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Our guide to the movies to watch in 2024 – with trailers





Our film critic, Mark Walsh, looks ahead to 2024’s releases.

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think 2023 was a fantastic year for films, with some strong blockbusters and powerful debuts from promising new directors (read my top 50 movies of 2023 Part I and Part II)

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Warner Bros Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure Dune: Part Two
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Warner Bros Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure Dune: Part Two

I’ve got a feeling I say that every year, but if you’ll excuse me a moment of hyperbole, January alone looks set to make 2024 one of the best years for film in living memory.

Cancel your skiing holiday, send the kids back to school early and tell work you won’t be in until February, because the first month of the year features three films I guarantee will be fighting it out for my top spot in the end of the year, and end of the decade, lists.

January

I love Lanthimos – Yorgos Lanthimos, that is – and my eager anticipation for the new film from the director of Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and The Favourite was thankfully rewarded with one of his most imaginative, funniest and most soul-searching films yet. Poor Things is a reunion between Lanthimos and Emma Stone, who’s unleashed to cause devastation in a steampunk sci-fi fantasy when she’s restored to life by a Frankenstein-esque doctor (Willem Dafoe). Both Stone and Mark Ruffalo as the wrong-‘un who smuggles her away to a new life are fabulous; don’t make me trot out that old cliché about career bests, but it’s not far off in both cases, and Ruffalo’s eyebrows alone deserve awards.

Inexplicably, the studio behind Alexander Payne’s reunion with Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers, have seen fit to release it in January when it will become an all-time favourite Christmas film as early as next Christmas. Giamatti is the college professor forced to stay behind over the Christmas break with the only remaining student (Dominic Sessa) and the school cook (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Giamatti’s acerbic wit, coupled with the festive warmth of David Hemingson’s charming script, mean this will keep the festive feeling going well into the new year.

And as good as those are, it will take a phenomenal film to stop All Of Us Strangers topping my best of 2024 list. Andrew Scott lives almost alone in a tower block, with just Paul Mescal for occasional company, so returns to the family home of the parents (Jamie Bell and Claire Foy) who died when he was a child, only to find them living there at the age they were when he was a child. It’s a beautiful high-concept, delivered to absolute perfection by director Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years, Lean On Pete) and I and many of my fellow critics were still sobbing in the queue for our next film half an hour later when I saw this in October.

The rest of January also looks pretty strong: not one, but two, remakes of films as musicals, with both The Color Purple and Mean Girls getting the song-based treatment. There’s action movie fun to start the year with Jason Statham as The Beekeeper, Jodie Comer is dealing with a watery apocalypse in The End We Start From, Pathaan director Siddharth Anand teams up with Hindi film superstars Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor for Top Gun-inspired action fun in Fighter and Joel Edgerton is the rowing coach for the 1936 American Olympic team in George Clooney’s The Boys In The Boat.

February

The biggest prizes in British film will be handed out at the BAFTAs on the 18th, and expect at least a couple of February releases to be in the mix for those when they’re handed out. Jeffrey Wright is the novelist who frustratedly writes a spoof of poor black novels, only to discover it’s a massive hit, in satirical comedy American Fiction. Jonathan Glazer returns with his first feature film since the jaw-dropping Under The Skin with the equally seismic The Zone Of Interest. Glazer takes inspiration from the Martin Amis novel of the same name that centres around the family life of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, delivering a film of quiet devastation and judgment.

And for those who love a sports biography, Sean Durkin’s The Iron Claw sees Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson as members of a successful wrestling family that’s repeatedly beset by personal tragedy. Ava DuVernay also looks at divides in class and society in Origin, while Steve McQueen’s latest, Occupied City, is another four-hour meditation on the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during the Second World War.

For the more general crowd there’s a variety of treats to lap up as well. Matthew Vaughn brings the same vibe as his Kingsman action films to Argylle, a spy comedy where writer Bryce Dallas Howard finds her writing is bearing a little too much relation to the real world.

Dakota Johnson headlines the latest entry, alongside Venom and Morbius, into the Sony live-action Spider-verse as a clairvoyant attempting to protect three young women in Madame Web. And Olivia Colman is among the women who thinks Jessie Buckley might be sending them sweary missives in Wicked Little Letters.

March and April

We’ve had to wait a while because of writers’ strikes and other delays, but the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel finally arrives; Dune: Part Two adds Florence Pugh and Austin Butler to the already all-star cast of part one. Ethan Coen also has an impressive cast for his road trip comedy Drive-Away Dolls, including Pedro Pascal and Matt Damon, and Luca Guadagnino’s tennis romance drama Challengers pits Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor against each other on court and off with Zendaya caught in the middle. Parasite director Bong Joon Ho delivers a sci-fi epic starring Robert Pattinson, Toni Collette and Mark Ruffalo in Mickey 17 and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s drama Back To Black looks at the development of Amy Winehouse’s most famous album.

There’s also big-budget thrills from John Wick director David Leitch as he reimagines Eighties TV series The Fall Guy, this time with Ryan Gosling instead of Lee Majors as stuntman Colt Severs and Emily Blunt the director telling him what to do. Kung Fu Panda 4 sees Jack Black’s Po trying to find a new Dragon Warrior, Jeff Wadlow’s horror Imaginary sees a woman tormented by the imagination of her past, there’s another face-off between massive monsters in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and there are returns for faces of both generations to see off a (quite literally) chilling new threat in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Paul Rudd, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd are among those strapping on their proton packs once again.

May and June

Release dates become harder to predict around this time of year, but after some delays it’s rumoured this is around the time we’ll get Jeff Nichols’ excellent study of biker life in the Sixties. Tom Hardy and Austin Butler are among The Bikeriders with Jodie Comer as Butler’s long-suffering wife. Also delivering an epic is Kevin Costner, who returns to the Western with two-parter Horizon: An American Saga, Sienna Miller and Sam Worthington among those in an all-star cast charting the transition from the Civil War to the Western era. IF stands for Imaginary Friend, and Ryan Reynolds is among those who suddenly discover the creatures from their childhoods coming to cuddly life again.

Other than that, expect a diet of sequels, prequels and remakes: George Miller goes back in time with Mad Max prequel Furiosa, and also in prequel territory Ana De Armas is the Ballerina in the John Wick universe. There’s a time jump forward a few hundred years for Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes and one of much less time for Pixar sequel Inside Out 2. A Quiet Place: Day 1 is also treading the prior route, while Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are once again working out what they’re gonna do as Bad Boys 4.

Rest of the year

More revisiting franchises is the general order of the day; the awards season contenders should become clearer as the year progresses, but Todd Philips’ follow-up Joker: Folie à Deux might follow in the previous film’s footsteps in gaining awards attention. Will it really be a musical, though? Being revived after various lengths of time are Minions wrangler Steve Carell as Gru in Despicable Me 4, Michael Keaton finally being summoned once again by saying his name three times in Beetlejuice 2, with Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara also back for spooky antics for Tim Burton. Ridley Scott is also making a long-anticipated return, this time with Commodus’ nephew Lucius all grown up and being played by Paul Mescal in Gladiator 2. We’ll see if third time is the charm as much as the first two were with Paddington In Peru, or if there’s any charm left as Eddie Murphy breaks out the wisecracks again in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

We’ll only get one Marvel movie this year, so let’s hope that Deadpool 3, finally putting Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman together on screen as Deadpool and Wolverine, can deliver on expectations, while there’s more Sony Spider-verse action with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Kraven The Hunter. There’s a brand new group of tornado chasers, with Daisy Edgar-Jones and Glen Powell hunting down the Twisters in the follow up to the 1996 original, while Disney delivers a live-action prequel with Mufasa: The Lion King. Finally, we can look forward to the first part of musical adaptation Wicked, with part 2 joining the other films we can anticipate – from superhero reboots Superman: Legacy and Fantastic Four to delayed sequel Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 2 – in 2025…



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