101 films to look forward to in 2023 – part two

Part two of our annual preview heralds the arrival of new films from the likes of Pawel Pawlikowski, Michel Gondry and Kitty Green.


Hannah Strong, Charles Bramesco, Saskia Lloyd-Grainger

Fifty films down, fifty films to go, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we’re hoping to see at the cinema next year. Have we missed something you’re counting down the days until? Let us know by tweeting us @LWLies.

51. Cocaine Bear (Elizabeth Banks, Universal)

He’s a bear. He’s taken a shitload of cocaine. You do the math. Cinema has a rich tradition of creating these strange creature features which go on to be a lot of fun (I’m looking at you, Snakes on a Plane) so don’t count director Elizabeth Banks out yet. This horror comedy claims to be based on a true story, and I suppose that’s true, as a bear did once eat a load of cocaine, but rather than going on a Tony Montana-style rampage through the forest, he just suffered massive organ failure and died. But that’s probably not as cinematic. The wild cast list comprises Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta, Brooklynn Prince, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and – Hobie Doyle himself! – Alden Ehrenreich. Hannah Strong

ETA: 24 February

52. The Iron Claw (Sean Durkin, A24)

You might not know the Von Erich name if you’re not into pro-wrestling, but they’re considered one of the most famous dynasties within the sport, not least because of the many tragedies that dogged them throughout the 80s and 90s. When patriarch Fritz passed away in 1997, five of his six sons had predeceased him, three by suicide. Sean Durkin is a great pick to bring this sad story to the big screen (go and watch The Nest if you haven’t done so already) and he’s assembled a strong cast in the form of Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson and Jeremy Allen White to play three of the Von Erich boys, while Holt McCallany will play Papa Fritz. HS

53. And (Yorgos Lanthimos, A24) 

The hardest-to-Google movie of all time is an anthology of indeterminate nature, though with director Yorgos Lanthimos, it’s a safe bet that the interlocking tales will proffer a darkly comic look at something grim or unspeakable. What we do know is that he’s brought Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Hong Chau, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and Mamoudou Athie down to shoot in New Orleans, where principal photography is set to wrap before the end of the year. With the Frankenstein riff Poor Things next on Lanthimos’ docket, this one could wind up getting pushed to 2024, but he could just as easily double down with a premiere at Cannes and another at the fall festivals. Charles Bramesco

54. The Island (Pawel Pawlikowski)

The awards-festooned successes of Ida and Cold War may have recent converts to the work of Pawel Pawlikowski thinking of him as a son of Poland through and through, but he relocated to London as a teenager and made his first few films in English. He now returns to our side of the language barrier a bigger-named filmmaker, evident in the casting of global movie stars Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix for the new drama-thriller based on the factual account of a couple who seceded from society to start anew on a remote island. When a European countess gets wind of their little Eden, a private project becomes a public sensation and threatens the idyll they’ve built. Pawlikowski’s fluent in doomed romance, an international tongue if ever there was one. CB

55. The Red Sky (Christian Petzold)   

Forest fires and smokin’ gay sex scenes apparently abound in German filmmaker Christian Petzold’s new one. Set one hot dry Summer on the Baltic coast, four young people meet and fall in love as forest fires rage ever closer. The popular if unlikely-sounding synopsis adds that “they doubt, they are afraid – not because of the fires, it is the love that scares them.” Could go absolutely anywhere, in sequences of dreamy friction. Petzold is collaborating again with his muse Paula Beer, so hopefully the result will be as beguiling as his last work, UndineSaskia Lloyd Grainger

56. Napoleon (Ridley Scott, Apple)

After the bonanza year of 2021, in which The Last Duel and House of Gucci both debuted, Sir Rid’s been hard at work on his long-gestating epic about France’s most famous general. There have been a few pap snaps of Joaquin Phoenix on set as Napoleon, and Vanessa Kirby is set to play the great love of his life, Josephine (replacing Jodie Comer, who dropped out due to scheduling conflicts) but otherwise we don’t have much to go on, aside from the knowledge that no one can mount a large-scale epic like Scott can. After the muted reception to his last few films, could this be the film that puts Ridley back in the Academy’s good graces? He won’t be losing any sleep over it, that’s for sure. HS

57. The Old Oak (Ken Loach)

Ken Loach shot his 26th fiction film in mid-2022, so it’s likely the two-time Palme d’Or winner will be heading to the Croisette come May. He reunites with his Sorry We Missed You star Dave Turner for this migrant drama, alongside newcomer Ebla Mari, and the story follows a Syrian refugee’s experience living in a dilapidated northern mining town. Shot in County Durham (where he also filmed I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You), the film’s title comes from the pub run by Turner’s TJ Ballantyne. Yara (Mari) and TJ form an unlikely friendship after the unexpected arrival of her group of Syrian refugees in the town, where years of government neglect and economic downturn have taken a toll. HS

58. Les Indésirables (Ladj Ly)

Ladj Ly is back with his second feature after hard Les Misérables, which won the 2019 Jury Prize in Cannes, was nominated for 2020 Best International Film Oscar and upset Emmanuel Macron so much with its very realistic depiction of everyday struggles in Montfermeil after the 2018 FIFA World Cup that he was stirred to try to get his shit together about quality of life in Paris’ banlieues. Les Indesirables will be produced by SRAB films (also behind Happening) and reportedly focuses on a social worker and a mayor who clash over the potential gentrification about a run-down neighbourhood.  CB

59. La Retour (​​Catherine Corsini)

Cannes fixture Catherine Corsini will most likely step out on the Croisette once again for her twelfth fiction feature, a drama about labour, family, and youth. The “forty-something” Kheìdidja (Aissatou Diallo Sagna) must accompany the wealthy Parisian family she works for as nanny to Corsica, the upside being that she’s invited to bring her own daughters along. But this island, which they fled 15 years earlier under unspecified tragic circumstances, dislodges some overwhelming memories for the women as they try to drink in all their surroundings have to offer. If nothing else, a ticket to Corsini’s latest will be far cheaper than a Mediterranean holiday.CB

60. Strangers (Andrew Haigh)

A loose adaptation of Taichi Yamada’s novel of the same name with a queer twist, Haigh’s first film since 2017’s Lean on Pete stars Fleabag heartthrob Andrew Scott as a man who suddenly finds his long-dead parents have come back to life – and appear as they did in their youth (as Jamie Bell and Claire Foy) – following an encounter with his mysterious neighbour (Twitter fave Paul Mescal). This sounds like something a little more fantastical than we usually see from Haigh, and a whole lot lighter in tone than his grim (but very good) miniseries The North Water. HS

61. Challengers (Luca Guadagnino, Warner Bros)

After spotting him in West Side Story, Luca Guadagnino wasted no time in casting Mike Faist in his next film, alongside equally bright young things Zendaya and Josh O’Connor. Together they form the super hot love triangle at the heart of this tennis-based drama, in which a hotshot player suffering from a losing streak goes up against his wife’s ex-lover in a Challengers event. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are scoring the film after working with Guadagnino on Bones and All, but this is the first collaboration between the director and playwright Justin Kuritzkes. To wit, the film is described as a “romantic sports-comedy” – humour isn’t usually something associated with Luca’s work, so colour us intrigued. HS

62. The Book of Solutions (Michel Gondry) 

We haven’t heard from maestro of off-kilter whimsy Michel Gondry since 2015, but judging by the premise of his unexpected comeback, the intervening years have done nothing to iron out his eccentricities. He’s gone autobiographically meta for his latest feature, following a frustrated filmmaker in the throes of creative block as he struggles to free himself from the demons blocking his process. Cast members Pierre Niney and Blanche Gardin are joined by none other than living legend Francoise Lebrun, currently enjoying a surge in popularity with the re-release of The Mother and the Whore. Could this be Gondry’s 8 ½? CB

63. The Little Mermaid (Rob Marshall, Disney) 

To the great chagrin of online racists — many of them adult men, presumably with jobs or even families — Halle Bailey stars as the fish-girl who dreamed of walking in the surface world and macking on the handsome, raven-haired sailor living there. By this point, we all know the drill with these live-action Disney remakes: songs re-recorded with fresh voices, shots recreated with muddier colours, a few new jokes. Even those feeling blase can still work up some interest in Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the Sea Witch or Javier Bardem as King Triton, though it’s hard not to imagine what could’ve been if Sofia Coppola’s planned adaptation had gotten off the ground. Or, er, ocean floor. CB

ETA: 26 May

64. The Beast (Bertrand Bonello)

The onset of the pandemic derailed Bertrand Bonello’s work on this sci-fi opus — in the meanwhile, he made the lockdown snapshot Coma, probably the truest cinematic time capsule of its moment — but he’s back on track and ready to reach a wider audience than ever. The cerebral stalwart of the arthouse tapped stars Léa Seydoux and George MacKay for a project that sounds like it’ll have slightly broader reach, as the two play lovers dipping in and out of each other’s lives over one hundred and thirty years, from the early twentieth century into the nearby future. There, an experimental procedure can remove all emotions, but if we learned anything from High Life, it’s to never trust a sci-fi premise that sounds straightforward. CB

65. Strange Way of Life (Pedro Almodóvar)

Almodóvar revealed details of his “answer to Brokeback Mountain” on pop star Dua Lipa’s podcast (because of course he did), stating that Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke play a gunslinger and a sherriff respectively, who reunite after several decades apart. The short is about 40 minutes in length, similar to his Tilda Swinton collaboration The Human Voice from 2020, and while we could happily sit through a film three times that long, we’ll take what we can get with Almodóvar. Slated for a ritzy Cannes premiere and described as a “queer Western, in the sense that there are two men and they love each other”, this one’s guaranteed to send Twitter into a tizzy. HS

66. Last Summer (Catherine Breillat) 

Production has long since wrapped on the new film from French lightning rod Catherine Breillat, her first in ten long years, and the intervening time has evidently done nothing to dull her edge. The drama concerns a classic Brady Bunch situation — a combined family forms between Mom (Léa Drucker), her two daughters, Dad (Olivier Rabourdin), and his seventeen-year-old son (Samuel Kircher) — that spins out into incest as the boy shacks up with his lusty stepmom. Ah, the French! Breillat is no stranger to Cannes, which would be an excellent launching pad for her possible comeback picture, and they could always use the scandal. CB

67. Limonov, the Ballad of Eddie (Kirill Serebrennikov)

From the creator of Leto and Petrov’s Flu comes a non-linear biography of Eduard Limonov, radical Russian latter 20th Century tour du force – played by a grubbified, punk-ed up Ben Whishaw. Based on a book by Emmanuelle Carrere, Limonov follows this continent-hopping provocateur raised in present-day Kharkiv, then part of the Soviet Union, from which he escaped to New York, got FBI-ed out of the States and washed up in Paris where he transformed into a literary darling, then crept back into Russia and founded the National Bolshevik party, became a poster boy for dissident Russian youths and was locked up by Putin. Limonov’s bonkers life story has been paralleled by the crazy circumstances of the film’s production – Serebrennikov is still supposed to be serving a three-year suspended sentence, thrown at him by Putin on absurd charges, and was shooting Limonov in Russia when the war broke out. He managed to escape and finish the film in Europe. You couldn’t make this stuff up. SLG

68. Love Lies Bleeding (Rose Glass, A24)

As seems to be the case with so many rising directors these days, Rose Glass made a name for herself in horror (the wrenching Saint Maud) only to pivot out of the genre and explore wilder narrative territories. Fans of watching Kristen Stewart do things will be excited to learn that Kristen Stewart stars as the protective lover of a female bodybuilder (Jena Malone, possibly – her role as of yet unspecified), concerned that her paramour will be chewed up and spat out by the cutthroat world of competitive musclewomen. The press release foretold a “romance fueled by ego, desire, and the American dream” which places this film in the compact, fascinating canon of movies about the US made from a European vantage. CB

69. My Name is Alfred Hitchcock (Mark Cousins)

It’s been 100 years since the scowling colossus of cinema’s first feature, lost and unfinished Number Thirteen, the non-production of which he once described as “a somewhat chastening experience.” To mark this centenary, Cousins has put together a documentary that explores the current relevance of Hitchcock’s work through the director’s own voice, the essence of the narrative device being that the auteur sits down to watch back his own films and we traverse that gamut with him on his sofa. Voiced by Alistair McGowan and billed to be both celebratory and insightful, My Name is Alfred Hitchcock will hopefully offer an innovative and humanising take on a bloke so massively influential that he seems a bit unreal. SLG

70. La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher)

The murky world of tombaroli (tomb raiders) in the 1980s is the subject of Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera, starring Josh O’Connor and Isabella Rosselini. O’Connor plays Arthur, a young English archaeologist involved in the black market trafficking of ancient Etruscan objects. Rohrwacher reunites with multiple frequent collaborators to bring La Chimera into being, including production designer Emita Frigato, costume designer Loredana Buscemi and editor Nelly Quettier. Rohrwacher told Variety that La Chimera forms ‘the final piece of a triptych’ she began with The Wonders and followed up with Happy As Lazzaro, the three films linked by their exploration of the question ‘What to do with the past?’. Philosophy and questions of cultural identity aside, it promises beautiful Tuscan scenery and Rohrwacher’s characteristically delicate magic realism. SLG

71. Evil Dead Rise (Lee Cronin, StudioCanal)

The Evil Dead just won’t darned die – back for a fifth instalment, the viscera-soaked franchise resumes but this time with an entirely new cast and a fresh storyline. Sam Reimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell are producing the Evil Dead Rise, but alas Campbell won’t be returning as Ash Williams to say ‘groovy’ in that irresistible way he does. Instead, the film has sisters Beth and Ellie’s reunion properly wrecked by the discovery of a mysterious book (haven’t they ever seen an Evil Dead film?) in the basement of Ellie’s L.A. building, which unleashes some really nasty flesh-possessing demon creatures called Deadites. Beth fights to survive, and judging by what Warner Bros have to say about the film’s premise, Ellie’s kids are definitely not alright. SLG

ETA: 21 April

72. Kafka (Agnieszka Holland)

Could the Agnieszka Holland we know and love be back? As of late, the Polish great who apprenticed under Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda has kept her bills paid with work somewhat less prestigious than the likes of Europa Europa. Her sojourns in the wilds of American TV led her to a recent pair of more encouragingly accomplished biopics, which she’ll make a trilogy with her upcoming portrait of Franz Kafka, structured as a series of vignettes stretching from cradle to crypt. However she plays it, she’s unlikely to cover any of the same ground as Steven Soderbergh’s highly conceptual, semi-factual take on the existential titan’s life and times. CB

73. Occupied City (Steven McQueen) 

Steve McQueen’s journey into non-fiction is set to begin with Second World War documentary Occupied City, based on the history book ‘Atlas of an Occupied City, 1940-1945’ by writer and filmmaker Bianca Stitger, who also happens to be married to McQueen. The book maps the traces of the war in the capital, as will the documentary. The Netherlands Film Fund, a partner on the NL-UK collaboration, have said in relation to the project that ‘Living in Amsterdam is like living with spirits. It looks like there are two parallel worlds. The past is always there.’ Even as there are fewer and fewer living people recall this time, the war remains present in collective memory – the city is saturated with it. In possession of a $5M budget, Occupied City has the potential for a rich and creative exploration of these lingering ghosts. SLG

74. Un Silence (Joachim Lafosse)

Emmanuelle Devos and Daniel Auteuil star in Belgian director Lafosse’s tenth feature, which focuses on the aftermath of a crime and the silence that surrounds it, as well as the difficulty of speaking out. But don’t just take my word for it – here’s Lafosse’s description: ‘With Un silence, I want to try to show why silence is still so powerful, despite the important place given to this beneficial right. I want to try to show and explain why it’s so difficult to speak out.” His last film The Restless, received a muted response at Cannes 2021, but is well worth a watch, and it’s likely this one will bow on the French Riviera, who love to show support for local(ish!) filmmaking. SLG

75. Coyote vs. Acme (Dave Green, Warner Bros) 

Described as a ‘live-action/computer generated legal comedy’, this latest Loony Toon is partly based on an Ian Frazier short story of the same name, that appeared in the New Yorker. Wile E. Coyote decides to hire a billboard lawyer, played by Will Forte, to sue the ACME corporation after he’s outdone by the nifty Roadrunner yet again. The defendant – former boss of ACME corp – is John Cena. Directed by Dave Green, with a screenplay by Samy Burch, the Warner Bros chimera flick is built on the not unsteady grounds that the notion of cartoon characters solving real-life problems, subject to real-world forces like gravity or the law, is automatically hilarious – and come on, it is John Cena… SLG

76. National Anthem (Tony Tost)

Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney, Richard Jewell himself Paul Walter Hauser, Red Rocket‘s Simon Rex and singer Halsey are set to star in Tost’s directorial debut, who is best known for his television work on series including Longmire, Damnation and The Terror. In what’s sure to be a thorny tale, a group of people compete to get their hands on a valuable Lakota Ghost Shirt (a type of garment sacred to Native American communities). Some have pure intentions, others not so much. HS

77. Club Zero (Jessica Hausner)   

Jessica Hausner broke into the Competition section at Cannes with 2019’s Little Joe, a cunning anti-horror picture about a botanist slowly realising that her seemingly ominous surroundings may not be as evil as she presumed. Having launched principal photography back in the summer, the Austrian filmmaker could very well be back with this supernaturally-tinged ensemble piece, in which an educator (Mia Wasikowska) at an elite boarding school forms a strong bond with several students that starts looking a whole lot like a cult. Sidse Babbett Knudsen — another actress with an otherworldly sort of presence — also figures prominently into an off-beat genre piece from a director deserving of a higher profile. CB

78. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Sam Fell, Netflix)

As the children haunted off their KFC by the first Chicken Run become 20-somethings who Deliveroo their own protein, the sequel appears in the form of Dawn of the Nugget. Aardman have partnered with Netflix and French producers StudioCanal to create the follow-up film, which sees Ginger, Rocky, freshly hatched daughter Molly and the flock content on the island they escaped to following their break-out from Tweedy’s farm. Until, that is, a new threat arises in the form of Dr.Fry’s dastardly plan to turn all the chickens in his lab into nuggets. The flock must risk their sanctuary to save their brethren from being battered. Thandiwe Newton, Bella Ramsey, Zachary Levi and Romesh Ranganathan give voice to the plasticine fowl. Is a sequel necessary? We’ll find out. SLG 

ETA: June 22

79. Priscilla (Sofia Coppola, Apple)

Last year we got Elvis – now it’s time for a look at the woman behind the man. Putting her Custom of the Country television series on the back burner for now, Coppola has cast relative newcomer Cailee Spaeny as Mrs. Presley, who famously met Elvis when she was 14 and he was 23, and Euphoria’s resident sociopath Jacob Elordi as The King. The couple would eventually marry and Priscilla would give birth to Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, before they separated in 1973. The script is based on Priscilla’s 1985 memoir, and if there’s anyone who can do justice to the complexities of the Presley story, it’s Hollywood royalty like Coppola. HS

80. The Idea of You (Michael Showalter)

A movie can come from anywhere — for example, an adult woman’s fanfiction about taking her teenage daughter to a One Direction August Moon concert only to so enchant singer Harry Styles Hayes Campbell that they tumble into a May-December romance speculated by readers to be inspired by a certain pop star. Robinne Lee’s markedly Fifty Shades of Grey-ish novel comes to the screen courtesy of journeyman director Michael Showalter, with the cougar protagonist played by Anne Hathaway opposite Nicholas Glitzine, perhaps best known for the controversy-sparking Netflick Purple Hearts. Wish fulfillment is a powerful motivator, so who knows, maybe we’ll have another left-field phenomenon from humble origins on our hands. CB

81. Emilia Perez (Jacques Audiard)

With 2018’s The Sisters Brothers, Jacques Audiard tried his hand at English-language filmmaking with known Hollywood stars — a mode the French festival favourite returns to with a daffy, undoubtedly conversation-generating comedy. To evade the law, a narco on the run gets gender reassignment surgery, but comes to miss her children and re-inserts herself into their lives as a Mrs. Doubtfire-style aunt after ten years away. Oh, and also, it’s a musical. The lead actress Karla Sofia Gascón could have overnight stardom in her future, and early reports have also linked Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldaña to the trans riff on the archetypal cross-dressing comedy. CB

82. The Fabulous Four (Jocelyn Moorhouse)

Susan Sarandon! Megan Mullally! Sissy Spacek! Bette Midler! I could just leave this description right there. What more do you need to shell out for a cinema ticket? Okay, fine – The Fabulous Four is the big comeback for Aussie filmmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse and centers on a trio of friends (Sarandon, Mullaly, and Spacek) who travel to Key West to serve as bridesmaids at the unexpected wedding of their pal (Midler). Moorhouse knows a thing or two about nuptials – she was the producer on her husband’s cult classic Murial’s Wedding. HS

83. True Love (Gareth Edwards)

The best of the remake deluge that flooded the 2010s would probably be Gareth Edwards’ staggeringly-scaled Godzilla, a reconciliation of megabudget IP-servicing with genuine creative ingenuity. Aside from the well-regarded Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, he hasn’t had much chance to follow through on that heartening early example, so all eyes are on this sci-fi project about which little is publicly known. Edwards has been hard at work shooting in Thailand with John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney, Ken Watanabe, and Ralph Ineson, but beyond that, it’s one big question mark. Maybe they all keep hearing this mysterious noise and have to figure out where it’s coming from. If it worked once…! CB

84. Master Gardener (Paul Schrader)

It’s another Paul Schrader production, so a few assumptions can be safely made: there will be an intense, ageing man (Joel Edgerton, as a horticulturist hiding an obligatory dark past) with a weird name (Narvel Roth, in this instance) paired with a younger companion (Quintessa Swindell, taking over for Schrader’s initial pick Zendaya) whose soul he must salvage before it’s too late. This time, however, we’ve also got Sigourney Weaver as the wealthy dowager who owns the estate so dutifully tended by Narvel. Sin, penance, and redemption will swirl together in one Protestant shame spiral, as is Schraderian tradition. Who could ask for anything more? CB

85. Butterfly Jam (Kantemir Balagov)

Dashing Russian wunderkind Kantemir Balagov won over a lot of new fans with 2019’s brutal, lush Beanpole, among them Midsommar director Ari Aster, who’s producing Balagov’s first foray into English-language filmmaking. The drama unfolds in a New Jersey enclave of Kabardian immigrants, where a father-son relationship is complicated by the boy’s tendency to imbue his dad with qualities that aren’t really present. The fizzle-out of Balagov’s involvement with the Last of Us HBO series only heightens the anticipation for a new work sure to introduce him to an even wider swath of Western viewers. Whether they’ll be ready for the guaranteed emotional pulverising is a separate question entirely. CB

86. Eric Larue (Michael Shannon)

Making his directorial debut, Shannon teams up with his playwright buddy Brett Nevue for what sounds like a harrowing watch: “Janice, the mother of a high school murderer, prepares to visit her son in prison, and to meet a collection of bereaved local parents.” He’s working with some excellent talent too – Judy Greer is the mother in question, acting alongside Alison Pill, Tracey Letts and Shannon’s Little Drummer Girl co-star Alexander Skarsgård. Fun fact: Skarsgård is gearing up to shoot The Park, his own directorial debut, in 2023 which will feature (his Little Drummer Girl co-star!) Florence Pugh. HS

87. Untitled Ethan Coen Lesbian Road Trip movie 

Two paths diverged in the yellow wood of the Coen brothers’ directing partnership, and their first solo projects suggest why; Joel gave us an austere, experimental-theatre-inspired adaptation of Macbeth last year, and soon Ethan will retort with an “action-sex-comedy” road movie chockablock with bawdy, sapphic hijinks. Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan play a pair of lesbians traversing the great lattice of American highways circa 1999, encountering along the way a “potpourri of a severed head in a hatbox, a bitter ex-girlfriend, a mystery briefcase, and an evil senator.” Cowritten with Coen’s wife Tricia Cooke under the working title of Drive-Away Dykes, it’s a start to rectifying the urgent issue of not having enough present-day Russ Meyer homages. CB

88. Cat Person (Susanna Fogel, StudioCanal)

Every so often an article pops up that really captures the public imagination, and in 2017 it was Kristen Roupenian’s Cat Person, about a 20-year-old cinema worker who engages in a short, unpleasant romantic relationship with an older man. The story was lauded for capturing the power imbalances present in many modern dating situations, although received considerable pushback from the story’s unwitting inspiration. Nevertheless, a film version starring Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun is dropping sometime in 2023, co-starring Fred Melamed and Isabella Rossellini. We’ll see if the film manages to match the zeitgeist-capturing success of the source material. HS

89. Attack the Block 2 (Joe Cornish)

Talk of a sequel to Joe Cornish’s 2011 action-comedy about a group of teens defending their housing estate from an alien invasion has been going on for years, but it’s finally happening, and the filmmaker will be reuniting with star John Boyega, who played reluctant hero Moses in the first film. Boyega is producing this time as well, and has already hinted that the sequel will tackle London’s gentrification, which has exploded in the past decade, as well as a new alien threat. Allow it! HS

90. 65 (Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, Sony) 

From A Quiet Place scribes Scott Beck and Bryan Woods comes a prehistoric action-thriller, starring Adam Driver as Mills, an astronaut who crashlands on a foreign planet only to find himself back on Earth…65 million years earlier than planned. With the resident dinosaurs none too pleased about their new guest, Mills must work with the only other survivor, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) to survive. Sam Raimi is producing, and Danny Elfman has composed the score. Curious. SLG

91. Havoc (Gareth Evans, Netflix)

Rugged detective wading through the criminal underworld in the wake of a botched drug deal, attempting to rescue the lost son of a politician, exposing a web of dodginess lacing his grimy city? Sounds like Havoc, which will crash onto Netflix in early 2023. The crime drama stars Tom Hardy (also a producer) and is directed by Gangs of London’s Gareth Edwards, who made Indonesian martial arts films like The Raid and Merantau, so it could well be fighty and shooty in a pretty well-choreographed way even if the plot rings a few bells. Shot across various locations in South Wales, it’s unclear where the film is set, but Hardy’s co-stars have been confirmed as Timothy Olyphant, Forest Whittaker and Jesse Mei Li. Havoc isn’t based on any pre-existing material, and may prove refreshing in that sense. SLG

92. Landscape With Invisible Hand (Cory Finley)

After the excellent Thoroughbreds and Bad Education, we can’t wait to see what Finley’s cooked up with this sci-fi drama adaptation, set in the aftermath of an alien takeover of earth. Attempting to scrape a living together, Adam (Asante Blackk) and Chloe (Kylie Rogers) live stream their courtship for an intrigued alien viewer, but things quickly go awry. Audiences at Sundance will be the first to catch this one, but we’re hoping the UK will get a chance soon after. HS

93. The Bikeriders (Jeff Nichols)

Welcome back Jeff Nichols! It’s been too long since Arkansas’ favourite son put a picture together, and his next project takes inspiration from photojournalist Danny Lyon’s 1968 book of the same name, which documented the exploits of a group of motorcyclists. While Nichols’ script is entirely fictional, those images of a very specific moment in American pop culture form the foundation, and one person who’s going to be thrilled this long-gestating project is finally coming to life is Nichols’ friend and collaborator Michael Shannon, who once said: “You’ve been talking about that damn idea for so long. You’re never gonna make that”. Alongside Shannon, Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Boyd Holbrook and Mike Faist star, assembling undoubtedly the hottest cast of 2023. HS

94. May December (Todd Haynes)

Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore’s fourth collaboration seems like a shoo-in for Cannes 2023 – she plays a woman whose notorious romance with a much younger man was the subject of tabloid scrutiny, who is forced to revisit the past when an actress (played by Natalie Portman) arrives to research her for a role. Interestingly, writer Samy Burch is better known as a casting director – May December is his first produced screenplay, though he’s also working on the script for Coyote v. Acme, also on this list. In any case, Portman/Moore is a pairing we’re keen to see. HS

95. Darling (Cattet/Forzani) 

The Belgian husband-and-wife directing team of Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet have always cultivated a loose relationship with reality in such hyperstylized head trips as Amer, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, and Let the Corpses Tan. They’ll leave the material world behind entirely for their first go with feature-length animation, an adaptation of a controversial Beat novel by Iris Owens about a woman who lives in downtown Manhattan during the swinging ‘60s, and who’s viciously violated one night by a figure with blinding white eyes. Unmoored and drifting into psychosis, she begins prowling the streets in search of her attacker, working her way through a hallucinatory atmosphere redolent of Belladonna of Sadness. And, much to the delight of anime fans, the other primary reference point they’ve named is the work of Satoshi Kon. Dig it, daddy-O. CB

96. The Brutalist (Brady Corbet) 

With his directing debut Childhood of a Leader, Brady Corbet tracked the ascendance of fascism in Europe, while his follow-up Vox Lux theorised about the sources and influence of American terrorism. His third film synthesises his transatlantic interests, its subject an immigrant couple (Joel Edgerton and Marion Cotillard) come to America to flee the rubble of World War II. They pursue the ideal of an architectural masterpiece with the help of a mysterious benefactor (Mark Rylance), an “epic saga” sprawling out over thirty years and told in a combination of English, Yiddish, Hungarian, and Italian. Add to the cast Sebastian Stan, Isaach de Bankolé, Vanessa Kirby, and Alessandro Nivola along with Vox Lux stars Raffey Cassidy and Stacy Martin, and a prestigious festival berth is all but assured. CB

97. How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber, Neon)

The breakout success of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was a pulse-pounding heist thriller informed by a keen sense of political principle, smuggling radical ideology adapted from Andreas Malm’s nonfiction book of theory into the inviting format of first-order Hollywood entertainment. A multicultural cell of young eco-terrorists (led by Ariela Barer, producer and cowriter of the film) plots the controlled demolition of a crude oil pipeline in west Texas, a ticking-clock mission that plays out with the pop sensibility of Ocean’s 11 and the raised-fist irreverence of La Chinoise. Director Daniel Goldhaber married effect and message to spectacular results. CB

98. The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green)

The Assistant was one of the best films of 2019, and reportedly caused quite a ruckus behind the scenes in Hollywood. Emerging talent Kitty Green reunites wth her star Julia Garner for this new social thriller, in which Garner and Jessica Henwick played BFFs backpacking across Oz. When they run out of cash they take jobs working for oddball pub landlord Hugo Weaving, but things quickly go downhill when the girls come up against old-fashioned attitudes in the rural mining town. Could this be Green’s own spin on Wake in Fright? Fingers crossed. HS

99. Die, My Love (Lynne Ramsay)

At any given time Lynne Ramsay’s name is connected to a number of in-development projects, and few of them ever make it to our screens. It’s a little unlikely we’ll see this one any time soon, but the prospect of a Ramsay film starring Jennifer Lawrence should hopefully spur some production company into action. Die My Love is an adaptation of Ariana Harwicz’s cult novel, about a new mother experiencing post-partum depression and psychosis in the French countryside – so fits into Ramsay’s body of work quite nicely. Let’s hope this one gets off the ground. HS

100. Skinamarink (Kyle Edward Ball, Shudder) 

A true word-of-mouth success, Kyle Edward Ball’s experimental horror had its premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival, where it generated a modest amount of buzz. Things really started to pick up when social media got a hold of the film via various – ahem – sources, and soon tongues were wagging about a creepy, unconventional haunted house film that defied the usual trappings of the genre. Made on a microbudget and employing creative tactics to overcome shooting constraints, Skinamarink has been hailed as the most exciting horror film of the year, and was promptly snapped up for distribution in 2023 by Shudder. HS

101. I Saw the TV Glow (Jane Schoenbrun, A24)

Schoenbrun’s feature debut We’re All Going to the World’s Fair was one of the great surprises of 2022, so all eyes on her for her second film, which focuses on a pair of teenagers whose reality starts to change after their favourite television show is cancelled. The cast is exciting too: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Helena Howard and Danielle Deadwyler will star, though it’s the cinematic debut of Phoebe Bridgers that has many tongues wagging on social media. HS

Published 2 Jan 2023

Tags: 2023 films

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Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.