Cork born actor Cillian Murphy leads movie picks of 2023

What are the big cinema releases of the year ahead? From Indiana Jones to a Scorsese film and Barbie, CARA O’DOHERTY assesses the field
Cork born actor Cillian Murphy leads movie picks of 2023

Cork actor Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

LAST year began in the fog of the pandemic. Cinemas, which had reopened, were shut once again, and streaming services were buying up more big flicks than ever before. Despite the issues, 2022 produced some great films, so what does 2023 have in store?

A Christopher Nolan film comes with the weight of expectation. His work tends to be an event, and his latest, Oppenheimer, is no exception.

It follows theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who worked on the Manhattan Project, the banner under which the atomic bomb was created. The film has a stellar cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, and Kenneth Brannagh. Home audiences will be delighted to see long-term Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy take on the lead role.

Nolan is famous for not using CGI. For Dunkirk, he blew up and crashed real planes and ships. It is said that he created the nuclear bombs in Oppenheimer without special effects.

Margot Robbie as Barbie
Margot Robbie as Barbie

On the opposite side of the film scale is Barbie. I am still trying to figure out what to make of it, but Greta Gerwig has turned Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and a host of well-known faces into real-life Barbies and Kens.

When first images were released, the internet went crazy, and fans say they are looking forward to seeing Barbie more than any other 2023 film.

Cocaine Bear is another whacky film predicted to be a hit. Filmed here but set in Georgia, it is based on a true story of a black bear who ingested a bag of cocaine. The film reimagines what might have happened next and sees the bear, high as a kite, go on a rampage. This comedy-drama stars Elizabeth Banks, who also directed.

This month sees the release of The Fablemans, directed and written by Steven Spielberg and based on his childhood and teenage years. I saw it in early December, and audiences are in for a real treat. 

The film charts how he saw the world through film from an early age while he navigated a troubled family life. It is pure cinema magic, an absolute must-see whether you are a fan of Spielberg or not.

In Creed III, Michael B Jordan take on the director role as he plays boxer Adonis Creed again.

The first two Creed films were superb, and based on the trailer, III will be a hit.

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny
Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

Another franchise film sees the return of Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones And The Dial of Destiny. Ford is joined by Pheobe Waller-Bridge. Fleabag and Indy? Count me in.

Another heavyweight is Dune 2, the eagerly anticipated sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s stunning 2021 Dune. That f was a feast of visuals and imagination; expect nothing less from part 2. This time Austin Butler and Florence Pugh join the cast.

The Fast franchise has plenty of dissenters, but for all their grumbling, it is one of the most profitable in movie history, collectively earning over $6 billion at the box office. The latest, Fast X, introduces Jason Momoa and Brie Larson to its star-studded cast.

Continuing with the petrol theme, Ferrari will send pulses rising as Adam Driver steps into the role of Enzo Ferrari. Director Michael Mann first tried to make this in 2000 and has been working on it ever since. Insiders say it’s worth a spin. Penélope Cruz and Shailene Woodley also star.

On the drama front, Brendan Fraiser is toted for an Oscar for his performance in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Fellow critics who saw the film at the Venice Film Festival say it is mediocre, but that Fraiser’s performance needs to be seen.

Killers Of The Flower Moon is Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s book, highlighting the murders of several people from the Osage Indian Nation of Oklahoma in the 1920s. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro star. Scorsese rarely fails so expect great things.

Closer to home, Darren Thornton, who made the brilliant A Date For Mad Mary, brings us Four Mothers. An Irish adaption of Gianni di Gregorio’s hit 2008 film, it stars Fionnula Flannagan, Niamh Cusack and more.

The comedy-drama focuses on a struggling author who must return home to care for his ailing mother and deal with her best friends.

Once and Sing Street helmer John Carney is back with another music-focused drama, Flora And Son, starring Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Plot details are thin, but Carney always produces something special.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, based on the infamous board game, is not an Irish film, but some of it was shot here so we can lay claim to it. It stars Chris Pine, Bridgeton’s Duke, Regé-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant. The title pretty much sums up the plot, and from the trailer, it looks set to be great fun.

Aquaman
Aquaman

Marvel has three big 2023 outings. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The Marvels are much hyped, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe rarely disappoints. The rivals, DC, have the next Aquaman instalment. The first film was a surprise smash hit, and Aquaman And Tthe Lost City looks sure to follow suit. DC has many issues behind the scenes that might affect audience numbers, but the film should be worth watching.

There is so much more to look forward to in 2023; keep an eye on the review pages for recommendations.

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