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68 Movies We Can’t Wait to Watch in Theaters in 2021

No matter when you decide to return to theaters, there’s no doubt that there will be great movies to watch in 2021.
Movies to Watch 2021
By  · Published on May 26th, 2021

Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back (August 27)

The Lord of the Rings director’s new documentary project finds The Beatles recording Let It Be, an album and recording period in Beatles’ history infamous for its conflict and dissolution of the band. That reputation can largely be attributed to Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary of the same name, which portrayed the fab four at each other’s throats. But Jackson aims to correct history. Using the 56 hours of original footage shot by Lindsay-Hogg in 1970, Jackson and team have crafted their own film that shows how John, Paul, George, and Ringo maintained a bright, deep, and loving connection through the end of the group. Paul and Ringo worked with Jackson a bit on the project and have expressed gratitude for Jackson’s dedication to painting them in a truer historical light, one they can be at ease with. As the trailer makes clear, and as is always the case with new Beatles releases (be it seven unreleased outtakes of a song or a Ron Howard documentary), it looks like pure bliss — yet another reminder that The Beatles harbored something irreplicable and true, something that has resonated across time, place, and culture in ways that are more on par with Jesus Christ or Muhammad than other musicians. May the previously unreleased Beatles footage never stop coming. (Luke Hicks)

Reminiscence (August 27)

If you were a fan of Westworld at any point, this might be the under-the-radar movie of the summer for you. Written and directed by the HBO show’s co-creator Lisa Joy (making her feature film directorial debut), this is a sci-fi romance about a scientist who “discovers a way to relive your past and uses the technology to search for his long lost love” starring Rebecca Ferguson, Thandie Newton, Hugh Jackman, and a host of other faces that you’ll recognize (from Westworld and elsewhere). That is more than enough for me. Put those tickets on sale now. (Neil Miller)

Candyman (August 27)

On the long list of movies that had delayed theatrical releases due to COVID, Candyman might just take the place as the movie we’re most impatient to see. Based on the 1992 cult classic, the new Candyman is directed by relative newcomer Nia DaCosta, who puts a refreshing new spin on the familiar tale. The film follows a painter, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris) after they move to a housing project that was once relentlessly terrorized by the hook-handed, mythic Candyman. Things take a turn for the worse (naturally) when Anthony learns about the Candyman and begins to incorporate him into his art. And if there’s anything us seasoned Candyman experts have learned – it is not to mess with the guy! The trailer promises a mix of psychological horror, gore, lore, and jump scares. If Candyman doesn’t make you excited to get back into watching horror on the big screen, we don’t really know what to tell you. (Aurora Amidon)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3)

The MCU kung fu actioner is here, and it cannot be contained to Disney+. We need to see this flick on the biggest screen possible. We need to soak in the production design — the costumes — the choreography. As we’ve already perceived from the trailers, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings promises grand spectacle and action unlike anything we’ve previously seen within this franchise. Simu Liu is already bursting with charisma. If paired with a kick-ass character and an even more kick-ass world around him, the actor may find himself forever imprinted on the pop-culture consciousness. Shang-Chi is another world-opener. Like Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther before it. The MCU landscape only grows larger with more nooks and crannies to discover. Let’s get in ’em. (Brad Gullickson)

The Many Saints of Newark (September 24)

The upcoming Sopranos prequel film was originally slated for a 2020 release, and though the delay was unfortunate, it has fortuitously opened the film up to a wider audience after many used lockdown as an opportunity to binge HBO’s greatest show. The film is set in the 1960s and 70s and will partially revolve around the 1967 Newark riots. Though the timeline eliminates the possibility of any actors from the TV series reprising roles, we will see newcomer Michael Gandolfini taking up his late father’s torch and portraying a young Tony Soprano. The release has been planned for September so it can still play in the fall festival circuit and will be simultaneously released in theaters and on HBO Max, at which point new and old fans alike can all discover if the prequel will conclude with a cut to bl— (Anna Swanson)

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (September 24)

While the trailer seems to reveal that Woody Harrelson will not be donning the bright red clown wig that he sported in the after-credits sequence of 2018’s Venom, it does seem that the follow-up to the charmingly ludicrous antihero Marvel film will be just as bizarre as its processor – at least, one can only hope. The film that brought us an unhinged Tom Hardy improving his entire body into a lobster tank now returns with Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage: Eddie Brock/Venom’s red-tinged nemesis who becomes fused with the same alien symbiote as the former. The trailer for the film – which dropped just recently – begins with a beautiful scene in which the blossomed relationship between Eddie and Venom is portrayed as the two attempt to make an ultimately disastrous breakfast together while Venom sings along to “Let’s Call the Whole Things Off.” As it tends to happen with superhero films, little is known about the plot beyond the inclusion of the villainous Carnage as the film’s Big Bad. Andy Serkis (of Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes fame) is directing, with Michelle Williams and Reid Scott reprising their roles alongside Hardy and the additions of Naomie Harris and Stephen Graham. (Brianna Zigler)

Infinite (September 24)

We don’t know much about Antoine Fuqua’s sci-fi thriller other than that it’s about a man who discovers that he’s having visions from past lives, but I do know this: Jason Mantzoukas is in this movie. That’s enough to overcome my growing aversion to the more recent work of Mark Wahlberg, who is the star of this film. I’ll show up for Mantzoukas any day. (Neil Miller)

Dune (October 1)

In what ended up being some of the darkest times of the pandemic year (December 2020), Warner Bros. made an industry-rattling announcement that all of their 2021 films on HBO Max simultaneously with any theatrical release. And I remember very vividly running down the list of releases and experiencing a wide range of reactions. Mortal Kombat? Sure I’ll watch that on streaming. In The Heights? Maybe that’s one that I’d prefer to see in theaters. The Suicide Squad? Also one that could be worth seeing on the big screen if the trailers show some promise (they did). Dune? There’s absolutely no fucking way that I’m watching Denis Villeneuve’s Dune anywhere but on the big screen. That was my take then and it remains my take now. (Neil Miller)

No Time To Die (October 8)

Choose your fighter: Denis Villeneuve’s Dune or Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die. The winner? The king mega-blockbuster the world has been anticipating most through the cataclysmic boredom, rock bottom depression, and life crises of the pandemic era. The first gigantic film brought to its knees by COVID-19, No Time to Die has sustained delays since before the virus was popularly known. First, it was pushed from November 2019 to February 2020. Then, to April 2020, November 2020, April 2021, and, finally (we think), October 8, 2021. As if the looming release hasn’t created a strange enough timeline for the film, consider that it’s already won a Grammy, thanks to Billie Eilish. Because we all know that’s what movies want: a Grammy. With a returning all-star cast, including Craig in his last Bond performance, and a slew of hot newcomers (e.g., Ana de Armas, Rami Malek), it’s sure to draw numbers regardless of quality. But with Fukunaga in the director’s chair, we have reason to hope for a grand finale. (Luke Hicks)

Halloween Kills (October 15)

The night he came back ain’t over. Michael Myers remains loose on the streets, and Laurie Strode’s battle rages. The excitement here is seeing what her girls will do now that they’ve joined her fight as well. David Gordon Green and his team achieved a nearly impossible feat with their last film. A Halloween reboot/sequel that kept the class of John Carpenter’s original and progressed its heroine into logical realms that also allowed a conversation to stir around trauma. Talking with Jamie Lee Curtis about Laurie Strode, it’s obvious that she holds her close to her heart, and does not want to mistreat her as a character. If she’s back, it’s safe to assume there’s more to explore in Halloween Kills. That’s damn exciting. (Brad Gullickson)

The Last Duel (October 15)

The Last Duel has been a long time in the making. In 2015, it was announced that Francis Lawrence was attached to direct. But, as time went on and no real moves were made, he lost the rights. In 2019, Ridley Scott swooped in to save the day and became the film’s new director. Now, it looks like it might just be worth all the trouble and wait. The film follows – you guessed it, a duel – in fourteenth-century France (swords and armor galore!). When knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) accuses his squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping his wife, the two are set to engage in a duel of epic proportions. Based on Ridley Scott’s repertoire of epic blockbusters, and Damon and Driver’s unmatched acting skills, it looks like this is a big-screen must-see. (Aurora Amidon)

Cry Macho (October 22)

It was announced during the coronavirus pandemic that 90-year-old Clint Eastwood would be directing, producing, and starring in his next feature, Cry Macho. Then, only two months later, filming was already finished – a day early at that – and three months after that, production had been entirely completed. Perhaps the world’s busiest and most efficient nonagenarian, Eastwood’s upcoming feature hot off the heels of 2019’s well-received Richard Jewell is based upon the novel of the same name by N. Richard Nash, co-written alongside Nick Schenk before Nash’s death in 2000. There have been numerous attempts to get the novel adapted into a film since the novel’s initial publication; Eastwood had even expressed an interest in adapting it back in 1988 before he turned it down in favor of reprising his role as Dirty Harry in The Dead Pool. The plot surrounds a has-been rodeo star and horse breeder who takes a job bringing a former boss’s young son back to him from his alcoholic mother. The film will stream on HBO Max for a month and then hit theaters on October 22, where you can go see it in the perfect conditions: on a Sunday at 11 am in a theater full of chatty grandparents. (Brianna Zigler)

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