Here are the first 5 movies in my list.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is definitely one of the most wildly imaginative films of this year. While its story premise involved with multiple alternative universes is not exactly new to many of us due to several recent films, the movie is willing to push its story promise as much as possible for more awe and entertainment, and the result is often dazzling and enthralling while also firmly held together by the strong performances from Michelle Yeoh and other stellar cast members in the film. Directors/writers/co-producers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who previously drew my attention for their decidedly offbeat debut feature film “Swiss Army Man”, surely advance a lot from what they demonstrated in the previous film, and I am glad to report that their second work is the best film of this year in my humble opinion.
French film “Happening”, which won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice International Film Festival, often feels like a hard empathic gut-punch. Firmly sticking around its young heroine who happens to be in a very unfortunate situation, the movie gradually lets us immersed in her increasingly desperate status step by step, and we come to understand and empathize more with that as bracing ourselves for whatever she may have to endure along the story. This is indeed a very tough stuff, but it is still worthwhile to watch for not only its ever-relevant main subject but also its considerable technical achievement and emotional power, and it surely earns its haunting finale after its grueling but gripping emotional journey.
Todd Field’s latest film “Tár” fascinated me a lot for how it is about. While this is basically another familiar tale about art, fame, and personality, the movie is deliberately dry and restrained as patiently doling out a number of interesting variations of conventional story elements during its 158-minute running time, and it ultimately works as a supremely compelling character study to be savored and admired for many reasons. Although it is challenging to some degree because of its slow narrative pacing and long running time, this is one of the best films of this year in addition to having one of Cate Blanchett’s best performances, and I sincerely recommend you to check it out as soon as possible.
4. Decision to Leave
Park Chan-wook’s latest film “Decision to Leave”, which won the Best Director Award when it was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in last month, is often enthralling thanks to its masterful storytelling coupled with a distinctive sense of twisted humor. While it initially seems to be your average film noir mystery tale on the surface, the movie delves deeper into its two different characters than expected as they are doing a sort of morbid romantic dance along the story, and it is really satisfying to observe how it eventually pulls out a neatly sublime ending from its increasingly complex narrative. In short, this is one of the major highlights of this year, and I urge you to check it out as soon as possible.
5. After Yang
I value good films which make me reflect on life and existence, and I am glad to report to you that Kogonada’s latest film “After Yang” is one of such cases. As a simple but undeniably sublime science fiction tale, the movie has a number of quiet but poignant human moments to haunt your mind for a long time, and I am still admiring how Kogonada pulls off that via his thoughtful handling of story and character. This is another fantastic work from Kogonada, and I will certainly have some expectation on whatever will come from him next.