From a live-action adaptation of Barbie and the return of Indiana Jones, to Amazon Prime Video’s first original Filipino film, here are the movies that you should not miss in 2023.
It has been quite a year for movies. From pandemic-themed stories like Kimi and the record-smashing premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, to the success of indie darling Everything Everywhere All At Once, genre-bending offerings like Nope and The Northman, and superhero tentpole movies like Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and DC’s The Batman and Black Adam, 2022 is the year where we have once again returned to the cinemas and fully imbibed its spirit post-lockdown.
Locally, it has also been a vibrant cinematic experience. There’s the success of Filipino films in the international stage like Martika Ramirez Escobar’s Leonor Will Never Die and Erik Matti’s On The Job: The Missing 8. Filipino talents have also taken center stage in international projects like our very own Dolly de Leon in Triangle of Sadness, Chai Fonacier in Nocebo, and Soliman Cruz in To The North. The QCinema International Film Festival has also celebrated its tenth anniversary with jam-packed physical screenings. Meanwhile, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have also diversified the Filipinos’ entertainment choices this year.
And while we happily look back at the unforgettable cinematic highlights of the year as 2022 winds down to a close, let’s look at the biggest titles that will hype us up even more as we enter the new year. From Christopher Nolan’s first biopic to the return of the Spider-Verse, here are the movies that you should include in your watchlist in 2023.
Experience the fantastic life in plastic with the live-action film adaptation of the famed blonde-haired Mattel doll, Barbie. While most plot details about the Warner Bros. movie are still under wraps, what we know is that Lady Bird and Little Women helmer Greta Gerwig directs and co-writes (together with his partner Noah Baumbach), and that Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will play Barbie and (struggling) Ken dolls respectively.
Also, based on some scoop from the star-studded cast, Barbie takes place in Barbieland with multiple Barbies and Kens, and will feature a crazy, purely comedic, and an epic adventure that as Robbie describes, “you didn’t know you wanted.” Gosling even says it’s the “best script” he’s ever read. Let’s go party with Barbie when it hits the theaters on July 21, 2023.
Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan ventures into his first-ever biopic with Oppenheimer. Written and directed by Nolan, the historical film is based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s book, American Prometheus, which chronicles the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who’s dubbed as the “father” of the atomic bomb.
As Universal Pictures describes the film, Oppenheimer will revolve around the “pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.” Cillian Murphy stars as the titular role together with an explosive cast that includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey, Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, and Florence Pugh. Oppenheimer will screen only in theaters on July 21, 2023.
Ready your screams as Ghostface returns to spill some blood with Scream VI. The sixth entry of Paramount’s decades-spanning horror saga continues as the four survivors leave the fictional town of Woodsboro and attempt to start anew, this time in New York. In the hair-raising film teaser, not only is the story set in the crowded city, it seems that Ghostface also unleashes terror right in time during Halloween, which makes the whole thing even more terrifying. Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding return to the cult slasher film which will hit the cinemas on March 10, 2023.
John Wick Chapter 4
From being a retired hitman to becoming a pop culture icon, John Wick is back to give us some satisfying action next year. Keanu Reeves returns to play the underground legend in John Wick: Chapter 4, this time figuring out a way to defeat the villainous council of crime lords called The High Table.
Facing new enemies with powerful alliances across the globe and with friends turning into foes, John Wick once again attempts to find a way out, in neo-noir fashion, struggling to get his elusive freedom once and for all. Chad Stahelski returns at the helm with a cast that boasts names like Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, and Hiroyuki Sanada. Don’t miss the suspense and thrill as John Wick: Chapter 4 screens in theaters on March 24, 2023.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
This one’s for the Marvel fans! Four years after the first animation of the Spider-Man franchise launched the time-bending, dimension-hopping, and Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga, Miles Morales, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spidey, returns with Gwen Stacy as they encounter a bevy of other Spider-People who are charged to protect the Multiverse. Conflicts arise when the heroes clash as they tackle a new threat and Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spideys. Produced by Sony Pictures Animation Inc. and one of the most anticipated films of 2023, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse stars Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Jason Schwartzman, Brian Tyree Henry and Oscar Isaac. It swings into theaters on June 2, 2023.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Our favorite archaeologist hero returns as Lucasfilm revives the popular Indiana Jones film series with its fifth installment, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Harrison Ford reprises his iconic role as the American adventurer in the film set in the ‘60s and in the backdrop of the space race where Indy and his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) are set to fight the Nazi-infested moon-landing program and the villainous Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen). More than a decade after the last Indy film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is back to give us some classic action and a thrilling experience as it comes to cinemas on June 30, 2023.
The Hunger Games: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES
Almost a decade after the end of the then uber-popular film franchise that captured the zeitgeist of the 2010s, Suzanne Collins’ best-selling world of The Hunger Games is back with a prequel titled The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, making our YA-loving and Katniss Everdeen-stanning hearts fulfilled. Directed by Francis Lawrence (who previously helmed three Hunger Games titles), the prequel centers on a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), years before he would become Panem’s president, and his relationship with Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) a girl tribute with a musical talent from District 12. Watch them turn the odds to their favor as The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits the cinemas on November 17, 2023.
IN MY MOTHER’S SKIN
Of course, we’re not forgetting some exciting Filipino movies of the fast-approaching 2023. One of them is Kenneth Dagatan’s sophomore effort In My Mother’s Skin which melds history, fantasy, and horror in one story. The first co-production between the Philippines (Epicmedia Productions), Singapore (Zhao Wei Films and Clover Films), and Taiwan (Volos Films), the film is set in the Philippines in 1945, nearing the end of World War II, as a young girl named Tala tries to protect her mother from a beguiling, sinister, and flesh-eating fairy.
In My Mother’s Skin is the sole Filipino feature film at the prestigious 2023 Sundance Film Festival (with a premiere on January 20, 2023) and will be followed by its European premiere at the 52nd International Film Festival Rotterdam. With an enticing premise and a star-studded cast that includes Beauty Gonzales, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Angeli Bayani, Arnold Reyes, Ronnie Lazaro, and Noel Sto Domingo with newcomer Felicity Kyle Napuli, In My Mother’s Skin is not to be missed. Follow Epicmedia Productions’ Facebook page to stay updated about the film’s local release.
Sampung Mga Kerida
Another Filipino title to watch out for is the murder-mystery comedy Sampung Mga Kerida (Ten Little Mistresses). Directed by Jun Lana (Die Beautiful), it follows the story of the sudden death of a widowed billionaire, Valentin Esposo, and his 10 mistresses (fighting for the title ‘legal wife’) who are the prime murder suspects. The women then race to prove their innocence and find the true killer.
Top-billed by veteran comedienne Eugene Domingo, Sampung Mga Kerida promises some raucous and campy fun as it makes a twist on the usual Filipino theme of infidelity. Sampung Mga Kerida is also the first original Filipino film produced by Amazon Prime Video and is slated for release on February 15, 2023. The whodunnit comedy stars a powerhouse cast including Pokwang, Carmi Martin, Agot Isidro, Christian Bables, Kris Bernal, Sharlene San Pedro, Adrianna So, Kate Alejandrino, Iana Bernardez, and Donna Cariaga.