While the coronavirus pandemic has led to filming delays and release postponements, 2021 has seen the eventual release of Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond, No Time to Die, and the first part of Denis Villeneuve’s epic space opera Dune.
With just a couple of months left before the year is out, here are six of the best new films due to hit cinemas in November and December, plus one that will require just a bit more patience.
1. Last Night in Soho (29 October)
Edgar Wright, who brought audiences Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz as part of his “Cornetto trilogy”, returns to the big screen with Last Night in Soho.
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Diana Rigg in her last big-screen role, the film is a mystery time-travel drama.
Eloise (New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie) stars as an aspiring fashion designer who finds herself in 1960s London. Here, she encounters the glamourous Sandie (Taylor-Joy), a wannabe singer who seems to have it all.
Until that is, the veneer of her perfect life begins to crack and both the past and present threaten to break apart.
The film’s title comes from a 1968 single by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.
2. The Card Counter (5 November)
Paul Shrader is arguably best known as the writer behind Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic Taxi Driver, but he also achieved much success as a writer/director (American Gigolo).
Schrader follows his Oscar-nominated First Reformed with The Card Counter, a thriller and revenge tale starring Oscar Isaac and Willem Dafoe.
The story follows William Tell (Isaac), a card player and former interrogator and his friend Cirk (Tye Sheridan), whose father Tell served with in Abu Ghraib.
Tell becomes embroiled in Cirk’s search for Major John Gordon (Defoe), and the former’s desire to seek revenge for the death of his father.
3. Belfast (12 November)
Already tipped for Oscar success, Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white coming-of-age drama is a semi-autobiographical account of life growing up in 1960s Belfast.
Starring newcomer Jude Hill as Buddy, the young son of a working-class family, Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Caitríona Balfe (Now You See Me) play his mother and father, while Ciarán Hinds (Silence) and Dame Judi Dench (Red Joan, Philomena) portray his grandparents.
The film won the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
4. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (18th November)
After the 2016, all-female remake, starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, the 80s classic becomes the target for another attempted reboot this autumn, with Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Aligning itself as a sequel to the original two Ghostbusters films, Afterlife is directed by Jason Reitman, son of the original producer Ivan Reitman and reunites many familiar cast members from the original movies.
The plot follows Egon Spengler’s granddaughter as she relocates with her young family to a deserted farmhouse that also happens to sit above a hotbed of ghostly activity.
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) also stars as teacher Mr Grooberson.
5. West Side Story (10th December)
West Side Story, largely based on the Broadway musical of 1957 rather than the Hollywood film version of 1961, marks Steven Spielberg’s first foray into musicals.
Trouble brews when Tony and María fall in love in 1950s New York, despite being part of rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the original score is provided by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (17th December)
The cinematic dominance of Marvel’s comic book back catalogue – making up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – continues this autumn with the release of Eternals and the third outing for Tom Holland’s Spiderman.
Following Homegoing and Far from Home, No Way Home is likely to be the final Holland offering. It is also rumoured to include multiverse elements in a plan to align the MCU with the Sony Spiderman Universe of previous films.
This means that you can expect the cast of previous Spiderman reboots – Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s trilogies from the 2000s and 2010s, respectively – to make an appearance.
Aside from the multiple-reality dimension-hopping, expect the huge set pieces and in-jokes that have helped the 27 films that comprise the Marvel universe achieve huge box office success.
7. Downton Abbey: A New Era (18 March 2022)
No longer set for release in time for Christmas, the sequel to Julian Fellowes’ 2019 Downton Abbey movie has sadly been postponed again.
You’ll now have to wait until the new year to catch it in cinemas when it is released on 18 March 2022.
Beloved cast members from the previous film and television series will reprise their roles – including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, and Maggie Smith – while Dominic West, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock are also set to join the cast.