If there’s one medium bridging the gap amid these turbulent times, it’s entertainment, notably cinema. We all need escapism right now. Thankfully, the intricate world-building and sweeping visuals in genre films provide escapism out the wazoo. Whether it’s a heart-pounding action-thriller, a gripping sci-fi saga, or a breathtaking fantasy epic, genre movies can scratch that get-me-out-of-here itch.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of this year’s most anticipated genre flicks. Take a gander, and mark your calendars for an exciting visit (or three) to your local movie theater!
What happens when a mysterious force knocks the moon out of its orbit and sends it hurtling toward Earth? Pure, unadulterated sci-fi chaos! Moonfall centers on NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), who knows she harbors the key to saving humanity from this lunar crisis. Unfortunately, only conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) and an astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), believe her.
Our protagonist trio embarks on a last-ditch mission into space to take the problem head-on — that is, until they discover the moon is not what it seems.
Moonfall seems like a fun popcorn flick, one of those that doesn’t require “mental gymnastics” and harbors stunning visuals. Sometimes, all you want is visual science fiction stimulation.
Watch the moon fall (get it?) when Moonfall premieres in theaters on February 4.
Before spending time in Andy Davis’s toybox, the Space Ranger embarked on many galactic adventures. Lightyear, featuring Chris Evans voicing the titular character, focuses on Buzz Lightyear, everyone’s favorite straitlaced super hero from the Toy Story franchise. We finally peek behind the curtain at Buzz’s origin story as it unfurls in all its animated, Disney-fied glory. Maybe we’ll see Buzz go … wait for it … to infinity and beyond.
I’ll watch anything with Evans, animated or live action. Plus, the official trailer plays “Starman” by David Bowie, and Bowie’s one of my favorite artists of all time. Who doesn’t love a good origin story?
Witness the dawn of Space Ranger greatness when Lightyear soars into theaters on June 17.
Jurassic World: Dominion
In the immortal words of the fictitious Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Jurassic World: Dominion is the third film in the Jurassic World trilogy, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hitting theaters in 2018 (before the world fell into complete cataclysmic chaos). Dominion explores the fallout post-Fallen Kingdom, set four years after its events. Remember when obscenely wealthy companies worldwide purchased genetically engineered dinosaurs while the rest received free rein to roam the Earth? No inhibitions!
Well, that’s happening, and now our heroes must contend with dinosaurs living outside of Isla Nublar. Maybe they love oat milk lattes just like humans!
You can watch the cute dinosaurs wreak havoc on the big screen when Jurassic World: Dominion arrives in theaters on June 10.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Secrets don’t make friends, Dumbledore! Soon, we’ll return to the magical Wizarding World, wherein Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his friends embark on a perilous journey to defeat Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) once and for all. Set in the 1930s, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore serves as the precursor to the Wizarding World’s involvement in World War II.
The film introduces us to the magical communities in Germany and China while revisiting previously established locations in Brazil, the UK, and the US. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) entrusts Newt and his pals with the immense task of tracking down Grindelwald. Will Dumbledore finally take action in the fight against darkness? I’m curious to watch Mikkelsen as Grindelwald after the Johnny Depp dilemma. Mikkelsen’s a markedly better performer, so, undoubtedly, he’ll sink his teeth into this role with gusto.
Get your wizard on when Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore apparates into theaters on April 15.
What happens when you’re not adequately equipped to survive on an unknown alien planet? Andy Ramirez (Anthony Ramos), a mining engineer, endures his worst nightmare when his transport ship receives a blow from a careening asteroid, sending him hurtling toward a potentially dangerous extraterrestrial planet.
While on the planet, Andy discovers his oxygen supply runs low, and his AI survival suit (Zachary Quinto) refuses to help. Andy finds Naomi (Naomi Scott), another survivor trapped in her escape pod. However, he faces the possibility he might not have enough oxygen to reach her. Oh, and the alien creatures! Every good sci-fi flick boasts a bevy of strange, intriguing creatures. The story sounds original and promising, two descriptors that don’t always accompany each other these days.
Get ready to go the Distant (hee hee) when this science fiction film catapults into theaters on September 16.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Michelle Yeoh, always and forever. Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang, an exhausted Chinese American woman on a mission to do her taxes. You might find yourself thinking, “Is that it? Who wants to watch someone do their taxes?” But Evelyn’s swept up in a monumental sci-fi adventure wherein she must save the world by traveling to other universes and connecting with different versions of herself.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a hilarious, heartwarming, genre-bending romp through the multiversal territory. Plus, it’s always encouraging to see a sci-fi/action heroine over the age of 40, and Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis provide that in spades.
Oh, and there’s a singing raccoon if that’s enough to tip the scales for you.
Embark on a memorable trip through the multiverse when Everything Everywhere All At Once arrives in theaters on March 25.
Don’t Worry Darling
Who doesn’t love a mind-warping psychological thriller? Don’t Worry Darling follows a 1950s housewife dwelling in what appears to be domestic bliss within a utopian experimental community. However, that bliss screeches to a halt when she believes her husband’s using his company to conceal dark, disturbing secrets. It stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, Chris Pine, Nick Kroll, KiKi Layne, and Olivia Wilde, AKA a beautiful cast.
Fun fact: Don’t Worry Darling serves as Wilde’s second project in the directorial chair after her 2019 critically lauded hit, Booksmart.
Color me intrigued! Anything that plays with the mind is right up my alley. Hop aboard the Don’t Worry Darling train when the film opens in theaters on September 23.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Hollywood over the past few years, it’s that there’s a craving for video game adaptations. From the Resident Evil franchise to The Last of Us series coming to HBO, video game adaptations are rising in popularity. Enter: Uncharted, a new flick serving as the prequel to the games of the same name. Tom Holland is Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter who discovers the whereabouts of El Dorado (side note: The Road to El Dorado still “slaps,” as the kids say).
Mark Wahlberg enters the fray as Victor Sullivan and Uncharted charts Nathan and Victor’s mutual path to friendship. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with the source material, but this movie looks like a good time. Like Moonfall, sometimes mindless action can be a balm for the soul.
Prepare to wander into uncharted territory when Uncharted swings into theaters on February 18.
More crash-landing on strange alien terrain! This time, it’s Adam Driver breaching extraterrestrial lands. 65 focuses on Driver’s character, an astronaut (unnamed at the moment), who lands on a mysterious alien world to discover he’s not alone. Okay, so the premise isn’t exactly original, but Adam Driver’s in it, along with Ariana Greenblatt and Chloe Coleman. Sam Raimi produces it!
You can never have too many science fiction films — and this one comes from a screenwriter of A Quiet Place, so suspense is nearly a given. This flick might knock it out of the celestial park. Who knows?
Journey into space and an unknown world with Adam Driver when 65 premieres in theaters on April 29.
What genre films are on your radar this year? Sound off in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!