The Best Films You Forgot Were Coming in 2021


I’m not just saying this to hype you up—the year ahead in film is looking good.

We’ve got a backlog of blockbusters that were momentarily shelved during Covid (Don’t Look Up), fresh docs that should get our US friends psyched for the warmer months (Summer of Soul) and thriller sequels that’ll transport you right back to the night terrors of your childhood. What’s not to enjoy? Let’s have a look.

Summer of Soul 

Questlove proves he’s the busiest man in music with his upcoming documentary feature, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). If you thought that Woodstock was the only cultural phenomenon happening in the summer of ’69, think again—just 100 miles away, 300,000 people were gathering for the Harlem Cultural Festival. The whole thing was filmed (featuring performances from Stevie Wonder, Mavis Staples, Nina Simone, and Sly & the Family Stone and more) but ever since, the footage has been gathering dust in a basement. That was until Questlove got his hands on it and turned it into this Sundance favourite that’s dropping, fittingly, this summer in the US.

Release date: July 2nd

Zola

Director Janicza Bravo became ‘immediately obsessed’ with a Twitter thread that was heating up the internet back in 2015 and now, those 148 tweets are a film. The thread came from Detroit stripper A’ziah ‘Zola’ King (played by Taylour Paige), who began to tell the internet about a weekend away with Stefani (Riley Keough) that quickly descended into madness. Just watch the trailer and you’ll see what I mean.

Release date: September 23rd 

Don’t Look Up

I still barely know what this film is about, but I’ll keep hawking it until I’m blue in the face or the thing drops on Netflix—whichever comes first. I don’t even have a proper trailer to show you. All I’ve got is the 20-second snippet above of Leo and Jennifer Lawrence, well, looking up, and the info that they star as two low-level astronomers attempting to warn mankind about an asteroid that will destroy Earth. The cast also includes Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Kid Cudi, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Himesh Patel, Ariana Grande, Matthew Perry, Ron Perlman, Chris Evans and more so, it’s got to be good… right?

Release date: Sometime in 2021

Candyman

The reigning king of terror (Jordan Peele) is back, bringing with him a spiritual sequel to the original film that I tribute for a run of night terrors in my youth. 2021’s Candyman stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as an artist who becomes obsessed with the Candyman ‘myth’ and shit starts to unravel from there. Legend has it that if you say ‘Candyman’ five times in the mirror, he’ll turn up and kill whoever summoned him—and you can bet I won’t be typing that name more than four times on this page.

Release date: August 27th

Dune

I don’t like sci-fi but I do like Timothee Chalamet, so here we are. Another big drawcard? Sandworms playing a major role in a film that also stars huge names like Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, and more. Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet) who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people, and though it’s streaming on HBO the same day as its theatrical release, something tells me this is an essential cinema experience.

Release date: Sometime in 2021

The French Dispatch

Much like Dune, The French Dispatch was originally slated for a 2020 release before being pushed back thanks to Covid. But word on street is it’s finally premiering at Cannes this year, meaning you’ll be able to catch Wes Anderson and his usual heavy hitters Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson soon. The film is a ‘love letter to journalists’ set in a newspaper bureau—inspired by The New Yorker—in a fictional 20th-century French city, Ennui-sur-Blasé. Oh look! There’s Timmy again.

Release date: July, date TBC

Pleasure

Pleasure follows 19-year-old Linnéa who leaves her small-town in Sweden for business and pleasure in Los Angeles, with dreams of becoming the world’s next big porn star. The film is Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature, an idea born after making her short film (also called Pleasure, and shot on the set of a porn film) that was selected for Cannes back in 2013. Shown at Sundance and set for distribution by a24, it’s had positive reviews that agree on Thyberg’s ability to thread issues of consent, power, and the economics of sex throughout, while leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Set to be an interesting watch.

Release date: Sometime in 2021

Lapsis

Set in an alternate New York, the quantum computing revolution has begun, and investors are lining their pockets. However, building the network requires miles of infrastructure to be laid between huge magnetic cubes by ‘cablers’, a group of unprotected gig workers who have to compete against robots… sound familiar yet? This timely satire of the gig economy and the failed utopian promises of big tech is way too close for comfort, and that’s exactly why you should see it.

Release date: June 3rd

Space Jam: A New Legacy

The Looney Tunes fan in me is begging for this to be good. Please don’t let me down LeBron.

Release date: July 15th

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