Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Top Ten Films of 2023

David Davidson

1. Attila (Stephen Hosier)

2. BlackBerry (Matt Johnson)

3. Mademoiselle Kenopsia (Denis Côté)

- The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki)

- Close Your Eyes (Víctor Erice)

- The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

- Music (Angela Schanelec)

- Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

- Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki)

- Master Gardener (Paul Schrader)

- Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

- Priscilla (Sofia Coppola)

- Au cimetière de la pellicule (Thierno Souleymane Diallo)

- Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet)

And some miscellanea local productions: The short-film Chip (Alan Jones), and Petey (Mitch Greenberg), filmed at the Done Right; the feature Midnight at the Paradise (Vanessa Matsui, Bill Robertson), filmed at the Bloor street cinema with Allan Hawco and Liane Balaban; the Stratford festival’s theatrical adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, with Paul Gross and directed by Kimberley Rampersad; Murdoch Mysteries: Murder in F Major (S16E21) at Roy Thomson Hall, with Yannick Bisson, Jonny Harris and composer Lucas Waldin; the Norman McLaren inspired ballet Frame by Frame by Robert Lepage and choreographer Guillaume Côté; the Aquarius Theatre in Hamilton’s Pollyanna: The Musical (Steven Gallagher, Linda Barnett, Robert McQueen); and finally the shows, Painkiller (Peter Berg) and Robyn Hood (Director X).


Candice Davidson

- Hate to Love: Nickelback (Leigh Brooks)

- BlackBerry (Matt Johnson)

- Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

- The Little Mermaid (Rob Marshall)

- Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers)

- Maestro (Bradley Cooper)

- Nyad (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)

- Gran Turismo (Neill Blomkamp)

- The Killer (David Fincher)

- Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Steven Soderbergh)

- Barbie (Greta Gerwig)

- Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Sam Wrench)

- Titanic: 25th Anniversary (James Cameron)


Michael Sooriyakumaran

1. Film annonce du film qui n’existera jamais: « Drôles de guerres » (Jean-Luc Godard)

2. Music (Angela Schanelec)

3. Laberint sequences (Blake Williams)

4. We Don’t Talk Like We Used To (Joshua Gen Solondz)

5a. Coma (Bertrand Bonello)

5b. Barbie (Greta Gerwig)

6. Metronom (Alexandru Belc)

7. The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki)


Gregory Julian Klymkiw

Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki)

- Godland (Hlynur Pálmason)

- Godzilla Minus One (Takashi Yamazaki)

- Gran Turismo (Neil Blomkamp)

- The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

- Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

- Mademoiselle Kenopsia (Denis Côté)

- Monster (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

- The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green)

Sound of Freedom (Alejandro Monteverde)


Gilles Lyon-Caen

- Astrakan (David Depesseville)

- Fifi (Jeanne Aslan, Paul Saintillan)

- Les Herbes sèches (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

- Le Barrage (Ali Cherri)

- El agua (Elena López Riera)

Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

- Retour à Séoul (Davy Chou)

- On a eu la journée bonsoir (Narimane Mari)

- Seuls les pirates (Gaël Lepingle)

- La fille d’Albino Rodrigue (Christine Dory)


Mitch Greenberg

1. L’été des chaleurs (Marie-Pier Dupuis) / Fishmonger (Neil Ferron) / Dealer (Alfio Foti)

2. Beau is Afraid (Ari Aster)

3. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

4. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

5. Copenhagen Cowboy (Nicholas Winding Refn)

6. The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki)

7. Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg)

8. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

9. Dream Scenario (Kristoffer Borgli)

10. Knock at the Cabin (M. Night Shyamalan)


Adam Cook

1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

2. The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki)

3. Ferrari (Michael Mann)

4. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

5. Knock at the Cabin (M. Night Shyamalan)

6. In Water (Hong Sang-soo)

7. In Our Day (Hong Sang-soo)

8. Close Your Eyes (Víctor Erice)

9. Evil Does Not Exist (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

10. Afire (Christian Petzold)


Niles Schwartz

1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

2. Ferrari (Michael Mann)

3. May December (Todd Haynes)

4. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

5. Dahl shorts (W. Anderson)

6. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

7. You Hurt My Feelings (Nicole Holofcener)

8. Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet)

9. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

10. Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster)


Collin Brinkmann

1. in water (Hong Sang-soo)

2. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

4. The Killer (David Fincher)

5. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

6. Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster)

7. Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg)

8. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Wes Anderson)

9. Gran Turismo (Neill Blomkamp)

10. Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire (Zack Snyder)

11. May December (Todd Haynes)

12. BlackBerry (Matt Johnson)

13. Afire (Christian Petzold)

14. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin)

15. Priscilla (Sofia Coppola)

16. The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

17. The Adults (Dustin Guy Defa)

18. The Boogeyman (Rob Savage)

19. Ferrari (Michael Mann)

20. Barbie (Greta Gerwig)

A special few from 2022: Master Gardener (Paul Schrader), The Lost King (Stephen Frears), Pacifiction (Albert Serra), Scarlet (Pietro Marcello), Marlowe (Neil Jordan), Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara), Godland (Hlynur Pálmason), Saint Omer(Alice Diop), Yelling Fire in an Empty Theatre (Justin Zuckerman).


Paolo Kagaoan:

I haven’t seen three films yet (Eras, What Doesn’t Float, Zone of Interest).

I’m sure they’re good but pencils the fuck down, Larry Fessenden.

- Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce (Beyonce)

- Lost Ladies (Kiran Rao)

- In The Rearview (Maciek Hamela)

- Mountains (Monica Sorelle, women;;;;;)

- Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet)

- Succession: Season 4 (Mark Mylod, etc.)

- The Bear Season 2 (Christopher Storer, etc.)

- All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh)

- Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, etc.)

- John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski)

- Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

- Beyond Utopia (Madeleine Gavin)

This year’s top throwback is Alice in Chains: Unplugged (Joe Perota)


Nicolas R.

1. Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara)  

2. Terrifier 2 (Damien Leone)  

3. Detective Knight – Independence (Edward Drake)  

4. Marlowe (Neil Jordan)  

5. Empire of light (Sam Mendes) 

6. Talk to me (Danny and Michael Philippou)  

7. Flo (Géraldine Danon)  

8. The Plains (David Easteal)  

9. Grand Paris (Martin Jauvat)  

10. Silent Night (John Woo) 

And several master works: L’été dernier (Catherine Breillat), Les Herbes sèches (Nuri Bilge Ceylan), The novelist’s film(Hong Sang-soo), Close your eyes (Victor Erice), Mission : Impossible - Dead reckoning, part one (Chris McQuarrie), Shin Kamen Rider (Hideaki Anno)... But the film that impressed me the most this year was my first time viewing of The Rapture (Michael Tolkin), 1991


Will Sloan

Favourite Performances of 2023:

Nicolas Cage - Dream Scenario 

Robert De Niro - Killers of the Flower Moon 

Matt Farley - Boston Johnny 

Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon 

Glenn Howerton - BlackBerry 

Isaiah Lehtinen - I Like Movies 

Leonard Maltin - Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In 

Ilinca Manolache - Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World 

Alma Pöysti - Fallen Leaves

Da'Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers 

Simon Rex - The Sweet East


Daniel Gorman

1. Captain Elliot’s Circle (Jake Barningham)  

2. Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomenon: #59 (Joost Rekveld) 

3. Xenolith Atlas (Scout Tafoya) 

4. Erde im Mund (Ewelina Rosinka) 

5. a face outside the body (Jack McCoy) 

6. Where Do You Stand, Tsai Ming-liang? (Tsai Ming-liang) 

7. Hermit Film (Jay Casillas) 

8. His Smell (Kalil Haddad) 

9. The Fall of Cannonsville (Charles Cadkin) 

10. EVENTIDE (Sharon Lockhart) 

The little-known, little-seen, undistributed films that exist outside a marketplace and instead speak to the handmade, the essayistic, the quixotic. All essential parts of my 2023.


Neil Bahadur

1. Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan, UK/USA  

2. The Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki, Japan  

3. Close Your Eyes by Victor Erice, Spain  

4. Neck by Takeshi Kitano, Japan 

5. Priscilla by Sofia Coppola, USA  

6. Full River Red by Zhang Yimou, China  

7. Ferrari by Michael Mann, USA/Italy 

8. Trailer for a Film That Will Never Exist: Phoney Wars by Jean-Luc Godard, France  

9. Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese, USA  

10. The Daughters of Fire by Pedro Costa, Portugal  

11. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning by Christopher McQuarrie, USA  

12. How To Blow Up A Pipeline by Daniel Goldhaber, USA  

13. The Plough by Philippe Garrel, France  

14. Air by Ben Affleck, USA 

15. The Killer by David Fincher, USA  

16. Youth (Spring) by Wang Bing, China  

17. May December by Todd Haynes, USA  


C.J. Prince

1. Close Your Eyes (Victor Erice) 

2. Here (Bas Devos) 

3. Our Body (Claire Simon) 

4. Hit Man (Richard Linklater) 

5. The Human Surge 3 (Eduardo Williams) 

6. Samsara (Lois Patino) 

7. Asteroid City (Wes Anderson) 

8. Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World (Radu Jude) 

9. Last Summer (Catherine Breillat) 

10. Evil Does Not Exist (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)  

Ten more worthy titles from 2023, in alphabetical order:  

- Bad Living (Joao Canijo) 

- The Crime is Mine (Francois Ozon) 

- Dear Jassi (Tarsem Singh Dhandwar) 

- Eureka (Lisandro Alonso) 

- Explanation for Everything (Gabor Reisz) 

- Forms of Forgetting (Burak Cevik) 

- The Holdovers (Alexander Payne) 

- A Prince (Pierre Creton) 

- Red Rooms (Pascal Plante) 

- A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell)


Adrian Patterson

1. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan) 

2. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos) 

3. Past Lives (Celine Song) 

4. BlackBerry (Matt Johnson) 

5. The Zone Of Interest (Jonathan Glazer) 

6. The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams) 

7. Killers Of The Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese) 

8. Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Steven Soderbergh) 

9. Gran Turismo (Neill Blomkamp)  

10. A Thousand and One (A.V. Rockwell) 


- Ferrari (Michael Mann) 

- May December (Todd Haynes) 

- Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster)


Denis Côté

 - Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World (Radu Jude)

The Human Surge 3 (Eduardo Williams) 

Saint Omer (Alice Diop)

Unrest (Cyril Schäublin)

Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt)

- Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismäki)

- Music (Angela Schanelec)

Le Procès Goldman (Cédric Kahn)

Los delincuentes (Rodrigo Moreno)

- Animal (Sofia Exarchou)


Ethan Vestby

-       Plains (Romanne Walker/Eli Spiegel) 

Coma and The Beast (Bertrand Bonello) 

Chip (Alan Jones) 

Dogleg (Al Warren) 

What Doesn't Float (Luca Balser) 

The Girl and the Robot (Nick Mullen/Adam Friedland) 

The All Golden (Nate Wilson) 

The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams) 

Getting Stoned with Matty Healy (Caveh Zahedi) 

Lemon Tree (Rachel Walden)


Alan Jones

Top Ten Bleeding Edge events of 2023:  

The All Golden with His Smell and Green Sand @ Revue Cinema: One could feel the love in the room for Nathaniel Wilson at the sold out Canadian premiere of his feature debut! So happy to be a part of this very special screening!   

Happy Life with Dirty Dogs Get the Hose @ Innis Town Hall: Felt like a real Keith, bringing Happy Life up to Toronto for its Canadian theatrical premiere, and bringing director Michael Bilandic up along with it. Don Giroux’s Dirty Dogs Get the Hose was the perfect accompaniment for the evening!  

Bar Snakes, Labour/Leisure, Poet Laureate, IAM, dodem, Hey Guys How Are You?, and Object Permanence @ The Pilot: A great selection of short films, but the highlight of the evening was Object Permanence from Zachary George, an avant-garde exploration of suicidal feelings and self-harm, utilizing lo-fi camera work and and glitches from old video game consoles. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and it was followed by a very open and earnest Q&A from the director, a real mensch! 

Little Boy Maniac with Dhulpa, Body #319, Richard and Mary, and Absence @ The Pilot: Another strong selection of short films leading up to Little Boy Maniac, a thirty minute masterpiece about a disheveled man-child running amok in New York City. Like a Safdie brothers film with a Ritalin addiction, the energy never lets up!  

Dogleg @ Revue Cinema: Loved having Al Warren in town for the Toronto premiere of Dogleg! A very funny anthology (kind of) movie in which Al demonstrates a true knack for comedic timing!  

How to Get Ahead with a Giant Head with I Break My Teeth, Lick Fire and Cinephile Complex and a mystery film from Alfio Foti @ The Pilot: Very fun selection of short films, spanning different styles and formats, all topped off with Owen Wilson’s very funny mini-feature and moving love letter to DIY!    

- Plains and Tarana Ding Dong @ Revue Cinema: Plains is a moving documentary portrait of two artists in rural Nova Scotia. Happy to have Romanne and Eli present for this very special debut screening!  

It’s What Each Person Needs, Day Off and Big Smoke Part 1 @ The Pilot: Very fun evening that doubled as a launch for In the Mood magazine, featuring readings from EJ Kneifel, Stella/Tango, Fan Wu and Sennah Yee!  

Coma @ Innis Town Hall: It was very exciting to bring the Canadian premiere of Bertrand Bonello’s Coma to Innis, replete with an informative introduction from The Film Stage editor-in-chief Nick Newman!  

What Doesn’t Float @ Revue Cinema: Very fun having Luca Balser in town for the Canadian premiere of What Doesn’t Float, a great microbudget anthology film and showcase for the next generation of NYC filmmaking talent!  

Bonus: Not a Bleeding Edge screening, but Sean Price William’s The Sweet East launch at the TIFF Bell Lightbox was a highlight of the year! Funny, inventive and adventurous filmmaking from a veteran of low budget productions!


Nicky Otis Smith 

1. The Sweet East (Sean Price Williams) 

2. May December (Todd Haynes)


Marcus Pinn

- Skinamarink (Kyle Edward Ball) 

- Yannick (Quentin Dupieux) 

- The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

- Spider-Man Across The Spiderverse (Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K Thompson)

- Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg) 

- Où en êtes-vous (Joanna Hogg) 

- May December (Todd Haynes) 

- Enys Men (Mark Jenkin) 

- The Killer (David Fincher) 

- Silent Night (John Woo)


Sean Patrick Kelly

 - Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

- Mr. Dress-Up: The Magic of Make Believe (Robert McCallum)

- The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

- Barbie (Greta Gerwig)

- Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (Davis Guggenheim)

- Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes)

- Gueules noires (Mathieu Turi)

- Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

- The Boy and the Heron (Hayao Miyazaki)

- Godzilla Minus One (Takashi Yamazaki)

Honourable Mentions: Anatomy of a Fall, Someone Lives Here, Past Lives.


Marko Orlic

1. The Eight Mountains (Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch) 

2. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)

3. Anatomy Of A Fall (Justine Triet)

4. Memory (Michel Franco) 

5. Maestro (Bradley Cooper)

6. American Fiction (Cord Jefferson)

7. The Holdovers (Alexander Payne) 

8. All Of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh) 

9. Return To Seoul (Davy Chou) 

10. Flora And Son (John Carney)

11. The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green) 

12. Air (Ben Affleck) 

13. Ferrari (Michael Mann) 

14. Fingernails (Christos Nikou) 

15. May December (Todd Haynes) 

16. Pacifiction (Albert Serra) 

17. Sick Of Myself (Kristoffer Borgli) 

18. The Iron Claw (Sean Durkin) 

19. Past Lives (Celine Song)

20. Killers Of The Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)

21. Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

22. Saltburn (Emerald Fennell) 

23. Emily (Frances O’Connor) 

24. Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (Christopher McQuarrie) 

25. Nyad (Elisabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin)  


Best Films Not Yet Released:  

1. La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher)

2. How To Have Sex (Molly Manning Walker) 

3. His Three Daughters (Azazel Jacobs)

4. National Anthem (Luke Gilford)

5. Green Border (Agniezka Holland) 

6. Black Flies (Jean-Stephane Sauvaire)

7. Fairyland (Andrew Durham)

8. Gonzo Girl (Patricia Arquette)

9. Aggro Dr1ft (Harmony Korine)

10. The Feeling That The Time For Doing Something Has Passed (Joanna Arnow)