
A Man Called Otto
Cast: Tom Hanks, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Director: Marc Forster
When Grumpy widower Otto Anderson meets his match in a quick-witted, pregnant woman named Marisol, their unlikely friendship turns his world upside down.
“‘A Man Called Otto’ isn’t exactly as philosophical as “About Schmidt” or as socially conscious as “I, Daniel Blake,” two films that occasionally hit similar notes. But it’s nevertheless a wholesome crowd-pleaser for your next family gathering.” – Roger Ebert
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Eric Bana, Mia Wasikowska
Director: Robert Connolly
Blueback follows the story of Abby, a child who befriends a magnificent wild blue groper while diving. Realising that the fish is under threat, she draws inspiration from her activist Mum, Dora, and takes on poachers to save her friend.
“Like other Connolly outings Blueback is visually stunning. This time a love letter to the ocean. The thoughtful pace makes the movie an effective meditation. Blueback’s balletic moves definitely help slow a busy days heart rate.” – So Perth
“The underwater scenes, using real fish supplemented by special effects, are suitably transporting, explaining why Abby and Dora are such fierce advocates, although Blueback’s eventual use as a plot point proves to be a bit hackneyed. Far better is the film’s subtle notion that nothing lasts, whether it’s untouched natural beauty or those closest to us. A wistful resignation courses through Blueback, acknowledging that what we love may eventually be lost, despite our best efforts.” – Screen Daily
Cast: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart
Director: Damien Chazelle
Babylon traces the rise and fall of several ambitious characters during 1920s Hollywood, an era characterized by unbridled decadence and depravity.
“Pitt and Margot Robbie, and many razzle dazzle setpieces, help lift a story in no hurry to engage with the true-life nastiness of its era.” – The Guardian
“Babylon is a magnificent disaster that’ll be one viewer’s favorite movie of the year and another’s calamitous nemesis.” – IGN
Cast: Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Gabriel LaBelle
Director: Steven Spielberg
A semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Steven Spielberg’s adolescence and early years as a filmmaker, the film follows the story of Sammy Fabelman, a young man who grew up in post-World War II era Arizona. As he reaches adolescence, he discovers an irresistible passion for creating home movies. But when he discovers a shattering family secret, he turns to the power of films to help him see the truth.
“Beautifully filmed a quasi-fairy tale was unfolding on screen, with captivating performances by Mateo Zoryan and Gabriel LaBelle as the younger and older Sammy Fabelman respectively, and Paul Dano and Michelle Williams portraying his parents.” – City Hub Sydney
“At 150 minutes, the most indulgent thing about Spielberg’s nostalgic revisit is the runtime, an overlong trip down memory lane that could have done with some stops removed. But it’s a sweet, at times incredibly endearing, journey back.” – The Guardian
Cast: Sean Bean, Eleanor Tomlinson, Hugh Bonneville
Director: Juan Jesús García Galocha
Three mummies embark on a journey to present-day London in search of an old ring belonging to the Royal Family, stolen by the ambitious archaeologist Lord Carnaby.
Cast: Jenna Davis (M3gan’s voice), Amie Donald (M3gan), Allison Williams
Director: Gerard Johnstone
M3gan is a life-like doll designed by robotics engineer Gemma. She was meant to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. But the doll would soon begin to take on a life of its own and become terrifyingly overprotective of her new-found friend, Gemma’s 8-year-old niece.
“M3GAN (Megan) takes advantage of an extremely predictable plot to talk about our present. The general violence of an instrument that is the son of man and his needs for him, the rebellion, even if partial, and the bloody reaction to a morally labile present, are the result of a technological derivation perfectly consistent with the darkest folds of human careerism. Gathering within itself a wide range of familiar elements, this film gives us, with her merciless gaze, an extremely negative fresco of humanity, first of all talking about our limits and the selfishness that has characterized us for centuries, to then make us collide with the consequences born of our nature.” – Film Hype
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Jason Statham, Cary Elwes
Director: Guy Ritchie
Elite special agent Orson Fortune and his team of operatives recruit one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, Danny Francesco, to help them on an undercover mission to save the world.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Cast: Jenny Slate (voice), Dean Fleischer-Camp, Isabella Rossellini (voice)
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Struggling documentary filmmaker Dean moves into an Airbnb and discovers Marcel, an adorable one-inch-tall talking shell with one eye and two legs. A short film Dean posted online turns, Marcel, into an internet sensation and sparks a new hope of reuniting with his long-lost family.
“It’s hilarious, poignant, surprising, and life-affirming, to name but a few of my reactions. A simple, beautiful movie that you should make a point to see as soon as possible.” – Gizmodo
“…There’s something unexpectedly tough about Marcel, a resilient soul who faces the ups and downs of life with pluck and playfulness. “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” could be considered a kids movie or an art-house indie (A24 is releasing). But its proper audience might be anyone who’s ever felt sanded down by life, and could use a roll in Marcel’s rover.” – AP News
What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Cast: Lily James, Emma Thompson, Oliver Chris
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Award-winning filmmaker Zoe decided to document her childhood friend Kazim’s journey from London to Lahore to marry a beautiful woman chosen by his parents. Whilst documenting the arranged marriage, Zoe, Kazim, and his family will learn more about themselves and what love is.
“The film doesn’t really have any profound statements to make on arranged marriages or marriage in general but it also avoids leaning into simplistic western judgment, the overall conclusion being that love can happen to anyone anywhere, no right or wrong route.” – The Guardian
“The romcom appears to be making its way back, after years of remission, into the popular discourse. “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” happens to be the best one Working Title has ever produced. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” was a classic, but it didn’t look this spectacular. Everything about this one is lovely and magical, but it’s also deeply heartfelt.” – The Wrap
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss
Director: Todd Field
Lydia Tár is widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors and the first-ever female music director of a major German orchestra. Following accusations of misconduct, Lydia’s life begins to unravel in a totally unexpected way.
“As an increasingly cacophonous chorus swells at the sign of a vaunted career unravelling slowly, at first, before careening headlong into the discordant, Blanchett is at all times in command even as her character loses her grip. Much like the mesmerising movements of Lydia’s thrusting-limbed orchestral direction, her performance is wondrous, and we are held rapt.” – Screen Hub
“Todd Field’s first film in 15 years is a surprising triumph, one of the few to take on the knottiness of so-called ‘cancel culture’ and succeed.” – The Guardian