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Top 5 Films of the Year (so far)

Counting down our favourite films of 2023 so far

As we're part way through the eighth month of the year, and most of the summer blockbusters have now been released, it seems a good time to rank our favourite releases of the year so far. Not to mention that the ongoing writers/actors strikes could rightfully push back the release of some of the films in the later part of the year. We've had Spielberg, we've had Gerwig, we've had Nolan, we've had Anderson, we've had Pixar and Spider-Verse and Mutant Turtles and of course a little cat in boots. The year's been jam-packed and we've had more cinema trips than M3GAN's had malfunctions. So feast your eyes on this list that is definitely subject to change before the year is through.

We created our list of the Top 5 Films of the Year (so far) on a recent episode of The Focus Film Podcast where we justified our logic and our ranking. But for now, here is the list! - click here to listen to the discussion


5. Oppenheimer

Directed by Christopher Nolan

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Part of Oppenheimer's success definitely comes from it sharing a release date with Barbie, but there's no denying the quality of filmmaking on display. The direction, the edit, the sound mix and score and of course the performances are all second-to-none. This three hour blockbuster is split into three distinctive acts and each one serves its purpose. It's amazing that a historic film can be as much of a hit at the box office as this has been.


4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Directed by Joel Crawford

"Fear me if you dare!"

If there was one film that on paper should not have been in the Top 5 it's this one! A sequel to a spinoff of a franchise that's well overstayed its welcome, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish first created a buzz in the US, with people in the UK suggesting there'd be no way it was as good as suggested. But oh my goodness it was! It had countless laugh-out-loud moments an exciting premise and storyline, plus it didn't hold back from exploring the darker moments. It's fantastic!


3. Babylon

Directed by Damien Chazelle

"Party time sparkle c**ks."

This outrageously loud and nonstop roller coaster of a film met a fairly lukewarm response critically and commercially; though in the past few weeks there's been a lot of discourse about it being an underrated hit.

We at Focus absolutely loved it. The adrenaline, the set pieces, the performances it's something to behold. Yes, it's all a bit much and frantic and sometimes goes unnecessarily far, but that's Chazelle's take on Hollywood.


2. Barbie

Directed by Greta Gerwig

"Barbie is all these women. And all these women are Barbie."

More Margot, and this time with the cultural event that's taken the world by storm: Barbie. It had so much to love and was so unafraid to live in the world its created, and with a strong message at its backbone it was fighting for the top spot on this list.

It definitely demands a rewatch as every shot is bursting with joy and popping with colour. Another performance-perfect picture that will go down in history.


1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers

"My name is Miles Morales. I was bitten by a radioactive spider. I'm pretty sure you know the rest."

It's bigger, bolder and braver than the first, and whether you think it's better is up to you. If it sticks the landing (which we're sure it will) it will be one of the best trilogies in cinema history. With a brilliant villain, plenty of fun new supporting characters and another step up (somehow) with the animation, Across the Spider-Verse will be hard to beat as film of the year.


Worthy Contenders

Films that came close, but for whatever reason, didn't quite make the cut

Asteroid City

A brilliantly quirky Wes Anderson film that has an outrageously star-studded cast.

Guardians of the Galaxy: vol.3

This took the world by storm in May, now it feels like years ago. A brilliant conclusion.

Evil Dead Rise

We loved this! A great horror that is ruthless but has the campy Evil Dead feel you expect.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video

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