Mandatory Movies: 15 Lesser-known Films to Be Excited About (Including ‘Without Remorse’)
So many movies are desperately awaiting their 15 minutes of fame in the wake of 2020’s dial-tone release schedule. You know the big ones; from Black Widow and Zack Snyder’s Justice League to No Time to Die, A Quiet Place Part II, and Mortal Kombat. You’ve seen the trailer starring Emma Stone as a Harley-Quinn-esque Cruella. Marvel, DC, and outrageous budgets aside, there are plenty of lesser-known movies that are just as exciting as superheroes. Maybe you’ve seen the trailer for Without Remorse, maybe you haven’t (you probably have). Until recently, or perhaps this very moment, it wasn’t on your radar. The following projects feature stars you know in films you don’t (yet).
Cover Photo: Amazon Studios
'Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal' (March 17)
So far, 2021 been a year of documentaries. Operation Varsity Blues is set to follow suit, covering 2019’s college admissions scandal involving such figures as Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin. Chris Smith’s documentary dramatizes real conversations and events with Mathew Modine (who you probably only remember from The Dark Knight Rises) as Rick Singer, the man behind the conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several top American universities.
'Happily' (March 19)
Watching the trailer for Happily, it’s likely you have no idea what’s going on. Not often does the genre of romantic comedy get mixed with thriller. The film sees Tom (Joel McHale) and Janet (Kerry Bishé) ostracized because their marriage is still going strong after 14 years. Because of this, the couple begins to question the loyalty of their friends. Throw in a dead government official and a particularly suspicious couple’s retreat and we have no idea what’s going to happen next.
'City of Lies' (March 19)
Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker’s City of Lies was derailed in 2018 for a variety of reason...based on Randall Sullivan’s LAbyrinth, the film follows Los Angeles Police Department detective Russell Poole (Depp) spending multiple years trying to solve the murders of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur—which remains open. Poole teams up with reporter Jack Jackson (Whitaker) to unravel a web of lies and corruption.
'Nobody' (March 26)
Bob Odenkirk’s latest project, Nobody, written by Derek Kolstad and produced by David Leitch (John Wick vets), embraces a pulpy manifestation of the latter. His character is Hutch Mansell, a family man suffering from PTSD. When thieves break into his home, he refuses to defend himself or his family. This incident causes his family and friends to label him a “nobody” until he intervenes to help a woman being harassed, putting him in the crosshairs of a drug lord and revealing his past as “an auditor.”
'The Unholy' (April 2)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in Evan Spiliotopoulos’ directorial debut, The Unholy, based on James Herbert’s novel Shrine. The film follows a hearing-impaired girl who suddenly can hear and heal the sick after a supposed visit from the Virgin Mary. Morgan plays a disgraced journalist who goes to her small New England town to investigate.
'Voyagers' (April 9)
Neil Burger’s Voyagers looks like Brave New World in space. The film follows 30 young men and women who are sent into space on a multi-generational mission in search of a new home; however, the crew reverts to a more primal state and madness ensues. Its cast includes Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Colin Farrell, Chanté Adams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Viveik Kalra, Archie Madekwe, and Quintessa Swindell.
'Monday' (April 16)
Sebastian Stand and Denise Gough star in Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ drama, Monday, following the love story of Mickey and Chloe who meet one summer night in Athens.
'Without Remorse' (April 30)
Based on the novel by Tom Clancy, Without Remorse sees Michael B. Jordan go full revenge trope as an elite Navy Seal seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife. Also, obviously, various conspiracies threaten an all-out war between the U.S. and Russia.
'The Woman in the Window' (May 14)
Darkest Hour director Joe Wright’s adaptation of A. J. Finn’s controversial novel of the same name, The Woman in the Window was supposed to be released in October of 2019. The psychological thriller, following an agoraphobic who’s secluded life gets turned upside down by the family across the street, is finally going to see the light of day. Its stellar cast, including Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, and Julianne Moore, is reason enough to check it out.
'Those Who Wish Me Dead' (May 14)
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Wind River), Those Who Wish Me Dead is an adaptation of Michael Koryta’s novel of the same name. It follows a teenager who witnesses a murder and finds himself pursued by assassins in a burning Montana forest. Its cast includes Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, and Jon Bernthal.
'Army of the Dead' (May 21)
All this talk of the Snyder Cut of Justice League is overshadowing the director’s other big-budget venture this year: Army of the Dead. As a sequel to 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, Army of the Dead follows a group of mercenaries who venture into a quarantine zone to pull off an Ocean’s Eleven-esque heist in Las Vegas. Why does money matter in the zombie apocalypse? Who knows. The case includes Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Matthias Schweighöfer.
'Old' (July 23)
Employing the phrase “hit-or-miss” when talking about The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan is, well, accurate. Following laughable films like The Village and The Happening, many were surprised when Split (2016) wasn’t ridiculous. Now we have this year’s Old, about a family who stumbles across an idyllic island where they begin to age rapidly. Whether this filming will be absurd or intriguing is anyone’s guess but we’re hoping for the latter. The cast includes Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, and Ken Leung.
'The Green Knight' (July 30)
The Green Knight follows Gawain after accepting a challenge to strike (and behead) the eponymous Green Knight. The latter responds by picking up his head and promising to return the favor in a year and a day. The classic tale deconstructs many of the genre’s conventions (chivalry, courtly love, etc.) something A24 and David Lowery’s adaptation will no doubt utilize. The film will star Dev Patel as Gawain and Ralph Ineson as the Green Knight. It will also star Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, and Barry Keoghan.
'Reminiscence' (September 3)
Lisa Joy’s (Westworld) feature, Reminiscence, debut takes place in a near-future Miami where people can relive memories of their choosing. When a private investigator falls in love and his newfound love-interest is implicated in a series of violent crimes (via relived memories), he must unravel the truth about the woman he fell for. The cast includes Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandie Newton, Daniel Wu, and Cliff Curtis.
'The Many Saints of Newark' (September 24)
David Chase is returning to the world of The Sopranos, writing and producing Alan Taylor’s prequel, The Many Saints of Newark. The film will explore the story of Christopher Moltisanti's and Anthony Sopranos' fathers back in the '60s and '70s with James Gandolfini, Michael, playing his father’s role. The cast also includes Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, and Ray Liotta.
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