2021 blockbusters Wrath of Man & The Marksman; 2021 Oscar winner Promising Young Woman; 2021 Critics Choice winner Palm Springs; Wonder Woman 1984; The United States Vs. Billie Holiday; Miss Juneteenth and more
WRATH OF MAN | Stream from 20 December 2021
MTV Movie Award winner Guy Ritchie and Critics Choice Nominee Jason Statham – the action dream team that gave us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver – are at it again in Wrath of Man.
Statham (best known as The Transporter, Crank, and Deckard Shaw in the Fast & Furious films) stars as H, a new security guard for a cash truck company, who faces mistrust from his crew after unleashing precision skills during a heist, leaving them questioning his identity, and his motives.
Wrath of Man also stars multiple Teen Choice Award nominee Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Slevin, Black Hawk Down), multi-award winner Eddie Marsan (The World’s End, 21 Grams), BAFTA nominee Niamh Algar (Raised by Wolves, MotherFatherSon), Laz Alonso (The Boys), Teen Choice winner Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Outpost) and Oscar nominee Andy Garcia (the Ocean’s films, The Godfather Part III).
It’s the 35th biggest film of 2021 so far, with RogerEbert.com calling it, “A star vehicle for Jason Statham at his meanest… one of Guy Ritchie’s best-directed movies,” and praising the film’s “voluptuous darkness, so sinister that you may wonder if its main character is the devil himself.”
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN | Stream from 20 January 2022
Everyone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan in an Oscar-nominated performance) was a promising young woman… until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of the past in this thrilling and wildly entertaining story.
Writer-director Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve) won the 2021 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay – just one of 110 awards the film has won. Promising Young Woman has a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell – and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan.”
Emmy winner Bo Burnham (Inside, The Big Sick), Emmy nominees Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black) and Connie Britton (The White Lotus), Critics Choice nominee Alison Brie (GLOW), Teen Choice winners Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus) and Adam Brody (The O.C.) co-star.
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY | Stream from 6 January 2022
Andra Day was nominated for a 2021 Best Actress Oscar and won Black Reel, Golden Globe and Webby Awards as legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, who was targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she has a tumultuous affair.
Two-time Oscar nominee Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) directs this adaptation of Johann Hari’s book Chasing The Scream. Black Reel winner Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Screen Actors Guild nominee Garret Hedlund (Mudbound) and four-time Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll, Orange Is The New Black) co-star.
As Deadline puts it, “You simply cannot say enough about what Day achieves in this role, particularly being a first-time actor. She gets beneath the skin of Holiday, giving a raw and honest portrait of an artist under duress but determined in her belief that she can use that art and talent to make the world a more just place.”
THE MARKSMAN | Stream now, first on Showmax
Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Taken) stars in The Marksman as a rancher (and former US Marine) living on the Arizona border who becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy fleeing cartel assassins.
Critics’ Choice nominee Katheryn Winnick (Vikings’ Lagertha), Teresa Ruiz (Narcos: Mexico), and newcomer Jacob Perez co-star.
Directed by the triple-Oscar nominee and Clint Eastwood-collaborator Robert Lorenz (Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima, American Sniper), it’s the 90th biggest box office hit of 2021 so far.
PALM SPRINGS | Stream now, first on Showmax
The wonderful indie romantic comedy Palm Springs follows two strangers who meet at a wedding in Palm Springs, only to get stuck in a time loop.
The movie stars Emmy winner Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake, Saturday Night Live) and Critics’ Choice Award nominee Cristin Milioti (Mythic Quest, Fargo, How I Met Your Mother), who respectively won Best Actor and Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie at the 2021 Critics Choice Super Awards, where the film also won Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie. Among other honours, Palm Springs won the 2021 Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy, after breaking the records for the biggest sale of a film at Sundance and the most-viewed film in its first weekend on Hulu. It holds a 95% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with IndieWire calling it, “Sweet, funny and demented.”
The cast also includes Oscar winner JK Simmons (La La Land, No Activity, Spider-Man), and Golden Globe winner Peter Gallagher (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Grace and Frankie, The O.C.), as well as award-winning Zimbabwean actor Tongayi Chirisa (Antebellum, iZombie).
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD | Stream from 16 December
The Personal History of David Copperfield re-imagines Charles Dickens’s classic ode to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers, Emmy winners and Oscar nominees Armando Iannucci (Veep) and Simon Blackwell (Succession).
Dev Patel was nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe as the iconic hero on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England. The multi-award-winning film co-stars 10-time Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie (House M.D), Oscar winners Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) and Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), and Emmy nominee Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones).
MISS JUNETEENTH | Stream from 3 January 2022
In the multi-award-winning Miss Juneteenth, a former beauty queen and single mom prepare her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.
The film has a 99% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “Like a pageant winner walking across the stage, Miss Juneteenth follows a familiar path – but does so with charm and grace.”
Miss Juneteenth has won nine awards so far, including from SXSW, and was nominated for eight Black Reel Awards and four Film Independent Spirit Awards in 2021.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 | Stream from 3 January 2022
With director Patty Jenkins back at the helm and Gal Gadot returning in the title role, Wonder Woman 1984 fast forwards to the 1980s as the DC superhero faces two all-new foes: Max Lord (Critics Choice nominee Pedro Pascal from The Mandalorian) and The Cheetah (Oscar nominee Kristen Wiig from Bridesmaids).
The 13th biggest box office hit of 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 also stars Emmy nominees Natasha Rothwell (The White Lotus, Insecure), Robin Wright (House of Cards) and Chris Pine (Star Trek).
Richard Roeper says Wonder Woman 1984 “ups the entertainment in the heroine’s new adventure”, calling the sequel “equal parts thrilling, comedic, romantic and action-packed… Pure pop entertainment.”
CHARM CITY KINGS | Stream now, first on Showmax
Torn between the straight path and gang life, fourteen-year-old Mouse is desperate to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of dirt-bike riders who rule the streets of West Baltimore. During one eventful summer, Mouse must steer his way through two father figures, a first girlfriend, and the illegal but irresistible thrill of stunt-riding.
Charm City Kings’ ensemble cast won the Dramatic Special Jury Award at its Sundance Film Festival premiere in 2020, with RogerEbert.com calling it “an incredible triumph from a slew of fresh talent.”
Executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and produced by Emmy-nominated Cobra Kai exec producers Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter, Charm City Kings stars 2020 BET YoungStars Award nominee Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Grammy nominee Meek Mill, William Catlett (Black Lightning), and Black Reel winner Teyonah Parris (WandaVision, Mad Men, Dear White People).
UNHINGED | Stream now
In Unhinged, Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) is straight-up terrifying in his People’s Choice-nominated performance as a road-rager gone, full-blown psycho.
South African actress Caren Pistorius co-stars as the woman who triggers his road rage, alongside Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, Perpetual Grace, LTD) and child actor Gabriel Bateman (The Mosquito Coast, Andy in the 2019 film Child’s Play).
Unhinged was the 35th biggest box office hit of 2020, with Vanity Fair calling it “a dark and gnarly thriller” and “bracing entertainment.”
BABY DONE | Stream from 30 December
The charming New Zealand indie comedy-drama Baby Done follows free-spirited couple Zoe (comedian Rose Matafeo from Starstruck and Funny Girls) and Tim (Matthew Lewis, better known as Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom, all grown up and gorgeous), who unexpectedly find themselves expecting. But as Tim races towards fatherhood, Zoe attempts to rush through her dreams.
Executive produced by Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows), the film has a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian saying, “Rose Matafeo is wonderful in [this] irresistible film about parenthood,” praising, “the film’s irresistible good-naturedness: its spirit, pluck, bounce,” and adding, “Baby Done is funny; it’s sweet; it means something. Most of all it’s charming.”
ALONE| Stream now, first on Showmax
Jules Willcox (10,000 Days, We Are with the Band) stars in Alone as a recently widowed traveller who is pursued through the wilderness by a ruthless killer (Marc Menchaca from Ozark, Homeland).
The gripping survival thriller holds a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Alone‘s minimalistic approach makes this heightened thriller a gripping and suspenseful experience,” while AV Club praises the film’s “already stripped-down cat-and-mouse scenario that becomes dirtier and more elemental as it goes along, tracing a devolutionary arc from the rules of the road to primaeval combat.”
Also starring Anthony Heald (The Silence of the Lambs), the film’s accolades include the Best Director Award for John Hyams (Z Nation, Black Summer) at Grimmfest 2020.