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We may still have a quarter of the year still to go, but 2023 has delivered some amazing cinematic smashes so far. And with awards season looming, there are a heap more brilliant movies set to hit the big and small screens before 2023 is out. In this blog, we look at the best movies in 2023 to catch up on, including action, superheroes, animation, romcoms and horror, together with the pick of the streamers’ original offerings, and their soundtracks.
Best Movies 2023
- Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
- Past Lives
- Asteroid City
- The Super Mario Bros. Movie
- John Wick: Chapter 4
- The Little Mermaid
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
- Rye Lane
- Huesera: The Bone Woman
- Infinity Pool
- Shotgun Wedding
- No Hard Feelings
- Cocaine Bear
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
- Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
- The Mother
- We Have a Ghost
- Extraction 2
- Somebody I Used to Know
- How to Date Billy Walsh
- The End of Getting Lost
- The Portable Door
- A Good Person
- If These Walls Could Sing
- The Haunted Mansion
- Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorcese)
It’s no exaggeration to describe Barbie as the cinematic event of 2023. Indeed, as of September, Greta Gerwig’s candy-coloured confection has grossed $1.4 billion globally: the highest-ever global haul for a live-action movie from a female director. And the records don’t stop there: according to the Los Angeles Times, “By the end of its box office run, it's likely to surpass Frozen II ($1.45 billion), co-directed by Lee, and become the top-earning movie worldwide from a female director.”
If you’ve managed to miss the movie packed with iconic outfits, incredible sets and more bubblegum pink than you can imagine, then you’re only cheating yourself. Following Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) as they head into the real world, leaving the doll-house behind, it was hailed “a riotous, candy-coloured feminist fable” by the Guardian and left Empire Magazine declaring “Life after Barbie will simply never be the same again.”
It comes complete with a superb pop soundtrack too, featuring original songs from Charli XCX, Nicki Minaj, Pinkpantheress, Karol G and Dua Lipa (who also stars in the film).
Famously released the same week as Barbie, Oppenheimer may have piggybacked on the huge commercial success of its so-called rival, but it remains more than deserving of all the attention.
Three years after Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, his return to the big screen is an epic biopic about the infamous theoretical physicist who invented the atomic bomb during World II, played superbly by Cillian Murphy. There’s also a stellar supporting cast, including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Modine and Gary Oldman.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus, this is the director’s first biopic and features both colour and black and white footage. It’s also the first time anyone’s shot IMAX film in black and white. And according to an interview with Total Film, Nolan’s team accomplished the first detonation of a nuclear weapon – the Trinity Test – without using CGI. Impressive.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team embark on their most dangerous mission yet: to track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity before it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, and dark forces from Ethan's past closing in, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than his mission – not even the lives of those he cares about most.
As long-time fans of the franchise, we were delighted to discover that the latest instalment didn’t disappoint. Even better, the film’s score was composed by Lorne Balfe – the Hollywood composer who has just curated a selection of distinct hybrid orchestral albums for Audio Network. Check out The Lorne Balfe Collection now and bring the big screen to your screen.
The debut movie from Korean-Canadian dramatist and film-maker Celine Song has picked up all the plaudits since its release. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian hailed Past Lives as “a must-see story of lost loves, childhood crushes and changing identities,” while The Hollywood Reporter gushed, “It’s difficult to convey the multilayered beauty of Past Lives beyond just urging people to see it and lose themselves in its transfixing spell.”
Distributed by A24, the romantic drama tells the story of Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), childhood friends who are separated after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. Decades later, they are reunited for one week, as they confront destiny, love and the choices that make a life. The film’s soundtrack features a 15 instrumental tracks composed by Christopher Bear and Daniel Rossen of Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear, plus one original song from indie-rock singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.
By this point, Wes Anderson movies are practically a genre within themselves, and on his latest outing he doesn’t stray from the conventions he’s made his calling card for the past 27 years. Asteroid City is a sci-fi comedy romance set at the Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention in an American desert town circa 1955.
The all-star ensemble includes (deep breath) Scarlett Johanssen, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell and Jeff Goldblum. Despite turning in fine performances, you could argue every one of them is upstaged by the cameo from a suitably quirky-looking UFO
The soundtrack mixes original compositions by Alexander Desplat and Pulp-frontman Jarvis Cocker with period pieces by Hank Williams, Tex Ritter, Slim Whitman and Bing Crosby..
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
In terms of the US domestic box office in 2023, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is leading the charge, following its release at the start of April.
Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are brothers running a plumbing business in New York. After falling through a green-piped portal, they get lost in the Mushroom Kingdom, where Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) is defying the evil Bowser (Jack Black). Can Mario find his brother, save the Kingdom, and get home to Brooklyn?
As Empire pointed out, ‘This is exactly what you might expect from a Super Mario Bros. movie. It’s like a greatest hits parade of the franchise: there’s the rainbow road from Mario Kart, the spooky house from Luigi’s Mansion, the New Donk City level from Super Mario Odyssey, the moons from Super Mario Galaxy, and more obscure Easter Eggs besides (listen out for the GameCube start-up sound). The story borrows mechanics and terminology from the game, too: there are power-ups, blue shells and a side-scrolling mission. Brian Tyler’s score never misses an opportunity to borrow some of Koji Kondo’s gloriously recognisable musical motifs, either.’ In other words, it’s ideal nostalgia for Nintendo nerds, from Illumination, the studio which created the Minions movies.
Soundtrack composer Brian Tyler wanted to, ‘incorporate the music that I heard in that 8-bit form, and along the way bring it into the world of a big epic, emotional theme score.’ There are leitmotifs from various Mario games, plus themes from Donkey Kong. And there’s ‘Peaches’, sung by Jack Black as Bowser, which was released as a digital single.
In Todd Field’s psychological character study, Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tár, a genius-level composer, EGOT winner and insufferable narcissist whose career is threatened by accusations of sexual impropriety.
Blanchett’s Oscar-nominated performance earned the lion's share of plaudits, but as Time Out pointed out, ‘the superb acting is buoyed by Field’s subtly off-kilter visual style, lending the ‘ripped from the headlines’ narrative ‘a hint of Kubrickian uncanniness.’
The released soundtrack is a concept album consisting of 20 tracks curated, composed and produced by Icelandic musician consisting of 20 tracks, curated, composed and produced by Icelandic musician Hildur Guðnadóttir. Featuring contributions from Blanchett and cellist Sophie Kauer and performances from the Dresden Philarmonic, London Contemporary Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
The album is a combination of ‘audio glimpses’ from real-life recording sessions, sequences from fictional rehearsals, music listened to by the film’s characters and completed versions of the film’s music, created by Lydia Tár in fiction. Recordings of classical pieces include Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier.
John Wick: Chapter 4
With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin. Keanu Reeves is still bossing it in the fourth installment of the neo-noir action thriller, directed by Chad Stahelski, with a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Roger Ebert said that Chapter 4 contains ‘one of my favourite action sequences of all time’, which is high praise indeed and also highlighted the phenomenal stunt work and shoot-outs with ‘the feel of dance choreography… there’s just so much grace and ingenuity whenever Wick goes to work.’
And as Ebert points out, ‘Much has been made of what brings people out to theatres in the post-pandemic, streaming-heavy world, and this is a movie that should be seen with a cheering, excited crowd. It has that contagious energy we love in action films — a whole room of people marveling at the ingenuity and intensity of what's unfolding in front of them. It’s a movie that’s meant to be watched loud and big.’
The original music for the soundtrack was composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, the franchise’s recurring composers, led by the single ‘Eye for an Eye’, the main theme, performed by Rina Sawayama.
Overall, there’s a rock aesthetic, but the music also features a 72-piece orchestra. In an interview with Variety, Bates said, ‘If you listen to the four scores, they’ve definitely grown as the scope of the films has. Not in the way that it’s now an orchestra and it’s larger; it’s just that the colour palette has continued to develop throughout, still maintaining the fun, hybrid-rock foundation to the score [...] When you’re creating a score that has so many unusual synth textures and modular synth sounds, as well as varied guitar, bass and drum sounds, it’s a lot of inventory to reconcile harmonically so that it all complements one another and at the same time serves the picture.’
As to the challenge of creating music for multiple action sequences, ‘It’s looking for opportunities to hold back so that you can hit the throttle in the most important chapters of a fight. Sometimes we just ramp up, or have a lot of different beats in a sequence, so that we can slam where we really want to increase the intensity and the tempo.’
The Little Mermaid
The beloved story of Ariel (Halle Bailey), a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure, has a live-action makeover. Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.
The songs feature music from multiple Academy Award-winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and lyrics by Howard Ashman, and new lyrics by three-time Tony Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
If it’s an eclectic soundtrack you want, then of course Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and director James Gunn have you covered. Kicking off with an unforgettable acoustic version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and finishing with a joyous dance montage to Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days are Over’, there are plenty of great surprises and syncs (the epic corridor fight set to the Beastie Boys’ ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ is unlikely to be bettered this year.)
When it comes to picking the tracks for the Guardians films, Gunn told a press conference, ‘It was very difficult choosing the music for this movie because in the first two movies, they were basically all 70s pop hits. In this one, you know, Yondu gives Peter Quill a Zune at the end of the second movie and it’s music from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s. So, it was very difficult because of that.’
In their third stand-alone film, it’s the last ride for Peter Quill, Drax, Groot, Gamora, Mantis and Nebula, but this is really the devastating backstory of Rocket Raccoon, who is critically wounded by Adam, a Sovereign warrior. The Guardians must find Rocket’s creator, the High Evolutionary, in order to save their friend’s life.
As if kicking intergalactic butt at the box office wasn’t enough, then Karen Gillan has made one of the best behind the scenes videos ever, in her ‘A week in the life of playing Nebula’:
For anyone who thought the romcom was in terminal decline, may we suggest a viewing of Rye Lane? If Before Sunset had been set in Peckham and Brixton, the result would be this gem. David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah provide charm, jokes and very relatable insecurities as young Black Londoners Dom and Yas. Sparky romance and a mic drop Salt-N-Pepa karaoke scene? Count us in.
Plus, it’s another directorial debut, with Raine Allen-Miller heading things up – Robert Daniels for The Playlist praised her sense of place, ‘Not since Spike Lee introduced the world to Bed-Stuy had a Black director so seamlessly embedded viewers into the verve and flavour of their neighbourhood.’
The Best Horror Movies 2023
Who doesn’t love a good scare? Judging by the number of great horror movies on offer – and with more in the pipeline – demand seems to be on the rise. What’s set the box office alight in terms of the best scary movies 2023 so far?
Written by horror movie specialist Akela Cooper (Malignant, The Nun 2), and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound), M3GAN follows eight-year-old Cady (Violet McGraw), whose parents are killed in a terrible tragedy. Her aunt, Gemma, designs a robot doll powered by artificial intelligence, the Model 3 Generative Android, (aka M3GAN) to help care for her, and to help Cady with her feelings of loneliness.
Killer doll movies aren’t new, but this Blumhouse offering is both frightening and funny. Not to mention it kick-started a viral TikTok when the titular doll did a super-creepy dance down a corridor (Time Out described the movie as a ‘meme-fest’.)
A satirical horror with echoes of Child’s Play and The Omen, whose producers pitched it as ‘Annabelle meets The Terminator’, M3GAN kicked off the year by slaying it as the box office, making over $165 million from a reported budget of just $12 million.
M3GAN’s original score was created by LA-based, English composer Anthony Willis, previously best known for scoring the Oscar-winning film Promising Young Woman.
The score has to tread a fine line between action, horror and humour; Willis combines lush orchestration with electronic sound design that’s intended to convey the story’s superior tech element. For this, he used a vibraphone that’s manipulated to blur the lines between synthetic and organic sounds, describing the results as ‘hypnotic tech-wonder’ blended with ‘industrial tech-horror’. He also revealed that the soundtrack ‘is teetering on that line between being organic and artificial. When she goes down the rabbit hole into believing that she’s this real personality, the music pushes into a noir vibe, a sort of femme fatale vibe.’
Jenna Davis as M3GAN also performs two songs on screen – ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’ which is a Disney-esque lullaby and ‘Titanium’, a cover of David Guetta and SIA’s hit.
Find out more about M3GAN with our deep dive into the film and its soundtrack.
Huesera: The Bone Woman
Michelle Garza Cervera’s directorial debut is a supernatural, Mexican folk-inspired body horror starring Natalia Solián as Valeria, a pregnant woman who finds herself threatened by occult forces. Loved by horror fans and critics alike, Variety said that it was, ‘at times spine-chillingly terrifying’ and that it, ‘rarely resorts to jump scares, relying instead on increasingly disturbing imagery and sound design.’
The original score was composed by Gibran Androide and Cabeza de Vaca, with the sound design (complete with its repeated motifs of bones crunching, which linger long in the memory) by Christian Giraud. Cervera told him to resist classic horror effects: ‘Any sound that was not part of Valeria’s world from her home or her building or her street couldn’t be in the sound design. We built the whole thing out of the domesticity.’
The film won both the Best New Narrative Director and the Nora Ephron Award at the Tribeca Festival and has either won or been nominated for a slew of others internationally.
A terrifying take on the 1%, featuring hallucinogen-inspired nightmare visuals and some of the year’s most shocking moments and gore, Infinity Pool stars Succession’s Alexander Skarsgård as author James Foster and Cleopatra Coleman as his wife Em, as they vacation at an exclusive resort. After a chance encounter with Gabi (Mi Goth), they soon discover they can get away with any crime… for a price.
Director Brandon Cronenberg wrote the original screenplay, and apparently developed the story from actual experiences he’d had on unsatisfactory holidays (yikes) and an SF story about killing clones that he’d been writing.
Canadian composer Tim Hecker was charged with soundtracking the disorienting descent into madness, and created a surreal, ethereal soundscape for the film’s otherworldly, dystopian setting. He said that, ‘Working on Infinity Pool involved finding a speculative sonic palette for this imaginary island state. Part of this was working with the film’s director Brandon Cronenberg to develop hybrid vocal synthetic sounds that were confusedly vintage and also possible future dystopian. This manifested also in developing a type of cicada-laden backwoods Baltic banjo that permeates the score.’
The Best Comedy Movies 2023
Given the state of the world, we all need a good laugh more than ever. Check out our pick of this year’s best comedy offerings.
Shotgun Wedding follows Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel), an engaged couple traveling to a tropical island for their destination wedding. However, their plans are thrown way off when a group of gangsters gate-crashes the event, and the couple embarks on the journey of a lifetime to save their families—and their marriage.
Lopez is on top form and there’s a treat in the form of Jennifer Coolidge playing Tom’s mum, in her singular style. Plus, there’s a banging soundtrack, including everything from ‘Love’ by Michael Bublé to Jennifer Coolidge performing ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair’, Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’, ‘No Ordinary’ by Labrinth and ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ performed by Cast.
No Hard Feelings
Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) thinks she’s found the answer to her financial troubles when she discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents looking for someone to ‘date’ their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy, and bring him out of his shell before he leaves for college. But awkward Percy proves to be more of a challenge than she expected, and time is running out. She has one summer to make him a man or lose it all.
Can there be a film with a better title this year? We don’t think so. Ahead of its release, most of the chat online was essentially, ‘will it be as full-on crazy as we all hope?’ The verdict was generally: Yes, it absolutely is, with the Observer’s Mark Kermode praising it for being, ‘as daft as it is entertaining.’
The wild horror-comedy follows a black bear that goes on a drug-fuelled rampage after ingesting a giant heap of cocaine. While it torments a small Georgia town, a group of criminals, tourists and kids band together to take him down. And the best part? It’s inspired by a true story – in 1985, a drug runner’s plane crashed and a black bear did indeed scoff a ton of Class As.
The trailer’s got a punched-up version of the iconic ‘White Lines (Don’t Do It)’ (because, of course) – plus in the film, there are 80s classics such as Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and Jefferson Starship’s ‘Jane’.
The Best Animated Movies 2023
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga. After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.
Empire said that the first Miles Morales film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse five years ago ‘not only thrillingly remixed the arachno-hero’s oft-told origin story… it also entirely redefined what mainstream animated movies could look like, with its wildly expressive visual style. It was a cinematic lightning strike; a single film that fundamentally shifted an entire medium — and a genre — in one quick thwip. Now what?’
Now what indeed? The sequel goes bigger, bolder and darker, with the various Spidermen (including a scene-stealing Daniel Kaluuya as Spider-Punk) shooting webs and character arcs across the multiverse. Empire gave it the full five stars and declared it ‘utterly breathtaking’ and ‘as good as sequels get… it cranks every dial to 11 and somehow doesn’t collapse in on itself… it’s another masterpiece.’ Animation fans can admire its endless inventiveness; superhero fans will love its storytelling, emotional depths – oh, and the fact it’s funny as well.
The original score was composed by Daniel Pemberton, and the soundtrack album was curated by producer Metro Boomin, including guest appearances by Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Offset, A$AP Rocky and Nas.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
For an animated film to warm the cockles of your heart, look no further than Oscar-nominated Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. This stop-motion delivers a heap of unexpected joy and wisdom through a little mollusc called Marcel, voiced by co-creator Jenny Slate, and his Nana Connie (Isabella Rossellini). The pair are left behind (together with Alan, their pet ball of lint), when their community of shells disappears overnight, and are then found by Dean, a documentary maker, who decides to help them to find their family.
The playful score was created by Disasterpeace (aka Richard Vreeland), which as the Guardian comments, ‘negotiates the shifting tones of the piece with aplomb, blending oddball quirkiness with spine-tingling ambience in a manner that plays with your heartstrings.’
Poignant, profound and utterly heartwarming, this is an animation with real heart, and won the Best Animated Film award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.
New Netflix Movies 2023
Netflix are having a stellar 2023 so far, with huge global hits such as Lockwood and Co, Beef, The Diplomat and Queen Charlotte. But they’re no slouches on the movie front. Here are a few of Netflix’s best 2023 movies:
Jennifer Lopez is certainly proving the range of her acting skills this year, with romcom Shotgun Wedding at one end of the spectrum, and Netflix’s The Mother, which takes her to the opposite end. She plays an assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter that she gave up years before, while on the run from dangerous men.
Since its release on Mother’s Day weekend, it’s dominated the streamer and has been the most-watched film on the service for at least four weeks in a row. Lopez gets to show off not only her survival skills whilst hiding out for a decade in Alaska (and then passing them on to her daughter), but also awesome levels of what we can term ‘kickassery’ as she takes on her lethal ex-colleagues and their henchmen via guns, speeding car chases and some nifty parkour moves.
Directed by Niki Caro, it’s also the first feature film from Lopez’s production company, Nuyorican Productions.
We Have a Ghost
Kevin, a teen boy, becomes an internet celebrity after he captures footage of a gentle ghost (Ernest) in his new home. It’s all fun and games – till he tries to figure out how the ghost died and they become targets of the CIA…
The supernatural caper’s fantastic cast includes Stranger Things’ David Harbour, Tig Notaro, White Lotus favourite Jennifer Coolidge and Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), conjuring kids’ films of the 80s – think Casper and Beetlejuice.
Chris Hemsworth returns as Tyler Rake in Extraction 2, the sequel to Netflix’s blockbuster actioner Extraction. After barely surviving the events of the first movie, Rake is back as the Australian black ops mercenary, tasked with another deadly mission: rescuing the battered family of a ruthless Georgian gangster from the prison where they are being held.
Hemsworth reunites with director Sam Hargrave, and it’s produced by MCU kings Joe and Anthony Russo, so it’s got a pretty awesome action pedigree.
New Amazon Prime Movies 2023
Somebody I Used to Know
This romantic comedy was written and executive produced by Hollywood husband-and-wife duo Dave Franco and Alison Brie. Franco also directs, while Brie takes the leading role of workaholic Ally who, on a trip to her hometown, spends a night reminiscing with her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis), which makes her start to question everything about the choices she’s made and the person she’s become.
Things only get more confusing when she meets Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), a younger woman who reminds her of the person she used to be.
How to Date Billy Walsh
This British high school rom-com follows two teenagers - Archie (Heartstopper’s Sebastian Croft) and Amelia (Bridgerton’s Charithra Chandran), who have been best friends since childhood.
Archie has always been there to fight Amelia’s battles, laugh at her jokes, whilst constantly striving for her love and affection. Archie has been in love with his best friend for as long as he can remember. Just when he builds up the courage to declare his feelings, Amelia falls head over heels for Billy Walsh (Tanner Buchanan), the new American transfer student. Heartbroken Archie goes to great lengths to try and keep Amelia and Billy away from each other, but ends up pushing them closer together and risks losing his best friend at the same time.
The End of Getting Lost
Oscar-nominated man of the moment and Normal People star Paul Mescal and Emmy-nominated Margaret Qualley are set to star in this buzz-fuelled book-to-screen adaptation. Mescal plays Duncan, an ambitious composer, crossing Europe with his wife, Gina (Qualley) on their honeymoon. All seems well, but is it? Gina’s recuperating from a head injury, the cause of which is cloudy, and she’s relying on Duncan to fill in the blanks.
The book is set in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich in the 90s, so expect glorious locations and 90s nostalgia along with the potential for secrets, lies and twists.
New Sky Movies 2023
The Portable Door
Paul Carpenter (Patrick Gibson) and Sophie Pettingel (Sophie Wilde) are lowly, put-upon interns who begin working at the mysterious London firm J.W. Wells & Co., and become increasingly aware that their employers are anything but conventional.
Charismatic villains Humphrey Wells (Christoph Waltz), the CEO of the company, and middle manager Dennis Tanner (Sam Neill) are disrupting the world of magic by bringing modern corporate strategy to ancient magical practices, and Paul and Sophie discover the true agenda of the vast corporation.
Adapted from Tom Holt’s YA fantasy novel, it’s co-produced by the Jim Henson Company; the pitch for this is basically, ‘corporate Hogwarts’, with a great cast and plenty of quirky fun.
A Good Person
Allison (Florence Pugh) is a young woman with a wonderful fiance, a blossoming career, and supportive family and friends. However, her world crumbles in the blink of an eye when she survives an unimaginable tragedy, emerging from recovery with an opioid addiction and unresolved grief. In the following years, she forms an unlikely friendship with her would-be father-in-law (Morgan Freeman) that gives her a fighting chance to put her life back together and move forward.
Written, directed and produced by Zach Braff, this is an insightful, poignant film about grief, guilt and how hard it can be to forgive ourselves.
In the film, Allison loves music, even during her darkest times, so the soundtrack features hits from The Velvet Underground, Angelo De Augustine, Leona Naess and Lizzy McAlpine, as well as two original songs written and performed by Florence Pugh.
New Disney+ TV Movies 2023
If These Walls Could Sing
Music fans will be thrilled by an intimate look behind the curtain of an iconic recording studio. For more than 90 years, Abbey Road Studios has been at the heart of the music industry. Fans journey every year to have their photo taken at the world-famous zebra crossing, and artists strive to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.
In this personal film of memory and discovery, Mary McCartney guides us through nine decades to see and experience the creative magic that makes it the most famous and longest-running studio in the world. From classical to pop, film scores to hip-hop, the documentary explores the breadth, diversity and ingenuity of Abbey Road Studios.
Intimate interviews reveal how leading artists, producers, composers and the dedicated engineers and staff of Abbey Road all found their musical language and community, while vivid archive footage and session tapes give exclusive access to these famously private studios. The documentary features Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Roger Waters, Liam Gallagher, John Williams, Celeste and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, among others.
The Haunted Mansion
Coming to the streamer in August, The Haunted Mansion is inspired by the classic theme park attraction. Single mum Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly-bought mansion, after discovering she’s not the only person who calls it home.
The supernatural horror comedy stars Tiffany Haddish, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Levy.
New Apple TV+ Movies 2023
Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorcese)
Following 2019’s Netflix-exclusive The Irishman, Scorsese has shared his latest epic via Apple TV+.
Based on David Grann’s bestselling book, with a screenplay by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Killers of the Flower Moon is an epic western crime saga set at the turn of the 20th century when oil brought a fortune to the Osage Nation. The wealth of these Native Americans immediately attracted white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder. Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone take the lead roles, with Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons supporting.
Tetris tells the unbelievable story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to avid players around the globe. Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovers TETRIS in 1988, and then risks everything by travelling to the Soviet Union, where he joins forces with inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game to the masses.
Based on a true story, Tetris is a Cold War-era thriller on steroids, complete with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes and a nail-biting race to the finish.
‘If you’re going to steal – steal a lot.’ A classic grifter/con artist thriller, Decider.com points out that, ‘the film might be best enjoyed without knowing a damn thing about it first’. So, we’ll maybe just tell you that it stars Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan and John Lithgow.
Apple TV+ pitched it as a neo-noir thriller of secrets and lies, set amongst New York City’s bedrooms, bar-rooms and boardrooms, where characters compete for riches and power in a high-stakes game of ambition, greed, lust and jealousy. It’ll keep you guessing till the final moment…
The Ones We Can’t Wait to See
Making amends for abruptly ending his compelling drama Mindhunter after two series, Se7en-director David Fincher returns with another Netflix exclusive. Featuring multiple Oscar-nominee Michael Fassbender as a philosophising hitman who suddenly finds himself being pursued as prey, this neo-noir is already getting rave reviews. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw awarded it the full five stars, with the commendation, “This is a thriller of pure surface and style and managed with terrific flair.”
Dune Part Two
The saga continues as award-winning filmmaker Denis Villeneuve embarks on Part Two, including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista and Christopher Walken.
Paul Atreides (Chalamet) unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.
The visuals look stunning, and we loved the haunting Hans Zimmer soundscape from the first part – the trailer promises more of the same.
Emma Stone teams up with The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos for another twisted adventure – this time taking on Frankenstein.
Poor Things is the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.
The visuals look gorgeous and Lanthimos’s off-kilter vision is always a fun space to inhabit.
From the BAFTA-winning creators of Paddington and Paddington 2 comes the origin story of one of Roald Dahl’s most enduring characters, Willy Wonka. Timothée Chalamet is cast in the titular role, with British actors Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson and Matt Lucas all set to star alongside him.
Wonka is due on 15th December, just in time for family cinema trips over the Christmas holidays.
Following his starring role in Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid, Joaquin Phoenix reunites with Gladiator-director Ridley Scott for this swashbuckling historical drama.
Napoleon tells the story of the military commander’s rise to power, doing so through the lens of his fiery relationship with Empress Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby). Impressively, the ambitious production was reportedly filmed in just 62 days, including the staging of six epic battles. The score for the film was created by composer Martin Phipps, also known for his work on The Crown, War and Peace and Peaky Blinders.
You can catch Napoleon in cinemas from November 22nd.
Director Michael Mann’s first film in seven years will be speeding onto our screens later this year, courtesy of Sky Cinema. Starring Adam Driver as the automobile entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari, the story follows the one-time racing driver during the late 1950s as he deals with family problems ahead of the 1957 Mille Miglia, which was once the most prestigious race in Italy.
The cast also includes Penelope Cruz as Ferrari’s wife, Laura, and Shailene Woodley as his mistress, Lina.
A year on from Baz Lurhmann’s acclaimed biopic Elvis, Lost In Translation-director Sofia Coppola is telling the story of his teenage wife.
Inspired by Priscilla Presley’s impressively candid 1985 memoir Elvis and Me – and featuring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi in the lead roles – Priscilla shows how a naive schoolgirl became trapped in a strangely co-dependent relationship with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The early reviews are excellent, with Rolling Stone hailing the film as “Sofia Coppola at her best” and Time describing it as “quietly extraordinary.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coppola wasn’t granted permission to use Elvis’ music by his estate. Instead, she relies on the sort of playfully anachronistic approach to supervision that made her 2006 movie Marie Antoinette such a delight. Listen out for The Ronettes, and a host of music by French indie-pop outfit Phoenix, the lead singer of whom is Coppola’s husband.
Soundtracking the Screen
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our deep dives on the best films and soundtracks from the last year and some fantastic original film scores, such as the Suicide Squad movies, together with iconic love songs. Or explore the world of movie composers such as Dune’s Hans Zimmer.
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