New year, new movies. The beginning of any year feels like a time of unfettered optimism for movie-goers, a phase when the existential dread of whether the theatrical experience is still sustainable is momentarily put on hold by the shiny promise of all the thrilling films to come. A new Nolan! A new Fincher! A new Almodovar! It’s hard not to crack a smile. Along with sequels like Creed III, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, John Wick: Chapter 4, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny and the next 306 superhero films (of which we will be seated for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse), here are the 15 international films we’re most excited for. Let’s hope they all secure Indian releases and our Barbie/Oppenheimer double-bill dreams come true:
Ryan Gosling's “Kenergy”. Margot Robbie’s now-deleted Letterboxd account citing The Young Girls Of Rochefort (1967) as one of the influences on the film. That 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)-inspired trailer. Films based on existing IP have reshaped, dominated and exhausted the cinematic landscape, but Greta Gerwig’s silly-and-it-knows-it Barbie seems like just the candy coloured cure.
Yes, Barbie is the doll movie everyone’s most looking forward to this year but Malignant (2021) duo James Wan and Akela Cooper team up once more for M3GAN, in which a young girl’s animatronic toy develops a life of its own, and might even be responsible for a few deaths. Malignant balanced campy goodness with genuine frights, revitalising the horror comedy and cementing Wan and Cooper’s uninhibited, unhinged imaginations. More of this, please.
Christopher Nolan brings his signature time trickery, fondness for stacked casts and recurring tragic theme of men trapped in situations wildly beyond their control to the story of the Manhattan Project. Cillian Murphy plays J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, while Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh round out the cast.
After a beach that makes you old, M Night Shyamalan moves his real-estate terrors to a cabin that prevents the apocalypse. The catch? Four family members are being held hostage inside and must sacrifice one to ensure the world doesn’t end.
If the first half of Dune felt like one long setup, or you were disappointed by the lack of Zendaya, or wanted more sandworms, the followup has got you covered. The fantasy action film will follow Timothee Chalamet’s Paul Atreides as he plots revenge against the men who killed his father, fulfills his destiny as the Kwisatz Haderach and marries Florence Pugh for the second time since Little Women (2019).
Michael Fassbender has been on a bit of a cold streak from 2016 onwards, between X-Men: Apocalypse, Assassin’s Creed, The Snowman and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (the exception is Alien: Covenant, which gave him room for not one, but two stellar turns) so we’re rooting for the 2023 Fassbenderaissance. Between David Fincher’s The Killer, in which an assassin begins to develop a moral streak in a world that’s anything but, and Next Goal Wins, Taika Waititi’s sports biopic following the “weakest football team in the world” as it attempts to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the actor is poised to make an, ahem, killer comeback.
After dropping Bones and All in 2022, a Timothee Chalamet-starrer that one Letterboxd user helpfully described as “Call Me By Your Name, but with more than one cannibal,” Luca Guadagnino continues his run of fraught love stories with Challengers, a love triangle set in the competitive world of professional tennis, starring Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor.
Everyone who finds comfort in Wes Anderson’s pastel symmetry, keep an eye out for this Fifties-set drama in which the citizens of a fictional American desert town gather for the Junior Stargazer convention. The filmmaker’s typically stacked cast includes Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Hong Chau, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Jeff Goldblum, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Tony Revolori, Matt Dillon, Rita Wilson, Bryan Cranston and Willem Dafoe. Phew.
Not much is known about Ari Aster’s next film for A24, previously described as “an intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time” and more pointedly, a “nightmare comedy” starring Joaquin Phoenix. But Aster is the man who previously gave us a movie about a cult in which everyone saws their heads off and another in which a man trapped inside a bear suit is set on fire. So maybe we’re the ones who should be afraid.
Let us ask ourselves if we really needed a Willy Wonka origin story. Then let us consider that Paul King has given us two Paddington movies and he should be allowed to make whatever he damn well pleases. The film, which chronicles the chocolatier’s life before he opened his factory, stars Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Colman, and Rowan Atkinson.
Nicolas Cage as Dracula? Inspired. The Chris McKay comedy follows his servant (Nicholas Hoult), who begins to wonder what life would be like if he didn’t have to serve the vampire.
Martin Scorsese reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro for this thriller, based on the real-life murders of Osage tribe members in Twenties America. Also starring: Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone and Brendan Fraser.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ last film was the rip-roaringly delightful yet low-on-the-absurdity-scale The Favourite (2018). He returns, full tilt, to his long-patented propensity for weirdness with Poor Things, in which a woman has her brain replaced with that of her unborn child. Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo and Margaret Qualley star.
A novelist's marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband’s unfiltered reaction to her new book. Nicole Holofcener’s examination of writerly insecurities — you can see why it spoke to us — stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menes and will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Okay, this isn’t a feature-length film, but if it's wrong to put Pedro Almodovar’s “answer to Brokeback Mountain (2005)”, a 30-minute-long Queer Western starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke as a pair of former gunslingers who reunite 30 years later, on this list, then we’d rather not be right.