Lots of great movies coming our way! Of course the usual blockbusters and sequels and a new Pixar, and, as always, what I am most looking forward to is being surprised by some new director or star or filmmaker I don’t know now but will soon be unable to imagine the world without.
Some highlights about what’s coming:
Past Lives A love story across time and distance.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse The sequel to the unexpected hit and winner of the Animation Oscar.
Flamin’ Hot Eva Longoria directed this origin story of a janitor who came up with the idea for spicy Cheetos.
Elemental You just know Pixar will make us all cry again in this story of a girl made of fire who falls for a guy made of water.
The Flash One of DC’s most popular superhero characters gets his own movie.
Asteroid City We don’t know much about Wes Anderson’s latest, but we do know that the visuals will be filled with dazzling visual details and quirky characters.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Harrison Ford as Indy. Time travel. Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Enough said.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but an animated sea beast!
Barbie Writer/director’s film about the world’s most popular doll has a spectacular cast including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, America Ferrara, Alexandra Shipp, John Cena, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Dua Lipa, and Michael Cena, and Dame Helen Mirren.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning: Part 1 Chases, explosions, fake-outs, saving the world, and Tom Cruise performing crazy stunts and running very fast.
Theater Camp This festival darling about theater kids looks adorkable.
Oppenheimer The story of the brilliant man who created the most powerful bomb the world had ever seen, with Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, and Florence Pugh.
The Haunted Mansion One of Disney’s most popular attractions inspired this thriller starring Rosario Dawson and LaKeith Stanfield.
Meg 2: The Trench Jason Stratham is back and so is that gigantic sea monster.
Gran Turismo Is this every gamer’s dream? A gamer got so good he became a real race car driver in this film based on a true story.
Blue Beetle In this DC story, Xolo Maridueña plays the title superhero and his alter ego, Jaime Reyes.
Also coming: the raunchy comedies “Joy Ride” and “No Hard Feelings,” another Transformers movie, another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, a new Dracula movie (set aboard ship!), and an R-rated movie about dogs!
Happy New Year! Lots of great movies to look forward to in 2023. As usual, we have more information about big blockbusters that have been in the works for a while than about smaller films that may still be in production. I always look forward to seeing more from my old favorites, but as I say every year what I enjoy most is knowing that there will be some filmmakers I’ve never heard of who will surprise and delight me in the new year. Watch for Jonathan Majors, already one of my favorites ever since “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” in two giant sequels, “Creed III” and the new Ant-Man film. And watch for Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren in two blockbuster sequels as well: “SHAZAM” and “Fast X Part 1.”
Here are some of the films we are already excited about. (Release dates tentative)
Comic Book Movies
SHAZAM:Fury of the Gods (December)
Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 (May)
Deadpool 3 (September)
Sequels and Remakes
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June)
Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are back!
John Wick: Chapter 4
Fast X Part 1 (May)
The series is going out with a two-part bang. It’s still about chases, explosions, and family.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning (July)
Chases, explosions, secrets, and Tom Cruise.
Creed III (March)
Jonathan Majors plays an old friend who gets into the ring with Creed.
Magic Mike: Last Dance (February)
Salma Hayek gives the dancers their dream shot.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford is back!
The forest people and the sea people versus the sky people, part 3 of 5.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One (June)
Sequel to the Oscar-winning animated multi-verse Spidey story.
Book Club 2 (May)
Jane Fonda, Mary Steenbergen, Diane Keaton, and Candace Bergen reunite for another movie about golden age antics.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March)
Owlbear! Dragons! Chris Pine!
The Super Mario Brothers Movie (April)
The classic video game comes to animated life with the voices of Charlie Day and Anya Taylor-Joy.
Intriguing New Ideas
Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” was so well done I can’t help but look forward to her take on Mattel icon Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
When You Finish Saving the World (January)
“The Social Network’s” Jesse Eisenberg wrote and directed a film that looks like it will break all our hearts. But in a good way.
The clever “Searching” all took place on the computer screen of the frantic father played by John Cho. This follow-up stars Nia Long and Storm Reid.
Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan star in a movie about a con.
Loosely inspired by the writer Emily Bronte, whose passionate story “Withering Heights” continues to thrill readers.
Jim Gaffigan plays the host of a failing children’s science TV show who has always dreamed of being an astronaut.
In the 1970s, a church finds its congregation.
Mama Mafia (April)
Toni Collette inherits the family’s Mafia empire and turns things around with the help of Monica Belluci.
Asteroid City (June)
It’s a new Wes Anderson movie. So I’m guessing it will be quirky, curated, and a bit pretentious but worth seeing.
No Hard Feelings (June)
Jennifer Lawrence and Broadway star Andrew Barth Feldman (“Ratatouille the Musical”) plus Matthew Broderick, Ebon Moss-Bacharach (“The Dropout”), and Natalie Morales in an R-rated comedy about a woman hired to advise a socially awkward young man.
Remember Dracula’s sidekick? No? Well, here he gets his own story, with Nicholas Hoult falling in love with Awkwafina and Nicolas Cage as the vampire.
For the Family
Pixar asks whether Fire and Water can find a life together.
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again (December)
The movies of fall 2022 include top actors and directors (one returning after 16 years) and some promising newcomers.
Armageddon Time stars Oscar winners Sir Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway plus “Succession” star Jeremy Strong in a 1980s-set story of a white boy from a Jewish family in New York who is befriended by a Black classmate.
Triangle of Sadness You think “Below Deck” is about what it’s like to be yacht crew for the super-rich? Or “Titanic” is about how vulnerable even the highest level of society are? Wait until you see this film, with Woody Harrelson as the captain of a yacht for the .0001 percent, when things go very wrong.
Confess Fletch The laconic, snarky reporter originally played by Chevy Chase returns, this time with Jon Hamm in the role, alongside his “Mad Man” co-star John Slattery, from director Greg Mottola of “Adventureland,” “Superbad,” and “Paul.”
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Everyone loves Wierd Al. Everyone loves Daniel Radcliffe. This is going to be a treat.
Don’t Worry Darling We’ve heard a lot about the behind the scenes on Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to “Booksmart,” which looks like a more sophisticated version of “The Stepford Wives.” Now we’ll get a chance to see Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in this story about what at first likes a suburban paradise but turns out very much not to be.
Till Emmitt Till was a 14 year old Black young man from Chicago who went to visit his cousin in Mississippi in 1955. A white woman accused him of being disrespectful and he was murdered. His murderers were acquitted. Just this year, the woman involved was brought before a grand jury, and they declined to indict her. This is the story of Till’s mother, Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley (played by Danielle Deadwyler), who would not let America look away from what happened. She spoke out and advocated and was a key figure in the Civil Rights movement.
Operation Seawolf A veteran submarine captain (Dolph Lundgren) defends the United States from a German attack near the end of WWII.
The Whale Brendan Fraser is getting a lot of early acclaim for his performance as a morbidly obese teacher whose estranged daughter comes home. Director Darren Aronofsky always delivers the striking and unexpected.
White Noise The trailer does not give a good idea of what it is about. From what I’ve heard, the DeLillo book it is based on does not either. What we know is that Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver star as a couple in a college town confronting some strange event.
Bros The second R-rated gay male rom-com of the year also features “SNL” star Bowen Yang. The lead is co-writer Billy Eichner and behind the scenes are director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow.
Wendell and Wilde Director Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais of “Coraline” reunite for another stop-motion film, featuring voices from Key and Peele (Jordan Peele also co-wrote with Selick and Clay McLeod Chapman) and Angela Bassett. Like “Coraline” and Selick’s “Nightmare Before Christmas,” it looks wonderfully creative and just the right amount of creepy.
TWO PINOCCHIOS: Disney’s live action version stars Tom Hanks as Gepetto. We’re also getting Guillermo del Toro’s version with Tilda Swinton, Ewan McGregor, and Christoph Waltz.
The Woman King The all-female force in “The Black Panther” may have been inspired in part by the real-life Agojie, the fierce, all-female warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. General Nanisca, played by Oscar-winner Viola Davis trains her troops to take their most powerful adversary.
Meet Cute Pete Davidson (“SNL”) and Kaley Cuoco (“the Big Bang Theory”) star in a romantic comedy about a couple who keep meeting and falling in love — and then meet and fall in love again.
She Said One of the most powerful men in one of the most powerful businesses in the world was a despicable predator but no one wanted to talk about it. This is the real-life story of the persistence and integrity reporters who insisted that the truth about Harvey Weinstein be told and the courage of the women who could not be silenced.
Strange World Disney’s animated story of a family on an adventure looks fabulously inventive. “Strange” barely touches the surface. Voice talent includes Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Catherine Called Birdy The beloved novel about a feisty medieval heroine is brought to the screen by Lena Dunham.
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever There is no comic book villain as devastating as cancer, and the loss of Chadwick Boseman will be felt deeply by the audience and the characters in this sequel.
The Fablemans Steven Spielberg’s movies are usually, in one way or another, about family. But this is his most personal, a movie inspired by his own experiences growing up as a child and teenager in love with movies. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Seth Rogen.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever Zac Efron stars in a story that has to be true because no one could make it up, In 1967, as protests rocked the United States and Americans were being killed in Viet Nam, some dude who was a vet decided to bring the soldiers some beer. Really. The movie also stars Bill Murray and Russell Crowe. True story here and here. My favorite quote: “In what wound up being a two-month journey, Donohue boarded the Drake Victory with a duffel bag full of American beer and some clothing. The 8,000-mile trip was grueling, and by the time the ship docked at Qui Nhơn harbor, the Marine veteran had drank all the beer and needed to replenish his supplies.In what wound up being a two-month journey, Donohue boarded the Drake Victory with a duffel bag full of American beer and some clothing. The 8,000-mile trip was grueling, and by the time the ship docked at Qui Nhơn harbor, the Marine veteran had drank all the beer and needed to replenish his supplies.”
Clerks III The View Askewniverse is rivaling the MCU and the Fast/Furious films for sheer numbers. In this one, Jay, Silent Bob, Dante and Randall are back and, what else, making a movie.
Black Adam Dwayne Johnson plays a once-enslaved man-turned god who exemplifies the term “anti-hero.”
Amsterdam David O. Russell directs and Christian Bale, Anya Taylor-Joy, Mike Meyers, Chris Rock Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Zoe Saldana, and Robert De Niro star in a 1930s story about some people who witness something they shouldn’t.
Medieval Inspired by the true story of Jan Žižka, one of greatest warriors in history, who led a rebel army to battle the corruption, greed and betrayal rampant amongst those clawing for power in the 14th century.
When the moon explodes, who can save the day? Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak, and Donald Sutherland! The Lionsgate film will open in theaters on February 4, 2022.