2022 was a wild ride in movies. Tom Cruise saved cinema, James Cameron finally gave us a new Avatar film, Michelle Yeoh and the MCU went exploring the multiverse, and famous directors continued to explore the most personal details of their life and what made who they are. As the year wraps up, we take a look on the horizon at what is coming in 2023, and see that it is filled with big spectacles as well as intimate indie films made by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Looking back on the list from last year, most of the titles selected ended up being some of the best-reviewed and celebrated films of 2022. Most notably, Women Talking, The Fabelmans, Decision to Leave, and Nope. The Batman and Glass Onion lived up to their expectations as well as delivering highly entertaining movies. Two films stood out also as being massive miscalculations; with the first being Florian Zeller’s The Son, which was the biggest disappointment of the year and a movie no one could’ve seen being as bad as it was, and the other was Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, a movie marred in so much controversy behind the scenes and at the Venice Film Festival premiere, people forgot that the movie wasn’t very good.
And then there were the final two films from the list, Killers of the Flower Moon and Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1, that moved to the 2023 release calendar and we will see them later this year. For the purposes of this list, and not wanting to repeat the same picks, they have both been penalty boxed from the Top Ten and are massive honorable mentions. Other films considered include new films from prominent directors like Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid, Steve McQueen’s Blitz, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, Paul King’s Wonka, Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings, David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy, Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things and AND, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, Marielle Heller’s Nightbitch, Ross Glass’s Love Lies Bleeding, Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, Jeremy Saulnier’s Rebel Ridge, Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool, Joe Talbot’s The Governesses, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, Pablo Larraín’s El Conde, Emma Seligman’s Bottoms, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis.
A lot of strong biopics look to dominate next award season with Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, John Ridley’s Shirley, and George C. Wolfe’s Rustin. Titles like John Wick Chapter 4, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Creed 3, and Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse highlight the big-budget blockbusters sequels destined to dominate the box office. All in all, it looks like another strong year, but here are the ten films remaining that rose above the rest and become the most anticipated films of 2023.
10. Dune: Part Two (November 3, Warner Bros)
“This is only the beginning.” The last line spoken in 2021’s Dune: Part One, signaled the end of a transcendent first chapter to a potentially new sci-fi saga. With critical and commercial success, as well as winning six Academy Awards, director Denis Villeneuve looks to continue right where he left off, as Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), Chani (Zendaya) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) set to face off against the villainous Harkonnen and the Emperor in what will be the conclusion of the first book in the beloved Frank Herbert saga. Alongside our leads from the first film, the cast consists of familiar faces like Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, and Charlotte Rampling, with Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Léa Seydoux, and Christopher Walken entering the franchise. From what has been teased so far by Villeneuve, expect the action and emotional stakes to be taken to places higher than in the previous installment.
9. The Bikeriders (TBD, 20th Century Studios)
Over the decade and a half, director Jeff Nichols has been at the forefront of independent cinema, crafting tender, resonant dramas that pull the audience and grab at their heartstrings. Take Shelter, Mud, Loving, and Midnight Special were considered by many as some of the best collection of work a director had in the last decade, and after seven years, he returns to the big screen with a film he’s been wanting to make for close to ten years. Based on the novel of the same name by Danny Lyon, The Bikeriders tells the rise and sinister fall of a Midwestern motorcycle club in the 1960s. Led by Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon (a Nichols regular), Mike Faist, Norman Reedus, and more, this looks to be a welcomed return to form for Nichols.
8. Barbie (July 21, Warner Bros.)
Let’s be honest, that teaser trailer released a couple of weeks ago sold all of us on why we are looking forward to Barbie. But if you need a little more persuading, then all you need to know is that this is writer-director Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to her 2019 adaptation of Little Women. Based on the highly popular toy franchise, and with a script co-written by her life partner Noah Baumbach, Gerwig enlists Academy Award nominee Margo Robbie as the title character and Academy Award nominees Ryan Gosling as her boyfriend Ken. With an all-star cast consisting of Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, and Emma Mackey starring alongside Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Issa Rae, Ncuti Gatwa, and Hari Nef appearing as different variations of Barbie and Ken, this looks like it has the elements of some of the most fun we will have at the theaters in the upcoming year.
7. May December (TBD, Gloria Sanchez Productions)
Tell me if you heard this one before, director Todd Haynes is making a new movie with Julianne Moore. If you have, it’s probably because they have collaborated on three other films in the director’s filmography, most notably Safe and Far from Heaven. This time, they team up to tell the story of a married couple who is put under the microscope when a younger actress comes to stay with them and research their relationship for her next film. Co-starring Natalie Portman, Charles Melton, and Kelvin Han Yee, the film seems to have Haynes focusing on the things that have brought him much success before with a film about a complex relationship centered around a strong female lead and dealing with the ideas of fame and how we consume art. If he is able to stick the landing as he has in the past, we could be looking at yet another masterpiece to add to his already celebrated career.
6. Challengers (August 11, United Artist Releasing)
After another incredible release in 2022 with Bones and All, director Luca Gaudagnino continued to prove he could do it all, no matter if it is a film about summer love, a dance company run by witches, or a cannibal romantic road trip. Returning with a new feature this year, he takes a big swing in a different direction as Challengers is a romantic comedy set in the world of professional tennis. Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor have the potential to be one of the sexiest trios we’ve seen on screen in recent years, with Sayombhu Mukdeeprom returning as the film’s DP after working with Gaudagnino on Call Me by Your Name and Suspiria, and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross returning after working with Luca on Bones and All. Look for this to possibly get Guadagnino back into the awards conversation if it lands with audiences like his last couple of films.
5. The Killer (TBD, Netflix)
The last time we saw David Fincher, he was coming off his third Oscar nomination for Mank, one of the most polarizing, divisive films of his career. Some would argue the movie was too niche of a topic while others consider the Hollywood biopic to be the movie he has been building up to his entire career. Whatever side you sit on his last film, his latest film looks to be going back to the genre he has dominated, making some of the best films of the last thirty years in; the action-thriller genre. Based on a French graphic novel series, Fincher, alongside Seven screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, has enlisted the talented Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender to play the titular role, with Oscar winner Tilda Swinton alongside him. But just because Fincher is delivering what will no doubt be another sleek neo-noir thriller doesn’t mean there isn’t more than meets the eye with this movie, as the director is known for having more to say than just the mystery at hand, and with very little details out about the film so far, we can’t wait to see whatever he is about to give us with this one.
4. The Iron Claw (TBD, A24)
After what might be the best year overall for A24, the indie studio has another potentially amazing year on its hands with films from Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola, Jonathan Glazer, Joe Talbot, Ari Aster, Ti West, Kelly Reichardt, Alex Garland set to release. But the film that tops the list from A24 has to be Sean Durkin’s third film, The Iron Claw. Based on the real-life story of Kevin Von Erich and his professional wrestling family, and how a mighty dynasty turned into one of the best tragedies in professional sports. Led by a stacked cast that includes Zac Efron, Lily James, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, and Jeremy Allen White, Durkin’s fascination with deep psychological issues facing his characters seems perfect for a story like this. The Iron Claw has all the potential to make Durkin, a respected indie filmmaker, a household name by the end of 2023.
3. Ferrari (TBD, STXfilms)
It has been seven long years since director Michael Mann has given us a new film, and with Ferrari, he will deliver a project he has been trying to make for the better part of the last two decades. Centered around Enzo Ferrari, the famous Italian driver who became an entrepreneur and one of the most famous men in the motor vehicle industry. With Adam Driver in the titular roles, supported by Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, and Jack O’Connell, Mann looks to examine Ferrari’s life in front of the wheel and behind the scenes as his family is falling apart. With this, we can expect the talented director to deliver stunning racing sequences as well as gripping drama to match the intensity of the race track and show why he is one of the best directors of his generation.
2. Oppenheimer (July 21, Universal Pictures)
In the second film releasing on the 21st of July, we find director Christopher Nolan’s first project with Universal studio, a big-budget biopic about Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist responsible for the creation of the first nuclear bomb. With a teaser trailer and IMAX footage shown already over the 2022 holiday break, it is clear that Nolan is stepping back into the comfort space that made him the biggest director in the business right now, exploring man’s obsession with the destruction of our world as they race against the clock of an enemy the world must defeat. Longtime Nolan staple Cillian Murphy leads a cast highlighted by Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Josh Hartnett, Gary Oldman, and about two dozen more of the biggest actors in modern Hollywood. With a score composed by Ludwig Göransson and shot by Hoyte van Hoytema, expect Nolan to try and top himself as he looks to make his biggest film to date and “wow” audiences with the nuclear sequences, and ground it with a look at the conflict with Oppenheimer as he is building something that will change the world forever.
1. How Do You Live? (TBD, Studio Ghibli/GKIDS)
If none of the films in 2023 pan out, if all of the films mentioned above fail, the cinematic year will be known for the return of one of the greatest living filmmakers of all time, Hayao Miyazaki, coming out of retirement for one last film. The master of the animation genre returns for what many consider his last film with How Do You Live?, a loose adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Yoshino Genzaburo. With Studio Ghibli pulling out all the stops and giving Miyazaki everything he needs, the film has been described as a “big fantastical film,” the kind in which we haven’t seen the master do in a long time. More importantly, Miyazaki is making this film as a love letter to his family, in particular his grandson, as the last film to remember him by. And as the film will premiere in Japan in July of this year, Hayao Miyazaki looks to give us his most personal film to date, while further proving that he is not just the best animation director the genre has ever seen, but the greatest director of all time.