Most Anticipated Movies of 2022

It feels fair to say that the film industry is in flux. It’s now a time, in a not-quite-yet-post-COVID world, where movies are still being created and churned out, just with the delivery systems morphing/expanding. Even with such a pandemic, movies have somehow survived and 2022 looks to be packed with countless films coming our way, in one way or another. So, while the industry may take its share of interesting peaks and odd descents, in the spirit of optimistically looking forward to the new year, here’s my most anticipated movies of 2022.

45. The Whale

Director: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler)

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Samantha Morton, & Hong Chau

Synopsis: A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity (Brendan Fraser) attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (Sadie Sink) for one last chance at redemption.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Aronofsky’s follow-up to the deranged mother! and he looks to be keeping his scope small again, as the play that The Whale is based on, keeps its locations rather tight. It’s also a film that further ignites the comeback trail of Brendan Fraser, so you can’t really beat that.

Release Date: A24 will likely look at this as an awards contender, so a Fall release date seems likely.

44. Tori & Lokita

Director: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (The Child, The Kid with a Bike, Two Days, One Night)

Cast: Unknown

Synopsis: The story of a friendship between two young people after traveling from Africa and becoming exiled in Belgium.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s the Dardenne brothers staying in their well-acclaimed realm of social-realism, pure and simple.

Release Date: The movie’s production was delayed, so a late 2022 release date is the only real possibility.

43. Knives Out 2

Director: Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, Knives Out)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Ethan Hawke, Madelyn Cline, & Leslie Odom Jr.

Synopsis: Another whodunit with Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), this time set in a more Vacation-like setting.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Rian Johnson taking another stab at a Benoit Blanc-whodunit with another superb ensemble.

Release Date: Will likely hit Netflix in the Fall.

42. Decision to Leave

Director: Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst, The Handmaiden)

Cast: Park Hae-il, Tang Wei, & Go Kyung-Pyo

Synopsis: A detective (Park Hae-il) who’s investigating a possible murder in the mountainous countryside finds himself falling for the victim’s widow (Tang Wei), who also happens to be a prime suspect.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Park Chan-wook’s first film in over five years and it sees the filmmaker dapple in his crime-romance roots.

Release Date: A Cannes debut in May seems likely.

41. The Sky Is Everywhere

Director: Josephine Decker (Madeline’s Madeline, Shirley)

Cast: Jason Segal, Cherry Jones, Grace Kaufman, Ji-young Yoo, & Jacques Colimon

Synopsis:  Following the sudden death of her big sister, Lennie (Grace Kaufman), a high school student, finds herself drawn to her sister’s grieving boyfriend (Jason Segal) but also to a new boy in town who has arrived from Paris (Jacques Colimon).

Why You Should Look Out For It: Josephine Decker is one of the more exciting new voices in cinema, and this looks to possibly widen her scale more than anything before.

Release Date: A Fall festival debut seems likely.

40. Flux Gourmet

Director: Peter Strikland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy, In Fabric)

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, & Ariane Labed

Synopsis: A group at a research facility “devoted to culinary and alimentary performance” becomes embroiled in power struggles, artistic vendettas, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Peter Strickland has consistently delivered some of the most idiosyncratic works in recent years, and Flux Gourmet looks to fall right in line with his (beautifully strange) sensibilities

Release Date: A Cannes debut seems like a possibility.

39. Peter Pan & Wendy

Director: David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story & The Green Knight)

Cast: Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law, Yara Shahidi, & Jim Gaffigan

Synopsis: A live-action adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of a boy who wouldn’t grow up (Alexander Molony) and recruits three young siblings in London to join him on a magical adventure to the enchanted Neverland island.

Why You Should Look Out For It: David Lowery seems to be modeling himself after Spielberg’s “one for them, one for me” filmmaking mentality, and so he’s following-up his boldly unique adaptation of The Green Knight with a new spin on J.M. Barrie’s classic that’ll likely find some new touches to the tale.

Release Date: Summer seems to be likely.

38. Eureka 

Director: Lisandro Alonso (Jauja)

Cast: Viggo Mortenson, Viilbjørk Malling Agger, Rafi Pitts, Maria de Medeiros, & Chiara Mastroianni

Synopsis: A story told in four parts, taking us from a small town on the border between Mexico and the U.S. in 1870 to a present-day Native American reservation in South Dakota and ultimately an indigenous settlement in the Amazon.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Lisandro Alonso’s ambition as a filmmaker has grown consistently, and Eureka looks to undoubtedly be his most difficult, which only makes it more exciting.

Release Date: A Venice debut in September seems probable.

37. The Eternal Daughter

Director: Joanna Hogg (Archipelago, The Souvenir)

Cast: Tilda Swinton & Jospeh Mydell

Synopsis: A middle-aged woman and her elderly mother confront long-suppressed secrets when they return to their family home, a grand manor that has now become a nearly vacant hotel.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Jonna Hogg is following-up her two-part meta-work The Souvenir with a project she secretly shot during the pandemic that hints at a possible darker genre side.

Release Date: A Fall release seems expected.

36. Three Thousand Years of Longing

Director: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Cast: Tilda Swinton & Idris Elba

Synopsis: A lonely and bitter British woman (Tilda Swinton) discovers an ancient bottle while on a trip to Istanbul and unleashes a genie-like figure (Idria Elba) who offers her three wishes. Filled with apathy, she is unable to come up with one until his stories spark in her a desire to be loved.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s a long gestating project for Miller, who’s patience has payed off, as this project is now deep into production. With a budget of $60 million, the film’s scale is supposedly insanely large and described as the “anti-Mad Max.”

Release Date: This could possibly be an awards contender for MGM, so a Fall release seems likely.

35. KIMI

Director: Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion)

Cast: Zoë Kravitz, Rita Wilson, Devin Ratray, Robin Givens, & Erika Christensen

Synopsis: An agoraphobic tech worker (Zoë Kravitz) discovers evidence of a violent crime that sends her down a rabbit hole of resistance, bureaucracy, and protests.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Soderbergh has described this as a paranoid thriller in the vein of The Conversation, Rear Window and Panic Room, which is territory that the filmmaker has touched before but not quite like this.

Release Date: February 10 on HBO Max.

34. The Banshees of Inseherin

Director: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, & Kerry Condon

Synopsis: A pair of lifelong friends (Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson) on a remote Irish island find themselves at an awkward time in their relationship when one of them no longer wants to be friends.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Martin McDonagh returning to what sounds like more intimate roots, while also reuniting with his In Bruges teammates Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Release Date: A TIFF debut in September seems likely.

33. Kitbag

Director: Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix & Jodie Comer

Synopsis: An original and personal look at Napoleon Bonaparte’s (Joaquin Phoenix) origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine (Jodie Comer).

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Ridely Scott reuniting with Joaquin Phoenix for the first time since Gladiator for what’s shaping up to be what looks like quite an epic.

Release Date: It starts shooting in January, but I could see Ridley still getting it released before the end of the year.

32. Nope

Director: Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us)

Cast: Steven Yuen, Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael Wincott, Barbie Ferreira & Terry Notary

Synopsis: Unknown.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Jordan Peele continuing his streak of ambitious thrillers, but Nope in particular is rumored to be his largest movie yet, as Peele is teaming up with the great cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar, Dunkirk) and the two have supposedly shot multiple sequences of Nope in 65mm IMAX.

Release Date: July 22

31. Triangle of Sadness

Director: Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure The Square)

Cast: Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Hanna Oldenburg, Henrik Dorsin & Vicki Berlin

Synopsis: A pair of models find themselves at a crossroads in their careers as they’re stranded on a desert island with a collection of wealthy eccentrics and a resourceful maid.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Ruben Östlund is arguably the king of jet-black, squirm-inducing, cringe comedy in today’s cinema, all of which was on display in his tackling of ineffectual masculinity (Force Majeure) and art-world snobbery (The Square). With Triangle of Sadness, he appears to be dissecting the fashion industry’s superficiality in a potentially loopy and scathing fashion.

Release Date: A Cannes premier seems like a slim possibility.

30. The End

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence)

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Stephen Graham, & George McKay

Synopsis: A musical about a family living in a bunker twenty years after the world has ended.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s much acclaimed documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer’s first foray into fiction, and he seems to be coming in swinging with what sounds like a bizarre brand of musical.

Release Date: Production hasn’t started yet, so a late 2022 release date seems optimistic.

29. God’s Creatures

Director: Anna Rose Holmer & Saela David (The Fits)

Cast: Emily Watson, Paul Mescal & Aisling Franciosi

Synopsis: A psychological drama set in a rain-swept Irish fishing village, the film focuses on a mother (Emily Watson) who lies to protect her son (Paul Mescal) and the devastating impact that choice has on her community, her family and herself.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Anna Rose Holmer is teaming up with editor Saela David to co-direct this A24 drama, alongside on-the-rise cinematographer Chayse Irvin (BlacKkKlansman)

Release Date: I could see A24 seeing this as an awards contender, so a Fall release seems likely.

28. Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Birdman, The Revenant)

Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho

Synopsis: A comedy centering on a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker returning home to face the new reality of his country.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first film in seven years and he’s returned with peculiar premise and a stacked crew: cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, The Immigrant, Uncut Gems) and production designer Eugenio Caballero (Pan’s Labyrinth, Roma).

Release Date: A Venice debut seems certain.

27. Mission: Impossible 7

Director: Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation & Fallout)

Cast: Tom Cruise, Vanessa Kirby, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Atwell, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, Rob Delaney, Indira Varma, & Cary Elwes 

Synopsis: A new entry in the long-running saga of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise).

Why You Should Look Out For It: Christopher McQuarrie has rendered these films into the best-running franchise, defining each film with death-defying stunts, crazy action, and a threadbare plot, with each one somehow getting better.

Release Date: September 30

26. Monica

Director: Kantemir Balagov (Closeness, Beanpole)

Cast: Unknown

Synopsis: Tells a story of a complex relationship between father and son, in which the son imbues his father with qualities he doesn’t actually possess. 

Why You Should Look Out For It: With his first few films so far, Kantemir Balagov has delivered rigorous, tough-minded cinema and this new film sounds like it could be just as challenging.

Release Date: Frankly, this might not come out in 2022, as Balagov is still shooting HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation, but I can still hope!

25. Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, & Jeremy Strong

Synopsis: The complex love of Leonard and Felicia Bernstein (Bradely Cooper & Cary Mulligan), from the time they met in 1946 at a party and continuing through two engagements, a twenty-five year marriage, and three children.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Spielberg was reportedly so impressed with A Star Is Born he rang up Bradely Cooper to ask him to take over this long-gestating project, and that’s understandable as Cooper’s work was quite impressive for a debut. And so, with Spielberg and Scorsese on as producers, Cooper seems set-up for some success here.

Release Date: It’s unclear if production has started, but it’s undeniable that Netflix is going to push this as a late-in-the-year awards contender.

24. Asteroid City

Director: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Cast: Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Hope Davis, Matt Dillon, Maya Hawke, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Rupert Friend, Jeffrey Wright, & Liev Schreiber

Synopsis: Largely unknown, but it’s rumored to be a love story set in Europe.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Wes Anderson is one of the perennial filmmakers of today, someone who’s work cinephiles mark their calendars and look forward to. And now seeing him bring in a mix of new and veteran actors into his sandbox of an imagination seems like a guaranteed pleasure.

Release Date: A Cannes debut might happen.

23. Master Gardener

Director: Paul Schrader (Blue CollarAmerican Gigolo & First Reformed)

Cast: Joel Edgerton & Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: The story of a meticulous horticulturist (Joel Edgerton) with a violent past being torn between two women, his older employer (Sigourney Weaver) and her young niece.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Schrader continuing his practices of the man-in-a-lonely-room movies, this time though with a sort of provocative love-triangle angle, which sounds like a treat.

Release Date: The film starts shooting in January, so it’s conceivable that the film could be out by the end of the year.

22. The Batman

Director: Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Paul Dano, Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Jeffery Wright, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Barry Keoghan, John Turturro

Synopsis: In his second year of fighting crime, Batman (Robert Pattinson) uncovers corruption in Gotham City that connects to his own family while facing a serial killer known as the Riddler (Paul Dano).

Why You Should Look Out For It: Sure, nobody needs another Dark Knight movie, but with Robert Pattinson donning the cape and Matt Reeves and cinematographer Greig Fraser behind the camera, it’s hard not to get amped for this; especially as they seem to be reinvigorating the noir, street-level vision of the character.

Release Date: March 4

21. Fire

Director: Claire Denis (Beau TravailWhite Material & High Life)

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Vincent London, Grégoire Colin, Mati Diop & Bulle Ogier.

Synopsis: A woman (Juliette Binoche) is caught between two men, her longtime partner Jean (Vincent Lindon) and François (Grégoire Colin), Jean’s best friend and her former lover. 

Why You Should Look Out For It: Claire Denis is one of the finer filmmakers of the last three decades. And so while this was done as a small-scale in-between project before she could start on the larger The Stars at Noon, and the fact that it’s set in the world of French radio, it may not sound as exciting on the surface, but in Denis’ hands, so much is possible.

Release Date: A Cannes premier seems certain.

20. Showing Up

Director: Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Certain Women, First Cow)

Cast: Michelle Williams, Larry Fessenden, John Magaro, Judd Hirsch, Maryann Plunkett, Heather Lawless, Amanda Plummer, James Le Gros, André Benjamin, and Hong Chau.

Synopsis: An artist (Michelle Williams) juggles her family and friends as she prepares for a potentially career-defining exhibition.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Kelly Reichardt is one of the premier observers of intimate American stories, so while the story and stakes here might sound small, it’s someone of her talent who always seems to make everything compelling, regardless.

Release Date: A Fall release.

19. Canterbury Glass

Director: David O. Russell (I Heart HuckabeesSilver Linings Playbook & American Hustle)

Cast: Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, John David Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Alessandro Nivola, & Matthias Schoenaerts

Synopsis: The full plot is being kept under wraps, but it’s said the movie revolves around a doctor and lawyer who form an unlikely partnership.

Why You Should Look Out For It: A few years back, Russell was all set to make a big Amazon series with Robert De Niro among others attached, but it died right with Harvey Weinstein’s career (who was attached to produce). But in the years since, Russell has cranked out a new script and is working with some new faces: His regular muse Jennifer Lawrence is out, and Margot Robbie is in, and Christian Bale is back. But maybe even more interesting are the other new team members: Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker) and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of MenThe Tree of Life & The Revenant).

Release Date: November 4

18. TÁR

Director: Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children)

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Julian Glover, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss, Sydney Lemmon

Synopsis: The story of Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), the first female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Todd Field’s shift from actor to writer-director came with much acclaim, as both In the Bedroom and Little Children produced eight Academy Award nominations. But even after the latter’s release in 2006, Field has been stuck in development hell with dozens of projects. So now sixteen years after his sophomore feature, he’s returned and that’s more than enough.

Release Date: October 7

17. The Actor

Director: Duke Johnson (Anomalisa)

Cast: Ryan Gosling

Synopsis: When New York actor Paul Cole (Ryan Gosling) is beaten and left for dead in 1950s Ohio, he loses his memory and finds himself stranded in a mysterious small town where he struggles to get back home and reclaim what he’s lost.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Duke Johnson has been somewhat quiet since Anomalisa, but it’s great to see him return with an intriguing project, a helluva a leading man, and Charlie Kaufman as a producer.

Release Date: Gosling has a pretty packed schedule at the moment, and this hasn’t started filming yet, so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for this.

16. Crimes of the Future

Director: David Cronenberg (Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Cosmopolis)

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman, & Don McKellar

Synopsis: In a not-so-distant future when humanity begins to biologically alter itself in order to adapt to the synthetic environment we’ve created, some begin to embrace this “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome,” while others try to maintain control over it.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s David Cronenberg’s first film in eight years, and from all accounts the film is rumored to be more horror than straight sci-fi.

Release Date: A Cannes premier is a possibility.

15. The Northman

Director: Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse)

Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Bjork & Ralph Ineson

Synopsis: A 10th century Nordic prince (Alexander Skarsgård) sets out on a quest for revenge after his father is slain.

Why You Should Look Out For It: After the knockout one-two punch of The Witch and The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers could do anything and I’d be interested. Taking his fetishistic attention to detail for a Viking epic of likely grueling and sumptuous proportions? Yeah, give it to me!

Release Date: April 22

14. Babylon

Director: Damien Chazelle (WhiplashLa La Land & First Man)

Cast: Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Katherine Waterson, Tobey Macguire, Olivia Wilde, Samara Weaving, Jean Smart, Eric Roberts, Li Jun Li, Max Minghella, Lukas Haas, & Spike Jonze

Synopsis: A sprawling period epic set against the glorious backdrop of Hollywood in its infancy.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Damien Chazelle is a director widely revered for his ambition and seeing him diving into a sure-to-be-grandiose vision of Old Hollywood with this huge ensemble and cinematographer Linus Sandgren (La La Land, First Man, No Time to Die) should be exciting.

Release Date: December 25

13. Poor Things

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing of the Sacred Deer)

Cast: Emma Stone, Ramy Youssef, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Margaret Qualley, Kathryn Hunter, Jerrod Carmichael, & Christopher Abbott

Synopsis: Tells the story of Belle (Emma Stone), who one day tries to drown herself in order to escape her abusive husband (Ramy Youssef) but is rescued by her father (Willem Dafoe) who brings her back to life by replacing her brain with that of her unborn child.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Just read that premise, how could you not be interested?

Release Date: Fall Festival circuit seems likely.

12. The Fablemans

Director: Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark)

Cast: Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Oakes Fegley, Julia Butters, Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin

Synopsis: The movie is said to dramatize the developmental experiences of a movie-lover — A.K.A. a young Spielberg (Gabriel LaBelle — who eventually became the most commercially successful director in modern times.

Why You Should Look Out For It: This will clearly be Spielberg’s most directly personal project yet, as this is also the first script he’s written in over twenty years (with help from the great Tony Kushner), so to see him dig into such material will be quite interesting.

Release Date: November 23

11. The Killer

Director: David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, Gone Girl)

Cast: Michael Fassbender & Tilda Swinton

Synopsis: An assassin (Michael Fassbender) begins to psychologically crack as he develops a conscience, even as his clients continue to demand his skills.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s David Fincher reteaming with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Seven) returning to bleak crime material. And Scott Stuber, the head of original films at Netflix, has promised that Fincher is nailing “the methodology of that world” and that “It’s a really fun, big movie.”

Release Date: Late 2022

10. Bones & All

Director: Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria)

Cast: Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, Francesca Scorsese, & David Gordon Green.

Synopsis: Maren (Taylor Russell) must learn to live as she battles to resist the desire to eat anyone who cares for her too much.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Luca Guadagnino returning to movies after a foray into TV with his HBO miniseries We Are Who We Are, and he’s now brought on on-the-rise cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan (Beginning) for a romance-cannibalism film, so that’s something.

Release Date: A Venice premier, perhaps?

9. Armageddon Time

Director: James Gray (The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z & Ad Astra)

Cast: Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, Michael Banks Repeta, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins & Donald Sutherland

Synopsis: A coming-of-age story about growing up in Queens in the 1980s.

Why You Should Look Out For It: James Gray, one of the more gifted filmmakers (and one of my personal favorites), has spread his wings in the last few years, tackling everything from an epic period adventure (The Lost City of Z) to adult sci-fi (Ad Astra), so it’s enticing to see him go back to his New York roots for a very promising-sounding drama that’s said to take influence from Amarcord and The 400 Blows.

Release Date: A Fall awards-contending release seems likely.

8. White Noise

Director: Noah Baumbach (The Squid & The Whale, Frances Ha, Marriage Story)

Cast: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, May Nivola, Don Cheadle, Alessandro Nivola, Jodie Turner-Smith, & André Benjamin

Synopsis: In 1985, an “Airborne Toxic Event” caused by a chemical spill sends a black noxious cloud out over a town where Jack (Adam Driver), a professor of Hitler studies, lives with his wife Babette (Greta Gerwig) and four children.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s Noah Baumbach, a master in intimate familial drama, has spread his wings and is working on easily his most expensive and ambitious movie to date, adapting one of the more notable novels of the last fifty years, in Don Delillo’s titular book.

Release Date: An Awards-contending Fall release is probable.

7. The Brutalist

Director: Brady Corbet (The Childhood of a Leader & Vox Lox)

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Marion Cotillard, Mark Rylance, Sebastian Stan, Vanessa Kirby, Alessandro Nivola, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin & Isaach De Bankolé

Synopsis: When visionary architect László Toth (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Erzsébet (Marion Cotillard) flee Europe to rebuild their legacy and witness the birth of modern America, their lives are changed forever by a mysterious and wealthy client (Mark Rylance). 

Why You Should Look Out For It: For me, Brady Corbet is one of the most invigorating on-the-rise filmmakers working today, delivering daring and uncompromising work steadily through his first two features. And now seeing him re-team with his wife, Mona Fastvold, on the script for a decade-spanning epic drama; it couldn’t be more up my alley. 

Release Date: Its production has repeatedly been delayed, so realistically a late 2022 release seems optimistic.

6. Men

Director: Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)

Cast: Jessie Buckley & Rory Kinnear

Synopsis: The story of a woman (Jessie Buckley) vacationing alone in the English countryside following the death of her ex-husband.

Why You Should Look Out For It: The surreal, hypnotic, and borderline psychedelic mind-benders of Alex Garland are something I personally crave quite often, so to see him tackle something that looks tinged heavily in horror is indescribably exciting. And cinematographer Rob Hardy, when speaking on the film, has said, “Prepare for something truly extraordinary and reassuringly weird,” so, uh yeah, count me the hell in!

Release Date: A summer release (from A24) seems like a possibility.

5. Disappointment Blvd.

Director: Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone, Amy Ryan, Parker Posey, Richard Kind, Denis Ménochet, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zoe Lister-Jones, & Michael Gandolfini

Synopsis: A decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time (Joaquin Phoenix).

Why You Should Look Out For It: I’ve had this described to me as a “nightmare-comedy” which is sort of new territory for Ari Aster, in a way. But it’s undoubtedly the largest scope, budget, and cast he’s worked with, so it should be exciting nonetheless.

Release Date: Fall 2022 seems likely.

4. The Way of the Wind

Director: Terrence Malick (The Thin Red LineThe Tree of Life & A Hidden Life)

Cast: Géza Röhrig, Mark Rylance, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tawfeek Barhom, Ben Kingsley, Joseph Fiennes, Numan Acar & Aidan Turner

Synopsis: The story of Jesus Christ (Géza Röhrig) told through episodic parables.

Why You Should Look Out For It: Given how his films have dove deeper and deeper into spirituality, it’s not that shocking to see Terrence Malick finally go fully biblical. He’s following up the masterful A Hidden Life, and has brought on a very intriguing ensemble to bring these parables to life. In the center as Christ is the great Géza Röhrig, who faintly acts but was incredible in 2015’s Son of Saul. By his side as the Apostle Peter is Mathias Schoenaerts, and maybe the most interesting member of the cast is Oscar-winner Mark Rylance as Satan (who’s suggested that he’s playing multiple versions of the adversary). The looming question though is whether or not Malick is working from a set script as he did on A Hidden Life, or is returning to his more exploratory side? In either case, Malick grappling with the life of Christ has the potential (maybe guarantee?) to be an enthralling experience.

Release Date: Filming wrapped in 2019, but knowing Malick’s long editing process, a release is uncertain. (A rumor had been bubbling, though, for a possible Cannes premier in May.)

3. Blonde

Director: Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Ford & Killing Them Softly)

Cast: Ana de Armas, Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Sara Paxton, Scoot McNairy & Garrett Dillahunt

Synopsis: A fictionalized chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas).

Why You Should Look Out For It: Andrew Dominik is simply one of the best directors working today, and he’s adapting Joyce Carroll Oates’ very unconventional historical novel, a project he’s been trying to get off the ground for years. (Dominik has described the narrative as a Polanski-esque “descent-into-madness.”) He’s found an inspired choice to play Monroe in Ana de Armas and he’s teamed with on-the-rise cinematographer Chayse Irvin (BlacKkKlansman). But even with all this, post-production has reportedly been a mess with the film being delayed, reportedly almost premiering at Cannes in 2021, and apparently rumored to have alarmed many Netflix executives for how transgressive it is. Things supposedly have been worked out, with the film reportedly looking at an NC-17 rating so fingers crossed!

Release Date: It’ll hit Netflix sometime in 2022.

2. The Zone of Interest

Director: Jonathan Glazer (Sexy BeastBirth, & Under the Skin)

Cast: Unknown

Synopsis: A WWII Auschwitz story that reportedly focuses on a Nazi officer who has become enamored with the camp commandant’s wife.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s a Jonathan Glazer film, pure and simple. With only three films over a nearly two-decade career, he undoubtedly takes his time but next year it seems we might finally get the fourth. Glazer is notoriously secretive and not much is known about this project, even the cast. All that is known about this new project is that it wrapped production a few months ago in Poland and is loosely adapted from author Martin Amis’ acclaimed novel The Zone of Interest, which is set in Auschwitz. The 2014 novel grapples with the discomfiting idea of love blooming in a barbaric place and explores the contradictions of the human soul. If this is indeed what he’s adapting, audiences will be in store for something unquestionably challenging and uncomfortable.

Release Date: A late 2022 release seems likely, but who truly knows with Glazer.

1. Killers of the Flower Moon

Director: Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas & The Irishman)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Brendan Fraser, Louis Cancelmi, Pat Healy, Michael Abbott Jr., & Sturgill Simpson

Synopsis: Members of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma are slowly murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking a major F.B.I. investigation.

Why You Should Look Out For It: It’s the first time collaboration between Scorsese, DiCaprio and De Niro all together. And it’s for a $200 million Western, of sorts! It’s sure to focus on the cruelty and racist injustices suffered by the Native American characters, but it’s also been revealed that DiCaprio (who was originally set to play a member of the law) fought for a script rewrite from Eric Roth to play a more villainous character in the film (so he’s now set to portray the tortured nephew of Robert De Niro’s serial killer). It all sounds capital-B bleak, to the point where that rewrite caused a studio change (with Apple TV+ now helping foot the bill), but it also sounds like an important story to be told and something only Marty could pull off.

Release Date: A late in the year awards-contending release is certain.

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