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Another year, another Hollywood crisis (or, really, another set of crises). But while the writers’ strike, the financial instability of the United States’ theatre chains and the looming threat of AI threaten to rain out the 2023 summer movie season, there are still more than enough whiz-bang blockbusters and interesting indies to distract us from the industry’s troubles. And all of them are exclusively on the big screen (sorry, Netflix!).

Five Can’t-Avoid Blockbusters

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EZRA MILLER as Barry Allen / The Flash in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE FLASH,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Ezra Miller stars in The Flash, bringing with him a star-studded cast portraying some of DC Comics' biggest characters.Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Flash

The hype for this DC superhero flick is travelling faster than the title character, though it might all crash and burn if star Ezra Miller gets into any more legal trouble. Assuming studio Warner Bros. has Miller housed under lock and key somewhere, audiences should go nuts for the film’s promised Flash/Batman crossover, featuring not only two multiverse speedsters but also Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne playing against Michael Keaton’s older-school caped crusader. Oh, and Michael Shannon has somehow been coaxed back into playing one-time Superman foe Zod. Good for you, Michael Shannon. (June 16)

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(L-R): Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge joins Harrison Ford in the latest Indiana Jones outing.Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

I guess Steven Spielberg and Karen Allen were just too satisfied after making 2008′s universally, um, beloved Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to come back for another Indiana Jones go-round. But Harrison Ford is at it again, eager to remind everyone he can still kick Nazi butt at the age of 80. James Mangold (Logan, Ford v. Ferrari) picks up the directing duties, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge playing Indy’s plucky goddaughter. Expect a storyline involving time travel, and absolutely zero references to Shia LaBeouf. (June 30)

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Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

Tom Cruise is back again as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Not content with saving moviegoing thanks to Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise is now trying to defeat death itself by leading another Ethan Hunt adventure. Perhaps the only movie whose behind-the-scenes feature could double as the season’s most anticipated action epic, Dead Reckoning Part One promises everything the series has become known for: stunts, stunt-casting (hey, it’s beloved Canadian character actor Henry Czerny back as the villain of the first Mission: Impossible!), and even more stunts. Godspeed, Tom Cruise. We’ll all miss you after you inevitably die on-screen. (July 12)

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(L-r) RYAN GOSLING as Ken and MARGOT ROBBIE as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie are Ken and Barbie in this live-action portrayal of the popular plastic characters.Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


The most anticipated movie about dolls since Russ Meyer first explored the valley, Greta Gerwig’s Mattel-approved meta-comedy might be a genius stroke of merchandise-cinema, à la The Lego Movie. Or it could be a Ken-brained scheme to spend hundreds of millions of Warner Bros. intellectual-property rights. Either way, with Gerwig’s sterling reputation for high-brow comedy, a sprawling cast of superstars (Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Will Ferrell) and enough pink to drown Paris Hilton five times over, Barbie has the makings of a must-see megaevent. (July 21)

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his image released by Universal Pictures shows Cillian Murphy in a scene from "Oppenheimer." (Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures via AP)

Cillian Murphy portrays the father of the atomic bomb in Oppenheimer.Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures/Universal Pictures via AP


It will be a busy and interesting weekend at the multiplex the third week of July when Christopher Nolan’s latest bwah-bwah-bwah epic goes toe-to-stiletto with Gerwig’s Barbie. Frankly, the two movies have the makings of a perfect double bill: First, watch Nolan destroy the world with this typically intense tale of the father of the atomic bomb (played by Cillian Murphy). Then watch Gerwig build that world right back up in jokey bubblegum fashion. If you have to choose just one film, though, maybe Oppenheimer’s ridiculously stacked cast will be the deciding vote: Not only is Nolan regular Murphy here, but there is also Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt and Kenneth Branagh (attempting just as funny an accent as he was doing in Tenet). Bombs away, in a good sense. (July 21)

Five Can’t-Miss Indies

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You Hurt My Feelings (2023). A novelist's longstanding marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies. Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Tobias Menzies and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in the prickly-sounding dramedy You Hurt My Feelings.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

You Hurt My Feelings

The last time Julia Louis-Dreyfus teamed up with writer-director Nicole Holofcener, the result was the lovely, bittersweet 2013 romcom Enough Said. Now, the two are back together for this prickly-sounding dramedy about a novelist (Louis-Dreyfus) and her therapist husband (Tobias Menzies) whose marriage is tested by matters big and small. As usual, Holofcener has assembled an impressive cast to back up her leading lady, including Michael Watkins, David Cross and Succession’s Arian Moayed. (May 26)

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Marie Clements’ Canadian drama Bones of Crows will hopefully get more attention this summer.Farah Nosh/Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Bones of Crows

Going slightly under the radar at the Toronto International Film Festival this past fall, Marie Clements’s Canadian drama Bones of Crows will hopefully get that much more attention this summer. A generations-spanning epic following the life of a Cree matriarch (played at different ages by Summer Testawich, Grace Dove and Carla Rae) as her family is torn apart by the residential-school system, the movie should offer stark, substantive relief from the clanging din of the blockbusters playing next door. (June 2)

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PAST LIVES (2023). Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. 20 years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny. Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Greta Lee and John Magaro star in the debut feature from Korean-Canadian director Celine Song.Photo Credit: Jon Pack/Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Past Lives

The debut feature from Korean-Canadian director Celine Song follows two childhood lovebirds separated by distance and decades, only reuniting after one of them (played by Greta Lee) has married an American writer (John Magaro). Tender, confident, frequently funny and already backed by cool-kid U.S. distributor A24, Song’s semi-autobiographical romance looks like it could be the big indie hit of the season. (June 9)

Asteroid City

Break out the Futura font and prepare your best bespoke bowtie: Wes Anderson is going two-for-two this year, releasing both this live-action comedy and a yet-to-be-titled Roald Dahl adaptation from Netflix. Asteroid City is up first, with the filmmaker assembling his usual array of familiar faces (Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe) plus a number of high-profile new players (Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Steve Carell, Scarlett Johansson). Set in 1955, the film follows a group of families who gather in the titular (and fictional) location for an annual stargazer convention. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m not including an exclamation point here only to underline my deadpan affectation. (June 16)

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TALK TO ME (2023). When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces. Courtesy of VVS

Talk to Me follows a high schooler, portrayed by Sophie Wilde, who gets caught between the worlds of the dead and the living.Courtesy of VVS

Talk to Me

A sensation at Sundance earlier this year, the Australian horror flick Talk to Me marks the directorial debut of Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman, collectively known as the YouTube stars RackaRacka. Intense, sick and darkly funny, the film follows a high-schooler (Sophie Wilde) who gets caught between the worlds of the dead and the living after participating in a séance with a mysterious embalmed hand (hate when that happens). Watch it with someone whose (preferably un-embalmed) hand you can grip during the tale’s many shocking moments. (July 28)

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