From Killers of the Flower Moon to the Barbenheimmer frenzy and a host of world cinema hits, 2023 was a pinnacle for cinema. This year also looks incredibly bright: with a top-heavy start from the likes of Yorgos Lanthimos and Bong Joon Ho to get us into the spring and a medley of ambitious indie films set to hit the festival circuit throughout the year.

We’ve laid out twelve months of movies for you. Other (but no less exciting) films that don’t have a release date can be found at the bottom of the list.

January

Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos (12th January, UK Release Date) 

Best known for the sexually repressed critical darlings The Lobster and The Favorite, the next brainchild of the eccentric director Yorgos Lanthimos might be his happiest film to date. That’s not to say it’s a walk in the park. In what’s been hailed as a career-topping performance, Emma Stone plays a young Victorian woman, crudely resurrected after a suicide, driving herself on a surreal journey of sexual discovery and wanderlust. (Yes, it’s a little like a gender-flipped Frankenstein.)

Beyond the film being a pearl-coloured visual marvel, Willem Dafoe’s grotesque makeup—one that took six hours to put on and off everyday—is a delight in itself. Lanthimos delights in the weird and repressed and this is big-screen cinema at its most imaginative. 

February

The Zone of Interest (2nd February, UK Release Date)

Jonathan Glazer’s follow up to his monumental last feature Under The Skin (which, if you want to feel old, came out a decade ago) isn’t the type of film you bring popcorn to. As worthy of belonging in a museum as it does a cinema, this audio-visual masterpiece is a chilling document of a Nazi family living an idyllic existence in their Polish Summer home, as the Holocaust rages on just beyond their garden fence.

The way we see it, The Zone of Interest is a horror film wearing the guise of a slice-of-life domestic drama, and its with this concept that Glazer pries open the pitch black soul of humanity at its worst, highlighting the terrifying reality of Auschwitz by turning the lens to where you would least suspect.

You can read the full review here.

The Taste of Things, Trần Anh Hùng (9th February, UK Release Date)

French-Vietnamese auteur Trần Anh Hùng uses two love-locked 1900’s French chefs to bring the senses of smell and taste to cinema. This slow, delicate study of food and love in a French chateau feels so personal, and so engrossing, that you can taste the grilled meat, onions and stew like it was being cooked in front of you. The setting is gorgeous and Juliette Binoche’s chemistry with Benoît Magimel is the final ingredient: a joint performance that sizzles off the screen.

Despite it all, the film isn’t as high-minded as you might think. It’s a celebration of rustic life—and a pure romance with a healthy dose of French ASMR. Already winning best director at Cannes, this ranks among our most romantic movies of this decade. 

March 

Dune: Part Two, Denis Villeneuve (15th March, UK Release Date)

Adapting Frank Herbet’s sci-fi book was never going to be easy: it’s a franchise that inspired Warhammer 40k and Star Wars. David Lynch even called his 1980’s attempt a disaster. But with Part I, Villeneuve, director of Blade Runner and Signs, showed how a mix of practical effects and modern CGI can bring out a vivid world unseen since Lord of the Rings

There was a lot that made it work (art direction that could make Alejandro Jodorowsky weep). If Villeneuve’s first instalment was anything to go by, then we can’t wait to see Part II in cinemas.

Mickey 17, Bong Joon Ho (29th March, UK Release Date)

Bong Joon-ho needs no introduction and his mysterious science fiction trailer gives away little beyond the fact that it stars Robert Pattinson. If he’s faithful to the novel he’s adapting, the wider synopsis is surreal: it’s the story of an astronaut doomed to reincarnate endlessly on a planet named after the Norse realm of Neflheim.

High-minded fantasy isn’t new for Bong Joon-ho (we’re still in love with his underrated adaptation Snowpiercer) and we can’t wait to see the director tackle the sci-fi genre again.

Honorable Mentions: 

Drive-Away Dolls, Ethan Coen (15th March, UK Release)

April

Love Lies Bleeding, Rose Glass (19th April, UK Release)

Her much anticipated follow to the arthouse horror film Saint Maud, Love Lies Bleeding takes the more unlikely milieu of competitive bodybuilding. Starring Kristen Stewart as a gym employee and Katy O’Brien as a bisexual bodybuilder, Glass swaps gym bunnies for blood, guts and gore.

Challengers, Luca Guadagnino (26th April, Worldwide Release)

Luca Gaudagnino seems to have his finger on the pulse for Y.A angst. His latest film sees Zendaya star in a love triangle between three tennis professionals. When sports drama is good, it’s great and this plot seems big on frantic Gen-Z energy. We’re sure Gaudagnino is set to deliver a fun ride.

May

Furiosa, George Miller (24th May, Worldwide Release)

From directing Happy Feet to Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller has had a hell of a ride. We’re keen to explore more of the post-apocalyptic universe in another mad cap prequel that tells the origins of the movie’s first villain. Bonus points to Anna Taylor Joy’s Australian accent.

Fresh off our automobile issue, we’re a little concerned about the horses and CGI though. We want more practical death-defying car stunts.

Honorable Mentions: 

Kingdom of the Planet Apes, Wes Ball. (24th May, UK Release)

June

Inside Out 2, Kelsey Mann (14th June, UK Release)

The best sequels love to grow with their audiences. Pixar’s original Inside Out delighted audiences by depicting the inner life of a child’s mind—so what happens when you return to a brain that’s in the full swing of puberty? Introducing the new character called ‘Anxiety’ we’re hoping this ambitious sequel doesn’t descend into a full horror movie (although the trailer looks like it’s all perfectly sweet.)

July

Deadpool 3, Shawn Levy (26th July, UK Release)

If you like Marvel, then Deadpool seems like an easy watch. And if you don’t, then simply hearing the red-masked psychopath ripping into the cinematic franchise is a small joy. But after two movies, we’re worried if Deadpool feels as zombified as Ryan Reynolds’ main character. One highlight? Hugh Jackman (a long-time friend of Reynolds) has ended his retirement to cameo as Wolverine. Maybe, just maybe, the wall-breaking R-rated action film will scratch the same itch as the wonderfully gory Logan.

Twisters, Lee Isaac Chung (19th July, UK Release)

When this movie was announced, we were surprised at two levels: the 1990’s disaster classic was getting a legacy sequel, and the movie was helmed by the director of Minari (a haunting but gentle family drama.) With Daisy Edgar Jones set to lead, we’re hoping the new edition has more to say about the devastation of climate change, and that Lee Issac Chung can bring a sombre, art-house touch to the topic.

August

Speak No Evil, James Watkins (9th August, UK Release)

Christian Tafdrup’s original 2022 film was an eerie mix of horror and social commentary: the story of a vacationing family wondering if they’ve been kidnapped by a domineering couple in The Netherlands. Remaking the original, director James Watkins (best known for his tense crime drama McMafia) moves the dream house-nightmare holiday scenario to Britain, with James McAvoy set to lead. 

September

Beetlejuice 2,  Tim Burton (6th September, UK Release)

Almost forty years on, Tim Burton returns to the much-beloved horror-comedy classic. A lot remains under wraps, but among the star-studded cast of Monica Belluci, Willem Defoe, Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder, we’re most excited to see Jenna Ortega after she stole the show as Wednesday in The Addams Family

October

Joker: Folie a Deux (4th October, UK Release)

Joaquin Phoenix playing an incel joker was a zeitgeist moment. Todd Philips (best known for The Hangover trilogy and Borat) delivered a polarizing dark comedy that was happy to take the misanthropic punchline right to its last breath. Will the laughs run out for the sequel? With the title of ‘Folly of Two’ suggesting a romantic direction, our expectations are just a little tempered by Lady Gaga playing Harley Quinn. 

Behind the scenes footage of Pheonix and Gaga in costume.

November

Gladiator 2, Ridley Scott (22nd November, UK Release) 

With an original draft seeing the hero Maximus drifting through purgatory as a warrior for the Roman Gods, we’re hoping the plot for Gladiator 2 sticks to the more grounded approach Scott is rumoured to be taking. Paul Mescal stars beside Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal in a follow-up that tracks the original film’s evil senator’s nephew Lucius. Napoleon didn’t exactly wow, so hopefully this is a return to form by Ridley Scott. 

Behind the scenes photo of Gladiator 2

December

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (13th Dec)

After the disappointment that was Rings of Power, another appendices-based LOTR prequel focused on the early days of Rohan might be worth approaching with caution.  

It’s true that giving Middle Earth an anime feature film might not be the right fit for New Line Studios, but we couldn’t be more excited by the director Kamiyama Kenji. Having worked on both the most criminally underrated anime features (Jin Roh, Patlabor) and household names (Akira and Kiki’s Delivery Service), Kenji’s speciality is bringing realism into enchanting fantasy worlds. 

Drawing its aesthetic inspiration from the live-action trilogy, the cast is also worth mentioning: Brian Cox plays the elderly king of Rohan Helm Hammerhand while Mirranda Otto returns as  Éowyn.  

Official concept art for The War of the Rohirrim

Mufasa: The Lion King, Barry Jenkins (20th Dec)

We love Barry Jenkins and, of course, love The Lion King. With the film set in live-action, and with Seth Rogan voicing Pumbaa (perhaps rogue), we’re pleased to see Aaron Pierre re-unite with Jenkins as Mufasa. We’re just hoping this prequel can shine a light on the great Disney betrayal no child needed to see.

Nosferatu, Robert Eggers (24th Dec)

Nosferatu is, of course, the first great monster in movie history. Robert Egger’s couldn’t be a better choice for the remake: a director, from The Northman to the The Lighthouse, who always offers a unique mix of horror and drama. Eggers began production on this right after his unsettling hit The Witch, and the film is set to star Lilly-Rose Depp, Willem Dafoe and Bill Skarsgard.

2024 films with dates TBC.

There’s no exact release date for these films yet, but we can’t wait to see them launch this year…

Megalopolis, Francis Ford Coppola. Will Coppola’s enigmatic film sink under the weight of its ambition? Or is it a masterpiece in waiting? With the director self-funding the never-ending production to the point of seeming financial disaster (even selling his beloved vineyard), we can’t help but love Coppola’s absolute dedication to cinema. Shrouded in mystery, all we know is his upcoming film is the story of an architect trying to rebuild New York into a utopia. When we find a release date, we’ll breathe a sigh of relief for Coppola’s accountant.

Chime, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s Cure remains one of the strongest horror films ever made. The director’s latest is scheduled for online distribution on media store Roadstead, and despite the limited release, he was given total creative control. Writing his original screenplay for the feature, Chime is the story of a cooking instructor dealing with increasingly disturbed messages by one of his students. Best of all? Kurosawa is billing this as a completely new genre of film.

First poster for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Chime

Blitz, Steve McQueen. After the upcoming February release of Occupied City, Steve McQueen’s WWII-era film follows the lives of Londoners living under bombardment. Given McQueen’s taste for unglamorous eras of history (Hunger and Occupied City spring to mind) we’re hoping this gritty drama delivers. And that Saoirse Ronan, who stars, isn’t forced to fake an English accent. 

Les Barbares, Julie Delpy. Starring and directing in her eighth feature, Delpy logline seems too clever and topical to pass up: the story of a Breton town welcoming Ukranian refugees but receiving Syrians instead. We’re looking out for the likely release at Cannes. 

Parthenope, Paolo Sorrentino. Another film in post-production that’s bound to release in the early part of the festival circuit, Sorrentino returns to Naples, following his titular character’s life from 1950s to the present day. Moving from lighthearted to youth to impossible desires, this lofty movie aims to capture life from beginning to end. 

Oh, Canada, Paul Schrader. Jacob Elordi and Richard Gere star as a troubled writer fleeing to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War Draft. Spanning decades, the film promises to be a serious return to form by Schrader.

Emanuelle, Audrey Diwan. This surreal romance by Audrey Diwan takes on the French classic Emanuelle, telling the story of a young woman’s erotic fantasies. Starring Will Sharpe (White Lotus) and Noémie Merlant (Tar), with the film now in post-production, we’re hoping a release is round the corner. 

First still from Audrey Diwan’s Emanuelle

Wizards! Franz Rogowski. This is low on a lot of watchlists but could be a hit. A stoner comedy that sees Pete Davidson and Orlando Bloom play two unlucky beach bar operators left with stolen loot.

The Perfumed Hill, Abderrahmane Sissako. Sissako’s Timbuktu was achingly bittersweet, and the director’s feature is his first return after a 10-year hiatus with the same close eye on displacement. In this epic globetrotting romance, a young woman jilts her lover to leave her life on the Ivory Coast and begin anew in Guangzhou, China. 

Bird, Andrea Arnold. A24 rarely, if ever, disappoint. Despite the unknown plot so far, Barry Keoghan liked the project enough to switch from Gladiator 2 to this. And if it’s good enough for Barry, it’s certainly good enough for us.

Hot Milk, Rebecca Lenkiewicz. The directorial debut from the writer of She Said, this film – an adaptation of the book by Deborah Levy – stars Fiona Shaw, Vicky Krieps and Emma Mackey battling a mysterious illness and finding a cure along the coast of Spain. We loved Lenkeiwicz’s #MeToo drama and while the plot seems surreal, the film is big on examining mother-daughter relationships and control.

Maria, Pablo Larraín. Chilean director Larrain has found a groove in his historic studies of high-profile women (just see Jackie and Spencer). Here Angelina Jolie plays opera singer Maria Callas in her twilight years in Paris. We just hope the film ends on a high note. 

First look at Angelina Jolie in Pablo Larrain’s Maria