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The Best Movies of 2023 (So Far)

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling Dance in Barbie


Arguably the biggest cultural event happening in a multiplex this year, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie arrived like a bolt of thunder in Hollywood. It turns out audiences might actually want new and creative things, even if the movie is based on a popular doll. They certainly seem to want more first installments in franchises as opposed to eighth ones, and Gerwig’s reimagining of Mattel’s flagship brand is (miraculously) a true original.

Bursting with energy and ideas, as well as a clever third act twist involving the relationship of Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling), Barbie is a sharp metaphor for gender dynamics in the 21st century, as well as a genuinely funny comedy that’s found a large audience. The movie isn’t perfect, and not every joke or tonal switchback lands, but as a whole the film floats with an effervescence above its pink-pastel sands, particularly due to the performances of Robbie and Gosling, the latter of whom should be a genuine contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. – DC

Glenn Howerton in BlackBerry


When it comes to the wavelet of films that came out this year retelling the origin story of, uh, brands (a list that includes Air, Tetris, Pinball, Flamin’ Hot, and, arguably, Barbie), this tiny Canadian indie made for $5 million may be the best of them all. Jay Baruchel is magnificent as Mike Lazaridis, the deeply nerdy, socially awkward genius who manages to create the BlackBerry and usher in a new era of mobile personal communication. Writer/director Matt Johnson plays his partner/best friend while Glenn Howerton is incendiary as Jim Balsillie, the businessman they hire as CEO of their company (Research In Motion), whose aggressive tactics both lift them up and ultimately bring them down.

Sharply written, highly intelligent, and incisive in its view of how money and greed can poison creativity and imagination at every turn, BlackBerry is also often hilarious, affectionately poking at both nerd culture and capitalist piggery. It’s probably the most fun you’ll have watching this kind of thing. With the BlackBerry itself now long gone, you won’t get the sensation of watching a two-hour commercial. – DK

Available to rent on: Amazon, Apple

Michael B Jordan and Jonathan Majors in Creed III

Creed III

This extension of the Rocky franchise, becoming a narrative unto itself, continues in fine if somewhat predictable fashion with Creed III, which finds star Michael B. Jordan stepping confidently behind the camera as well as in front of it for his first feature film as a director. Jordan handles the character material, the pacing, and the visuals quite capably, bringing an imaginative, stylized zest to the fight scenes that marks him as a filmmaker to watch.

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