2021 most anticipated films.

CANDYMAN (Directed by Nia DaCosta, Screenplay by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Nia DaCosta)

If there’s one horror film that couldn’t be more justifiable to remake in today’s culture, it’s Clive Barker’s 1992 classic Candyman. Now the OG is quite possibly my favorite horror film of all time. Might go back to when I was growing up as a kid and my grandfather had a VHS copy of it that I exhausted. I love the rawness of Bernard Rose’s direction, Virginia Madsen’s brave performance, Tony Todd’s iconic voice. I even dig the second one, Farewell to the Flesh. The third shall remain undiscussed. I was highly skeptical of this remake before I watched the trailer but I’ll admit. It looks amazing.

DUNE (Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by John Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth)

When this film’s original release for December ‘20 was pushed almost a whole year to this October, I was devastated. This isn’t to say Dune is a novel I adore or that I’m huge into space operas or even have a soft spot for Lynch’s adaptation. It’s because Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. He combines everything we love about the cinematic experience. Be in mind this is one of the films that per COVID will be releasing simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. Now the passionate audience members will have the theatrical option and the loud texting crowd can see it in the comfort of their own home while they tweet about their favorite cheese.

THE KING’S MAN (Directed by Matthew Vaughn, Screenplay by Matthew Vaughn, Karl Gajdusek)

Ever since 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, Matthew Vaughn has become one of my favorite filmmakers. Kick-Ass was a stepping stone, Kingsman sealed the deal. I’ve always been a dedicated fan of British storytellers (Shane Meadows, Edgar Wright, Ricky Gervais) but Vaughn checks off all my boxes. He brings real R rated edge to what are essentially mainstream movies. I’ve barely watched any trailers for The King’s Man (the third one in the franchise) but when making this list, I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t add it. I have a feeling that this being a prequel is going to add new fuel to the series in ways 2017’s Golden Circle did not. Did I mention it’s also coming out in less than two months?

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (Directed by Edgar Wright, Screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Edgar Wright)

And while we’re on the topic of British filmmakers… Edgar Wright has easily been in my top ten favorite directors since 2004’s hysterically brilliant Shaun of the Dead. However, it wasn’t until 2017’s Baby Driver that my love for his work jumped to the next level. Baby Driver was marketed like a glossy comedy much like his previous work but the outcome was more of a gritty crime film with humor throughout. That’s when I knew Wright was successfully moving on to new genres. Now we have a dramatic horror film coming from him in April. I have no doubt it will be terrific as he is (based on his social media posts) an avid cinephile who seems to inject celluloid into his veins.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK (Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig)

You bite your tongue with any snobbish viewpoints on the original Top Gun. Tony Scott’s bromance is the Point Break of the 1980s, even though I’m more of a Days of Thunder man myself. Normally sequels that happen to films over 30 years later never quite work but the trailer for this gets my blood pumping. It seems like it’s in good hands and Cruise wouldn’t be championing it if he thought differently. Say what you want about Tom Cruise but the guy’s not just a movie star, he’s also a great actor and a smart businessman. Plus Joseph Kosinski I have no doubt directed the shit out of this movie as his style is perfect for this type of story.

RESIDENT EVIL (Written & Directed by Johannes Roberts)

I’ve been a hardcore fan of the Resident Evil video game franchise since its birth in the mid-90s. I even bought Gamecube purely so I can play Resident Evil Zero. Then once I beat the game, I returned the console back to the store and got my money back. Now I don’t hate the 2002 film. It was entertaining enough, the Licker was well designed, the opening is awesome. However, I simply assumed that in the later sequels they’d expand more on what the games had to offer. Instead, they became shoot ’em up action movies with zombies, supported by an editing style that made your eyes bleed. Director Johannes Roberts will crush this as the only direction a franchise can go when it hits rock bottom is up, up, and away.

THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK (Directed by Alan Taylor, Screenplay by Lawrence Konner, David Chase)

It’s funny that in this golden age of television we’re living in right now, The Sopranos is still quite possibly the greatest show ever produced. Without its success, we wouldn’t have gems like Breaking Bad, Ozark, or Kingdom. It paved the way for a new breed of storytelling. Flawed, borderline unlikeable lead “protagonists.” Before James Gandolfini passed away in 2013, there were talks of a possible Sopranos movie that would’ve been an extension of the series. It sounded like a terrible idea and thankfully that never materialized. However, a prequel chronicling the formative years of Tony sounds like something fucking AWESOME.

DEEP WATER (Directed by Adrian Lyne, Screenplay by Zach Helm, Sam Levinson)

Adrian Lyne has always been a very underrated filmmaker who aside from Fatal Attraction never quite got the respect he deserved. Arguably the king of erotic thrillers, he’s pulled a Malick hiatus since 2002’s Unfaithful. Now he’s back with what feels like a return to form in all the best ways. It’s even co-written by one of the boldest writers working today, Sam Levinson. If you haven’t watched the Euphoria pandemic special that aired in December, what are you doing with your life? I have high hopes for this and considering onscreen couple Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas are together in real life (or did they split?) means the chemistry must be on fire.

UNTITLED PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON PROJECT (Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)

Forgive the picture above as, like most new Paul Thomas Anderson films before they’re released, there’s very limited poster art or information. Nevertheless, this is a film I will drive 2 hours and risk my health in a theater for. Paul Thomas Anderson, in my opinion, is still the most exciting director working today. He’s our generation’s Kubrick and I feel lucky enough to be alive while this man is at the top of his game. Bradley Cooper is also one of my favorite actors of today so to see them working together, I get shivers down my spine on what they’ve created. There’s still no official title but right now the working title is Soggy Bottom. I could get down with that but something tells me PTA has something else up his sleeve.

GODZILLA VS. KONG (Directed by Adam Wingard, Screenplay by Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein)

To say I’m a big fan of the recent King Kong and Godzilla movies would be a bit of an overstatement. However, Godzilla vs. Kong is on my list because of one thing and one thing only. Adam Wingard. I’ve been following his work since 2010’s nasty A Horrible Way to Die and now to see him helming a $200MM tentpole monster movie is pretty incredible. Younger directors that get these types of jobs are usually plucked from a single indie that did well at festivals. Sometimes that experiment works, sometimes it doesn’t. With Wingard, he’s been playing with different types of budgets since 2007 so if there’s someone who has organically leaped to this size of a movie, it’s him. All hail the King. Or Kong.

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