The main problem with watching movies and TV shows is that there are so many of them, and so little time. But of course, the editorial staff of The Fringe watched a variety of movies and TV shows in their free time, and we will tell you which ones we liked the most in this text.
As with games, there are no rules. Some may name only one movie or TV series of the year, others may mention several, or even give their own list of the top 10 film products released in 2023.
Taras Mishchenko, editor-in-chief of Mezha.Media
In my opinion, this year was a successful one in terms of new movie releases, despite the strike of screenwriters and actors, which forced studios to postpone some releases. We have a new film by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer, a three-hour biopic that has become one of the best works of the director who likes to confuse the viewer with time lines. This time, they allow us to better reveal the plot and are not too “heavy”. Along with Nolan, I’d like to mention Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, a continuation of Miles Morales’ story, but now in a multiverse that brings a fresh take on classic Spider-Man stories.
The completion of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, in my opinion, was a glimpse of creativity in the generally mediocre line of projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is going through a difficult time. A logical conclusion to the story of the rogue heroes with a traditionally great soundtrack. James Gunn is leaving the project, on the one hand, leaving the potential for a sequel, and on the other hand, finishing his own story. Well, let’s look forward to the director’s new works as part of his attempts to restart the DC cinematic universe.
Among this year’s series, I’d like to mention Hello Tomorrow! from Apple TV+, not so much for the plot as for the wonderful atmosphere of the alternative 60s with flying cars, robots, and the opportunity to buy a house on the moon. I also really liked the Netflix anime Pluto, a detective spinoff of Astro Boy, but with a deep and twisted plot that makes you watch all the episodes in just a few days.
Oleg Danylov, editor of Mezha.Media
As I wrote back in 2021, I haven’t been going to the movies since the beginning of the covid, and the outbreak of a full-scale war didn’t help me return to the big screens. I try to keep up with new releases, but only half-heartedly, so I missed many movie premieres this year.
Actually, 2023 is a unique year, even a turning point in some ways. Two of the highest-grossing films of the year are based on a toy and a video game! There are three more movies based on toys and video games in the Top 25! It seems that the spell of “game-based movies” has finally been broken. As it turns out, all you need is good directors and budgets. Two of the films I liked were Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Barbie. I will also mention Air. Although this is an old and well-known story, good actors take it to a new level.
But the movie of the year for me was… a cartoon. The animated film Nimona, which was released on Netflix, is an hour and a half of fun, frenzy, and sadness. The best thing that happened to Netflix this year.
In fact, Netflix is my main viewing platform, so it’s not surprising that the series of the year will also come from this service. I liked the documentaries Arnold about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Beckham about David Beckham and his family. In addition, I would like to draw your attention to The Fall of the House of Usher. Of course, if you’re familiar with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, many of the plot developments won’t come as a surprise, but it’s beautifully shot and acted.
But the series of the year for me was once again a cartoon, or rather an anime – Blue Eye Samurai by French (!) Blue Spirit and Netflix Animation. It’s a kind of John Wick in Edo-era Japan. The authors of the series were inspired by Zatoichi, the Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood’s character in Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy), and Akira Kurosawa’s films. Highly recommend.
Sergiy Svitlychnyi, editor of Mezha.Media
This time it didn’t work out with blockbusters, so my films of the year are not very well-known works. I was most impressed with Nimona, as it was almost a breath of fresh air compared to the standard Disney and Pixar animations. The original setting (yes, I know it’s an adaptation of a French comic book), interesting characters and plot – Nimona made such a good impression that after a while I watched it for the second time, with my friends.
As for the films that I remember in 2023, I would like to mention Past Lives, a great example of a serious drama about the lives of adults, worries about decisions made in the past, and hesitations about the future. I’ll also mention the comedy-drama A Man Called Otto. Although formally released last year, it happened on December 29, and only in a limited number of theaters, and the global release took place in January 2023. Tom Hanks perfectly played the grumpy old man and made this remake of the Swedish film A Man Called Uwe particularly touching.
This year I was almost as disappointed with TV series as I was with movies. The only show that really made a very good impression was the comedy drama Shrinking by the creators of Ted Lasso. The story of a failed psychotherapist who has almost as many problems in his life as his patients turned out to be funny, sometimes sad, and very heartwarming. I’m looking forward to the second season, which was announced back in March.
In order not to leave Shrinking as the only fresh series on my list, I’ll probably mention ONE PIECE – I didn’t watch the anime, but I liked the Netflix adaptation. Yes, I know – probably because I haven’t watched the anime, but still, in my opinion, it turned out to be bright, dynamic and interesting.
I’m done with the 2023 series, except for them, and I’ll mention the last season of Ted Lasso, which I think was better than the second, and maybe even the first.
And, as in a similar article in 2021, I would like to mention the fifth season of the British comedy series Ghosts, which is a rare case when each season is no worse than the previous ones, and it is still very fun and interesting to watch the life of a young couple who share an old mansion with a family of funny ghosts.
Yevhenia Hubina, author of Mezha.Media
I have always loved movie theaters as long as I can remember. Every Saturday, I would take some snacks and go to the morning screenings. It was so great – everyone was still sleeping, and I was already laughing at another comedy or solving a new detective story.
After the full-scale invasion began, I postponed this tradition for a year – it was emotionally difficult. And then I realized that cinemas allow you to “recharge” your internal batteries to move on. So I went to the movies again.
Now I choose mostly light movies without explosions and shooting. For example, the movie La vie pour de vrai. I once liked Danny Booth and Cad Merad in the movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. So I was curious to see what they were up to now. The new movie is a bit weaker, but I still have a good impression of it.
I was pleasantly surprised by A Haunting in Venice. This is Kenneth Branagh’s third film in the series about the legendary Hercule Poirot. It is strikingly different from the first two, which acted on me like a sleeping pill. There is an abandoned palazzo, a séance and, of course, a mysterious murder.
The Ukrainian film Dovbush also made a strong impression. Incredible views and cool shots! The Equalizer 3 completes my list. I like this story because of the justice that the protagonist professes. And the retribution that awaits the offenders. All of them, without exception.
As for TV shows, this year my favorite is the third season of The Mandalorian. I love the Star Wars franchise, so I couldn’t miss this project when it first came out. And then it went from there.
But I expected more from the sequel to Loki. It lost some of the magic of the first season. My perception was also influenced by a story about the possible use of AI in the creation of a promotional poster for the second season.
Dmytro Kuryatnyk, author of Mezha.Media
Frankly speaking, this year’s cinematic output seemed rather weak to me, and only two films stood out for me: A Haunting in Venice, because of my weakness for Sir Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s works and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The latter became my personal favorite film of the year, because it is a great representation of all the chaos, black humor and fantastic adventures that reign at the table during a game game.
Among the series, I would like to mention The Fall of the House of Usher – it’s an interesting reinterpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic works, and even if you are familiar with the original source, you will still be curious how the director managed to weave famous stories into modern realities.
Dmytro Dzhugalyk, author of Mezha.Media
This year was full of interesting film premieres, and Barbieheimer is the only one worth mentioning. However, it wasn’t this film that grabbed my attention, but two other films that happen to be sequels to series that I only discovered this year.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the first of those films. At the beginning of the year, I started to take an interest in Tom Cruise’s career and watched Mission Impossible for the first time, and then everything was a blur, and in a few days I had already watched all six parts, and the seventh one was very appropriately released not long after.
I’ve always been interested in secret agent movies and have seen a lot of them, but the adventures of Ethan Gant grabbed me immediately, including because of Tom Cruise’s stunts (that motorcycle jump in the seventh installment is something incredible). And the theme of the latest movie with artificial intelligence threatening humanity is far from new, but still interesting. The only downside is that the movie is split into two parts, which is something that many franchises suffer from nowadays, but on the other hand, I’m guaranteed to have something to watch in 2025, so there are some advantages here as well.
Another movie that grabbed my attention was The Equalizer 3. The story here is a mirror image of Mission Impossible. This year, I watched a lot of films just to get acquainted with the filmography of certain actors, and Denzel Washington was among them. After watching several of his films, I got to The Righteous series. And whether it was the movies I liked so much or Denzel himself, I was happy when I found out that his new movie was coming out this year. The Equalizer 3 was a great ending to Robert McCall’s story and made me love Denzel even more.
Among the series I would like to highlight anime Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku. I’ve always loved Mappa Studio for the projects they choose to adapt, and they didn’t disappoint once again, choosing a very interesting manga and adapting it into an incredible anime. Packed with cool fights, an interesting world, and an intriguing story, Hellraiser was the best new anime of the year for me. The opening theme WORK by millennium parade and Sheena Ringo is worth a mention… It’s no wonder this song took the first position in my Spotify top songs of 2023.
Volodymyr Dyachenko, videographer at Mezha.Media
For me, the best feature film of the year was the new work of Martin Scorsese. The choice is quite trivial and expected; every film by a prominent director becomes a high-profile event. The title is fascinating, especially in the Ukrainian translation – Killers of the Flower Moon. It may not be the best work of the famous author, but it is at least one of the films I had to watch this season, and this film was a cut above the rest. The acting work of Scorsese’s favorites is worth a lot: Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
Among the TV shows that I managed to watch this year, I would like to highlight the American drama miniseries Lessons in Chemistry from Apple TV+, based on the novel of the same name by Bonnie Harmus. In short, the series is about how an ambitious young chemist Elizabeth Zott is forced to live in a patriarchal society. The image created by the authors on the screen is understandable and relatable to the viewer. “Chemistry Lessons” is an interesting story that evokes a multicolored emotional tension. It is worth noting the excellent acting work of the main characters and the high-quality stylization of the retro-style picture.
Sergiy Gilyuk, author of Mezha.Media
I have two films of the year. Those are a href=”https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15398776/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Oppenheimer and «Luxembourg, Luxembourg».
Oppenheimer is another visual wonder by Christopher Nolan about Robert Oppenheimer and the process of creating the world’s first nuclear weapon.
Nolan conveys the events that determined the fate of the world for decades, if not hundreds of years, in an intimate way – at the moment when Robert Oppenheimer watches the Trinity explode, we look at Robert’s face and see everything in it – the destructive power of what he has created, and his realization that he has become “death, the destroyer of worlds.”
If you don’t like Nolan for his dry characters and excessive pathos, try watching Oppenheimer. The pathos is still there, but there are more emotions.
The impressions and emotions from Luxembourg, Luxembourg are completely different. Just like Lukic’s first feature film, My Thoughts Are Quiet, this is a movie about us and our lives. It seems that you can reach the events on the screen with your hand, and sometimes that you are a direct participant in them. Emotionally, it’s hard, but I think that this is the only way to tell about Ukrainians. I would like to mention the Nasirov brothers, who started by recording songs in the closet so that their mother wouldn’t hear them swear. The guys are also very active in helping the Armed Forces and expressing their civic position on issues that are painful for the average Ukrainian, and they deserve special respect for that.
As always, we’d love to hear about your personal favorites of the year in the comments.
The previous installments of the 2023 edition of the Mezha’s summary can be found here:
Automotive results of 2023: winners, achievements, technologies, failures
Made in Ukraine. Results of 2023 with Ukrainian game developers
On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023