Mark Your Calendars: Targeting the Must-See Movies In 2023

Creed III 2023Creed III

Film is a special thing to me. Each story that I find engaging is a story that not only connects with me but draws me into the world that it has laid out. It’s a world I want to be immersed in on the grandest stage possible. That is on the big screen.

Films are meant to be spectacles and seen as gloriously bombastic as they possibly can. A great film is great no matter how you view it, but to capture the full scope of say a “Jaws” or “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” you’d need to see it on the big screen. I for one usually avoid trailers for I feel I want to experience a film on that enormous screen for the first time without any preconceived notions. I go in blind for I feel if a filmmaker has gone to the painstaking lengths of shooting a film on 70mm, 35mm or on IMAX cameras, then that’s how I should watch them. After the initial viewing I’ll assuredly rewatch films on Bluray, but the first-time viewing will always be as its meant to be viewed by the filmmakers. So here are my picks for the top 10 movies coming this year that are spectacles and should be seen on the biggest screen available.

1) Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

So, let’s start out this list with a big spectacle movie. I know interest in superhero movies are waning as the law of diminishing returns have started to sink to the genre. The “shiny new toy” stage of Marvel movies seems to be in the rearview mirror after Avengers Endgame was released partly because it was an event movie armed with a compelling “big bad” in Thanos. Since his departure all the movies that came in his wake have not felt as big of a deal compelling people to see them on the big screen. That and the Pandemic was not a good mixture for box office tickets. Enter Jonathan Majors portraying Kang The Conqueror. He’s one of the biggest of Marvels “big bads”, and he was introduced in the Loki series before his big screen debut in the Ant-Man movie. His introduction to the big screen will raise the stakes and the set up the next big story ark. This is one to catch on the big screen. Opens Feb. 17th

2) Creed !!!

Next up we have another blockbuster featuring the venerable Jonathan Majors alongside the returning Michael B. Jordan. These are two of the most talented young actors in the industry today, and they both exude a magnetism on screen that is contagious. Add in the always compelling Tessa Thompson and you have a powerhouse of a film that deserves the grandiose treatment. To see these talents, go toe to toe on anything other than a big screen would be a great disservice to your viewing experience. Opens March 3rd

3) Cocaine Bear

The name says it all. It’s a giant bear who got a hold of some cocaine and goes on a rampage. Do I need to pique your interest with a sentence beyond that? Plus, it features the late, great Ray Liotta. My money is already spent for opening day. Opens Feb. 24th

4) John Wick: Chapter 4

It’s f’n John Wick. You’ve seen the first three and Keanu Reeves is continuously smashing it out of the park. Every movie the stakes get higher, the fighting gets more elaborate, and Keanu is perceived as more of a bada**. Plus, you add in the legendary Laurence Fishburne, the stoic Lance Reddick and the God**n incomparable Donnie Yen, and it is an almost guaranteed home run. If you need a stronger sales pitch than that, go watch ANY Donnie Yen movie like “Ip Man”, “Legend Of The Fist” or “Dragon Tiger Gate”, or hell any other of his movies. He is a beast in the martial arts world, and Keanu Reeves has shown he has a great respect for actors in that genre, so I’m confident his skillset will be displayed in the best light possible. Opens March 24th

5) Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

Ok, I am a diehard fan of the first two films in this series. Beyond that, the director James Gunn is one of my favorite filmmakers. Granted he has since parted ways with Marvel to go and head up the DC films, but his storytelling ability is on full display in this series. This is a man that cut his teeth in world of Troma films under the tutelage of Lloyd Kaufman, He brings that indie spirit to even this enormously budgeted films which gives them that special feeling. Opens May 5th

6) Killers Of The Flower Moon

Scorcese, De Niro, DiCaprio. Does that not say it all. One of the best directors of all time reuniting with two of the finest actors that are generational talents in a period piece. That sounds like a recipe for success. Let’s just hope the maestro strays away from the CGI he utilized in “The Irishman” and pulls a circa 1990 performance out of De Niro. Opens May ?

7) Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

The first in this series blew me away, and I was glued to the screen when I saw it. That was a theatrical experience that had almost no comparison. The animation in this film is remarkable and eye-opening. It is an experience that demands to be witnessed on the big screen. Opens June 2nd

8) Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One

If you want bombastic, then look no further than Tom Cruise. That man just knows how to do it big. Each film in this series has just gotten bigger, if not better in some cases. Cruise is very hands on in the handling of this series, and it’s an event just to witness what new and elaborate stunt that the man will perform by himself. Gone are the days of spy intrigue that was masterfully brought to life by the great Brian DePalma, and they’ve been replaced with over-the-top stunts, but Tom Cruise brings so much charisma that you become invested immediately. Opens July 14th

9) Oppenheimer

The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer developing the atom bomb. Why wouldn’t you want to see that? Oh, it’s directed by Christopher Nolan you say. It stars Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon. It’s filmed on IMAX cameras showing big a** explosions. That is deserved of a big screen experience. Christopher Nolan has long had the talent to blend spectacle with intimate and compelling performances from his talented cast. Opens July 21st

10) Meg 2: The Trench

It’s Jason Statham fighting a Megladon. I’m in 100%. Take my money please. Opens August 4th

11) Renfield

A movie starring Nicholas God**n Cage starring as Dracula. That’s all I need to hear. It’s a comedy? That only sweetens the pot. It also stars Nicholas Hoult and Awkwafina? I am beyond sold. Did I mention Nic Cage is in it and it involves an insane asylum? I think the last sentence was how the filmmakers got funding to make this movie. That’d be enough for me to give them money. Opens April 14th

Before I go, here are some honorable mentions. Indiana Jones 5 (it’s Indiana Jones), Sniff (Al Pacino as retired detective pulled back in action and it’s directed by Taylor Hackford), Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (while I do have some Star Wars fatigue much like the Marvel movies, I absolutely loved Rogue One and put it right up there with Empire Strikes Back), Kraven The Hunter (while I don’t expect much from this film, this does happen to be one of my favorite Spider-Man villains.

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