Maybe by the end of 2022 we can hit the multiplexes without masks? In the meantime, here are some cinematic offerings in the new year that might make it worth heading to the theaters. Dates are, perhaps more than ever in this still-pandemicked world, subject to change; streaming dates, where applicable, will be announced later.
‘Parallel Mothers’Now in theaters (limited release): This one, directed by Pedro Almodovar, is technically a 2021 release and you’ll definitely be hearing Oscar buzz around it, particularly for Penelope Cruz in the central role. She plays a new mother who bonds with a young woman she meets at the hospital where they both gave birth — but the story soon takes an unsettling turn. Cruz always makes magic for Almodovar’s camera; their collaboration now goes back 25 years, to 1997’s “Live Flesh.”
Feb. 25: Full disclosure: I have a weakness for any film involving tailoring or dressmaking. So this one seems tailor-made (ha! Sorry!) for me: A former Savile Row tailor, played by Mark Rylance (an Oscar winner for “Bridge of Spies”), relocates to Chicago and finds himself caught in the web of the mobsters for whom he makes suits. Could be fun?
March 4: Superhero franchises never die; they just keep rebooting. The latest reimagining of the Caped Crusader features Robert Pattinson (who will always be the “Twilight” glittery vampire dude to me) in the title role, along with Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman (now that’s a promising bit of casting), Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Paul Dano as the Riddler and Colin Farrell as the Penguin.
‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’
March 18: Plot information on this movie is scarce, but we can assume that it is a New Era over at Downton Abbey (though, didn’t they say that on practically every episode?), that Lady Mary will say some delightfully caustic things, that Carson will fret over These Modern Times, that Lady Edith will have a crisis and that excellent hats will be worn. I’m there.
‘The Lost City’
March 25: Based solely on the trailer I am prepared to say that this might be the most charming movie ever, and I think we all need to see it immediately. Please let me not be wrong. Sandra Bullock plays a romance novelist with a hot cover model (Channing Tatum) and they end up kidnapped and in a jungle (in sequins!) somewhere and Daniel Radcliffe and Brad Pitt both show up. See what I mean?
‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
May 6: The summer movie season kicks off with this superhero saga, which you might know something about if you understood those post-credit sequences in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Benedict Cumberbatch returns in the title role; Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star. And director Sam Raimi returns to the Marvel universe after a long absence (his last outing: “Spider-Man 3,” otherwise known as The Third Tobey Maguire One, in 2007).
July 22: Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”) likes to keep his movie plots under wraps, so all we know at this point is that “Nope” is another horror movie from Peele’s creative mind, that it will star Daniel Kaluuya (Oscar-nominated for “Get Out”), Keke Palmer and Steven Yuen, that it will likely scare us to death and get us talking, and that Peele likes movies titles with very few letters in them.
‘Mission: Impossible 7’
Sept. 30: Thus is the third “M:I” installment from writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, and the first two — “Rogue Nation” and “Fallout” — were pretty thrilling indeed. Tom Cruise, as super spy Ethan Hunt, will once again perform death-defying feats; alongside him will be Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Kirby, and (new to the series) Esai Morales and Cary Elwes.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Nov. 11: As difficult as it is to imagine this franchise without Chadwick Boseman (who died of cancer in 2020), the new film will reunite director Ryan Coogler with original cast members Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya and Martin Freeman.
Nov. 18: Maria Schrader, an Emmy winner for the Netflix series “Unorthodox,” directs this based-on-a-true story drama about two New York Times reporters, played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, who uncovered evidence of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual misconduct. I love this cast, which also includes Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher and Samantha Morton.