As great as last year was for movie fans, this year is going to be one for the books. We’re getting some long-awaited sequels, stunning original films, and a few legends will be returning to the silver screen. Here are my 23 most anticipated films of 2023:
23. Beau is Afraid
- This is it for Ari Aster, as far as I’m concerned. I wasn’t a fan of Hereditary (2018) or Midsommar (2019), so if his upcoming surrealist comedy horror about the world’s most successful entrepreneur, starring Joaquin Pheonix, is a miss, I’ll likely give up on him (respectfully). Only time will tell, but this looks like a really interesting look at class, loss and family.
22. Poor Things
- Known for offbeat dramas that ask big questions, Yorgos Lanthimos reportedly has two films in postproduction right now. This one’s a novel adaptation about a woman who drowns herself to escape her abusive husband, but is revived when her brain is replaced with that of her unborn child. The other, And, is an anthology film. I loved The Lobster (2015), so I couldn’t be happier that this Greek auteur has a busy year ahead.
21. All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
- Described as a series of lyrical portraits, Raven Jackson’s newest movie explores the life arc of a black woman in Tennessee. Delicate, intimate and compelling, this is cinema at its most personal.
- Having already showed at a couple of festivals, this Spanish-Italian drama is scheduled for a January 6th release. Described as ‘a family drama about the disappearance of traditional peach-harvesting activities,’ I think this movie is bound to be one of the most tender and compelling releases next year.
19. Strange Way of Life
- Pedro Almodóvar’s short western is about a man riding across the desert to drop in on his old friend, a sheriff. Starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, it’s a unique take on the western that’s sure to get mixed reviews, but I’m excited to see it!
18. The Beast
- Set in 1910, 2014 and 2044, this unique dystopian romance stars Léa Seydoux as Gabrielle, who lives in the near future, when emotions have become a threat, causing her to travel in time and rid herself of any and all feeling—but then she meets Louis. Bertrand Bonello seems determined to pull at our heartstrings with this one.
17. The Governesses
- Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) was my favorite film of that year, so it goes without saying I’m greatly looking forward to his upcoming feature starring Hoyeon (Squid Game). It’s been described as a ‘semi-deranged erotic fairy tale,’ and should be one of the best films this year!
16. Mother Couch
- Three estranged children try to figure out why their mother refuses to get off a couch inside a furniture store in this off-kilter family drama from Guy Gaster. Starring Taylor Russell, whose performance in Bones and All was a standout of last year, alongside Ewan McGregor, who was phenomenal in del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022), I look forward to seeing these two powerhouse talents onscreen together.
15. Pain Hustlers
- In David Yates’ upcoming conspiracy-drama, a high school dropout lands a job in a yellowing strip mall, where she finds herself at the center of a criminal conspiracy with deadly consequences. Fun, smart and full of social commentary, I can’t wait to watch this.
14. The Killer
- Based on Alexis Nolent’s French graphic novel series of the same name, this adaptation stars Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton, two transcendent talents; and with David Fincher behind the camera, the sky’s the limit for this upcoming Netflix original!
13. The Empire
- When a child is born to a working-class couple, their sleepy French fishing village becomes the center of an intergalactic battle as knights from interplanetary kingdoms fight over the fate of the baby they call ’The Beast of the End Times.’ Bruno Dumont directs the likes of Lily-Rose Depp in this Sci-fi stunner you don’t want to miss!
12. Dune: Part Two
- I had my issues with Denis Villenueve’s first installment in this series, but no one can deny the sheer beauty of his big-budget Sci-fi epic. This film seems set to close out the events of the first book, and perhaps move into the first part of its sequel, Dune Messiah. There are also some great casting choices here, so we’re in for a treat!
- As aliens land in Morocco, a young pregnant woman finds the emancipation she’s been seeking. Sofia Alaoui’s new sci-fi thriller is expected to release later this month, and is bound to be one of the most memorable things you’ll watch this year.
10. Bravo, Burkina
- Releasing January 23rd, this film tells the story of a Burkinabé boy fleeing to Italy, where he’s disillusioned by heartbreak and haunted by memories, which causes him to travel back in time with hopes of regaining all that he’s lost. Walé Oyéjidé’s newest film will no doubt pull on our heartstrings in the best of ways while providing an entertaining watch. I can’t wait!
9. Silent Night
- This unique take on the revenge thriller follows a grieving father enacting his long-awaited revenge against a ruthless gang on Christmas Eve—and doesn’t feature a single line of dialogue. John Woo is bound to deliver one of his most action-packed explorations of masculinity, violence and loss (which is saying a lot).
8. El Conde
- In Pablo Larraín’s upcoming film, Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, is still alive. He’s been alive for 150 years as a vampire, but has finally decided to die. This black comedy will be a Netflix production, and despite the fact that a specific date is TBA, it’s reported to be releasing this year, and is surely going to be one of the more funny, insightful releases of 2023.
7. Mami Wata
- Releasing January 23rd, C.J. Obasi’s fantasy thriller follows two sisters fighting to restore the glory of a mermaid goddess and protect their village from outside forces. Part commentary on colonialism, part folkloric exploration of gender and resistance, this Nigerian movie is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!
- It’s always a treat to watch a Christopher Nolan film in theaters. The sheer scale of his practical effects, along with the intimate performances he’s able to capture on film, all make for such a phenomenal viewing experience, and this biopic of the man who invented the atomic bomb might be his best film yet. Trailer
- This movie feels like a mind-fuck waiting to happen. With the recent trailer riffing off Kubrick’s 2001 (1968), and some fun casting choices/cinematography, it was very smart to schedule this for a July 21st release. I think Greta Gerwig’s latest offering could be the movie of the summer!
4. Infinity Pool
- Brandon Cronenberg’s follow-up to the body horror stunner that was Possessor (2020) looks like another surreal masterpiece. Body doubles, fancy resorts and untold horror. What else could you ask for? In theaters this month! Trailer
- Pearl made my top 15 last year for good reason, setting the bar pretty high for the final installment in Ti West’s trilogy starring Mia Goth. Following Maxine as she travels to LA after the events of X, I’m expecting yet another dive into themes of class, gender and ambition. Though a specific release date is TBA, I very excited to watch it.
2. Killers of the Flower Moon
- A series of murders of wealthy Osage people fuels this historically-inspired look at corruption and violence. It almost seems made for Scorsese to do what he does best; adapting David Grann’s similarly-titled book, it’s scheduled to release in May, and stars some Scorsese regulars like DiCaprio and De Niro, along with Brendan Fraser and others. Keep your eyes peeled for this one!
1. How Do You Live?
- The return of legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki is set for July 14th of next year, and I can’t wait. Inspired by Yoshino Genzaburo’s novel of the same name, this has been described as a ‘big fantastical film’ following a 15-year old boy and his uncle dealing with spiritual growth, poverty and the human condition. This might be Miyazaki’s swansong, and is sure to be a must-watch!