With one lockdown after another, it’s entirely possible that you’ve watched everything on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, or whatever other streaming service you subscribe to. Well, everything that’s good. And if you’re like me, you now spend your nights mindlessly scrolling through titles, hoping to find one to save you from never-ending boredom—or from thinking about that midterm.
2020 was a grim year for the film industry. Theatres closed their doors, productions got delayed, and the movies we were so excited about in 2020 got pushed back. All this contributed to the dearth of content we experienced last year. However, the wait may finally be over: productions have wrapped, titles have release dates, and blockbusters are bypassing theatres for streaming services. While nothing is certain anymore, movies are ready to roll out in 2021 and here are the releases we’re most excited to watch (fingers-crossed).
Raya and the Last Dragon (March 5)
Disney’s newest animated feature will premiere in March, bringing us to a fantastical land where long-ago dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity from the evil Druun monsters. Five-hundred years later, the monsters return. Now, a warrior (Kelly Marie Tran) must go on a mission to find the last dragon (Awkwafina) and try saving the world.
Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, Raya & The Last Dragon features a predominantly Asian-American cast with many Southeast Asian cultural influences. It’s a magical journey of self-discovery that should appeal to all audiences. As I always say, you’re never too old to watch cartoons.
Black Widow (May 7)
After years of anticipation dating back to 2004, Marvel fans are finally getting a standalone Black Widow origin story. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour, the movie is set between the films Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and follows Natasha Romanoff back to Russia, where she’s forced to confront her past.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow is the first installment in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally scheduled to release in May 2020, the premiere date has since been delayed twice due to the ongoing pandemic. After two years since the last MCU film, 2021 is the year we will see a beloved ass-kicking Avenger back on the screen.
In the Heights (June 18)
Attention musical theatre lovers: this movie is for you. Based on the award-winning musical written by the great Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), and directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), In The Heights depicts a multicultural working-class neighbourhood, where the residents dream (and sing) about a better life.
The film takes place over three days and follows a bodega owner named Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves his money hoping to return to his family in the Dominican Republic. Starring a multitude of Latino talent, In the Heights explores themes of gentrification, immigration, cultural identity, and romance through song.
A Quiet Place Part II (Sept. 17)
In 2018, John Krasinski debuted in the director’s chair with the pin-drop horror-thriller, A Quiet Place. The movie masterfully crafted tension through minimal sound and dialogue—garnering critical acclaim and a $341 million box office. The sequel was announced for early 2020, but after being delayed three times, it’s now set to premiere this fall.
A Quiet Place Part II picks up where the previous movie left off. The Abbot Family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds,and Noah Jupe) must leave their secluded home in search of another shelter. However, they soon realize the sound-hunting creatures aren’t the only threat in their post-apocalyptic world.
Based on the 1965 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, this 2021 adaptation is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) and features a galaxy full of A-list stars, including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, and Rebecca Ferguson, among others. The film takes place set in the distant future and follows a duke named Paul Atreides leading a battle to control the desert planet Arrakis.
If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, I suggest you do—as even glimpses impress with its stark visuals and innate sense of drama. There are five books written in the series, and this movie covers just a part of the first book, so it’s possible this will kickstart a longer film franchise.
Last Night in Soho (Oct. 22)
What do time-travel, fashion, and horror have in common? Nothing. Unless you’re talking about Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, which centres on an aspiring fashion designer who mysteriously time-travels to the 1960s to meet her idol—with shady consequences.
This psychological horror film has an impressive ensemble with Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, and Terence Stamp all starring. If you love slow-burn scares, the 60s, and nervous-breakdown horror classics such as Don’t Look Now and Repulsion, then clear your calendar for October 22 and get ready to experience one unique psychological thrill ride.
The Matrix 4 (Dec. 22)
As they say: you save the best for last. Our last recommendation arrives at the end of 2021—a special treat for all Matrix fans. as Warner Bros. revives the beloved franchise that ended 20 years ago.
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith will return in their previous roles as Neo, Trinity, and Niobe, respectively, so this movie is guaranteed to bring back some nostalgia. The exact plot of the movie is unknown (for now), but it’ll surely pack some action, style, and slow-motion. Let’s hope that by December, we’ll all be able to see this movie in theatres.