Popcorn at the ready
2022 threw us quite a few curve balls, but one thing remained constant: the brilliant string of films it produced. With cinemas back open and the world in full swing, festivals across the globe premiered a myriad of blockbusters, directorial debuts and 80s comebacks (yes, we’re talking about Top Gun). We had many favourites but honourable mentions go to Charlotte Wells’ blistering debut Aftersun as she painted a delicate portrait of a fractured father-daughter relationship, Jordan Peele’s cowboy sci-fi rodeo, Nope, and Martin McDonagh’s hilarious and harrowing The Banshees of Inisherin.
As the year comes to a close, we’re looking forward to the cinematic gems 2023 has to offer, including Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic, Greta Gerwig’s long-anticipated Barbie adaptation and an atomic new Christopher Nolan epic.
Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan
Adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy Of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Christopher Nolan is set to tell the story of one of the founding fathers of atomic weaponry during WWII, exploring his internal strife when their deadly power was put to use – “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, he famously said.
Cillian Murphy takes on the titular, reconnecting with Nolan having previously starred in Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Dunkirk (2017), while Emily Blunt stars as Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty. Other names to note on the call sheet include Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Dane DeHaan and Matt Damon.
Oppenheimer arrives in cinemas July 21st.
Asteroid City, directed by Wes Anderson
The HERO HQ ‘new Wes Anderson film’ siren whizzed into action when we heard news of the auteur’s upcoming project, Asteroid City. Following the brilliance of The French Dispatch last year, this new work tells the story of an American desert town’s Junior Stargazer convention circa 1955, gathering students and parents from across the country for the scholarly competition. Anderson regulars return, including Bill Murray and Adrien Brody, alongside first-timers Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks.
Asteroid City arrives in cinemas June 16th.
Tár, directed by Todd Field
Having already received rave reviews following its theatrical release in the US, Todd Field’s intense character study Tár is arriving in the UK in early January. Cate Blanchett is in exceptional form as Lydia Tár, a fictional world-renowned conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic who faces a sudden downward spiral when accused of using her power to seduce and bully her younger protegées. A compelling watch, Tár is a bold meditation on the trappings of highbrow celebrity, feminism in a male-dominated industry and the complexity of cancel culture.
Tár arrives in cinemas January 13th.
Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese returns to the cinema screen with a synonymous period crime epic. Based on David Grann’s best-selling novel of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon charts what became known as the ‘Reign of Terror’, depicting the historic, serial murders within the Osage Indigenous American tribe in 1920s Oklahoma and the unorthodox FBI investigation that followed. Reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio for the sixth time, the US actor takes on the leading role of Ernest Burkhart alongside Robert De Niro, Brendan Fraser and Lily Gladstone.
Killers of the Flower Moon arrives in cinemas May 2023.
Still, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ by Martin Scorsese, 2023
Challengers, directed by Luca Guadagnino
After the success of Timotheé Chalamet’s cannibal thriller Bones and All, Luca Guadagnino’s next project tells the story of a tennis-themed love triangle. Zendaya stars as Tashi, a tennis player-turned-coach who has helped to transform her husband, Art, played by Mike Faist, from a mediocre player into a world-famous Grand Slam winner. Josh O’Connor’s character Patrick is the closing corner of the love triangle, a once brilliant but now burnt-out hopeful, who not only used to be Art’s best friend but Tashi’s former boyfriend. Sexy and sporty – we’re sold.
Challengers arrives in cinemas August 11th.
The Killer, directed by David Fincher
This year also sees the return of David Fincher, doing what he does best: twisted murder epics. Based on the French graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis Nolent, The Killer is an action thriller which has been in passive development for over a decade. Centered around the story of a contract killer with zero remorse for his actions, suddenly our protagonist faces an existential crisis as he sees a world totally devoid of a moral compass – ironic really. A case study on one man’s crumbling psyche, Michael Fassbender stars as Fincher’s protagonist alongside Tilda Swinton and Charles Parnell.
The Killer is set to arrive on Netflix in late 2023.
Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig
This is a big one. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Barbie is one of the most anticipated and unpredictable films ever (Hyperbole? Maybe a tad). Starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her six-packed boyfriend Ken, we’re transported to a fuchsia-hued Barbieland, where, behind the plastic perfection, is a darker plot of Barbie dolls being expelled from the world for not being ‘perfect’. Rumours are that other versions of the iconic doll will be played by America Ferrera and Hari Nef, while Michael Cera, Will Ferrell, Emma Mackey, Alexandra Shipp and Simu Liu also star.
As if we weren’t excited enough for this one, the below teaser trailer that pays homage to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey has upped the ante.
Barbie arrives in cinemas July 21st.
Maestro, directed by Bradley Cooper
Based on the life of esteemed American conductor Leonard Bernstein, Bradley Cooper will make his second leap into directing with Maestro, adapted from a screenplay co-written with Josh Singer. Cooper not only directs the feature but also stars in the titular role as Bernstein and co-produces the work alongside Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Todd Phillips (wow). It’s also been confirmed Maya Hawke, Carey Mulligan and Jeremy Strong will star alongside Cooper in the biopic as he undertakes an unrecognisable transformation to chart the life of the West Side Story composer from his youth to his elderly years in the late 80s.
Maestro lands on Netflix in 2023.
Still, ‘Maestro’ by Bradley Cooper, 2023
Dune: Part 2, directed by Denis Villeneuve
Not only was the first instalment of Dune a great success, but it also ended on a mighty cliffhanger – so we have many questions for Denis Villeneuve’s sequel. While details remain a little scarce, we can expect part two to explore the epic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya will return in their lead roles, accompanied by Dune newcomers Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux.
Dune: Part 2 arrives in cinemas November 2023.
Still, ‘Dune’ by Denis Villeneuve, 2021
How Do You Live? directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Inspired by the 1937 novel of the same name written by Yoshino Genzaburo, How Do You Live? is said to be Studio Ghibli’s most ambitious animation to date. Known for producing classics including My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-nominated 2013 movie The Wind Rises was supposed to be his last, but the 81-year-old has much more to give.
The How Do You Live? plot tells the story of a gifted fifteen-year-old boy Koperu, who goes to live with his uncle following his father’s death. Guided by his uncle’s invaluable advice, Koperu grapples with outside influences of wealthy friends and unknown environments, ultimately carving his own path. The humble fable is reimagined on a fantastical scale with a few unexpected twists, in true Studio Ghibli style.
How Do You Live? arrives in cinemas July 2023.
‘How Do You Live?’, Hayao Miyazaki, 2023