Here are HE’s finest films of the first eight and 1/3 months of ’23 — post-Telluride and Venice, less than four months to go.

As before, a special demerit system applies in the case of otherwise commendable, first-rate films that delivered (a) manosphere pissnado or (b) caused my soul and knees to ache due to slow pacing and density of dialogue.

1. Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers (a ’70s character-driven thing, yes, but an absolutely first-rate resuscitation of this type of film)
2. Tran Anh Hung’s The Pot-au-Feu (aka Tbe Taste of Things)
3. Yorgos LanthimosPoor Things (rousing nutter filmmaking…bawdy, nervy, wildly imaginative and yet a tad over-praised at Venice and Telluride due to the hothouse atmosphere of those two gatherings)
4. Guy Ritchie‘s The Covenant
5. Christian Mungiu‘s RMN
6. Eric Gravel‘s Full Time
7. Chris Nolan‘s Oppenheimer — first-rate film but I groaned at the one-hour mark, knowing there were two full hours to go…my soul softly wept.
8. Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie [manosphere pissnado demerit]
9. Cruise & McQuarrie‘s Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One
10. Errol Morris‘s The Pigeon Tunnel (richly visual, beautifully scored doc about John le Carre…enveloping and rather dazzling)

11. Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon
12. Matt Johnson‘s Blackberry
13. Ari Aster‘s Beau Is Afraid
14. Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest
15 Ilker Çatak’s The Teacher’s Lounge (official German submission for Best Int’l feature).
16. Ben Affleck‘s Air
17. Aki Kaurismäki‘s Fallen Leaves (Chaplinesque, slightly glum relationship comedy-drama..quietly touching performances from costars Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen)
17. Celine Song‘s Past Lives
18. Jean-Stephen Sauvaire’s Black Flies.
19. Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike’s Last Dance
20. Nicole Holofcener‘s You Hurt My Feelings