The movie theater’s chief competition has thrown down its gauntlet. Earlier today, Netflix released its 2023 film slate, along with a video teasing some of its higher-profile releases. There are a few highly-anticipated movies that now have release dates, as well as a lot of things I don’t think anyone has even heard of – as is par for the course with Netflix. You can see the video below:
First off, for a company that puts so little effort into advertising a lot of its products, I think the “Save the Dates” tagline is excellent. It makes these movies feel like appointment viewing, events that must be attended to get the full effect, even though you’ll be watching them on your favorite piece of furniture. Getting views over time is great, but the streamers love to tout the early numbers to drum up hype for their new movies and shows, so conditioning them (which sounds more sinister than I mean it) to tune in right away is a smart move.
As for the movies themselves, it’s the usual mishmash; some sound great, some sound promising, and some don’t interest me at all. Extraction 2 is at the top of my list, and it’s one I’ll definitely be watching as soon as it goes live on the streamer. I’m also interested in The Killer, directed by David Fincher, in which Michael Fassbender plays an assassin who has to go after his employers after he begins having second thoughts about his profession. Leave the World Behind, a psychological thriller about a blackout on Long Island, also sounds interesting, and it has a great cast (Julia Roberts, Mehrshala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon). And a couple of female-led action movies – Heart of Stone with Gail Gadot and The Mother with Jennifer Lopez – could be fun. And while nothing is shown in the trailer, I love the cast of They Cloned Tyrone, particularly Jamie Foxx, John Boyega, and Kiefer Sutherland. Same goes for Pain Hustlers, which features Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Andy Garcia, and Catherine O’Hara.
There are also a few that sound good but come with caveats. For example, You People looks like a kind of reworked Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner with a terrific pair of leads (Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill), but it’s being made in the woke era, so it’s hard to trust that it will be funny and entertaining instead of a lecture, and I can guarantee it won’t be anywhere near as insightful as the classic from which it’s cribbing. Damsel – a fantasy about a princess (Millie Bobby Brown) being offered as a sacrifice who has to push herself to survive – could also be great as an inversion of fantasy tropes, but do you really think a movie being made now will do that with any subtlety or fun? Lift, about a heist crew hired to foil a terrorist attack, sounds like it should be right up my alley, but they cast Kevin Hart in the lead; how is anyone supposed to take this movie seriously (and based on the footage in the video, it’s not a comedy)? Similarly, I was interested in Rebel Moon, a sci-fi take on Seven Samurai, until Charlie Hunnam showed up. (It does have some good-to-great actors, though: Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Corey Stoll, Carey Elwes, Cleopatra Coleman).
Then, there’s the stuff that doesn’t interest me at all. I’m not generally an Adam Sandler fan (Eight Crazy Nights and some of his Saturday Night Live stuff are the exceptions), so Murder Mystery 2 and Spaceman do nothing for me. We Have a Ghost and Leo look too kiddie for my taste. Your Place or Mine and A Family Affair feel like those kinds of romantic comedies of which you can guess every plot point before you see them. Nyad, Pamela, a love story, True Spirit, The Perfect Find, and Happiness for Beginners sound boring. I’ll have to see more about Chupa, Jung_E, and Kill Boksoon.
Is this a better or worse ratio than theatrical releases this year? I’m not sure, but I’m happy to see there are a few movies that I’m looking forward to checking out on the stalwart streamer. Honestly, as long as Extraction 2 kicks as much ass as it should, I’ll be happy.