How do you like your popcorn? Salty, we hope — because you’ll need to take a massive pinch of the stuff along with this list.
Cinema, as we know it, is on hold. Screens are shuttered, red carpets rolled up and the Tango Ice Blast machines turned off. It’s a sorry state of affairs. But, after multiple scheduling shifts, postponed release dates and the battle to keep streaming services at bay, 2021 looks set to get things back on track.
Or so we hope. With lockdowns and quarantines continuing to spring up like bad plot twists, who knows if any of these films will be seen in a cinema this year? At the moment, all we can do is rewatch trailers with baited, optimistic breath. So, below, we’ve picked out a handful of titles that we’re excited for; films poised to distract us from the panic and the pandemic with a shiny silver screen escape.
No Time To Die
When should it be released? 3rd April. Oh, wait. That was last year. And this year. And no, not last November — that’s when it was postponed indefinitely. As things stand — with fingers firmly crossed — we’ll see 007 return on October 8, 2021.
What’s it about? Bond retires (again), but is pulled back in (again) when the world needs his help (again). He has to negotiate Blofeld’s machinations (again) and does so with help from old friend Felix Leiter (again). At least Rami Malek’s villain is new (unless he is actually, as many fans suspect, Dr. No).
The King's Man
When should it be released? August 20, 2021. Delayed from March 12, 2021, delayed from February 26, 2021 — which was itself delayed from November 15, 2020.
Who’s in it? Who isn’t? The Kingsman prequel serves as a who’s-who of British acting talent: Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Tom Hollander, Charles Dance, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Stanley Tucci and young star Harris Dickinson.
What’s it about? Ralph Fiennes establishing the Kingsman intelligence service (as M in the Bond film above, he’s got form with spies). Rasputin pops in as a bad guy — as does former Gentleman’s Journal cover star Daniel Brühl.
Last Night in Soho
When should it be released? October 22, 2021 — if all goes to plan. Previously, it was scheduled to hit cinemas on April 2021, and September 2020 before that.
Who’s in it? The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy leads the cast, which also includes Thomasin McKenzie (JoJo Rabbit), The Crown’s Matt Smith and British acting grandees Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp.
What’s it about? The latest offering from Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver), it’s a psychological horror set in 1960s London. Taylor-Joy’s character meets an enigmatic, dazzling singer — but soon time seems to fall apart. Intriguing.
When should it be released? After being pushed back from an original release date of August 14, 2020, and another slated date of February 26, 2021, the film is now aiming for an April 23, 2021 debut.
Who’s in it? Bob Odenkirk stars — he of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Also on the roster are Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd, Gladiator’s Connie Nielsen and Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA.
What’s it about? From the barnstorming trailer above, it appears to be a John Wick-esque revenge tale — featuring everyman Odenkirk battling single-handedly against a vengeful Russian drug lord. Fun stuff.
Top Gun: Maverick
When should it be released? Who knows. Originally, July 12, 2019. That moved to June 26, 2020. That moved to December 23, 2020. And then that moved to July 1, 2021. We wouldn’t bet on it.
Who’s in it? Tom Cruise, of course! But he’s not the only big name on the poster. Val Kilmer also returns from the original Top Gun, with Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller also joining the cast.
What’s it about? With advancing technology breathing down the neck of dogfighting Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Cruise’s protagonist must deal with the role of drones in modern aerial warfare.
Wrath of Man
When should it be released? Who knows? Sometime this year, hopefully. Considering Guy Ritchie released The Gentlemen (starring current Gentleman’s Journal cover star Matthew McConaughey) in January 2020, the original slated date of January 2021 was far too good to be true.
Who’s in it? Jason Statham leads a cast (the photo above is from another Statham shoot-em-up), which also includes Scott Eastwood, Josh Hartnett and — in only his second ever acting role — musician Post Malone. It’s not the ensemble of The Gentlemen, but our hopes remain high.
What’s it about? A remake of celebrated 2004 French film Cash Truck, the story sees Statham’s protagonist “H”, a driver for a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles, embroiled in a heist. Expect swearing, and lots of it.
When should it be released? November 19, 2021. When the pandemic tightened its grip, Warner Bros cut its losses and delayed the film a whole year from its original release date of November 25, 2020.
Who’s in it? A powerhouse vehicle for Will Smith, the film also stars Ray’s Aunjanue Ellis, along with supporting actors including Jon Bernthal, Dylan McDermott and Tony Goldwyn.
What’s it about? A little slower-paced that the other films on our list, King Richard tells the story of Richard Williams — famed tennis coach and father to superstars Venus and Serena. Expect a cacophony of Oscar-buzz.
The Many Saints of Newark
When should it be released? October 22, 2021. One of many films to be scooped up by streaming services, the film was moved from an initial release date of September 25, 2020 — and will now be launched on HBO Max and in cinemas simultaneously.
Who’s in it? Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Ray Liotta and Vera Farmiga deliver the acting clout. But the real draw here is Michael Gandolfini — who plays a younger version of the role his late father originated, Tony Soprano.
What’s it about? That’s right, it’s a prequel to The Sopranos. Set against the fractious backdrop of the 1967 Newark riots, we follow the criminal exploits of Alessandro Nivola’s Dickie Moltisanti, the father of original series character Christopher Moltisanti
Army of the Dead
When should it be released? Finally! A film that looks likely to hit its original release date. Expect to see Army of the Dead hit Netflix in October — just in time for Halloween.
Who’s in it? Dave Bautista — he of Spectre and Guardians of the Galaxy — stars, with support from UK actress Ella Purnell, Garrett Dillahunt and Raúl Castillo (in his second heist film of 2021, after Wrath of Man above).
What’s it about? Ready yourself. Army of the Dead sees Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Man of Steel) direct the story of a group of mercenaries, who plan a Las Vegas casino heist. Oh, and the whole thing is also set during a zombie invasion. Because why not?
The French Dispatch
When should it be released? July 2021, we’re told. Another film that seems like it’s been around for ever, on the cusp of release, The French Dispatch has already been moved from May 2020 to July 2020 to October 2020 to May 2021 — and beyond…
Who’s in it? Take a deep breath: Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss, Liev Schreiber, Lea Seydoux and Benicio del Toro. Among others.
What’s it about? Director Wes Anderson calls his latest film: “A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth century French city”. With Bill Murray as editor, the film follows his staff as they pursue different journalistic stories.
Can’t wait that long for entertainment? Here’s what to watch on Netflix in January 2021 instead…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.