Every year, The Hammer hosts a film series called “The Contenders“, produced by MOMA. The NY museum chooses what they consider to be the most artistic films of the year, and screens them in NY and LA for the first two weeks in December. Many of titles are not yet in theaters, and the events include someone from the film. The series ends on December 15, and is already sold out for the last night. But the titles are worth noting as you make your Watch List for the holidays. I was able to see two excellent films – “Decision to Leave” and “Women Talking.” Both are edgy and intriguing and beautiful, both with notably great acting and cinematography.
The year end BEST LISTS are starting to come out, and so far, the list that makes the most sense to me, is Dana Stevens’ on Slate. She has a great line up and is clear about how you can see the films. I haven’t seen all of them but from her descriptions, enjoy her perspective on what is worthy. I also respect the LA Times critic Justin Chang whose Best of 2022 list is discussed here on NPR, in interesting combinations.
Here are ones I highly recommend, that you can see at home:
“Tar” is viewable on Apple Plus – I really enjoyed this, though it’s long and a bit difficult to follow. Worth the effort and will be on everyone’s list because of Cate Blanchett’s performance.
“Decision to Leave” is available on Amazon Prime and is a noir-ish thriller from Korean director Park Chan-wook. Two remarkable performances ground this film, which will haunt you.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is also on Amazon Prime and features the voice talent of Jenny Slate. Common Sense says this film is good for 8+.
“Petit Maman” answers the impossible question of what it would be like to meet your mother when you were both the same age. The answer here is magical. Common Sense says 10+ but wonderful for all ages.
“She Said” tells the story of the New York Times reporters who broke open the “Me Too” movement – based on the reportage and book by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who are played by Carrie Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. A female version of “All the President’s Men” on Amazon Prime and other streaming platforms.
Here are ones that are on my list to see in theaters, if I’m feeling safe enough:
“Banshees of Inisherin” – starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” – directed by Nan Goldin teamed with Laura Poitras
“Eo” – a film about a donkey directed by Poland’s 84 year old Jerzy Skolimowski