The Many Saints of Newark
Fourteen years after The Sopranos ended, its creator and writer, David Chase, delivers a prequel to one of the best television series ever made. No one could replace James Gandolfini, who died in 2013, and who made the middle-aged Tony, family man and mob boss, a classic character. But Chase and director Alan Taylor enlisted Gandolfini's lookalike son, Michael Gandolfini, to play Tony as a young man. Set in the 1960s and 70s, against the backdrop of racial unrest and riots in Newark, New Jersey, with antagonism between black people and Italian Americans, the film could give us a clue about where all that Sopranos crime came from. Among the cast: Vera Farmiga as Tony's lethal mother, Livia.
Released internationally on 11 March
No Time to Die
First there were injuries, accidents and the resignation of the original director, Danny Boyle. Then there was the pandemic, which pushed the release date back by exactly a year. But in April, more than five years after the premiere of Spectre, we will finally see the 25th official Bond film. The director, Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, True Detective), is a master of action sequences and exotic locations. And the villains are played by two Oscar winners, Christoph Waltz and Rami Malek. It looks as if Daniel Craig's last Bond movie could be his best.
Released internationally on 2 April
A Quiet Place Part II
We learned in 2020 that not every film needs to be seen in a theatre. One exception is John Krasinski's sequel to his hit A Quiet Place, about a family who will be attacked by noise-sensitive monsters if they make a peep. When the original was shown in theatres, there was not a popcorn crunch to be heard, just the rare sound of an entire audience holding its breath. Emily Blunt returns as the mother of the family, with Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as her children in this follow-up. Krasinski once again writes and directs. Viewers of the original will remember with a chill why he is not on screen.
Released internationally on 22 April
Having taken memorable trips to France (Ratatouille), Scotland (Brave) and Mexico (Coco), Pixar heads to Italy for its next cartoon, a sunny coming-of-age comedy directed by Enrico Casarosa and written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones (the co-writer of Soul). In 2011, Casarosa made a beloved Pixar short, La Luna, but Luca is his debut feature. "This is a deeply personal story for me," he has said, "not only because it's set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship." Its hero is a boy named Luca who has a wonderfully carefree summer by the seaside with his new best friend – the only snag being that his friend is actually a sea monster in disguise.
Released internationally on 18 June
Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun flew into cinemas in 1986. Fortunately, Tom Cruise hasn't aged a day since then, so he can still get away with wearing Aviator shades and declaring, "I feel the need, the need for speed". In the long-awaited sequel, Cruise's cocky US Navy pilot, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, is a captain, and his old rival "Iceman" (Val Kilmer) is a four-star general. But there is no sign of Kelly McGillis as Charlie: Jennifer Connolly has replaced her as Cruise's love interest. The other new recruits are Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Miles Teller as the son of Maverick's buddy "Goose".
Released internationally from 2 July