Back to the theatre

After many months of streaming shows and movies, a look at releases on the big screen that await us this year

Streamers saved our entertainment souls in 2020, but for 2021, let us imagine a theatrical future, going forward a few months. It is March 2021. Spring is in the air, vaccines are rolling out in the millions, and we are stampeding towards cinemas to watch The King’s Man, the prequel to the Kingsman franchise. That enjoyed, we set our calendars to April 2, Easter, the day when, after multiple postponements, the James Bond film No Time To Die hits cinemas, a full year after its scheduled release date. From the 2020 holdovers, another film I’m looking forward to is Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, but that is not due until September.

While there are several world cinema and arthouse films in the release pipeline, you’ll pardon me if I’m hankering after big screen experiences after a year where the only time I braved the cinema was for Tenet. Thankfully, there are plenty of big-ticket releases coming up. In April, nearly four years after Baby Driver, Edgar Wright returns with Last Night in Soho, a horror-thriller set in swinging 60s London, featuring Anya Taylor-Joy fresh off her The Queen’s Gambit triumph.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will resume in May with Black Widow. I’ll let that play out and wait a couple of weeks instead for Godzilla vs. Kong. Speaking of guilty pleasures, and skipping forward to July, Tom Cruise in and as Top Gun: Maverick promises to be a breathtaking big screen experience. And, while on the star, let’s hope that Mission Impossible 7 transcends Cruise’s on-set rant during the film’s shoot in 2020.

If you ask me to choose just one film for 2021, that would be Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back, where he works from 56 hours of hitherto unseen footage to craft a documentary about the Fab Four. The few minutes of preview footage he released in December promise a joyous, irreverent experience. The film is due in August.

October will see the release of Dune, another Hollywood adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel after David Lynch’s 1984 attempt. This time, the novel is in the capable hands of Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), so forgive me if my expectations are unreasonably high. November is due to bring Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley project — yes, the same one on which Tom Hanks became one of the first high-profile people who contracted the virus. The riches of December include The Matrix 4 and Steven Spielberg’s interpretation of West Side Story.

Elsewhere, there is Robin Wright’s feature directorial début Land, where she also plays a woman starting a new life in the great outdoors. Another actress making her directorial début is Maggie Gyllenhaal with The Lost Daughter, featuring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard and Paul Mescal, where a woman’s beach vacation goes awry. The luminous Rebecca Hall is also making her directorial début with an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novel Passing, about how the lives of two childhood friends are altered forever when they reunite.

And finally, actress Olivia Wilde made a tremendous directorial début with Booksmart, and she’ll be back with psychological thriller, Don’t Worry Darling.

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