10 Most Anticipated Films of 2023
Plus Sundance Film Festival preview
It is time for one of my favorite annual traditions, getting my hopes up that it is going to be an incredible movie year. The promising thing is that on paper 2023 has the potential to be really special. Almost all of the best directors alive - David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, Ridley Scott, Luca Guadagnino, and Denis Villeneuve all have films coming out in the next 12 months. Here is what I am most looking forward to:
10. Barbie (directed by Greta Gerwig) - releasing on July 21
A movie about the classic American toy, Barbie, made by Mattel would normally not excite me too much, but with Greta Gerwig at the helm and a script pinned by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, it is hard not to be excited. Plus, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling playing Barbie and Ken, who would say no?
9. Oppenheimer (directed by Christopher Nolan) - releasing on July 21st
Nolan’s upcoming feature film follows J. Robert Oppenheimer as he contributes to the creation of the first nuclear bomb. Nolan making a movie is enough to get excited about, but the cast is seriously one of the best ever assembled. Seriously, it is so good that it has become a running joke that it would be easier for Nolan to simply list all of the best actors that aren’t in it. Does a cast that good make me nervous, of course it does, but trusting that everyone is just jumping at the opportunity to work with one of the best directors of our lives. Another storyline to watch with this one is that it comes out on the exact same day as Greta Gerwig’s Barbie - talk about a double feature!
8. Killers of the Flower Moon (directed by Martin Scorsese) - release date TBA
Scorsese’s film adaption of the acclaimed book has been in the can for a few years now, but all signs point to it finally coming out this year. Led be Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons, and Robert De Niro, the film follows the FBI’s investigation of the mysterious murders in the Osage Tribe in the 1920s. Could this be Apple’s second best picture winner?
7. Leave the World Behind (directed by Sam Esmail) - releasing on December 8th
Netflix won a bidding war for the film rights to the acclaimed novel a few years back and we are finally on the verge of seeing what becomes of it. The film follows a family on vacation that is told of a major mysterious blackout by two strangers - as the threat increases, they have to grapple with how to survive the potential crisis. The real reason for my excitement of the film is the cast - Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Mahershala Ali are enough to get me excited about any film.
6. Poor Things plus And (directed by Yorgos Lanthimos) - release dates TBA
The great Yorgos Lanthimos is set to release not one, but two films this year. His 2015 film the Lobster is still one of my favorites from the past ten years, so I get excited anytime he releases a new film. Poor Things is a modern adaption of Frankenstein in which the hideous monster is replaced by a beautiful, volatile erotomaniac woman (played by Emma Stone). The cast is rounded out with Mark Ruffalo, and William DeFoe. As for his second film, And, the plot details are being kept under wraps, but Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, William DeFoe, and Margaret Qualley are set to star.
5. Wonka (directed by Paul King) - December 15th
Out of all the films on this whole list, this is probably the one with the highest boom/bust potential. The film follows a young Willy Wonka finding his place in the world. Movie musicals have been VERY hit or miss the past decade and I don’t want to be naïve and act like there is a chance that it this is a surefire hit. I like musicals more than the average person, but what gives me great excitement for this film is Timothee Chalamet playing the titular role and Paul King at the helm (the genius behind the highly acclaimed Paddington movies).
4. Napoleon (directed by Ridley Scott) - release date TBA
The fact that Ridley Scott is 85 years old and still cranking out films is absolutely astounding - Napoleon will be his third film in the last three years. The film follows Napoleon on his rise to power with Joaquin Phoenix starring as Napoleon. The production has a budget of over $100 million and is scheduled to be released on Apple TV+, so lots to be excited about.
3. Maestro (directed by Bradley Cooper) - release date TBA
It is hard to believe that it is has been five years since Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut with A Star is Born. Even five years later, I still think it is one of the most underrated movies of the past five years. His second film, Maestro, is a biopic for famed composer Leonard Bernstein, with Cooper starring as Bernstein. Following the success of TAR last year, it will be interesting to see how big our appetite is for films about composers, but time will tell. Will Cooper as a director be a one hit wonder or cement himself as one of the best up and coming directors?
2. Dune: Part 2 (directed by Denis Villeneuve) - releasing November 3rd
There was one thought running my head when the credits started to roll for Dune: Part 1 way back in 2021 - when does Part 2 come out? The world that Villeneuve build in the first along with the size and scope of it all was one of the best technical achievements in film from the last decade. The cast for part 2 is even better than the first, the hype is so much strong, now we are just waiting to see if Villeneuve will deliver. While this is number 2 on my most anticipated list for 2023, it is my most anticipated theater experience. Opening night is going to be one for the ages.
1. Challengers (directed by Luca Guadagnino) - releasing August 11th
There are only a handful of directors on the planet that fall into the “I will be there opening night to watch anything they put out without even knowing what the movie is about” category. After Bones and All last year Guadagnino, is now firmly cemented into that category for me after Bones & All last year. Any movie that Luca Guadagnino puts out would probably make it onto my most anticipated list, but the reason this one is #1 is because the story is beyond appealing and the cast is spectacular. Just read the log line:
“Tashi, a tennis player turned coach, has transformed her husband from a mediocre player into a world-famous grand slam champion. To jolt him out of his recent losing streak, she makes him play a challenger event -- close to the lowest level of tournament on the pro tour. Tensions soon run high when he finds himself standing across the net from the once-promising, now burnt-out Patrick, his former best friend and Tashi's former boyfriend”
Need I say any more? I’m sold! If you need anymore convincing, the film also stars Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, & Mike Faist. The subject matter of almost all of Guadagnino’s films are so dark, yet still so good, that I can’t wait to see what he does with something more fun!
What films are you most excited about for 2023?
Sundance Film Festival Preview
For the first time since 2019, the Sundance Film Festival will take place in person in Park City Utah over the course of the next week. This year’s festival will include 110 feature films, 98 of which are premieres. Sundance is historically the heart and sole of indie filmmaking. Some of the most well known films to premiere at the festival are American Psycho, Memento, Little Miss Sunshine, Whiplash, Get Out, and Hereditary. In recent years, these low budget films have attracted many streaming services to the festival hoping to buy some quality content for cheap. Last year almost all of the feature films were required by a streaming service or larger studio after the festival, including Apple buying Cha Cha Real Smooth for $15 million. Two years ago, another streamer bought film from Sundance, CODA, made noise by winning best picture at the Oscars.
Starting on Tuesday, I will be covering the festival virtually through the end of next weekend. Currently, I am planning to see 11 different films and documentaries. Some of the the films I am most looking forward to include the following:
Theatre Camp - Molly Gordan and Ben Platt’s first feature film about a struggling theatre camp in upstate New York.
Magazine Dreams - Follows an aspiring body builder (played by Jonathan Majors) that struggles with mental health.
The Eternal Memory - A documentary about a couple’s relationship eight years into one of them being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
King Coal - A cinematic look at the past, present, and future of Appalachia and its relationship with coal
I will be back next week with a full recap on those films plus everything else that I get a chance to see at the festival! Until then, enjoy some great films!
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