05 January 2021

Let's Cautiously Look at Cool 2021 Things

This is going to be real, REAL cautious, folks. It was a tough debate to even do this again this year. Half of these are holdovers from our 2020 Anticipated List. Ahhh January 2020. What an innocent time to be alive. So, there's always a chance these don't actually come out this year, in addition to the super real possibility that everything sucks. Every year I tend to look at my list and think, "Wow, what the hell was I thinking?" We live in a state of constant disappointment, mostly connected to big blockbuster movies that always leave us spiritually unfulfilled. WE'RE PRETTY SURE THAT WON'T HAPPEN THIS YEAR.

So, in no particular order....

Oh, and we're not even bothering to put dates on these. Maybe odds that we actually see them, though!

#1: Godzilla vs. Kong
Odds on Watching: 100%

Did Kong grow a beard?

My strong number one. Listen, I'm a complete convert - this will likely be the last of these, there's just no way this series continues unless it makes a ridiculous amount of money, and its sentencing to HBOMax seems to be a death knell for that. Or maybe it will better expose the series. I feel like it's trying to so hard, each film has been competent and fun in its own way - amazingly, Godzilla (2014) may be the worst of the lot. But I also hate to say, four films in seven years isn't quite enough to sustain an interesting shared universe that is fresh in our minds. There is also no consistency in human characters, which should never matter, but it also feels empty. I clearly don't care about any of that, I just want to lean into the bonkers bent this franchise has taken and see it run wild without consequence.

Odds: 95%

DUNE is also set for HBOMax, but it's hard to tell what we'll look like in October. Might we all be over? Might our paradigms shift again to theaters? It's hard to tell exactly. I've never been a huge Duner, I haven't read the novel, I saw the David Lynch attempt and Jodorowsky's Dune (2013), and it's all cool, but my hype doesn't totally come from fandom. It mostly comes from Denis Villeneuve and Blade Runner 2019 (2017). He's the clearest master of contemporary thinking sci-fi. This movie will surely bomb but be awesome.

The Suicide Squad
Odds: 93%

This is another HBOMax hopeful, and one of the few superhero films I believe will not let me down. It's not very fair that DC just keeps getting free re-dos on all its movies, but I still have hype for this. James Gunn has proven himself time and time again, and the vibe feels like it's moving in a truer direction than Suicide Squad (2016), which makes me more angry each subsequent time I think about it. I am not a fan at all of movies playing with definite articles to distinguish themselves, I wish this just went weirder like Suicide Squad 1.5: Suicidier Squad but I am unfortunately not in charge of these things. The cast is bigger, weirder, more expendable, and the general attitude feels more irreverent in a way that fits the property. There has been a lot of good adaptations in other media, though, from the animated Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018), which balanced the kind of mission this group would do much better, the Harley Quinn TV show, which is close enough, and upcoming video games. I have high hopes.

The Tomorrow War
Odds: 86%

It's been an entire year and I know no further information about this. It's a movie about drafting people from the past to fight aliens in the future or something. Directed by Chris McKay, who wasn't done too much besides The LEGO Batman Movie (2017), but that's something and starring Chris Pratt, who needs to recharge his leading man status after a few years off at this point. It's supposed to drop in July, so it should be okay, right? Who knows. I'm always into original sci-fi, even if they are mostly terrible.

Venom: Let There be Carnage
Odds: 81%

Listen, I think the first Venom (2018) is pretty underrated. It's not like....good, but it's a pretty fun movie. The ending fight is just kind of whatever and feels like every superhero movie ever, but there is some really dire antihero stuff leading up to that. It's enough that I'm into another shot at this interpretation. Things that worry me - Andy Serkis is not a proven director after making the far inferior competing Jungle Book adaptation a few years ago. Woody Harrelson still feels egregiously miscast as Cletus Kassidy. And the main villain from the first one was an insane symbiote, so the main villain here is....an insane symbiote? I'm pretty much done with mirrored superhero villains. Why is this on this list? Well, I hope it has more brain eating I guess. If this doesn't make it into the theaters hopefully we'll at least get to see it on Crackle.

No Time to Die
Odds: 78%

I was really thinking about this. Do we need or want a new Bond film? But really, isn't it always a big deal when we get another installment in one of the most storied film franchises of all time? It should be. It is inconceivable that it's been six years since S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (2015), which ties the longest time without a new Bond since the series began in 1962. The only other time was in between License to Kill (1989) and GoldenEye (1995) and that pause was due to heavy fatigue, re-tooling, re-casting, and re-evaluation. Now, obviously this break wasn't that intentional, and I'm not sure if we should be destined to ALWAYS have a Bond film every couple of years, but it's also insane that Daniel Craig was playing world-wearied, old out of shape Bond NINE years ago now in Skyfall (2012).

I straight up don't count Never Say Never Again (1983), but if you throw that in, Connery played Bond for 20 years in seven movies (conversely if you are like me, he played the role in six movies over nine years). Lazenby was one and done of course. Roger Moore did seven movies in twelve years, Dalton two in two, and Brosnan four in seven. All this means that Craig's tenure over fifteen years is the longest ever, if you don't count Connery's '83 outing. He's only done five films, however, ranking under both Connery and Moore.

This was the first big casualty of the pandemic, the studio pulled it last April at the last second. MGM needs a streaming service, huh? Bond ownership has been all over the place. Maybe it'll be streaming somewhere. Universal seems to be creeping up, maybe we'll watch this in between The Office on Peacock.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Odds: 70%

Kristen Wiig hasn't really gone away - she's had Ghostbusters (2016) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), but since Bridesmaids (2011) she's done far more tiny indie films than using its success as a springboard to comedy stardom like a Will Ferrell, or hell, even a Melissa McCarthy who DID use Bridesmaids as that springboard. This feels like the first movie where she's returning to that fun, broad comedy, and damn we need it. She's pairing with longtime writing partner but seldom seen on screen, Annie Mumolo for this. I'm excited. There is no real safety net here, though - we'll see if it gets to theaters!

The Last Duel
Odds: 77%

This is far off, set for October, when the world will obviously be healed and fine. Matt Damon is a medieval dude who wants to fight Adam Driver for supposedly raping his wife. That sounds like a fun time at the cinema if I've ever heard it. It's directed by Ridley Scott, which should be a good thing, like thirty years ago. He's still a good director, right! I forget that he did The Martian (2015). He's also 83 years old. He has pedigree with period pieces - Gladiator (2000) of course, Kingdom of Heaven (2005), uhh...Robin Hood (2010)? It's also written by Matt and Ben Affleck - these are Academy Award-winning writers, people. Affleck also plays the King of France. Do you love it when you just know that accent is not going to sound right? There's enough here that I am pretty interested. Mainly Adam Driver, I guess.

Army of the Dead
Odds: 68%

Zack Snyder directs a Vegas zombie heist film! What the hell is going on? This is like a B-movie but with the pedigree of a big time director. Well, at least a financially successful director. Dawn of the Dead (2004) is what made Snyder, man, this is going to be great. Or it's the high concept that sounds fun on paper but just falls apart because there's not actually anything there. But Zack Snyder is such a master of subtext and nuance - nothing could go wrong!

The Green Knight
Odds: 76%

This looks so cool! Another medieval movie! Why not? Dev Patel is an underrated actor, A24 despite recent flops is not far away from its perfect 2018 territory. It just looks silly and fun but also very serious and fun. I am hoping this can come in and be that underground film that really speaks to me and stays with me for a long time. Or it'll be completely bungled. Either way, this might be my #1 movie that doesn't feature a giant ape.

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