By Chris Leonard, Third Year, English
Through the messiness of modern life, cinema and television persevere. 2023 has a lot to enjoy. At a time when the abundance of content is so readily available to all of us, it is still hopeful and inspiring that we take time to enjoy the things we are passionate about. Creative and interesting works are being produced and getting recognition even in an over-saturated and unstable environment.
After the pandemic, economic hardship, and a developing attention economy cultivated by social media, advertisers, and corporations, people will still watch what they love. As we enter the New Year, I am optimistic about the perseverance of the creativity of cinema.
Six films stand out as potentially landmark releases. The first major stand-out is Todd Field’s Tár, coming out 13th of January. This film follows a composer-conductor of a major orchestra, played by Cate Blanchett, as the film takes her through a hypnotic and psychological journey of fame, ambition, and cancel culture.
The second film on my list is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie which has developed attention and hype, not just for its celebrity-stacked cast, including Margo Robbie, Emma Mackey, and Ryan Gosling, but also for Gerwig’s pristine writing as she collaborates with her partner Noah Baumbach.
The pair began writing together for Frances Ha (2012), a staple of the mumblecore subgenre, emphasising intimate personal relationships in low-budget and stripped-back productions. It will be interesting to see how this shift from black-and-white mumblecore films to having a $100 million budget is manifested, as Barbie could potentially become a 21st-century blockbuster. Barbie will come out on the 21st of July 2023.
Released on the same day is Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, in which Cillian Murphy stars as the leading physicist working on the Manhattan Project, developing the atomic bomb. Nolan’s quest for authentic filmmaking whilst managing a $100 million budget has led to the usage of an actual nuclear bomb explosion. Joining Murphy in this cast are Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Jr.
Fourth is Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, coming out in June. This has had surprisingly sparse marketing compared to the other films coming out at a similar time, however, for all Wes Anderson fans, this will be a treat.
For people who may not be familiar with Anderson’s films or simply don’t enjoy them, Asteroid City still has plenty of magic to offer as its cast has a huge ensemble, including Maya Hawke, Scarlett Johannsson, and Tom Hanks.
The fifth, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, follows how women communicate about sexual assault in religious spaces. Adapted from Miriam Towes’ 2018 novel, Polley's screenplay seeks to explore themes of violence, forgiveness, anger, and faith. Women Talking will be released on 10th February.
Lastly, Spider-man: Across the Spider-Verse comes out in June. Following the most unique and original style of animation of the 2010s, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), this new film will hopefully be as refreshing and enjoyable as the first. While it is true that the industry is constantly making new Spider-Man films, Across the Spider-Verse stands out as an example of how to be original in today’s climate.
More generally, cinematic trends continue from last year. Superhero movies, especially Marvel Studios, are generally stuck in a nebulous position after Endgame (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Oversaturating the market with underproduced and unfinished works, Marvel’s domination of cinema feels precarious and unsustainable. Disney is busy in 2023.
Other Marvel productions arriving this year include Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantomania in February, The Marvels in July, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in May. After a successful first season, Loki (2021-) returns sometime in late 2023. As a Marvel fan myself, it is important that the franchise ends its identity crisis and gets back to producing fun films.
Star Wars TV shows continue in 2023, providing a nuanced and subtle approach compared to its heavy-handed blockbuster history. Coming out in March, Ashoka depicts the adventures of Ashoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan. The popular Star Wars series, The Mandalorian (2019-), also returns in February.
Other general UK releases in 2023 include the glitz and glamour of Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, which is set to come out in January. Live-action remakes strike again with the long-anticipated The Little Mermaid coming out in May.
Franchise revivals include Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in November, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in June, and lastly, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One in July.
Sequels set to come out are Creed III, John Wick 4, and Scream 6, all coming out in March, after the end of the Magic Mike saga: Magic Mike’s Last Dance in February. Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, is to come out in May.
Timotheé Chalamet stars in not only Dune: Part Two in November but also Wonka in December, where in both, he plays mythically powerful leaders.
A24 fans will be pleased with the releases of Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up (2022) in April, which has already received major success at film festivals such as Cannes, and Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid, starring Joaquin Phoenix, which is expected to be much later in the year. The Whale also has a UK release date of 3rd February.
New television shows to look out for this year include adaptations of Anthony Doerr's novel All the Light We Cannot See and Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel Daisy Jones & The Six. A personal standout for me is Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey staring in the TV version of the hit video game, The Last of Us (2012), which has the same title and comes out soon, on 15th January.
New television also brings That 90s Show, a reboot of That 70s Show (1998), and Velma, in which the character is finally depicted as an openly queer woman.
The new year brings the fourth season of Succession (2018-), in which the children of a business tycoon who controls a multimedia conglomerate have to finally get past their differences.
Other prominent returning shows include Yellowjackets (2021-) season 2, coming out in March, and Ted Lasso, releasing in the Autumn. The Handmaids Tale’s (2017-2023) sixth and final season comes later in the year.
In February, season 5 of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (2017-) comes to Amazon Prime. Netflix’s Shadow and Bone (2021-) is returning for a second season in March, and The Witcher (2019-) season 3 comes out in Summer.
Just by writing this piece, I have realised the amount of content that is being produced, but what stands out more is the amount of cinema being made. I have left out so many more than should be mentioned, but I trust that good art will always be found.
Cinema is not meant to be considered as a selfish and exclusive club, but, instead, as a collaborative art form, bringing together the artist, creator, and audience. 2023 will surely be a year of creativity and collaboration.
As long as we continue to go to the cinema, watch television at home, or even just by talking about the things we enjoy watching, film and TV will continue to prosper.