Happy New Year everyone!
It’s that time again continue each New Year tradition with my twenty-five most anticipated films for this coming year. Like previous years when doing these lists, you might find some films mentioned that might be considered last years releases (2022), but this list is taking into consideration the cinematic release dates of these films for the UK & Ireland territories. Also this list will be my own personal list of films I’m looking forward to seeing, so there may be some noticeable absentees that you may be looking forward to (e.g. Barbie).
So here at the twenty-five films I’m most looking forward to seeing in 2023.
RELEASE DATE: TBA (Apple Original Film)
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn
CAST: Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Ariana DeBose, Rob Delaney, Dua Lipa and Samuel L. Jackson
Argylle sees Matthew Vaughn return with a spy thriller outside of the Kingsman franchise. Based on the upcoming novel by Elly Conway and adapted by Jason Fuchs, the film focuses on a world-class spy and his globe-trotting adventures across the U.S, London and other exotic locations. While I haven’t been a particular fan of the last two entries in the Kingsman franchise when compared to the original, they still have their moments under Vaughn’s direction, and his previous body of work still makes me excited to see what’s in store with another star-studded ensemble. It could either be well received, or it could become this years Red Notice. Time will tell.
24: LUTHER: THE FALLEN SUN
RELEASE DATE: March (Netflix Original Film)
DIRECTOR: Jamie Payne
CAST: Idris Elba, Dermot Crowley, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis, Jess Liaudin, Natasha Patel and Lauryn Ajufo
This year we see the return of Idris Elba as John Luther, this time in film form. Serving as a continuation of the television series, Luther: The Fallen Sun sees a gruesome serial killer terrorising London whilst the brilliant but disgraced detective John Luther sits behind bars. Haunted by his failure to capture the cyber psychopath who now taunts him, Luther decides to beak out of prison to finish the job by any means necessary. I was a huge fan of the Luther series from the BBC, so much so that one of the first ever articles I typed up and published online was based on the first few episodes of the first series twelve years ago. So having the characters journey continue in a film format, it will be interesting to see the results of that. The script is written by series creator Neil Cross, and the film is directed by Jamie Payne, a veteran director on multiple tv series.
RELEASE DATE: TBA (Prime Video Original Film)
DIRECTOR: Roger Ross Williams
CAST: Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla De La Rosa, Joaquín Cosío, and Raúl Castillo. El Hijo del Santo and Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio
One on my list that I’m betting that will fly under the radar and through word of mouth will start catching on towards the latter half of the year is Cassandro, a true-story drama based on Saúl Armendáriz, a guy amateur wrestler from El Paso, who rises to international stardom after he create the character Cassandro, the ‘Liberace of Lucha Libre’, and in the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life. It’s still unclear when the film will be released this year, but with an image released recently, a trailer shouldn’t be too far away. Not only am I a sucker for sports dramas, but true-story based sports dramas…sign me up, especially with Gael García Bernal in the lead role. The film is directed by Academy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside David Teague.
RELEASE DATE: TBA (Netflix Original Film)
DIRECTOR: Gareth Evans
CAST: Tom Hardy, Forest Whitaker, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Cornwell, Jessie Mei Li, Yeo Yann Yann, Quelin Sepulveda, Luis Guzmán, Sunny Pang, Michelle Waterson and Richard Pepper
The main reason is because of one man and one man only…and it ain’t Tom Hardy. I’ve been a fan of Gareth Evans work since the first time I came across The Raid (or The Raid: Redemption to some folk) upon its initial cinematic release in 2012, and since then I’ve enjoyed his work in film (The Raid 2, Apostle) and in television (Gangs of London). So staying within the action thriller genre, the film is set to focus on a detective who must fight his way through a criminal underworld, after a drug deal goes awry, to rescue a politician’s estranged son, while also untangling his city’s dark web of conspiracy and corruption. So with Evans writing/directing, and with a top ensemble that has Tom Hardy in the lead role, supported by the likes of Forest Whitaker and Timothy Olyphant, how could I not be excited for Havoc?
RELEASE DATE: 24th February (Picturehouse Entertainment)
DIRECTOR: Hirokazu Kore-eda
CAST: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, IU, Lee Joo-young, Park Ji-yong, Lim Seung-soo, Lee Mu-saeng, Ryu Kyung-soo, Song Sae-byuk, Kim Sun-young, Lee Dong-hwi, Kim Sae-byuk, Park Hae-jun and Kang Gil-woo
Broker is the latest drama feature from Hirokazu Kore-eda, focusing on two friends who run an illegal business together. Ha Sang-hyeon is the owner of a hand laundry and volunteers at the nearby church, where his friend Dong-soo works. But the duo have a side gig: Ha Sang-hyeon occasionally steals babies from the church’s baby box with Dong-soo, who deletes any video evidence at the church, and then they sell the babies on the adoption black market. Whilst two detectives are on their trail, a young mother returns after abandoning her baby and forces herself onto a road trip with Ha Sang-hyeon and Dong-soo to interview the baby’s potential parents. Kore-eda always makes some compelling narratives in his stories and the synopsis for the film alone has me intrigued to see how it all plays out.
20: BLUE BEETLE
RELEASE DATE: 18th August (Warner Bros.)
DIRECTOR: Angel Manuel Soto
CAST: Xolo Maridueña, Harvey Guillén, Bruna Marquezine, Belissa Escobedo, George Lopez, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, Raoul Max Trujilo and Susan Sarandon
While there’s a few big DC films to come out this year (The Flash, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom) whilst the new heads (James Gunn and Peter Safran) map out the new chapter ahead for the DCEU, later this summer is the DC film I’m looking forward to the most: Blue Beetle. This will be the first big screen outing for the character, with Xolo Maridueña in the titular role as Jamie Reyes, who discovers the Blue Beetle scarab, who in turn grafts onto him, forming a powerful exoskeleton around his body and giving him superpowers. The film is written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer and is directed by Angel Manuel Soto, with the latter receiving critical acclaim for his last film Charm City Kings.
19: NEXT GOAL WINS
RELEASE DATE: 21st April (Searchlight Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Taika Waititi
CAST: Michael Fassbender, Oscar Knightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Semu Filipo, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, Kaimana, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss, Frankie Adams, Rhys Darby, Angus Sampson, Chris Alosio, Sisa Grey, James Gaweł and Ativalu Scanlan.
Next Goal Wins is the dramatic feature adaptation of the true story of the American Samoa national football team, which led to the documentary of the same name which was released in 2014. We follow Thomas Rongen, a Dutch-born, American-based football coach, who is brought in turn one of the weakest football teams in the world into an elite squad. The documentary itself was very interesting to watch, considering the task at hand that Rongen had to go on to rebuilt the morale and culture at the national football team. So a dramatic adaptation will be interesting to see how they’ll showcase it, with Waititi’s comedic sensibilities and having Michael Fassbender portraying Rongen is certainly an interesting choice. Unfortunately as I type this, it looks like Next Goal Wins has been pushed back to later in the year for cinematic release, arriving in September instead of April.
18: COCAINE BEAR
RELEASE DATE: 24th February (Universal Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Banks
CAST: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery-Jennings, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kristofer Hivju, Hannah Hoekstra, Aaron Holliday, Margo Martindale and Ray Liotta
A bear that ingests a ton of cocaine and in the process goes on a coke-fuelled rampage. Need I say more?
17: PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH
RELEASE DATE: 3rd February (Universal Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Joel Crawford
CAST: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, John Mulaney, Wagner Moura, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Anthony Mendez, Kevin McCann, Betsy Sodaro, Conrad Vernon and Cody Cameron
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish wasn’t initially on my radar until the first trailer dropped and then it’s received some very favourable critical reviews that have led to it ranking higher than it normally would have. Following after Shrek Forever After, the film follows Puss in Boots on his journey to find the mystical Wishing Star and rest the eight of his nine lives that he lost.
16: KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
RELEASE DATE: TBA (Apple Original Film)
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal, Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow
Based on David Grann’s novel, Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror. Well it’s the dream team of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, and lest we forget it’s also the classic dream team of Scorsese and Robert De Niro! We’re still waiting for that first trailer to arrive but it should arrive sometime this year on Apple TV+.
RELEASE DATE: 13th January (Universal Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Gerard Johnstone
CAST: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Lori Dungey and Stephane Garneau-Monten
M3GAN tells the story of Gemma, who suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned niece Cady. Unsure and unprepared to be a parent, as well as coming under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her niece with M3GAN, an A.I life-like doll, programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Unfortunately this attempt to resolve both problems becomes a decision that will have unimaginable consequences. The marketing for the film has been solid so far between the trailers, as well as the videos about the M3GAN dolls being in attendance during the world premiere over a month ago, leading to me being excited about the film. One major factor of my interest: the film is written by Akela Cooper, who wrote Malignant, so I’m interest to see what craziness she’s got in store for audiences here.
RELEASE DATE: 6th January (Universal Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Chinonye Chukwu
CAST: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, Whoopi Goldberg, Jayme Lawson, Tosin Cole, Kevin Carroll, Sean Patrick Thomas, John Douglas Thompson and Roger Guenveur Smith
Till tells the true story of Mamie Till Mobley and her relentless pursuit of justice for her fourteen-year-old son, Emmett Till, who in 1955 was brutally lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. The film has already been out in the U.S, receiving widespread critical acclaim, as well as being named one of the ‘top films of 2022’ on the National Board of Review. Danielle Deadwyler’s performance in particular is also creating buzz for at least obtaining several nominations this awards season. Finally, as traumatic as it may be, it is an important story worth telling and definitely worth seeing this month when it is released in the UK/Ireland.
RELEASE DATE: 3rd March (MUBI)
DIRECTOR: Lukas Dhont
CAST: Eden Dambrine, Gustav De Waele, Émilie Dequenne, Léa Drucker, Kevin Janssens, Igor Van Dessel, Marc Weiss, Léon Bataille and Elodie Barthels.
Close is a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Lukas Dhont, which focuses on two thirteen-year-old boys, Leo and Remi, who have always been incredibly close friends but they are drifting apart after the intimacy of their relationship is questioned by schoolmates. When tragedy strikes, one is forced to confront why he distanced himself from his closest friend. I missed this during BFI London Film Festival last year, which I’ve heard really good things about and thanks to MUBI, I won’t be waiting too long to finally see it in March.
12: HOLY SPIDER
RELEASE DATE: 20th January (MUBI)
DIRECTOR: Ali Abbasi
CAST: Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad, Sina Parvaneh, Nima Akbarpour, Sara Fazilat, Alice Rahimi, Ali Nazarian, Sima Seyed and Firouz Ageli
Holy Spider is a crime thriller written and directed by Ali Abbasi. Based on a true story, the film focuses on a journalist who descends into the dark underbelly of the Iranian holy city of Mashhad as she investigates the serial killings of sex workers by the so called ‘Spider Killer’, who believes he is cleansing the streets of sinners. Another film that I missed during BFI London Film Festival last year, but compared to Close, this seemed to cause more of a divide, with some liking it and some not, so I’m curious to see how I’ll find it when I get to see it this year.
11: THE FABELMANS
RELEASE DATE: 27th January (eOne)
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
CAST: Gabriel LaBelle, Mateo Zoryna, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin, Julia Butters, Robin Bartlett and Keeley Karsten
Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth. The Fabelmans is the latest Seven Spielberg film, this time serving as a somewhat semi-autobiographical about his childhood and early years as a filmmaker, and that alone is reason for why I’m excited to watch the film. It’s been well received by critics and audiences in the U.S, and is definitely a contender this award season.
10: CREED III
RELEASE DATE: 3rd March (Warner Bros.)
DIRECTOR: Michael B. Jordan
CAST: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris and Florian Munteanu
Here we go again, sports time! Michael B. Jordan returns once again as Adonis Creed in Creed III. Following the events of the last film, we find Adonis is thriving both in his boxing career and family life. When a childhood and former boxing prodigy, Damian Anderson, resurfaces after serving a long stint in prison, he is eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring. The face-off between former friends is more than just a fight. It’s no secret how much I enjoy the Rock/Creed franchise and while it will feel weird to be moving forward here without Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa being included (at least for this one), I am intrigued at the prospect of this one being directed by Michael B. Jordan, making his directorial debut. Also, having Jonathan Majors as the antagonist? Yeah you have my money already.
RELEASE DATE: 21st July (Universal Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
CAST: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Dylan Arnold, David Krumholtz, Alden Ehrenreich, David Dastmalchian, Olli Haaskivi, Jason Clarke, James D’Arcy, Michael Angarano, Guy Burnet, Danny Deferrari, Matthias Schweighöfer, Gary Oldman, Harrison Gilbertson, Emma Dumont, Devon Bostick, Trond Fausa, Christopher Denham, Josh Zuckerman and Olivia Thirlby
Christopher Nolan returns this year, this time bringing his next film under Universal rather than Warner Bros. Based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the film focuses on the theoretical physicist whose work on the Manhattan Project led to the creation of the atomic bomb. While it appears on paper to be a standard biopic drama, over the last decade Nolan’s films have been built up to be like events to see on the big screen and this looks no different. It’s great to see his frequent collaborator, Cillian Murphy, to be in the lead role and the ensemble is ridiculous.
08: INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY
RELEASE DATE: 30th June (Disney)
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
CAST: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones and Boyd Holbrook
This year we’ll see the return of Harrison Ford as Indy for the swan song of Ford as the character. We find Indy in 1969 living against the backdrop of the Space Race. In his latest adventure, Indy is accompanied by his granddaughter, Helena, as he looks set to be pit against Jürgen Voller, a NASA member and ex-Nazi involved with the moon-landing program, who wishes to make the world into a better place as he sees fit. While I wasn’t a fan of the last instalment in the Indiana Jones franchise, I still love the character and with James Mangold being involved this time, I’m definitely going to be checking it out on the big screen.
07: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.3
RELEASE DATE: 5th May (Marvel Studios)
DIRECTOR: James Gunn
CAST: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji and Maria Bakalova
This year we’ll see the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the last time we’ll see this group together at least in its current form, with Dave Bautista already stating that this is is the end of him playing Drax. Written and directed by James Gunn, we find Peter Quill still reeling from the loss of Gamora, whilst rallying his team around him to defend the universe and protect one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them. Now I absolutely loved the first Guardians film, and I feel like I’m in the minority that really liked the second film, and after the first trailer was released for this instalment, I’m looking forward to seeing how Gunn and the Guardians will be sent off within the MCU.
06: JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4
RELEASE DATE: 24th March (Lionsgate)
DIRECTOR: Chad Stahelski
CAST: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror and Clancy Brown
This year sees the return of Keanu Reeves as Baba Yaga, aka Mr. Wick, aka John Wick in the fourth instalment in the franchise. John Wick uncovers a path to defeating the High Table, but before he can earn his freedom, he must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes. With the exception of Chapter Two, I really enjoy this franchise, especially the world-building of this assassin world and, of course, the action. What I’m most excited about seeing in this film? Keanu Reeves vs Donnie Yen of course!
05: MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON
RELEASE DATE: 17th February (Warner Bros.)
DIRECTOR: Dean Fleischer Camp
CAST: Jenny Slate, Dean Fleischer Camp, Isabella Rossellini, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, Lesley Stahl, Sarah Thyre, Andy Richter, Nathan Fielder, Jessi Klein and Peter Bonerz
Dean Fleischer Camp makes his directorial feature debut with this film adaptation based on the series of shorts about Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. Marcel is an adorable one-inch tall shell who lives a colourful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family. Marcel the Shell has been a major critical and audience darling since its release in the US, and finally it’ll make its way to UK/Ireland next month. The premise had me intrigued and the trailer definitely grabbed my attention.
04: THE WHALE
RELEASE DATE: 3rd February (A24)
DIRECTOR: Darren Aronofsky
CAST: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins and Samantha Morton
The Whale is the film adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play of the same, which is adapted by Hunter and directed by Darren Aronofsky. The Whale focuses on Charlie, an an obese six-hundred-pound reclusive English language professor, who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. While I’m hot’n’cold on Aronofsky’s films, this has the feel (and similarish premise) of being in the vein of his previous work The Wrestler, and it’s nice to see Brendan Fraser back on the big screen. Fraser has been killing it recently on Doom Patrol, and from the sounds of it, he’s a lock for a Best Actor nomination this awards season.
03: DUNE: PART TWO
RELEASE DATE: 3rd November (Warner Bros.)
DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
CAST: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem, Souheila Yacoub, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux
Dune: Part Two sees Paul Atreides unite with Chani and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the universe, he must prevent a terrible future only he can see. I really enjoyed the scope and scale of the first film, and I’m interested to see how Villeneuve handles the second part of Dune. The ensemble is being expanded with the castings of Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux, so it’ll be interesting to see what performances they’ll bring to Dune: Part Two.
02: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE
RELEASE DATE: 14th July (Paramount Pictures)
DIRECTOR: Christopher McQuarrie
CAST: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Henry Czerny, Esai Morales, Shea Whigham, Frederick Schmidt, Pom Klementieff, Rob Delaney, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Greg Tarzan Davis and Lampros Kalfuntzos
Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise return for the next high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled stunt extravaganza instalment in the M:I franchise, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. While the overall plot for the upcoming film hasn’t been revealed, we were given a length sneak peek behind one of the biggest stunts being put into the film, the training, preparation and detail that went into its planning and execution and the stunt makes it feel like they’re really trying to one-up themselves after Fallout. I am interested in how much of a role Henry Czerny will have in this film, returning as Eugene Kittridge, who we haven’t seen since the first Mission: Impossible film. After the global successes of Fallout and Top Gun: Maverick in particular, Tom Cruise has been on a roll lately and his commitment to doing his own stunts and pushing himself to the limit is way audiences, myself included, are looking forward to this film.
01: SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE
RELEASE DATE: 2nd June (Sony Pictures)
DIRECTORS: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson
CAST: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Greta Lee, Jason Schwartzman, Shea Whigham and Jorma Taccone
My most anticipated film of this coming year is Sony’s followup to the 2018 marvel film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse with Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. The film sees the return of Miles Morales aka Spider-Man, who reunites with Gwen Stacy and is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most. Into the Spider-Verse was one of the biggest surprises for me in the last decade, and the more I rewatch that film the more I grow fond of it, so expectations for Across The Spider-Verse are very high for me. Whilst it features new directors this time, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are still hands-on with the project, having written the script alongside David Callaham.