Catching Up on 2023 Movie Reviews

4 Apr

More than a quarter of 2023 is now in the rear-view and suffice it to say, it’s been a busy time for movies. Is Hollywood catching up after a slower 2022? Maybe. But regardless, it’s meant a more-than-average amount of movie-watching and moviegoing — for me, at least — after some “off” years. 

So far this year, I’ve seen 16 new films (12 in a theater, and four via streaming). That may not be much to some people, but for me, it’s a lot. Especially for the first three months, which is usually a quiet time and one typically filled with less-than-appealing options — or holdovers that received a limited year-end release for awards consideration and are only now available to a wider audience. I’ve shared my thoughts about most of what I’ve seen on Twitter, but have neglected to write longer reviews. 

To correct that somewhat and get some of my reviews more “on the record,” allow me to share some quick thoughts about all the 2023 releases I’ve watched this year, in reverse chronological order.

16. Tetris. A fun and surprising cold-war thriller not about the invention of the game itself, but about the lengths Nintendo went — more like had to go — to get the rights to the game from the Russians, via a game publisher (Taron Egerton). I dug the video-game imagery, the representation of the Consumer Electronics Show (an event I attended three times back in the day), and learning more about this story than I ever knew. Grade: B+

15. Paint. One day, groups of high college students will probably watch this movie via a streaming network and enjoy it. But sober, middle-aged me watching in a quiet movie theater didn’t know what to make of it. Paint isn’t a Bob Ross bio-pic and it’s not a satire of him, either. It should have been one or the other. Instead, it’s just a random, pointless movie with a talented cast of comedic actors (including Michaela Watkins, Stephen Root, and Wendi McLendon-Covey) who are all wasted — and not in a good way. Grade: C

14. Somebody I Used to Know. We’ve seen versions of this plot before – workaholic woman returns to her hometown, reconnects with a lost love who is now engaged to someone else, tries to split them up, and learns a big lesson about life priorities — but the cast in Dave Franco’s film keeps you engaged and interested. Especially Alison Brie (Franco’s real-life wife), an underrated actress who should definitely be in more movies. Grade: B

13. A Good Person. Florence Pugh is very good, but the film itself (written and directed by her ex, Zach Braff) often lets her down. Also, it’s just too long. Grade B–

12. Air. Read my review here. Grade: B

11. Scream IV. This latest entry in the horror series (not franchise; sorry, kids) is slightly more entertaining than the last one was, but it’s still derivative and pointless. Let’s be done with these movies now, okay? That said, the subway scene is great. Grade: B–

10. Champions. This is a hard movie to criticize, given its subject matter. It’s charming, sweet, and inspiring. It’s also predictable and heavy handed, and it doesn’t feature one of Woody Harrelson’s better performances. Grade: B–

9. Creed III. Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut is a much better film than Creed II was. It’s a very good take on Black male friendships and the difficulties of reckoning with your past. Oh, and there are some impressively filmed boxing scenes, too. Grade: B

8. Boston Strangler. This film is like a mashup of She Said and Zodiac. It features a very good Keira Knightley performance. Grade: B+

7. Cocaine Bear. A disappointment. The one-joke premise gets stretched pretty thin, and there’s just not enough of the bear. Grade: B

6. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Jonathan Majors is great, as he usually is*. But all the CGI stuff here gets tiresome; I miss the days when MCU films were a bit more grounded in the real world, and were more “human.” The best parts here are at the beginning and the end when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is remarking about how his life has changed. But yeah, “Kang will return”? Thank God. Grade: B–

5. Magic Mike’s Last Dance. When the cast isn’t dancing, the film drags. Maybe that’s an attempt to build the anticipation, but … at this point, the thrill is gone. Grade: C+

4. A Knock at the Cabin. Meh. Grade: C+

3. Shotgun Wedding. Lame and unfunny. Somehow, J.Lo keeps getting better looking as the movie goes along. And yet, Lenny Kravitz and D’Arcy Carden are the best reasons to watch till the end. Grade: C+

2. You PeopleRead my review here. Grade: B+

1. 80 for BradyRead my review here. Grade: B–

It was a decent first quarter. At least I got out to the theater more often than I usually do in the first quarter of the year. Let’s hope the pace continues as 2023 goes on.

(* Yes, I know.)

2 Responses to “Catching Up on 2023 Movie Reviews”


  1. “Renfield” Is a High-Concept Comedy That Doesn’t Suck | Martin's Musings - April 13, 2023

    […] another one of those high-concept comedies that sounds good on paper. But unlike, say, Cocaine Bear, this movie sustains the joke for most of its run. Directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) […]

  2. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” Leaves Our Heroes and the MCU in a Better Place | Martin's Musings - May 1, 2023

    […] the not-very-good Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, not to mention a less than inspiring The Marvels teaser trailer, it’s been more than fair to […]

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