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Avalon's Picks: Most Anticipated Films Of 2023

I am really excited for 2023 because there's a lot of films I'm dying to see. I also feel 2023 will be a great year for film because theaters seem to finally be getting back into a post-pandemic groove.

Also, from all the trailers I've been catching as of late, and the films I've been hearing about in the Hollywood trades that have been in production, 2023 is going to be jam-packed with cinematic content.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 - I think we can all go on record to say that Tom Cruise is an adrenaline junkie. Ever since he and director Christopher McQuarrie joined forces in M:I Rogue Nation, the films have not only gotten significantly better, but they've managed to top themselves every time with realistic, high-profile stunts (Fast and Furious take note), that Cruise makes sure he gets to do. I'm really looking forward to seeing the stunt where Cruise's Ethan Hunt rides a dirt bike off a cliff and parachutes to safety, a stunt he practiced for a year prior to filming. (July 14).

Dune Part 2 - I absolutely loved Dune. I thought Denis Villeneuve, who has easily become one of my favorite filmmakers in the past decade, did a phenomenal job with bringing the source material to life. The film is visually stunning, and I loved the religious and political intrigue throughout the film. Personally speaking, it would have been smart to film both parts back to back and release them six months apart, but that was a decision made by the old Warner Bros overlords. Definitely looking forward to seeing Timothee Chalamet back in action as Paul Atredes leading the Fremen, and Zendaya with hopefully a much bigger role than she had in the first film. (November 3).

Spider-Man: Across The Spider Verse - After seeing the first Miles Morales- led Spidey film Into The Spider Verse in theaters, I have never been more hyped to see the sequel until Sony unleashed the trailer earlier this month. 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. However, when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders. He must soon redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most. June 2

Knock At The Cabin - For me it's usually hit or miss when it comes to M Night Shyamalan films, but Knock At The Cabin looks pretty intriguing. A film centered around a gay couple who along with their adopted daughter take a vacation to a cabin in the woods, only to be interrupted by four people where they're told one of them has to be sacrificed in order to save the world...count me in (February 3).

Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts - For the record, I only loved the first Transformers film and despised the rest. I'm particularly interested in this rebootquel for two reasons - it's not being directed by Michael Bay, and it stars Anthony Ramos in the lead. As someone who grew up with playing with Transformer action figures and obsessively watched the animated series, I'm hoping without Bay's involvement that we Transformers fans will finally get a proper Transformers movie. (June 9).

Scream VI - After the events of Scream 5, the four survivors of the previous film - Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Melissa Barrera and Mason Gooding have all relocated to New York City. And while the teaser released earlier this month was pretty short, the horror of your core characters being trapped in a Subway car on Halloween, surrounded by costumed strangers with the possibility that one (or more) of them dressed as Ghostface could be the killer - is pretty frightening. Plus I'm hoping Radio Silence is able to do what Jason Takes Manhattan failed to do in the 80s; make New York scary. Plus with Hayden Panetierre's Kirby returning from Scream 4 - count me all the way in. (March 10).

John Wick: Chapter 4 - The Baba Yaga is back, and more badass than ever, based on the two kick-ass trailers that we've seen so far. In the fourth chapter of this ever-expanding franchise, 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. In addition to Reeves, the film stars Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Donnie Yen, Scott Adkins, Bill Skarsgård, Rina Sawayama, Shamier Anderson, Marko Zaror, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Clancy Brown. (March 24).

The Flash - When it comes to Marvel vs DC, the latter can be a pretty mixed bag. The Snyderverse has it's hardcore fandom, but the DCU has yet to make a commercial impact like the Marvel films have, hence why Warner CEO David Zaslav has brought in James Gunn and Peter Safran to rebrand the DCU. With that being said, while it's up in the air regarding the future of some of your favorite DC superheroes, The Flash has been the one most have been pretty curious about. Ezra Miller behind-the-scenes drama aside, I liked Ezra's take on Barry Allen/The Flash, and with Andy Muscietti directing, I've been hearing great things about the highly anticipated film. Plus with the first big screen Batman Michael Keaton reprising his iconic role in the film...count me in! (June 23).

Evil Dead Rise - I was pretty bummed when I heard Bruce Campbell say he was pretty much done with the Evil Dead franchise after Ash vs The Evil Dead was canceled. However, if you can take a pre-existing IP and breathe new life into it (like the Predator franchise did with Prey, and the Fede Alvarez remake of Evil Dead), then I'm here for anything you've got. EDR definitely sounds intriguing, with the new film taking place in a high rise apartment building instead of a cabin in the woods.

"Evil Dead Rise" tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, played by Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan, whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable." (April 21).

Honorable Mentions:

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumanium - In the latest film, Ant Man and The Wasp explore the quantum realm and come face to face with a new big bad, Kang The Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors. While I wasn't all that thrilled with Phase 4, I'm really hoping Quantumanium will tie up all the loose ends from previous MCU films, and make sense of what's been going on with phase 4 (Feb 17).

Creed 3 - Speaking of Majors, he pops up a few weeks later in Creed 3, where he'll play a buddy of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Majors' character is just released from prison, and wants in on the world that Creed has created for himself while his friend has been in jail doing a bid they both could have been in jail for. The two settle their differences where else - but in the ring. (March 3)

Aquaman 2 - Jason Momoa returns as the king of the ocean in this highly-anticipated sequel. Franchise newcomers include Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin, a marine biologist obsessed with finding Atlantis, Jani Zhao as Stingray, and Indya Moore as Karshon. (December 25).

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 3 - I loved the first Guardians film. In fact, I watched it for the first time in a while earlier this month. Guardians 2 was enjoyable, but in my opinion not as good as the first film. I didn't really have high hopes for the third film...until I saw the trailer, and I have to say it's the first time in a while that I laughed out loud at a comic book film. I even enjoyed the Guardians Xmas special (definitely check that out if you haven't yet). The third film takes place after Endgame, and features the return of Zoe Saldana as Gamora. This is the final film featuring Gunn's version of the Guardians, so I have to see how he wraps up his trilogy.

Barbie - Never in a million years would I ever be interested in watching a big screen adaptation of something based on a Mattel doll that little girls (and a few queer babies) have played with. However after watching the 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired teaser, and with Greta Gerwig directing, I definitely got the satirical, colorful, off-the-wall bonkers vibe they were going for. Plus, Margot Robbie looks great as Barbie, and Ryan Gosling looks like quite the snack as Ken. The film also stars Issa Rae and Simu Liu.

Indiana Jones And The Dial of Destiny - After the travesty that was Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I was ready to accept the fact that the Indiana Jones trilogy of films would be enough for me. Then I became intrigued by Dial of Destiny because James Mangold (Logan) would be directing. I will admit I wasn't impressed by the first teaser because it featured some bad CGI. However the nostalgia sprinkled throughout the trailer and that signature Indy music outweighed my nitpicks, which will be fixed by the time the film comes out. June 30

Oppenheimer - I'm not really familiar with the history of Oppenheimer, or his involvement with creating atomic bomb. However with one of the most impressive directors working today (that would be Christopher Nolan), the trailer alone has me sold on this film. That an the fact one of my favorite character actors Cillian Murphy is playing Robert Oppenheimer. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., and Matt Damon.

Fast X - After the disaster that was the ninth film, I'm surprised that I even included this film on my list. However, I will say I've enjoyed the previous films (with 5,6 and 7 being may favorites), and the franchise is just some dumb mindless fun.

I'm just hoping they learned their lesson from the previous film and will bring the action back down to earth a bit, especially since logic and a compelling story was clearly thrown out the window in 9. I know that's asking for much especially after I just described the franchise as dumb fun. You can give your audience some over the top action and stunts, but make it somewhat believable. I'm also hearing rumors that Gal Gadot may be back in 10 (she died in the sixth installment). If they can resurrect Han from the dead in 9, I guess they can do the same for her.

The Little Mermaid - I'm not much of a fan live-action musicals, but there are two reasons I'm excited for this film: One, it stars singer Chloé Bailey in the lead. Two, I'm supporting this film because snowflakes are mad over a black girl playing a mermaid. You can't fix stupidity, but you can make racist, misogynistic pigs mad by financially supporting a film they're butt hurt about.

Blue Beetle - I was afraid that BB would be one of the casualties in the cinematic comic book massacre going on over at Warner Bros, but thank goodness it's still being released. Now I'll admit I'm not all that familiar with Blue Beetle, but when I heard that Cobra Kai's Xolo Mariduena would be playing Jaime Reyes, I immediately jumped on board. Plus, the suit looks really cool. (August 18).

The Expendables 4 - Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren are back as mercenaries taking down an arms dealer. The film also stars Megan Fox, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Andy Garcia. (September 22).

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - For the record,I have never played D&D in my life. I even thought the movie adaptation that came out a few years ago was terrible. However, after watching the trailer with Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant, the film looks like a ton of fun (March 31).

The Killer - The Killer is an upcoming American neo-noir action thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, based on the French graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis Nolent. It stars Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton (TBD).

The Color Purple - I will always love the original film based on Alice Walker's novel where now EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey got their big screen breaks. I'm also looking forward to a different take of the film, which will be based around the Broadway musical version. The film stars Fantasia as Celie, along with Coleman Domingo, H.E.R., Corey Hawkins, Halle Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Aunjanue Ellis and Ciara. (December 20).

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