While streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky have been a real godsend during the pandemic, movie lovers everywhere will surely be eagerly anticipating the late-spring reopening of their local multiplex or arthouse cinema - particularly as there’ll be a blockbusting backlog of fantastic films to check out. Here’s a sizzling selection of cinematic spectacles to see and savour...

 

GODZILLA VS KONG - Starring Alexander Skarsgärd, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall... 

Two of the cinema box office’s biggest beasts go head-to-head in what promises to be a monster ‘monster movie’. Kong is being taken by his protectors to find his true home when it becomes apparent the world is under threat from an enraged Godzilla. What’s an oversized monkey to do but put up his dukes and go into battle... A sequel to Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, the film is the 36th in the Godzilla franchise and the 12th in the King Kong franchise. Release date: Thursday 1 April on online platforms


 

SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW - Starring Morgan David Jones, Samuel L Jackson...

This latest entry in the Saw horror franchise stars comedian Chris Rock as Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Banks, a brash detective on the trail of a cop-taunting serial killer whose modus operandi seems unsettlingly familiar. Samuel L Jackson adds gravitas as a veteran policeman, with Max Minghella in the role of Rock’s rookie partner. Interestingly, the film is being compared not so much with previous entries in the franchise but rather with 1995 psychological crime thriller Seven, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Release date: Friday 21 May  


 

CRUELLA - Starring Emma Stone, Mark Strong, Emma Thompson... 

This is the story of Cruella de Vil before she set her evil sights on The Hundred And One Dalmatians. La La Land Academy Award winner Emma Stone stars as Cruella, back in the days when she was still Estella - a young grifter in punk-era London who’s determined to make it big with her clever and creative fashion designs. An encounter with two young thieves takes her life in an unexpected direction, as does a meeting with fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), setting in motion a series of events that will soon see Estella embracing her wicked side... Release date: Friday 28 May  


 

A QUIET PLACE PART II - Starring Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds... 

The massive success of A Quiet Place (2018) meant that a sequel movie was a no-brainer for Paramount Pictures. As with the first film, this new release finds the Abbott family fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing. Basically, if they hear you, they hunt you. But on this occasion, Lee, Evelyn and the kids discover that the creatures who hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path... Release date: Friday 4 June 


 

LUCA - Starring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Maya Rudolph... 

Pixar’s latest animated offering tells the tale of a young boy named Luca and his new pal, Alberto, as theyenjoy adventures in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera. But the pair are hiding a secret - they are both sea monsters from a world beneath the ocean's surface. A coming-of-age comedy fantasy, Enrico Casarosa’s movie is described by the director himself as both a homage to legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini and a celebration of childhood friendship. Release date: Friday 18 June  


  

IN THE HEIGHTS - Starring Stephanie Beatriz, Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda...

If this movie version of the hit musical of the same name enjoys a similar level of success as the stage version, its producers will be happy bunnies indeed. Opening on Broadway in 2008, the show was nominated for an impressive 13 Tony Awards, winning four, including the gongs for best musical, original score and choreography. Set over the course of three days in New York City’s Latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights, the show boasts a score that features hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music.  Release date: Friday 25 June


 

BLACK WIDOW - Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour... 

Black Widow has popped up in more Marvel movies than the Incredible Hulk owns pairs of pants, so it’s nice to see her finally getting her very own film. This latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe finds former KGB assassin Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down. No wonder she’s quick to reach for the spandex... Release date: Friday 9 July


 

TOP GUN: MAVERICK - Starring Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Danny Ramirez

It’s certainly been a long time coming, but fans of Top Gun have finally got the sequel they’ve been wanting for the last 35 years. There’s no Kelly McGillis this time - apparently she wasn’t approached about appearing in the film - but Val Kilmer does return, as of course does the main man himself, Tom Cruise, as hotshot test pilot and flight instructor Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. Although information about the storyline is sketchy, it’s reported that the film will focus on the end of the dogfighting era and the role of drones in modern aerial warfare. Expect breathtaking flight sequences aplenty. Release date: Friday 23 July


 

JUNGLE CRUISE - Starring Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez...

Based on Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name, Jungle Cruise has been in development, to one degree or another, for the better part of two decades. At one stage slated to star Toy Story duo Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, it was eventually redeveloped with Dwayne Johnson in mind. When a riverboat captain named Frank takes a scientist and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life, which is believed to possess healing powers, they find themselves facing all manner of challenges, not only from dangerous wild animals but also a competing German expedition. Release date: Friday 30 July  


 

THE SUICIDE SQUAD - Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman, Taika Waitit...

A stand-alone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, The Suicide Squad is the 10th film in the DC Extended Universe and follows a task-force of imprisoned convicts on a mission to destroy a Nazi-era prison and laboratory. The film sees Margot Robbie reprising the role of crazed criminal and former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, with Britain’s own Idris Elba starring as Bloodsport, a mercenary with a technologically advanced suit. The film is due for cinematic release in the US on 6 August, the same day as it will become available for streaming on HBO Max. Release date: Friday 6 August  


 

FREE GUY - Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi... 

Killing Eve star Jodie Comer joins Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds in this sci-fi action comedy about a bank teller named Guy who discovers he’s actually a non-player character in an open-world video game. Not content with a bit-part, he decides to become a hero in his very own story, and soon finds himself in a race against time to save the world... Release date: Friday 13 August  


 

CANDYMAN - Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett...

This supernatural slasher pic is a direct sequel to the 1992 movie of the same name and the fourth film in the Candyman franchise. With his painting career on the brink of stalling, visual artist Anthony McCoy embarks on a dangerous exploration of a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand. The Candyman can easily be summoned by those who dare to repeat his name five times into a mirror - but is Anthony about to unleash dark forces that will lead to an unravelling of his own sanity?...    Release date: Friday 27 August


 

 INFINITE - Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O'Brien, Chiwetel Ejiofor... 

The troubled Evan Michaels is a schizophrenic who discovers that his hallucinations are actually visions from past lives. And then he discovers that there’s a secret society of other people who have experiences similar to his own. But before Evan can join the so-called Cognomina, he must prove that he truly is one of them... Adapted from D Eric Maikranz’s novel, The Reincarnationist Papers, Infinite was made after Rafi Crohn, a junior executive at a Hollywood production company, responded to the author’s front-page challenge to his readers - to earn 10% of any advance by introducing the novel to a Hollywood producer who would adapt the book into a movie. Crohn was subsequently paid the promised money - $10,000 - by Maikranz. Release date: Friday 10 September


 

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE - Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson... 

Despite almost universally being described as a train wreck of a movie, Venom was the seventh highest-grossing film of 2018 - hence this sequel. Tom Hardy’s performance in the first film didn’t exactly pull up any trees, but was nevertheless considered to be one of the movie’s saving graces. The usually excellent Hardy will no doubt be aspiring to better things in this second outing as the Marvel Comics character. He’s joined by Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, a psychotic serial killer who becomes the host of an alien symbiote known as Carnage. Release date: Friday 24 September 


 

NO TIME TO DIE - Starring Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek...

Daniel Craig picks up his Licence To Kill for the fifth and final time in an adventure that sees everybody’s favourite British secret service agent pitting his now-fiftysomething wits against a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology. 
Actually, in this one, Bond has become everybody’s favourite former British secret service agent, having retired to an idyllic life of peace and tranquillity in sun-kissed Jamaica. But what’s a highly trained ex-double-O operative meant to do but put down his vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) and spring into action when CIA pal Felix Leiter turns up asking for help...
Craig has been a massive hit as Ian Fleming’s famous super-spy, and is surely making the right decision by handing in his Walther PPK at the age of 53. Roger Moore played the role until he was nearly 60, a decision that did neither him nor the Bond legend any favours. Release date: Thursday 30 September


  

DUNE - Starring Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin...

Probably best known as a result of being one of the most high-profile sci-fi movies of the mid-1980s, directed by David Lynch, Dune actually began life as a novel, written by Frank Herbert back in the ’60s. This latest incarnation is the first of a planned two-part adaptation and will cover around half of the book. Set in the faraway future, the story focuses on Duke Leto Atreides, who accepts stewardship of a dangerous desert planet, Arrakis - also known as Dune - which is the one and only source of a magical drug called ‘the spice’. But mining the drug is no easy task, not least because of the presence of giant sandworms... Release date: Friday 1 October


 

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO - Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Diana Rigg, Matt Smith...

Marking the final film appearance of Dame Diana Rigg, psychological horror movie Last Night In Soho tells the story of a young girl named Eloise who gets to see what London was like back in the 1960s. But as well as making a mysterious connection with her idol, wannabe singer Sandy, she also discovers that her idealised notion of ‘Swinging London’ is maybe a tad wide of the mark... Director Edgar Wright, whose previous movies include Shaun Of The Dead, has cited Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now as major influences on his new film. Release date: Friday 29 October


 

ETERNALS - Starring Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek...

Changes to release dates aside, this will be the 26th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
The Eternals are an offshoot of the evolutionary process that created sentient life on Earth. Having been in hiding for thousands of years, they re-unite when their ne’er-do-well counterparts, the Deviants, threaten the future of the planet. Angelina Jolie takes top billing as Thena, a warrior who uses cosmic energy to form whatever weapon she so desires. Release date: Friday 5 November 


 

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE -  Starring Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon...

A box office recordbuster the last Ghostbusters movie most certainly was not. The 2016 reboot got a mixed reception from the critics too, so it’s maybe not surprising that this latest entry in the franchise ignores its existence in favour of following on from the first two movies, released in 1984 and 1989 respectively. Set 30 years after the second film, it follows the story of two children and their single mother, who, after moving to a small town, discover that they have a family connection to the original Ghostbusters... Release date: Friday 12 November


 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7 - Starring Vanessa Kirby, Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson...

Now here’s a franchise that seems to be gathering pace with every passing movie. Most fans of M:I would agree that the later films are the better ones - by no means something which can always be said of series featuring a significant number of sequels. This latest entry sees Tom Cruise once again returning as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, with a host of other actors also reprising their roles from previous M:I films. 
Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to get along to the cinema and enjoy this latest entry in a series that still seems to know how to tick all of the relevant boxes. Release date: Friday 19 November


 

WEST SIDE STORY - Starring Ansel Elgor, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose...

Releasing a new version of a classic movie is always a gamble, particularly one as widely revered as West Side Story. The 1961 film version of Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s hit musical continues to be regarded as one of Hollywood’s greatest-ever motion pictures, so this 2021 iteration had better make sure it’s wearing its very finest dancing shoes. And with no less a luminary than Steven Spielberg helming the project, there’s every chance it will be doing exactly that. Release date: Friday 10 December


 

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME - Starring Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jamie Foxx...

This sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home sees British actor Tom Holland playing the web-slinging wall-crawler for the third time. Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina are on board too, reprising the characters of Electro and Doctor Octopus respectively, while Benedict Cumberbatch once again plays moustachioed Master of the Mystic Arts Dr Strange. Release date: Friday 17 December


 

THE KING'S MAN - Starring Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton...

As a collection of history's worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man and his protégé must race against time to stop them... This third instalment in the Kingsman film series is a prequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017's Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The movies are all inspired by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ much-loved comic book, The Secret Service. Release date: Wednesday 22 December


 

THE MATRIX 4 - Starring Keanu Reeves, Priyanka Chopra, Carrie-Anne Moss...

Why let a couple of storyline deaths get in the way of popular characters making a return? That certainly seems to be the perspective of the production team behind this latest entry in the Matrix franchise, with both Keanu Reeves’s Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity very much back in the saddle despite having met their demise at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. 
Not much is known about the plot of this latest film, although according to one of its stars, Yahya Madul-Abteen II, it “touches on themes people should be talking about in 2020, 2021, 2022”. Reeves, meanwhile, reveals that it has a "beautiful script that is a love story", adding that it's “another version of a kind of call to wake up. It entertains... it has some great action. All will be revealed." Release date: Wednesday 22 December


 

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG - Starring Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Izaac Wang...   

Clifford The Big Red Dog has been delighting young readers for almost 60 years and is the official mascot of its publisher, Scholastic, having played a significant role in establishing the company as a major player in the publishing world. Author Norman Bridwell based the eponymous character on an imaginary childhood friend of his wife’s. According to Scholastic there are currently around 126 million Clifford books in print, which pretty much means this live-action/computer-animated movie will have very little trouble finding its audience! Release date: Friday 24 December   


 

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU - Starring Steve Carell, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Yeoh...

The fifth installment in the Despicable Me franchise, The Rise Of Gru follows on from 2015 spin-off prequel Minions and brings together a star-studded cast of voice actors. The 1970s-set plot sees 12-year-old Gru hoping to join a supervillain group known as the Vicious 6. But things go badly awry, and when Gru steals a precious object from the 6 with the help of Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Otto and the other Minions, he suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil... Release date: 1 July 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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