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Films To Look Out For In 2021

Daniel Craig as James Bond

By QUAD's Film Programmer Adam Marsh.

It is an inevitable fact of recent history that an article looking at films to watch out for in 2021 will be filled with films that we were also looking forward to seeing in 2020. However, as I am a glutton for punishment, I still retain the hope that we will see Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond before I am drawing an old age pension.  

No Time To Die  

Bond is drawn out of retirement by old CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and is immediately on a collision course with mysterious masked villain Safin (Rami Malek). With a new 007 (Lashana Lynch) in the mix this is sure to be a memorable final outing for Daniel Craig. 

One Night In Miami  

Oscar winning actor Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) has been directing for many years now with a raft of television and TV movie credits but this is her first theatrical release (or would have been). This fictionalised account of a meeting in February 1964 between Civil Rights leader Malcom X, Soul legend Sam Cooke, NFL superstar (and future actor) Jim Brown and the newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, vividly brings to life the hopes, fears and possibilities of the four men.  

MLK/FBI 

Continuing in the vein of One Night In Miami, this documentary reveals the shocking behaviour of the American government as it attempts to blackmail and discredit Martin Luther King at the height of the Civil Rights movement. A disturbing look at the flagrant abuse of power. 

Little Fish 

A dramatic romance set against a sci-fi backdrop in a world afflicted by memory loss. An effective metaphor for Alzheimer’s is brought to life and grounded beautifully by the excellent acting. A couple, Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Jude (QUAD Patron Jack O’Connell) are battling to recover their memories of each other as Jude succumbs to the affliction.  

The French Dispatch  

A new Wes Anderson film is always worth the wait… Anderson’s film is a collection of tales published in the eponymous The French Dispatch, sending tales back to America from the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé. An all star ensemble cast join or re-join the Anderson repertory collection of actors with Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Owen Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler. 

Nomandland 

Director Chloé Zhao’s (The Rider) drama that follows Fern (Frances McDormand) as a soft-spoken widow in her early 60s who hits the road in her van, and just keeps going, is already being pegged for at least a Best Actress nomination at the forthcoming Oscars. McDormand is surrounded by a cast of real-life nomads for this excellently handled film.  

Dune 

It is still uncertain whether Denis Villeneuve’s new adaptation of the Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel will have a significant theatrical outing in 2021, but here’s hoping. Villeneuve builds on the work he did in Blade Runner 2049, in bringing this notoriously difficult novel to the big screen. Timothée Chalamet takes on the lead role of Paul Atreides leading a battle to control the spice on the desert planet of Arrakis. Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista and Javier Bardem fill out the cast.  

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (title tbc) 

A film that has already garnered headlines earlier in the year as the reason that Tom Hanks contracted Covid-19! Luhrmann’s biopic (his first feature film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby) plots the young singer’s rise to worldwide, era-defining fame with newcomer Austin Butler as the King, Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley and Tom Hanks as the infamous Colonel Tom Parker. 

The Tragedy Of Macbeth 

Joel Coen goes solo for this big screen adaptation of the Shakespeare play with two time Oscar winner Denzel Washington as the ill fated Macbeth. That woman again, France McDormand takes on the juiciest of Shakespearian roles in Lady Macbeth. With Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan and Corey Hawkins as MacDuff. 

The Beatles: Get Back 

Just before Christmas, Peter Jackson released some teaser footage from his forthcoming documentary on the final years of The Beatles. It certainly did the job and whetted appetites for the full film to be released in 2021. Using archive, in studio footage shot in early 1969, for the unengaging 1970 feature film Let It Be, Jackson is looking to provide context to a tense, conflicting period in the story of The Beatles. 

This is just ten plucked out of the many films that are scheduled to be released in 2021. With all the delays from 2020 as well as the already scheduled 2021 films, this coming year is sure to be one of the most interesting in the history of cinema. 

Ten more to keep an eye on:  

Lockdown - A pandemic set Heist film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lily James, Anne Hathaway and directed by Doug Liman. 

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent – Fourth wall breaking, meta comedy sees Nicholas Cage playing a cash-strapped version of himself who agrees to make an appearance at a billionaire super fan’s birthday. CIA, drugs and being cast in a Quentin Tarantino films all are thrown into the meta-mix. 

West Side Story – Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical. 

Bigbug – Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings his quirky style to this tale of a bunch of suburbanites who find themselves stuck together when an android uprising causes their well intentioned robots to lock them in for their own safety. 

The Lost Daughter - Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut stars Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley.  

The Velvet Underground  - Auteur Todd Haynes’ documentary explores the various threads that converged to create the influential band.  

Babylon - Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) directs a sprawling period epic set against the glorious backdrop of Hollywood in its infancy. 

Les Olympiades  - Jacques Audiard’s (A Prophet) new film stars Noémie Merlant (Portrait Of A Lady On Fire) and is co-written by Audiard with Portrat director Celine Sciamma. 

Untitled Jonathan Glazer Film - Glazer is notoriously secretive so not a lot is known about his latest film other than it is rumoured to be based on Martin Amis’s novel The Zone Of Interest that is set in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. 

No Sudden Move -  Steven Soderbergh’s latest crime thriller stars Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Matt Damon and more. If it is half as great as Logan Lucky, then we’ll be in for a treat.