As the year progresses and more films are given confirmed releases, a more complete list takes shape. While dates always shift and many films are left unconfirmed, these are ten to look forward to in 2023.
HM “The Peasants,” “Past Lives,” “Maestro,” “Drive-Away Dolls,” and “Dune: Part Two.”
- “The Killer”
The Netflix-backed neo-noir thriller finds Michael Fassbender playing a methodical assassin prowling and waiting for his next target. However, the assassin’s steely facade is crumbling under pressure and his own moral conscience. At the helm is David Fincher, adapting the French graphic novel. “The Killer” marks a return to crime thrillers, the genre that Fincher is synonymous with. Some of Fincher’s frequent collaborators — such as composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt — are also back.
The first of many Cannes Film Festival debuts on this list is about a director struggling to finish his film “Cobweb.” Amidst creative obstacles from his crew and media censorship in 1970s South Korea, the director seeks to reshoot an alternative ending that came to him in a dream. The comedy-drama film fluctuates between on-set disorder and delirious dream sequences. It is directed by Kim Jee-woon and led by Song Kang-ho.
The subject of much attention and anticipation, Greta Gerwig’s film takes on the famed fashion doll. Co-writers Gerwig and Noah Baumbach have approached the story as a false utopia where Barbie has to venture outside her profusely pink world into the “Real World.” All signs and trailers point toward satire, playing off the love and criticism of the Mattel doll. The film boasts a star-studded cast and an acclaimed crew with Margot Robbie in the lead as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken.
- “Poor Things”
Yorgos Lanthimos reunites with Emma Stone in a Frankenstein-esque fantasy comedy. Stone plays a young woman who is brought back to life by a scientist. Curious for more life, she escapes with a lewd lawyer. The film is based on Alasdair Gray’s novel about Victorian era gender roles, inequalities and hypocrisy. A brief teaser promises art design straight out of a trip and Lantimos’ signature deadpan diction. Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe and Ramy Youssef star in supporting roles.
- “Anatomy of a Fall”
Justine Triet’s newest film is about a writer who has to prove her innocence after her husband dies under suspectful circumstances. As the trial unravels the mystery, so does the tumultuous relationship between husband and wife. The courtroom drama’s perversity and shrouded usage of perspective have drawn comparisons to Hitchcock. Sandra Hüeller, who also stars in film number two on this list, was praised for her lead performance. The film was awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or.
- “May December”
A couple with a twenty-year age gap is put under pressure when an actress presses the wife for an upcoming role. Their relationship becomes a sex scandal and major tabloid exposé. What unfolds is a playful and debauched story of doppelgangers and repressed emotions. Julianne Moore and Charles Melton play the couple while Natalie Portman stars as the actress. The film looks to continue the themes of power dynamics and societal norms which have been largely examined by director Todd Haynes.
- “Perfect Days”
Hirayama is a man who cleans toilets in Tokyo and finds beauty in the normality of his simple life; he enjoys his routine life filled with an appreciation for art. When several happenings occur, more is revealed about Hirayama’s past. Koji Yakusho won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his soulful portrayal of Hirayama. Direction by Wim Wenders and a performance by Yakusho mark an exciting convergence of Western and Eastern filmmaking. Wenders is a major figure in German independent cinema and Yakusho has given celebrated performances in both Japanese and American films.
- “The Zone of Interest”
Jonathan Glazer’s film is about an Auschwitz commandant and his wife’s quest to build their dream life next to a concentration camp. The drama was praised for its apathetic examination of evil and the Holocaust by intentionally presenting these horrors outside the frame. “The Zone of Interest” will be Glazer’s fourth feature in a filmography characterized by singularity and much discourse. His last film, 2013’s “Under the Skin,” deconstructed its genre in a novel way and is a personal all timer.
- “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half-hour epic details the series of Osage County murders and the FBI’s subsequent investigation. It is based on the novel “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” an intensely researched novel scaling a devastating period of American greed. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro. The three received acclaim for their performances as key players in what was described as the Reign of Terror. “Killers of the Flower Moon,” in many ways, aligns with Scorsese’s most recent projects that confront sobering topics such as persecution in “Silence” and betrayal and morality in “The Irishman.”
- “How Do You Live?”
Prolific animator-director Hayao Miyazaki returns, loosely adapting the titular coming-of-age novel. The film is seven years in the making and is characterized as a “big fantastical film.” Although 2013’s “The Wind Rises,” marked a deviation from Miyazaki’s typical fantasy-stomping grounds and the last time he directed, his return will more than likely continue the trend of caliber animation. The Japanese filmmaker is remarkably consistent with his approach to hand-drawn animation and storytelling. As Miyazaki fluctuates in and out of retirement and his output decreases, there is an even greater understanding of the craft and rarity his projects entail.