This year was a disappointing 12 months for movie lovers and theatergoers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to 2021, especially with so many noteworthy movies on the calendar both big and small.
And with more of these films heading to streaming services on the same day they’re released in theaters, 2021 promises to be a marked improvement over 2020. With so many significant films being released next year, let’s take a look at 10 of the most-anticipated releases in alphabetical order.
“Candyman” (Aug. 27): Horror has made a resurgence in the last few years, and Jordan Peele has been leading the charge with unique and unsettling horror-drama. Peele writes and produces the most recent adaptation of Cabrini Green’s urban legend Candyman, this time taking shape thanks to an up-and-coming artist inspired by the myth in more ways than one.
“Dune” (Dec. 18): “Dune” has often been considered an unadaptable novel. But if anyone can tackle this material and keep its grandiose, epic feel, it would be Denis Villeneuve. He previously directed “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049,” which allowed Villeneuve to give his own spin on classic sci-fi elements. Now let’s see what he can do with one of the greatest sci-fi novels ever written.
“The French Dispatch” (Jan. 28): Wes Anderson films are always a treat, and “The French Dispatch” might be his sweetest concoction since “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It seems to have all the Anderson trademarks: a massive cast of stars in eccentric attire, a plot that is nearly impossible to explain and transcends nations and boundaries and, of course, Bill Murray.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” (May 21): The first film I remember watching was “King Kong vs. Godzilla” when I was 3 years old, and I recall being in awe while the titular monsters duked it out on Mt. Fuji. I never thought we’d get to see a rematch between Godzilla and King Kong again, much less on a Hollywood budget. And as a continuation of Legendary’s Monsterverse, I hope this is more like an Avengers movie than “Batman vs. Superman.”
“In the Heights” (June 18): There are two notable musicals releasing in 2021, Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story’” and this adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical. I’m going with “In the Heights” because of the potential that it possesses. It is directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) with an extravagant level of detail and passion. To see this much talent helm a musical written by “Hamilton’s” scribe should be exciting.
“Last Night in Soho” (April 23): This is guaranteed to be one of the more unique films of 2021, as all Edgar Wright movies end up being. And with films like “Baby Driver” and “Hot Fuzz” under his belt, this psychological horror film about a young woman going back to 1960s London to meet her idol should be a film on everyone’s radar.
“Mission Impossible 7” (Nov. 19): The “Mission Impossible” franchise is an oddity in that it gets better with each entry. Maybe it’s because they keep putting Tom Cruise in greater peril each time, and the stunt work keeps improving. In any case, this series has some of the best action and thrills that movies can provide, so a new one is always appreciated.
“No Time to Die” (April 2): Daniel Craig’s turn as James Bond is coming to an end, and that alone makes this worth seeing. Craig’s emotionally damaged take on Bond has made him the best actor to play the role aside from the classic Sean Connery. After so many great adventures, it’ll be difficult to say goodbye to Craig’s 007, but it appears he’ll go out on a high note.
“Nomadland” (Feb. 19): Of all these entries, “Nomadland” is the only one starting to get releases, and it appears to be the frontrunner for best film of the year. This is mostly due to the combination of its director, Chloe Zhao, and leading lady Frances McDormand, who work together to create a heartfelt, yet tragic tale of survival in the 21st century.
“Spider-Man 3” (Dec. 17): If there’s one superhero movie in 2021 worth checking out, look no further than the (supposedly) live-action version of “Into the Spider-Verse.” Marvel is pulling out all the stops for this one. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are set to join Tom Holland, as are villains including Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Jamie Foxx’s Electro.
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