14 movies we're looking forward to in 2023
New year, new MoviEs…
We’re calling it, 2023 looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest years for film in recent history. So big in fact, that if there was a movie about the movies coming out in 2023, the whole thing would just be a fast cut montage of people walking away from fire. And if you’re reading this Michael Bay, feel free to DM for a collab. We’ve rummaged around the popcorn bin and pulled out some of the most epic biopics, risky adaptations, grand directorial returns and ‘ok they actually went through with this” cash grabs, hitting screens this year. Let’s-a-see if you can guess which is what.
John Wick Chapter 4
Expected: March 2023
After this release, we’ll be four movies into what is currently destined to be a five film saga. And you’ll know exactly which end of the care continuum you sit at. At level one there’s ‘your dog died, get over it Keanu’, and at level 10 it’s ‘ready to kick down doors and use pencils in an uncharitable manner to get premiere tickets’. And there aren’t many that would find themselves in limbo between these polar points. The third chapter ends (spoiler) with a wounded John Wick (Keanu Reeves) striking an accord with The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) to join forces in an effort to take down the shadowy High Table, the puppet masters of international organised crime and purse holders for the global assassin network. And you better hope that by the time John gets to you, he hasn’t run out of bullets.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Expected: April 2023
This isn’t the first time there’s been an attempt to make a movie out of the perennially popular Italian plumber. But the less said about the 1993 live action debacle, starring Bob Hoskins as Mario, the better. A blue shell right to the face. In fact, after that movie, it took Nintendo 24 years before they’d ever even consider sitting round a table to discuss licensing out their characters for a cinematic adaption again. This time, we’re looking ahead to an animated spin on the adaptation with Chris Pratt taking on the “It’s-a-me” privileges. And there are a lot of reasons to set expectations high, it’s been put together with the help of Illumination (the team behind the Minionverse, Sing, and The Secret Life of Pets); and the voice cast is a borderline invincibility star of quality — Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. All of which has got us feeling very “Let’s-a-go”.
The Little Mermaid
Expected: May 2023
Next up on Disney’s live action reanimation slab, is this enchanting tale of a young fish girl living ‘under the sea’, who is so besotted with the trappings, strapping young Princes, and assorted dinglehoppers of human life that she makes a Faustian bargain with a scheming sea witch, for a shot at true love with a mouth breather. These real world Disney reboots have enjoyed a pretty consistent approval rating (with the possible exceptions of The Lion King and Dumbo) so things are looking up for Ariel (this time played by Halle Bailey). We also have the delicious Neptune-tier casting prospects of placing Ursula under the care of Melissa McCarthy and King Triton in the scaly hands of Javier Bardem. We hope it finds its voice because it really feels like it deserves to be ‘part of your world’.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Expected: June 2023
It’s hard to resist the subconscious urge of ageist prejudice after learning that at 80, Harrison Ford is reprising his iconic action-archeologist role, Indiana Jones for one last crack of the whip. But it’s a baited boobytrap, and the giant tumbling boulder of shame will wipe you out if you don’t move out of its way. He might not be as spritely, but the trailer teases that same pedigree of swashbuckling, snake-phobic, artifact-chasing, map-hopping, humour-laced adventuring that’s often been imitated over the past four decades since the original film was released, but never replicated. And an inestimably large part of its charm over that tenure has been Ford’s glint-eyed screen charisma. Of course he has his sidekicks along for the ride, this fifth chapter of the story sees the return of long-time pal and Fez enthusiast Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Indy’s Goddaughter Helena, Mads Mikkelsen also appears (presumably as arch baddy) and Antonio Banderas is also named in the cast list. We’re looking forward to it, as long as there aren’t any snakes, we hate snakes.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Expected: June 2023
2018’s Spider–Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was a surprise smash hit for the Marvel family — a big screen animated superhero story with Spidey-in-training, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as the central character. Stunning visuals, creative story telling, trademark protagonistic sass, wild cameos, a web sack full of fan-pleasing Easter Eggs, and a soundtrack that had absolutely no business slapping as hard as it did. This follow up, which reportedly will now be the second movie in a Spider-Verse trilogy, picks up where the original left off — a universe smashed into fractals, each respective strand of the web with its own version of Spider-Man and visual style, borrowing heavily from the rich comic dynasty of the character. We’re expecting to see an expanded role for Gwen Stacy, AKA Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), as well as a deepening of her relationship with Miles. Villainy in this multiverse mash up will come in the form of dimension-hopping antagonists The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), and The Vulture (Jorma Taccone). Will it be able to match the energy of the original? Our Spidey-Sense is tingling.
Expected: July 2023
This film has all the right periodic elements for a truly explosive release. Directed by Christopher Nolan (whose lowest rated, of nine, full length feature films currently sits at 7.2 on IMDB), starring Cillian Murphy in the titular role and a based-on-a-real-storyline that follows the ethically-fraught series of events behind the Manhattan Project, the race to master nuclear fission and “become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. After shaking the atomic genie out of the bottle, Oppenheimer famously spent the rest of his days lobbying against its use, and we couldn’t think of a better pairing (Nolan and Murphy) to smash that sort of internal conflict nucleus apart. If all this wasn’t enough to send your expectations into an anticipatory mushroom cloud, there’s also the prospect that rather than using CGI to recreate the famous Trinity Test — Nolan, opted for a real explosion. Just not with uranium right Chris? Right Chris? Either way, literally zero chance this bombs at the box office.
Expected: July 2023
Take yourself back to ten years ago, now sit down in a studio executive’s chair and consider how you might feel, if we pitched to you the idea of a romantic comedy loosely based around the imagined life of popular Mattel toy, Barbie. You’d likely march us straight out of that door, screaming something incoherent and unflattering about G.I. Joe. Snap back to today, with several big Lego movies still looming large in the rearview mirror, it seems dramatically less of a gamble. Especially when you have Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird) directing and a cast that includes Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken, and support from Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon and Helen Mirren. Not much is known about the plotline, but in the grand What’s On movie round up tradition we’ve got some predictions. This time it’s running gag tropes, and we’re filling out our Bingo card with — an incalculable number of outfit changes, androgynous anatomy and ubiquity of the colour pink.
Expected: August 2023
This isn’t a true movie adaption of the popular Sony game, though it shares some of the same DNA. It can’t be. The game doesn’t have a plotline and whilst you may argue that might actually have improved the Assassin’s Creed movie, we wouldn’t dare comment. This film tells the miraculous real life story of Jann Mardenborough (played by Archie Madekwe). Jann was an elite gamer, a Gran Turismo grandmaster who was recruited into a racing academy on a gut intuition that good gamers might make good drivers. It’s directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and the cast list includes David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Djimon Hounsou, Josha Stradowski and Geri ‘Ginger Spice’ Horner. Not much else is known about the plot, but we imagine it will be a little up, a little down, up, down, left, right, square, X.
Dune: Part II
Expected: November 2023
As with the first part of this saga based on the Frank Herbert novel, and directed by visionary helmsman Denis Villeneuve, the majority of the exterior shots were filmed right here in the Liwa desert, Abu Dhabi. And the end of that part one left us on a pretty precarious Arrakian ridge — with betrayal, subterfuge and ambush leading to the decimation of House Atreides. The sole surviving heir, Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet) has had to escape to the barren wastelands of the desert planet under protective escort of resident eco warriors, The Fremen (one of whom, Chani played by Zendaya, has caught Paul’s cyanosising eye). Will he be able to evade capture and restore glory to the House Atreides name? Will there be an alternate route to glory? You’ll have to wait until at least November to find out. Or you could read the book, but we’ve heard it contains spoilers.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Expected: November 2023
Set 64 years before the Katniss-led Hunger Games trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes tells the story of the 10th edition of the last-tribute-standing stab-off. Like the originals, it’s based on a book by Suzanne Collins — so the source material foundations at least are reliably solid. The events centre around a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), the antagonist in the last series. Ambitious, sneaky but far from the sociopath you revel in despising during his autumn years – he’s tasked with tutoring a young (trigger warning) District 12 tribute by the name of Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). Expect the sort of series of events that embitter a man to walk a path of aspirational villainy. You’ll forgive us if we don’t wish that the odds are forever in his favour.
Expected: December 2023
If you’re still exhibiting mild PTSD from watching either of the big screen adaptions of Roald Dhal’s customarily dark kid’s book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘, you’re in good company. Someone need only mention the word ‘Oompa-Loompa’ and we’re hurled into a dizzy fog of flashbacks — horrendous factory accidents, including children being sucked into waste valves in a Squid Gamesian furore. Wonka, examines the origin story to the character that headed up this Candyland Gulag – before the ensuing “where there’s blame” lawsuits. What sort of experiences build a man that metes out sadistic punishments for parent-enabled character flaws in minors? To answer that, it’s Timothée Chalamet who’s leading us on this cane-twirling jaunt of Willy Wonka — the formative years. And we can’t think of anybody who’d Oompa loompa doompety doo a better job.
Expected: TBC 2023
Director David Fincher absolutely loves a good psychological thriller story with twisted killers and gnarled detectives — his body count includes Se7en, Gone Girl, Zodiac, Fight Club, The Game, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, all of which are essential studies for fans of the genre. And potential seriel killers. To be fair, there may be some overlap there. Like many of his other films, his latest effort, The Killer is based on an established literary classic — in this case a French graphic novel of the same name. We know it will star Michael Fassbender in the lead role alongside the metamorphic Tilda Swinton, we know the subject matter deals with an assassin whose mental state is starting to show cracks, he wants out but is bonded to his role by some sticky (John Wicky) bad blood. We also know that the screenplay has come from the pen of Andrew Kevin Walker, the man that wrote the masterpiece, Se7en. We’ve put some more predictions about what happens in a box. But we advise you not to look in the box.
Expected: TBC 2023
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Adam Driver has worked pretty hard to carve out a career where he rarely picks up similar sorts of roles, but here — his turn as Enzo Ferrari, marks his second chomp on the iconic Italian designer truffle (the first being Maurizio Gucci in House of Gucci, 2021). This biopic provides an autopsy on a pivotal period of the life of the famous racing driver (appropriately played by Driver), and subsequent supercar conceiver. On the verge of financial ruin, and in wheel spin of personal turmoil, Ferrari decides to put it all on red and lead the House of Horse to some particularly risky waters. “The race is long but in the end it is only with yourself” (Mary Schmich).
Expected: TBC 2023
The poster boy for small man syndrome — Napoleon Bonaparte earned his snack-sized rage reputation through an extensive campaign of impressive military conquest and deploying his trademark iron fist as a ferocious tool of diplomacy. But this film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix (as Monsieur Napoleon, Emperor of France) focuses on his romantic entanglement with Empress “not tonight” Josphine (Vanessa Kirby). We’re expecting to see the diminutive Corsican’s rise to prominence following the crimson-tainted folly of the French Revolution, his games of Risk IRL and his pursuit of love as well as Liberté, égalité, and fraternité.