Somehow it’s the start of another year, and 2021 is set to be an interesting one for cinema.
With the coronavirus still spreading, the UK starting the year in lockdown and cinemas remaining closed, the release schedule will surely be shaken up yet again in these early months.
As well as getting the movies originally slated to be released in 2021, many of last year’s most anticipated films are also due to hit the big screen this year, having been delayed as a result of the pandemic.
So there is plenty to look forward to, from blockbuster sequels, to indie gems, to new original stories. Here’s our pick of the movies to get excited about this year, with their currently scheduled release dates.
One Night In Miami – 15th January
The year is set to get off to a great start with Regina King’s fantastic feature directorial debut One Night In Miami – an adaptation of the play of the same name.
Trust us, we saw this at last year’s BFI London Film Festival and it simply is stunning.
Depicting a fictional meeting between four legendary figures – Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) – the movie sees the quartet debate the future of black liberation and what is the best way to achieve that goal.
A rich experience which features four phenomenal performances, One Night In Miami debuts on Amazon Prime and is sure to be their contender at this year’s awards ceremonies.
Promising Young Woman – 12th February
We have been lucky enough to have seen this too and honestly, it is one of the best movies we have watched in a while.
It’s best going into Promising Young Woman knowing as little as you can about it, so we will keep our cards held close to our chest, but what we can tell you is that it is brave, audacious, fierce, smart and utterly captivating.
Written and directed by Emerald Fennell (who was the show-runner for the second season of Killing Eve), the movie follows a young woman named Cassie (beautifully played by Carey Mulligan) as she sets to right wrongs from the past, traumatised by an event from her university days.
Guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat, this movie will definitely get people talking.
Nomadland – 19th February
Writer/director Chloé Zhao has certainly been busy with two feature films coming out this year.
But before her Marvel project Eternals hits the big screen, Nomadland is set to blow audiences away and dominate the upcoming awards season (we also caught this at the London Film Festival and yeah, it’s going to do both).
Based on the nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder, the drama stars Frances McDormand as a woman who loses everything in the Great Recession, so sets out in a van embarking on a journey through the American West.
Embracing a naturalistic style, fascinatingly the movie also features performances from real-life nomads with no acting experience, who play fictionalised versions of themselves.
Judas And The Black Messiah – 26th February
Last year we got some fantastic trailers for upcoming releases, and one of the best of them was for a biographical drama titled Judas And The Black Messiah which looks thrilling.
Based on the life of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party in late 1960s Illinois, the movie follows a petty criminal as he agrees to work as an informant for the FBI in order to take Hampton down.
The cast is incredible, with Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya playing Hampton and Uncut Gems’ Lakeith Stanfield portraying the FBI informant William O’Neal.
This is definitely one to watch out for.
Supernova – 5th March
Another one we caught at the BFI London Film Festival last year, Supernova arrives on general release this spring and trust us, make sure you have those tissues to hand.
From writer/director Harry Macqueen, the film follows couple Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) as they travel across England on a road trip to visit friends and family following Tusker’s diagnosis with dementia two years ago.
Tender and beautiful, it will make your heart ache, with the drama being anchored by two outstanding performances from Firth and Tucci.
Check out our interview with writer/director Macqueen here.
Coming 2 America – 5th March
More than three decades since the original film’s release, Prince Akeem (or should that be King Akeem) and Semmi are once again returning to America for what we are sure will be more hilarity and chaos.
Much of the original cast are returning including Eddie Murphy as Akeem and Arsenio Hall as Semmi, as well as James Earl Jones as King Jaffe Joffer and John Amos as Cleo McDowell.
New cast additions include Wesley Snipes, KiKi Layne, Leslie Jones and the one and only Morgan Freeman.
The Many Saints Of Newark – 12th March
Sopranos fans were delighted when spin-off movie The Many Saints Of Newark was announced in 2018, craving more action from the New Jersey mob family.
Due to arrive on our screens later this year, the film acts as a prequel to the events of the hit show with the story set during the riots which hit the city in 1967.
Many of your favourite characters will be returning as younger versions of course, with John Magaro portraying Silvio, Billy Magnussen playing Paulie, and Michael Gandolfini will portray a young Tony Soprano.
Of course Michael is the son of the late James Gandolfini, who played Tony in the show.
Minari – 19th March
Already getting awards buzz from early reviews in America, drama Minari will be released over here in the UK this March.
Based partly on writer/director Lee Isaac Chung’s own experiences and upbringing, the movie follows a family of South Korean immigrants who set out to rural America during the 1980s in search of the American dream.
Actor Steven Yeun, who plays Jacob Yi in the film, is currently getting tipped to potentially become the first Asian American best actor nominee at this year’s Oscars.
No Time To Die – 2nd April
After several delays, Daniel Craig’s swan song as 007 is set to arrive this spring on the big screen.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the story joins Bond as his retirement from active service becomes short-lived when his CIA friend Felix Leiter turns up and asks 007 for his help in tracking down a mysterious villain armed with new technology.
Joining Craig’s Bond is Jeffrey Wright as Felix, Léa Seydoux returning as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Christoph Waltz is back as the villainous Blofeld.
And of course newbies have joined the cast too including Ana De Armas as CIA agent Paloma, Lashana Lynch as new ’00’ agent Nomi, and Rami Malek as the mysterious villain Safin, a character described as a nasty piece of work.
Last Night In Soho – 23rd April
Having helmed the likes of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Shaun Of The Dead and Baby Driver, any film coming out by director Edgar Wright is something to look forward to.
His next feature, Last Night In Soho, stars a great cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith and Thomasin McKenzie and is set to be both something different and a lot of fun.
Described as a psychological thriller inspired by the likes of Don’t Look Now and Repulsion, the story follows a young girl who ‘mysteriously enters’ into the 1960s and meets her idol.
Of course, not all will be as it seems…
A Quiet Place Part II – 23rd April
In 2018, sci-fi horror A Quiet Place made waves with both audiences and critics, and its sequel has been highly anticipated ever since.
Writer/director John Krasinski has returned to helm Part II, which picks up with the Abbott family shortly after the events of the first movie.
Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe are all reprising their roles, with Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou joining the cast for this instalment.
Black Widow – 7th May
Thanks to the pandemic, plans to kick start Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) were put on hold as the Black Widow movie saw its release date delayed.
Head honcho at Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has had to shift things around then, with Phase Four now kicking off with WandaVision on Disney+ this month.
Then in May the MCU will return to the big screen, giving Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) the stand-alone movie she has long deserved.
Not much is known about the plot, but we do know it takes place in the two year gap between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and will see Romanoff pass on the baton to Florence Pugh’s Yelena.
In The Heights – 18th June
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is set to light up the big screen this year with In The Heights, a film adaptation of the hit musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is best known as the creator of worldwide phenomenon Hamilton.
Taking place over three days in New York’s heavily Latino neighborhood Washington Heights, the movie follows a series of characters as they go on their adventures – singing and dancing their way through the run-time of course.
With a bright and joyful trailer, we are sure this will be something special to look forward to this summer.
Top Gun: Maverick – 1st July
If you are feeling the need for speed you are in luck, as Top Gun: Maverick is set to land in cinemas this summer.
A sequel to the classic eighties movie, Tom Cruise is back as Maverick ready to fly jets once again like a madman.
Val Kilmer is also returning as Iceman, whilst newbie to the series Miles Teller will play Goose’s son Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw.
We just hope it keeps that all important cheese factor which made the original so great.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – 9th July
Directed by Short Term 12’s Destin Daniel Cretton, this film will feature Marvel’s very first Asian lead, Simu Liu as Shang-Chi.
Awkwafina will also star in the movie which will see the Master Of Kung-Fu battle the real Mandarin played by Tony Leung, so not Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3.
The cast also includes Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
Uncharted – 16th July
Film adaptations of video games are admittedly rather hit and miss, however, we have high hopes for the Uncharted movie which will be released in cinemas this summer.
Based on the games of the same name, Tom Holland will star as Nathan Drake, a young fortune hunter who claims to be a descendant of famed English explorer Sir Francis Drake.
With the games having an Indiana Jones vibe to them, we expect this tone to continue with this film adaptation which also stars Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas.
The Suicide Squad – 6th August
James Gunn’s ‘soft reboot’ The Suicide Squad will explode onto the big screen this August and oh boy, does it look like a lot of fun.
Whilst the first Suicide Squad film was ultimately very disappointing, Gunn’s efforts looks like it will redeem the franchise by not taking itself seriously at all (which is what we all want).
Several members of the original cast are coming back including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller, but a whole host of new additions will join them such as Idris Elba as Bloodsport and John Cena as Peacemaker.
Just don’t expect many of them to survive until the end, okay.
Candyman – 27th August
Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. Candy… Don’t worry, we know not to say his name five times. We don’t fancy being haunted just yet.
This sequel to the original 1992 horror film was originally slated to come out last year, but was delayed to this summer as a result of the pandemic.
Helmed by Nia DaCosta (who will direct the upcoming Captain Marvel 2), the film returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began, following Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s visual artist Anthony McCoy as he delves into the world of the Candyman.
Dune – 1st October
Taking on the world’s best-selling science-fiction novel is no easy task. Many have tried and failed, and whilst David Lynch’s attempt did reach the big screen, it certainly fell sort.
But if one director can do it it is Denis Villeneuve, who helmed the incredible Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Yeah, he is well-versed in his sci-fi.
The first half of the planned two-part adaptation is now set to arrive later this year after being delayed, and stars an incredible cast including Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin.
Halloween Kills – 15th October
In 2018, director David Gordon Green’s Halloween became a critical and commercial hit, acting as a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic slasher, therefore completely ignoring the other follow-ups.
Naturally a sequel to Green’s hit was quickly given the green light, Halloween Kills, which will take viewers back to Haddonfield continuing the story.
The cast are back, including Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, Judy Greer as Karen, Andi Matichak as Allyson, with James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle once again portraying Michael Myers.
Also for this instalment several characters from the Carpenter original will return including Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Lonnie (Brent Le Page) and Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cypher).
Eternals – 5th November
Do you remember earlier we said director Chloé Zhao has been rather busy? Following on from the release of Nomadland, her second feature of 2021 will be released this winter and is set to have a big impact on the MCU.
Eternals will introduce a whole host of new heroes to the franchise starring Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Lia McHugh as Sprite and Salma Hayek as Ajak.
Created by legendary comic book writer Jack Kirby, the Eternals are immortal and ancient aliens created by the Celestials, designed to defend Earth from threat.
Mission: Impossible 7 – 19th November
Get ready to light that fuse as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team are back to take on yet another seemingly impossible mission.
Tune in to see what death-defying stunts Cruise pulls off in this seventh instalment, and for whether it can top the previous film Fallout – arguably the best Mission: Impossible movie to date.
Returning alongside Cruise is Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa), Simon Pegg (Benji), Ving Rhames (Luther) and Vanessa Kirby (White Widow).
New additions to the cast include Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff and Shea Wigham.
Spider-Man 3 – 17th December
All eyes are already on the currently untitled third Spider-Man movie in the MCU as it is set to be something quite special.
With this being the case, it will surely have big implications for the franchise, making this one to really watch out for.
Sherlock Holmes 3 – 22nd December
The game will once again be afoot as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law will be returning to our screens as the iconic duo Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
It’s been a decade since we last saw the pair solving crime, and so their comeback will be welcomed with open arms.
Rocketman’s Dexter Fletcher is directing, and Rachel McAdams will reprising her role of Irene Adler.
The Matrix 4 – 22nd December
That’s right – we will soon be entering The Matrix again as a fourth movie in the hit sci-fi series will be arriving on our screens at the end of the year.
Continuing on from The Matrix Revolutions almost two decades after the third movie was released, the story will see the return of characters including Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Agent Johnson (Daniel Bernhardt).
Director Lana Wachowski is also coming back to direct – she previously co-directed and co-wrote the original trilogy with her sister Lilly, known as the creative duo the Wachowski Sisters.
New cast additions include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, and Priyanka Chopra.