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The following 12 months will see the release of at least eight superhero movies, plus many more sequels, reboots and remakes – hopeful blockbusters that might keep the multi-est of multiplexes alive, but not exactly a varied offering that supports the entirety of the moviegoing landscape.

But not all hope is lost. Below are 23 movies for ‘23 that promise originality, depth and vision outside of the franchise machine. May your local art-house stay open long enough to play host to their opening weekends.

Saint Omer

Alice Diop has spent the past decade chronicling the lives of immigrant communities living on the margins of Paris in her intimate, acclaimed documentaries. Now, the filmmaker is making her fictional debut with Saint Omer, a harrowing courtroom drama about a Senegalese mother (Guslagie Malanda) on trial for the death of her young daughter, and the novelist (Kayije Kagame) who watches the judicial proceedings with a careful, perhaps selfish eye. (In select theatres Jan. 20)

Infinity Pool and Humane

For one hot, sicko minute, it seemed like 2022 might deliver three new films from the Cronenberg clan: Father David’s Crimes of the Future, daughter Caitlin’s feature debut Humane and son Brandon’s Possessor follow-up Infinity Pool. Oh well, at least pater familias David got the year to himself – and afforded devotees of the Cronenbergs enough time to whet appetites for the younger generation. First up is Brandon’s Sundance-bound horror, which stars Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth in a tale of a luxury-resort vacation gone awry (think The White Lotus crossed with Videodrome). After that will be Caitlin’s environmental-apocalypse thriller, which stars Jay Baruchel (already familiar with the family thanks to his work on Cosmopolis) and Schitt’s Creek’s Emily Hampshire. (Infinity Pool opens in theatres Jan. 27; Humane’s release date TBD)

Return to Seoul

A late addition to some U.S. critics’ Top 10 lists for 2022 – the film squeaked onto New York and L.A. screens last month to qualify for awards consideration – director Davy Chou’s drama arrives in Canada with serious buzz. Following an arrogant young woman (Park Ji-min) who was born in South Korea but raised in France, Return to Seoul examines concepts of home, family, wanderlust and the stories we tell ourselves about where we came from, and where we might be going. (In theatres March 3)

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre

Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham and a story involving international thieves and crooked movie stars: why yes, I will be watching Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre, as soon as possible. Which ... I presumed would be last year, when the theatrical release date was announced and then quickly pulled without warning or update after distributor STX underwent restructuring. Word on the street now is that the film is finally headed for streaming (Prime Video is a good bet in Canada). Lighter in tone than the last Ritchie/Statham outing, Wrath of Man, but with just as impressive a cast (Statham, Hugh Grant, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett), the film feels like a perfectly low-rent late-winter flick. Fingers crossed. (Streaming, release date TBD)

Cat Person

Hide your memes and lock up your think-pieces, the Cat Person movie is here to destroy the internet all over again. Adapting Kristen Roupenian’s viral New Yorker short story from 2017 – we were all so young and innocent once? – director Susanna Fogel’s film follows one very toxic relationship between a college student (Emilia Jones) and the older man who becomes her sorta-boyfriend (Nicholas Braun, a.k.a. Succession’s walking bundle of nerves Cousin Greg). (Premieres Jan. 21 at Sundance Film Festival, general release TBD)

And, and Poor Things

The work of Yorgos Lanthimos is like cilantro: There are those who love it, and those whose taste buds cannot abide. Well, break out the coriander-laced pesto because this year promises two Lanthimos movies: the frustratingly SEO-unfriendly anthology film And (starring the director’s The Favourite lead Emma Stone) plus the sci-fi dramedy Poor Things (also starring Stone, plus Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe). Prepare your tongue accordingly. (Both films in theatres, release dates TBD)

Beau Is Afraid

After freaking out audiences and inspiring legions of memes with Hereditary and Midsommar, director Ari Aster returns with Beau Is Afraid. Once titled Disappointment Blvd. (which I preferred, but will trust everyone’s judgement), the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as an “extremely anxious but pleasant-looking man” in a surrealist horror story that spans decades. (In theatres, release date TBD)

BlackBerry

Matt Johnson’s new film Blackberry chronicles the story of the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the world's first smartphone.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

I’ve already included Matt Johnson’s new film following the rise and fall of the Canadian tech firm Research In Motion in my “big 2023 bets” movie preview feature ... but I’m so excited about this project that I have to mention it as much as possible. Based on the book Losing the Signal by Globe and Mail reporters Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish, who has since left the paper, BlackBerry stars Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Jay Baruchel (hello, again) as RIM chiefs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, respectively, with enough heavyweight character actors (Saul Rubinek, Michael Ironside, Cary Elwes, Mark Critch) to populate a prestige-cable miniseries. (In theatres, release date TBD)

Ferrari

It will soon be eight years since Michael Mann last made a movie. Not that the director has been keeping a low profile since releasing the polarizing 2015 cyber-terrorism thriller Blackhat: He directed the pilot of the HBO Max series Tokyo Vice, and co-wrote a novel that acts as both a prequel and sequel to his landmark crime movie Heat. But Mann fans need the master back at the movies, and this year he’ll finally deliver the sleek big-screen goods with Ferrari, a biopic about Italian driver/entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari (played by Adam Driver), focused on events leading up to the 1957 Mille Miglia endurance race. (In theatres, release date TBD)

The Holdovers

The biggest sale at this past September’s Toronto International Film Festival wasn’t a TIFF film at all, but Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, which played select industry-only screenings for buyers who were already in town for the festival. Nabbing a reported US$30-million from Focus Features, Payne’s comedy holds loads of promise, given that it reunites the filmmaker with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti. Set during Christmas at an elite boarding school circa 1970, the comedy promises a return to form for the director after the disappointing 2017 satire Downsizing. (In theatres, release date TBD)

The Iron Claw

Canadian filmmaker Sean Durkin follows up his intense 2020 domestic drama The Nest with a seemingly different sort of family film: The Iron Claw, following the professional-wrestling Von Erich clan, led by 1960s star Kevin Von Erich (Zac Efron). Lily James, Harris Dickinson, Holt McCallany and Jeremy Allen White, the hottest star of 2022 thanks to his FX series The Bear, co-star. (In theatres, release date TBD)

The Killer

David Fincher threw his fanbase for a loop with the 2020 Hollywood polemic Mank. But this year, the filmmaker is back in pure crime-thriller mode with this neo-noir based on the French comic book following a lone assassin. Not much is known as to how Fincher and his Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker adapted the work, though Michael Fassbender as the title character and Tilda Swinton as ... someone ... promise the kind of slick thrills that Fincher fans have been waiting for since Mindhunter concluded its (apparently series-ending) second season. (Netflix, release date TBD)

Killers of the Flower Moon

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon.APPLE TV+

All right, this time it’s for real: Last year at about this time, I listed Martin Scorsese’s new epic as a sure-fire 2022 release. Well, as can happen, especially with a filmmaker who takes his time (we’re still waiting for that SCTV reunion documentary, Marty), Killers of the Flower Moon skipped its due date and is now all but guaranteed a Cannes 2023 bow. Following the Osage murders of the 1920s, and the subsequent birth of the FBI, Scorsese’s latest stars frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons and Robert De Niro, and is automatically the most anticipated non-superhero event film of the year ... assuming it doesn’t bump itself to 2024. (Apple TV+, release date TBD)

Maestro

Bradley Cooper’s follow-up to A Star Is Born is a true passion project: a decades-spanning biopic of music legend Leonard Bernstein, written, directed and starring the erstwhile Jackson Maine. Co-starring Carey Mulligan, Sarah Silverman and Jeremy Strong, Maestro has been years in the making. And it’s already generated headlines thanks to the intense old-age makeup spotted on Cooper during filming. (No word on whether Bernstein protégé Lydia Tár shows up.) (Netflix, release date TBD)

Megalopolis

After starting to write this sci-fi epic back in the 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola finally went behind the camera for Megalopolis this past fall. The director’s first film in more than a decade (after 2011′s underseen Twixt), the project is described as a love story about a woman with “divided loyalties.” Aubrey Plaza, Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel and Coppola’s old Apocalypse Now costar Laurence Fishburne star. (In theatres, release date TBD)

Napoleon

Once rumoured to be a late-2022 Oscar season gate-crasher – which restless moviegoers really could have benefitted from – Ridley Scott’s historical epic on the French leader is set to be released sometime this year (a good bet is summer, timed to a Cannes debut). Starring Joaquin Phoenix (him again) as the short but aggressive military commander, Napoleon could be a course-correct for Scott after his 2021 misfire House of Gucci. Then again, Scott also released the excellent The Last Duel that year, so it’s not as if he’s hurting for a comeback. (Apple TV+, release date TBD)

Paying for It

I admit to knowing nothing about the production status of Sook-Yin Lee’s adaptation of Chester Brown’s graphic-novel memoir/ode to prostitution, but I can hope that the Telefilm stars align and the Canadian film arrives this year. Whatever the release date, the film seems like the perfect project for the boundary-pushing Lee (Year of the Carnivore, Octavio Is Dead!), who was also once Brown’s romantic partner. (In theatres, release date TBD)

Priscilla

If 2022 can have an Elvis movie, why can’t 2023 have a Priscilla movie? I can only imagine, though, that Sofia Coppola’s take will be decidedly less maximalist than Baz Luhrmann’s Graceland tale. Whereas Austin Butler and Olivia DeJonge played the King and Queen of Graceland last year, Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny (HBO’s Mare of Easttown) will take the stage this time around as Coppola adapts Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me. (In theatres, release date TBD)

Rebel Ridge

Another 2022 holdover that I’m feverishly excited about: the new film from Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room, Blue Ruin), a self-described “high-velocity thriller” about an ex-marine who takes on dirty cops. Starring Aaron Pierre (lead of Clement Virgo’s new Canadian drama Brother), who stepped in after the abrupt departure of John Boyega, Rebel Ridge at the very least cannot be as confounding as Saulnier’s last film, 2018′s Hold the Dark. (Netflix, release date TBD)

Stone Mattress

Coming up on five years since her last film, the tremendously disturbing Joaquin Phoenix (again!) thriller You Were Never Really Here, Lynne Ramsay is back with an adaptation of a Margaret Atwood short story that was first published in The New Yorker a decade ago. A revenge thriller set on a cruise ship in the Arctic – think Steven Soderbergh’s Meryl Streep comedy Let Them All Talk meets The Robber Bride – the film stars Julianne Moore and Atwood’s fellow Canadian compatriot Sandra Oh. (Prime Video, release date TBD)

The Zone of Interest

Adapting a Martin Amis novel is no easy thing. Just ask the directors of The Rachel Papers, Out of the Blue or London Fields, if you can find them. But Jonathan Glazer is a master – and he’s had time to contemplate his next feature since 2013′s Under the Skin. Set inside Auschwitz, Amis’s novel focuses on a Nazi officer who begins an affair with the wife of the concentration camp’s commander. According to German press reports, Sandra Huller (Toni Erdmann) and Christian Friedel (Amour Fou) are set to star. (In theatres, release date TBD)