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Alex B Cann at the movies: Top films of the year part two

Happy New Year! Plenty of good films are being released his month, and I've already had the pleasure of watching Priscilla and Anyone But You. They made an excellent double bill on New Year's Day, and I'd recommend the former for a very different perspective on 'the King of rock n' roll', whilst the latter is a very watchable romantic comedy loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing.

There haven't been many decent rom coms in recent years, but this has all the key elements, including likeable characters and genuinely funny one-liners.

Meanwhile, here are the rest of my Top 10 films of 2023...

Equalizer 3 is a rare beast, in that it's the third instalment of a successful franchise, but doesn't suffer from the 'difficult third part' syndrome, which has afflicted everything from Shrek and Taken to The Godfather and Robocop (Toy Story 3 was also a rare exception). Denzel Washington finds himself retiring in a cosy village in Southern Italy, but the sweeping scenery of the place is blighted by a looming threat from the Mafia. He is going to need to reawaken his particular set of skils, and protect his new friends from the local crime bosses. The action is pulpy, the script is decent, and Denzel is a confirmed legend of the big screen. Far better than the previous one, and a real action treat.

Past Lives slipped under the radar for most, and the screening I attended was almost deserted. It's a shame, as it really reminded me of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, two of my favourite films of all time. It's about two friends who have a 'Sliding Doors' moment, and meet years later to imagine what might have been, had things taken a different path in their lives. Beautiful and subtle. Made me cry a bit too.

The Great Escaper is a lovely swansong for Michael Caine, if it is indeed his final picture, and also stars the late Glenda Jackson. Based on a true story of a care home hero, it manages not to stray into being mawkish, and is really well scripted. A celebration of love, bravery, and compassion, with some very British humour woven in.

Anatomy Of A Fall doesn't tie up its loose ends, and leaves you with more questions than answers, but is no less gripping as a result. A courtroom drama arising from a fall from a top floor balcony, and a forensic look at the tensions within a marriage. Brilliantly acted, and a truly original picture.

Finally, a mention for Wonka, which was far better than I expected it to be. Given the fact the original is such a classic, this really surprised me in the best way with how good it was. The trailer successfully concealed the fact it's essentially a musical, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment, as Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Coleman and Timothee Chalamet all excel. Matt Lucas is also a standout, and like a really good chocolate bar, this is one to devour.

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