Following part one of our 2023 preview, we’re counting down our 50 most-anticipated films of the year.
50. Emmanuelle (Audry Diwan)
After winning the coveted Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival with an adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Annie Ernaux’s Happening, Audrey Diwan is adapting the erotic novel Emmanuelle with Léa Seydoux tapped to star. The film will convey the sexual journey of a young woman who has intimate encounters with men and women in a series of erotic fantasies, making for a contemplative look at the aesthetics of desire. Diwan has an innate talent in adapting decades-old narratives and making them resonate with striking alacrity, and in a media landscape that is becoming more censorious, Emmanuelle should be a balm. – Margaret R.
49. I Saw the TV Glow (Jane Schoenbrun)
Jane Schoenbrun’s Sundance breakout We’re All Going to the World’s Fair was one of the most-celebrated features to date by a transgender filmmaker, and she seems well on the way to a flourishing, long-running career, with their third feature Nevada also ramping up production. For this year, Schoenbrun will premiere I Saw the TV Glow, produced by A24 and Emma Stone’s company Fruit Tree, swapping World’s Fair’s Internet fascination for traditional broadcast media: two teenagers (Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine) face strange phenomena after their favorite TV show is canceled. Keeping with their debut’s Y2K-era nostalgia, Fred frickin’ Durst is featured in the cast. – David K.
48. Nekrokosm (Panos Cosmatos)
The slow drip of Panos Cosmatos’ oeuvre has yielded consistent reward. Beyond the Black Rainbow marked one of the 2010s’ most surprising debuts; while Mandy could’ve easily devolved into a meme-ready Cage match, it left many nightmare impressions; and his recent Netflix episode “The Viewing” marked a nice pitstop. Nekrokosm promises a “phantasmagorical fantasy nightmare” love story set in deep space. We hope the enviable A24 backing will let Cosmatos really flex, and fingers crossed all comes together for a 2023 debut. – Nick N.
47. Selvajaria (Miguel Gomes)
In true “what do you need, a roadmap?” terms, it’s the new film by Miguel Gomes—his first solo project since 2015’s Arabian Nights, his first solo, one-part film since 2012’s Tabu. Which doesn’t suggest some reduction of ambition: we know it adapts “a fundamental text of Brazilian literature, Rebellion in the Backlands, Euclides da Cunha’s account of the 1897 war between the nascent Republic’s army and the native inhabitants of Canudos.” But to ask another question: Miguel Gomes war movie? Let’s not take our hopes to such delirious heights—we’ll be happy with just about anything—but all signs point to a major return. – Nick N.
46. Strangers (Andrew Haigh)
Andrew Haigh is one of the great humanists of contemporary cinema. His first feature since the underrated Lean on Pete, Strangers has a tantalizing premise, focusing on a young man who discovers the younger version of his dead parents living inside his childhood home. Haigh will surely tap into the emotional core of this premise, assisted by a tremendous ensemble of Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, Jamie Bell, and Andrew Scott. – Logan K.
45. Untitled Pavement Film (Alex Ross Perry)
It seemed Alex Ross Perry had hung up the hat. Which, however you felt about his acerbic and literary work, was a shame—American movies aren’t in good-enough shape that we can afford to lose that vision of modern independent cinema. Least of all when you actually like it quite a bit. But—as you can see—he’s returning with what’s already evidently his most ambitious project yet, presaged as it is by a museum exhibition and musical to conjure his “semiotic, screwball” story of Pavement as “the most important band in the world.” Even a Malkmus skeptic (hello) has to wonder where, how, why such disparate pieces of media will collide; bonus points that Perry would dare invoke Renaldo and Clara, something Bob Dylan hasn’t in decades. – Nick N.
44. The Dreamt Adventurer (Valeska Grisebach)
Valeska Grisebach’s excellent previous film Western mixed quiet, internal drama with an intricate depiction of an underrepresented community. She utilizes outdoor spaces in such a compelling manner, so news that she is tackling an adventure film makes a tantalizing prospect. For centering on a woman who follows an old friend throughout a strange land, Grisebach’s skill with environmental textures and ambiance should be on prominent display. – Logan K.
42 & 43. Silent Night and The Killer (John Woo)
The 76-year-old John Woo is back with two features; one a supposedly wordless action picture that’ll be sure to light up the VOD market, another an English-language remake of his own 1989 classic The Killer for the streaming platform Peacock. This is potentially a dual final statement from the master craftsman who invented an entirely new form of the action picture—we have a number of rip-roaring gunfights to look forward to. – Ethan V.
41. Knock at the Cabin (M. Night Shyamalan; Feb. 3)
We’ll know soon enough if this continues M. Night Shyamalan’s little hot streak, which alone helps Knock necessitate placement. But I couldn’t help reading a full synopsis of Paul G. Tremblay’s source novel—initially adapted by Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman, whose credits here mark the rare occasion Shyamalan will share screenwriting duties—and if he goes through with it, or even approximates: get ready. – Nick N.
40. The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)
Reuniting this year are Sideways team Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti. Playing a character that sounds eerily similar to his wine-loving, pompous novelist, Giamatti plays an insufferable academy teacher in 1970 New England who is hated by most. The grumpy educator is forced to take after a trouble-making teen unable to make it back home during the Christmas break. Payne has reveled in what a talent Giamatti is and that it’s a “matter of time before he gets an Oscar.” Maybe this will be it. – Erik N.
39. Passages (Ira Sachs)
Franz Rogowski and Ben Whishaw married to each other. That should be all you need to get onboard the new film from Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On, Love Is Strange), but if you need more we’ll tell you that Rogowski’s character begins an affair with a younger woman played by Adèle Exarchopoulos, which leads to Whishaw striking out an affair of his own. It all sounds like the making of a complicated, intimate, expressly character-driven drama with a multitude of emotions and difficult characters who feel innately human. In other words: exactly what we’ve come to expect from Ira Sachs. We’ll have word on this one soon, as it premieres at Sundance. – Mitchell B.
38. The Island (Paweł Pawlikowski)
Paweł Pawlikowski returns to the period piece in his first film since the much-celebrated black-and-white masterpiece Cold War. Starring real-life couple Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, the two play a wealthy American couple on the run set to build their dream paradise away from civilization. Since Ida, the Polish director has found a groove that fits neatly into Paul Schrader’s idea of transcendentalism in film. With two major stars and a seemingly robust budget in stock, it’ll be fun to see what the film has in store. Production begins this spring, so a 2023 premiere may be cutting it close. But fingers crossed. – Erik N.
37. Napoleon (Ridley Scott)
Ridley Scott’s exploration of Napoleon’s tumultuous relationship with his wife Josephine and his rise to militaristic power should lean into his greatest strengths as a filmmaker. But it will live or die on performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, who are asked to capture a tempestuous relationship in the midst of total war to perfection. – Logan K.
36. Maestro (Bradley Cooper)
Proving more than capable behind the camera with A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper looks for repeat success in the sophomore feature Maestro. Returning to the world of music, it depicts the life and tumultuous love saga of Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) and his creative partner and wife Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). With Netflix’s dollar, Cooper will journey through their 25-year marriage and the struggles between juggling three children, keeping his homosexual longings hidden from the public eye, and Bernstein’s duties crafting some of the most famous contributions to the American Music lexicon—among them West Side Story, On the Waterfront, and On the Town. – Margaret R.
35. Janet Planet (Annie Baker)
There’s nary a page of Annie Baker’s already-extensive corpus that isn’t marked by the best dialogue (naturalistic without straining for realism), most carefully seeded tension (common worries rather than Chekhov’s guns), and smartest reckoning with life’s struggles any American dramatist has managed this century. If little is known about her first venture into filmmaking—we managed to pull together some details that hardly form a cohesive portrait—I have zero reason to expect its placement here is anything but too low. – Nick N.
34. Hitman (Richard Linklater)
Richard Linklater is one of the best working American filmmakers and, following the gravely overlooked Apollo 10½, his latest film Hitman reunites him with his Everybody Wants Some!! star Glen Powell. With production already getting underway, it looks to be an exciting, hysterical comedy capturing the true story of a Texas cop who works undercover as a hitman. The premise isn’t quite like anything either Linklater or Powell have tackled in the past, making it even more exciting to see how it turns out. – Logan K.
33. The Bikeriders (Jeff Nichols)
Jeff Nichols’ films live in the south. His blue-collar tales of Americana martyrdom have made his filmography one of continued critical acclaim with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud. His first film since 2016’s Oscar-nominated Loving will be The Bikeriders. Based in part on a photography book of the same name by Danny Lyon, it will follow a fiction biker gang in the Midwest during the 1960s. With a star-studded cast led by Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Jodie Comer, Michael Shannon, and Boyd Holbrook, it sounds like a welcome return to a region Nichols knows so well. – Erik N.
32. Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Steven Soderbergh; Feb 10)
After Magic Mike XXL there’s hardly anywhere to go but down, though we can believe the return of key players (Channing Tatum in lead, Reid Carolin on script, and Steven Soderbergh directing, shooting, and editing) will give just what we we want. And while Soderbergh’s HBO Max era has been fun, getting another on the big screen—his first in years—sweetens the deal. – Nick N.
31. Untitled Ethan Coen Movie
When Joel Coen headed out solo for The Tragedy of Macbeth, questions arose as to what that meant for the Coen brothers as a duo, and whether Ethan would make his own ventures. Disaster struck with the reception to Ethan’s first solo gig, the still-unreleased documentary Jerry Lewis: Trouble in Mind, which premiered at Cannes 2022. So a lot is riding on his upcoming narrative feature, with plot details completely under wraps aside from it being a “lesbian road trip dramedy” with a script that had been around ages ago. Coen has likely updated it, alongside co-writer Tricia Cooke, who has mostly worked as an editor on films like The Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Not a lot is known about this one, but it does have a sterling cast that includes Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Beanie Feldstein. – Mitchell B.
30. Blitz (Steve McQueen)
Steve McQueen is a filmmaker capable of both the most devastating and uplifting dramas of the 21st century. His filmography, filled with historical dramas of suffering like Hunger and 12 Years a Slave, an action-packed heist film in Widows, and an anthology of the West Indian communities of London in Small Axe, seemed to be building to what could prove his most-ambitious project. Blitz is a World War II film covering the infamous bombing of London by the Nazi Luftwafa and focuses on several stories of the lives of the city’s population. With other British filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Sam Mendes taking their camera to the battlefield, it will be interesting to see a film that focuses on the war from the perspective of Londoners who thought they were far from the violence. It should pair well with his upcoming documentary Occupied City which will explore the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. – Soham G.
29. Last Summer (Catherine Breillat)
After a relatively prolific output in the ’90s and ’00s––including her widely acclaimed 2001 drama Fat Girl––Catherine Breillat hasn’t made a film since 2013’s Abuse of Weakness starring Isabelle Huppert. The French filmmaker is now finally set to return with a new project: Breillat will direct a remake of May el-Toukhy’s Queen of Hearts, which was selected as Denmark’s Oscar entry in 2019. The erotic drama followed a lawyer and mother who gets romantically involved with her teenage stepson, causing familial strife. Titled Inavouable (which roughly translates to unspeakable or unmentionable), Breillat’s remake will star Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Olivier Rabourdin. – Jordan R.
28. On Dry Grass (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s films span wide in both time and geography. His Turkish odysseys often mix social commentary on class as well as excavate deeply family relationships and generational conflict. His latest film, On Dry Grass, focuses on a school teacher who awaits a prestigious assignment in Istanbul while completing a mission in rural Anatolia. No doubt the geographical discrepancies of Turkey and the dichotomy of its urban and rural populations will be explored in great depth in a Ceylan film that will likely once again run well over three hours. – Soham G.
27. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan; July 21)
You may have loved Tenet; I did not. Its overabundance of narrative exposition and plain gobbledygook—whatever overeager spin you put on “Temporal Pincer Movement” has never helped it sound anything but aggravating—that never cohered, or for that matter got buried in a horrible sound mix, suggested creative dead-ends. If turning to a biopic of infamous genius and destroyer of worlds J. Robert Oppenheimer now suggests simplification, Oppenheimer‘s first trailer evinced expansion in completely unexpected ways. (My God, did Christopher Nolan learn about avant-garde cinema?) Whatever its to-be-unveiled purpose, black-and-white IMAX film will look superb. And okay: we’re wondering just what the fuck he meant by recreating a nuclear explosion sans CGI. – Nick N.
26. Barbie (Greta Gerwig; July 21)
After directing two of the most acclaimed films of the 2010s, Greta Gerwig being attached to an adaptation of Barbie, co-written with Noah Baumbach, initially sounded like a bleak assimilation of talent for the sake of corporate filmmaking. But with the combination of Demy influences, dazzling set pictures, and a creative first trailer, optimism has sparked for the project, with hopes it’ll be a subversive, surreal comedy. And the charismatic duo of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, respectively, will almost certainly lead to laughs. – Logan K.
25. Unannounced Hong Sangsoo Film(s)
Only the mildest confirmation a film’s even en route? Whatever. The man with the greatest prolificacy-to-success ratio wouldn’t let us down—not if The Novelist’s Film and Walk Up (or the 25-ish before them) signal much. Having heard he completed shooting of a 29th feature back in May, I’d hardly be surprised to see a new Hong debut sometime between Berlin and Cannes. Could he fit another by Locarno? Don’t count him out. – Nick N.
24. Beau Is Afraid (Ari Aster; April TBD)
I haven’t found Ari Aster’s films especially scary, but they’ve always made me laugh. Thus the promise of a “nightmare comedy” once intended to be four hours—and which I’ve heard now clocks around 179 minutes, a nice agreement as going-for-it swings are concerned—is the most promising his latest could sound. Anticipation abounds for a new Joaquin Phoenix performance—fair enough—but God only knows what Aster might do with Richard Kind, the actual physical embodiment of “nightmare comedy.” – Nick N.
23. The Beast (Bertrand Bonello)
Despite multiple delays—obviously COVID, more tragically the death of prospective star Gaspard Ulliel—Bertrand Bonello’s first sci-fi feature emerges with no cause for concern. All word of The Beast, an ostensible Henry James adaptation that jumps between three timelines (1910, 2014, 2044), in fact suggests his most ambitious work yet. The presence of 1917‘s George MacKay raises questions; Léa Seydoux (among other things so wonderful in Bonello’s Saint Laurent) as lead more or less answers in the affirmative. – Nick N.
22. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (Christopher McQuarrie; July 14)
Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie’s penultimate entry into Hollywood’s most propulsive franchise looks to be the blockbuster of the summer. Cruise has altered the course of his career over the last 10-15 years through a reckless disregard for his own well-being, upping the size and stakes of his audacious stunts with every subsequent performance. Dead Reckoning looks to continue this trend, with reports of exploding bridges, burning motorcycles, and speeding trains coming from production. It will be difficult to top 2018’s Fallout, but McQuarrie’s steady hand and Cruise’s death wish should make a lethal combination. – Logan K.
21. A Family Business (Frederick Wiseman)
At 92, the great Fredrick Wiseman is showing no signs of letting up. After his sprawling City Hall, his narrative feature A Couple, and playing a supporting role in Rebecca Zlotowski’s Other’s People’s Children, he’s planning another institutional study, tentatively titled A Family Business. Playfully resisting the term “documentary” on multiple occasions, his filmography consists of movies with characters—he was once called poet laureate of the staff meeting by the New York Times—and he’s now turning his lens to the Troisgos family of eastern France, operators of Michelin three-star restaurant La Maison Troisgros. We look forward to Wiseman’s unique peek behind the curtain, which we assume will observe the entire vertical structure of the restaurant from sourcing to staff, preparation and clean-up as the director quietly observes and celebrates often unseen but vital labor. – John F.
20. Fallen Leaves (Aki Kaurismaki)
Aki Kaurismaski’s humanism is always welcome. For a filmmaker unafraid to tackle the feeling of “now,” it could be even more vital in such a tumultuous era on the world stage. The Finnish writer-director returns with what’s sure to be another sad, funny, ultimately uplifting tale of the working man or woman. And one of the best parts? As per usual, it’ll get it all done in under 90 minutes. – Ethan V.
18 & 19. Stone Mattress and Die, My Love (Lynne Ramsay)
Since making waves with You Were Never Really Here, masterful Scottish auteur Lynn Ramsay has been developing two features. The first is Stone Mattress, a Margaret Atwood adaption starring Julianne Moore and Sandra Oh set aboard an Arctic cruise ship. She is also developing the seance feature Die, My Love which will be led by Jennifer Lawrence and follows a woman battling her demons. There’s little chance both will arrive this year, but our fingers are crossed for at least one. – Erik N.
17. The Nickel Boys (RaMell Ross)
After crafting one of the most remarkable documentaries of the last few years with the Apichatpong Weerasethakul-backed, Sundance-winning, Oscar-nominated Hale County This Morning, This Evening, director RaMell Ross has moved into narrative fiction with an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s acclaimed, Pulitzer-winning 2019 novel The Nickel Boys. Going inside the true story of abuses at the juvenile reformatory Dozier School for Boys in Florida, it features Aunjanue Ellis, Ethan Herisse, Brandon Wilson, Hamish Linklater, and Fred Hechinger. With production recently wrapping, expect to see it by the end of the year. – Jordan R.
16. The Killer (David Fincher)
After a brief diversion with Mank, David Fincher’s announcement he’d return to crime cinema received rapturous glee. Described as a film about the “methodology of contract killings,” it follows a professional assassin (Michael Fassbender) slowly losing his grasp on reality as he enacts a series of hits. Fincher’s proficiency always suits projects about professionals who become completely overwhelmed by their work—Zodiac, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Se7en bring out some of his best instincts. The Killer sounds like it’ll do the same. – Logan K.
15. The End (Joshua Oppenheimer)
Joshua Oppenheimer isn’t a director you’d assume as perfect fit for a musical; the closest he’s got to dabbling in the genre so far was making two perpetrators of a genocide act out their histories through a Hollywood lens in The Act of Killing. Yet he’s following that acclaimed duo of documentaries with an apocalyptic sci-fi musical wherein Tilda Swinton, Stephen Graham, and George McKay appear as the last living family down in a doomsday bunker 20 years after environmental collapse. It sounds every bit as bleak and surreal as his best-known work—as he’s already cited The Umbrellas of Cherbourg as a key influence, you should probably get the tissues ready. Filming wasn’t expected to start until early this year, but we hope a fall festival bow is in the cards. – Alistair R.
13 & 14. Asteroid City and The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Wes Anderson; June 16 and TBD)
A summer release for one of America’s most celebrated directors makes the 2023 slate all the more intriguing. Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City is set to hit theaters in late June while he brings his usual troupe of actors and new collaborators like Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie. And for his second feature of the year, not even the likes of a visionary like Anderson is immune to the pressures of streaming giants like Netflix. After acquiring the rights to the Roald Dahl estate, Netflix tapped Anderson to adapt the classic short stories of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Starring Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes, and Benedict Cumberbatch, the feature shot earlier last year; expect it this fall. – Erik N.
12. Priscilla (Sofia Coppola)
Sofia Coppola directing a biopic about Priscilla Presley just makes sense. Coppola has long had a fascination with overlooked or controversial women throughout history, and few in the limelight have ever been overshadowed by their husbands quite so much as Presley. While the casting of Jacob Elordi as Elvis is perhaps unexpected, Coppola’s staggering cinematic talent should ensure that Priscilla carves out its own unique cinematic space after Baz Luhrmann’s extravaganza. – Logan K.
11. Eureka (Lisandro Alonso)
Since his striking, transportive drama Jauja in 2014, the wait for Lisandro Alonso’s follow-up has been long. In development for years, Eureka is an ambitious project spanning between 1870 and 2019 across four parts, with a focus on Native American culture and locations across the world. Featuring Viggo Mortensen, Chiara Mastroianni, Maria de Medeiros, Viilbjørk Malling Agger, Rafi Pitts, and Jose Maria Yaspik, production finally began in late 2021, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this is ready for Cannes. – Jordan R.
10. La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher)
Alice Rohrwacher’s last two movies looked to the present state of Italy (Happy as Lazzaro) and its potential future with the new generation of teenagers (Futura). Her new movie La Chimera looks to the past, taking place in the 1980s and focuses on a young archeologist who gets caught up in the black market of robbing ancient tombs. Rohrwacher creates movies that philosophize on the lives of young people, their thoughts about the world, and their conflicting place in it. La Chimera not only seems a wild thematic diversion, but as her first movie with big-name actors (Isabella Rossellini) and an English lead (Josh O’Connor). – Soham G.
9. The Perfumed Hill (Abderrahmane Sissako)
The brilliant and visceral Timbuktu made waves in 2014, and the film world has waited with anticipation for Sissako’s follow-up. Hopefully arriving in 2023, The Perfumed Hill will center on an Ivorian woman who backs out of her wedding day and moves to Guangzhou, China to start a new life. She gets a job in a tea shop and its owner, Cai, teaches her the traditions of tea-making and a new romance slowly brews. Sissako said he was inspired to make the movie after visiting a restaurant called “The Perfumed Hill” run by an Afro-Chinese couple. – Soham G.
8. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer)
Long stretches between the films of Jonathan Glazer can be maddening, as he is one of the finest British talents to emerge in the last 30 years. His three feature films are all incredible, with 2013’s Under the Skin being his most acclaimed work to date. The Zone of Interest sees him adapting Martin Amis’ novel of the same name, focusing on a relationship between a Nazi officer and the wife of a camp commandant during the Holocaust. Glazer himself is Jewish, which perhaps makes the prospect of a bleak romance centered on Nazis easier to bear. It’s clear this material resonates with him on a deep level, something we’ll only learn the extent of when Zone arrives. – Logan K.
7. To Close One’s Eyes (Víctor Erice)
There are not many directors who have amassed such a rich contribution to the world of cinema amongst so few films as Víctor Erice. The 82-year-old Spanish director broke out with 1973’s The Spirit of the Beehive, followed by El Sur in 1983 and The Quince Tree Sun in 1992. Now he’s finally set to return with his first feature in over thirty years. Cerrar los ojos (aka To Close One’s Eyes) takes a meta approach, following a director living in retirement and now enjoying a life of fishing. He left a film in the 1990s unfinished after his star (also a friend from the military) disappeared. A television program investigating that disappearance causes the director to reunite with his former collaborators, leading to an “emotional earthquake.” Simply put, one of the major cinematic events of 2023. – Jordan R.
6. May/December (Todd Haynes)
One of the greatest living filmmakers working with Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, and Charles Melton is an unbelievably exciting prospect. Todd Haynes’ return to narrative filmmaking after The Velvet Underground centers on a married couple who’ve been together 20 years as they’re forced to confront the origins of their relationship while being visited by a successful actress. The husband begins processing what really happened at the start of their relationship, when he was 16 and she was 39. May/December sounds like one of the most challenging, haunting films of Haynes’ career, and with production already wrapped we could expect it this fall. – Logan K.
5. The Red Sky (Christian Petzold)
The third collaboration between Christian Petzold and his newest muse Paula Beer, The Red Sky looks to continue the German director’s trajectory as one of the very greatest 21st-century filmmakers. The premise is less high-concept than his previous few features, following four people caught in whirlwind romances amidst a series of forest fires. Petzold will always find ways to reach the deepest character beats and thematic ideas within an intriguing set-up. This should be no exception. – Logan K.
4. Ferrari (Michael Mann; Fall TBD)
There’s all the stuff we might say about how long Michael Mann’s hoped to make this film, how long we’ve waited for any new film (the Tokyo Vice pilot is nice but doesn’t count), or how great it is having Adam Driver get Ferrari (ahem) over the finish line. I’d rather defer to cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt telling me the goal was to have audiences “feeling like they’re in this machine. This machine is rattling around and smells like gasoline and there’s oil and rocks kicking up on the faces. A lot of what we were trying to do was bring the frenzied energy of racing—what these drivers experienced—onto the screen and bring the audience right into the car with them.” Start your engines. – Nick N.
3. The Way of the Wind (Terrence Malick)
As is the case every year he has a new film in post-production, we may not see Terrence Malick’s latest film in 2023. We were hopeful that it would come out in 2021 and then in 2022, and until it’s projected on a cinema screen for the first time, there will be a sense of doubt it even exists. Yet we are hopeful Malick’s look at the life of Jesus sees the light of day soon. Malick is our most spiritual contemporary filmmaker, able to capture the essence of human existence in a vast, overwhelming universe better than anyone else. The idea of him exploring the figure who inspired and gave purpose to billions of souls throughout human history—who clearly means something personal to Malick himself—is an unmissable prospect, even for those who may not walk the same spiritual path. – Logan K.
2. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese)
Likely we don’t have a world of time left with Martin Scorsese, who turns 81 as his latest premieres, but nothing about Killers of the Flower Moon suggests reduced ambition. Nor does Apple footing the $200 million bill correlate with an amiable experience. Adapting David Grann’s acclaimed book, Flower Moon connects brutal, widespread murders of the oil-prosperous Osage Nation with Oklahoma’s white, wealthy, read-about-these-psychos-at-your-own-peril Hale family. The latter’s embodied by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, which constitutes as much a Scorsese benchmark as The Irishman; and no less notable an ensemble for including Lily Gladstone, Scott Shepherd, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, and John Lithgow. That director / cast / material / resources combination is a bit dizzying, and if there’s decent chance at least a few titles herein exceed Killers of the Flower Moon for shock and surprise, none loom to such degree. – Nick N.
1. How Do You Live? (Hayao Miyazaki)
Would be enough if, by the time of its premiere, we’d simply gone ten years without a new Hayao Miyazaki feature. Lest we forget the man had retired with a legacy animation’s unlikely to see bested in our lifetime, thus only somehow upping the anticipation, possibility, intrigue of Miyazaki being compelled to return for How Do You Live?, a spin on Japan’s seminal manga. (Which, to hear him tell it, is more about the experience of that text than a straight-ahead adaptation.) If Miyazaki could at all be undervalued it’s as a dramatist; not for nothing The Wind Rises suggested the next phase in a career that’s just resuming. So how is he exploiting this material? Secrecy’s been high—your guess is no less than ours. But we’ll safely assume whatever brought back the world’s greatest animator deserves top placement. – Nick N.
More To See
For those seeking more to anticipate, we also hope Takeshi Kitano’s supposed final film Neck arrives, as does a U.S. release for Zhang Yimou’s Full River Red and Goldfinger starring Tony Leung and Andy Lau. Emerald Fennell will also return with Saltburn, Cooper Raiff is back with The Trashers, and fingers crossed Alex Garland’s Civil War is a step up from Men. We’ll have a full Sundance preview shortly, but Cory Finley’s Landscape with Invisible Hand, Celine Song’s Past Lives, the Jonathan Majors-led Magazine Dreams, and Fair Play starring Alden Ehrenreich are also on our radar.
We’re also curious about Duke Johnson’s The Actor, in which André Holland has replaced Ryan Gosling; Rebecca Miller’s She Came to Me; Willem Dafoe-led Inside; Handling the Undead, which reteams Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie; Michel Franco’s Memory; Shiva Baby team reunion with Bottoms; Paolo Sorrentino’s Sue; Kazik Radwanski’s Matt and Mara; Damián Szifron’s Misanthrope; Kirill Serebrennikov’s Limonov; George C. Wolfe’s Rustin; the Judd Apatow-produced Please Don’t Destroy movie; Ladj Ly’s Les indesirables; Tilman Singer’s Luz follow-up Cuckoo; Benoît Delhomme’s Mother’s Instinct; the Ari Aster-produced, Nicolas Cage-led Dream Scenario; Oliver Hermanus’ The History of Sound; Wim Wenders’ film about toilets in Japan, along with a remake of his Cannes doc with Lubna Playoust’s Curiosity Room. Julio Torres has also written and directed a secretive new project starring Tilda Swinton and Isabella Rossellini. We also can’t imagine it’ll see a stateside release any time soon, but Woody Allen is embarking on his first French-language film which will return him to a murder-mystery plot.
As for some bigger-budgeted titles: there’s also Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter 4, James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon, the Adam Driver-led dino sci-thriller 65, and David Lowery’s Peter Man & Wendy, which is going straight to Disney+. Also, here’s hoping Paddington director Paul King surprises us with Wonka.
On the shorts side, we can’t wait for Pedro Almodóvar’s western Strange Way of Life and Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke.
Likely Not Ready for 2023
In closing things out, there are a number of projects in development that likely won’t be ready for 2023 or haven’t had any update in a while. The Safdies are set to reteam with Adam Sandler, and although we’ve learned they’ve shot more of the project than has been let on, it likely won’t arrive this year. Shooting on Francis Ford Coppola’s long-awaited Megalopolis will extend through the spring, so it’s unlikely it will be a 2024 release. New films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Sean Baker, David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, Joseph Kosinski, Nia DaCosta, and Michael Sarnoski will get underway, while the state of Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu and Brady Corbet’s The Brutalist are unclear.
There have also been rumblings of new Spike Lee, Mike Mills, S. Craig Zahler, and Olivier Assayas films, while Paul Schrader is writing his next feature. Jesse Eisenberg also dropped the news that he’ll be starring in a sasquatch-centered feature for Zellner brothers, but there’s no timetable for production.
Updates have been sparse on Todd Solondz’s Love Child; Bi Gan’s next feature; Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Shulan River; Kathryn Bigelow’s Aurora; Tomas Alfredson’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon; Jia Zhangke’s In the Qing Dynasty; Terence Davies’ The Post-Office Girl; Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Our Apprenticeship; Paul Verhoeven’s Young Sinner; John Hillcoat’s Running Wild; Alma Har’el’s Mockingbird; Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi’s The Tiger; and Robert Zemeckis’ Here. William Friedkin has also announced his return with The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, as has John Waters with Liarmouth, but they likely won’t arrive this year.
Before he passed away last year, Jean-Luc Godard was working on a film titled Scenario, but its state of completion is unknown. And, lastly, though rumors abounded and were then denied that David Lynch was working on a new project, we certainly hope he is cooking something up.
Read more: The 30 best 2023 films we’ve already seen.