‘One Night in Miami’ features Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir).


When it comes to the movies, 2021 will resemble 2020 – at least for a while.

Theaters were closed for much of last year as a COVID-19 safety measure, which sent Hollywood into chaos yet also put an emphasis on audiences getting new films via streaming services and video-on-demand digital platforms. And with 2021 beginning just as 2020 ended, with surges in coronavirus cases and stay-at-home orders again bringing productions to a standstill, it doesn’t seem that moviegoing will return to normal anytime soon.

So that’s the bad news. The good news, however, is there’s plenty of stuff coming to keep you entertained, from Oscar-ready films to star-filled projects. Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV+ continue to generate original fare, plus Warner Bros. is making its entire 2021 slate – including huge franchise films like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Dune” and “The Matrix 4” – available the same day in theaters and on HBO Max (for 31 days).

Here are 10 movies coming in the first half of the year that you’ll definitely want to put on your streaming calendar:

Ranked! The 10 best movies of 2020, from ‘One Night in Miami’ to ‘The Invisible Man’

What to stream: All the Warner Bros. movies coming to HBO Max, from ‘In the Heights’ to ‘Suicide Squad’

‘One Night in Miami’ (Jan. 15)

Stars: Eli Goree, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kingsley Ben-Adir

Director: Regina King

The skinny: After winning the heavyweight title in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay (Goree) gathers his friends and fellow icons – NFL star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), singer Sam Cooke (Odom) and activist Malcolm X (Ben-Adir) – for a celebration. A hotel room is ground zero for a lively discussion about their lives, passions, beliefs and roles in the civil rights movement in King’s directorial debut.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

‘Palmer’ (Jan. 29)

Stars: Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple and Alisha Wainwright

Director: Fisher Stevens

The skinny: In one of his most dramatic acting roles, Timberlake plays a former Louisiana high-school football star who spends 12 years in the slammer. A story of redemption follows as he returns home to live with his grandmother (June Squibb), finds a connection with a bullied 7-year-old (Ryder Allen) living next door, and falls for the youngster’s teacher (Wainwright), though he’s still haunted by the past.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

‘Malcolm & Marie’ (Feb. 5)

Stars: Zendaya and John David Washington

Director: Sam Levinson

The skinny: Filmed during the pandemic, the black-and-white romantic drama – and ode to old-school Hollywood movies – stars Washington as a filmmaker and Zendaya as his girlfriend who attend a high-profile premiere. Awaiting the reviews from critics, the couple returns home for a night filled with unforeseen revelations that will test their love and relationship.

Where to watch: Netflix

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (Feb. 12)

Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya and Martin Sheen

Director: Shaka King

The skinny: The 1960s-set period drama stars Stanfield as a criminal who, instead of going to jail, accepts a plea deal to work with the FBI as an informant. His mission: Infiltrate and gather intelligence on Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), chairman of Illinois’ Black Panther Party, when the government becomes concerned Hampton is putting together a rainbow coalition of oppressed people.

Where to watch: HBO Max

‘Supernova’ (Feb. 16)

Stars: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci and Pippa Haywood

Director: Harry Macqueen

The skinny: In the touching love story, Sam (Firth) and Tusker (Tucci) star as a gay couple who’ve been together for 20 years. When Tusker is diagnosed with early onset dementia, they vow to spend as much time together as they can, which includes hopping in a camper van and traveling across England to see loved ones and places from their past.

Where to watch: Video on demand

‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ (Feb. 26)

Stars: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes and Garrett Hedlund 

Director: Lee Daniels

The skinny: Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Day stars as legendary jazz vocalist Billie Holiday in this drama set in 1940s New York City. The federal government’s escalation of its war on drugs targets Holiday to keep her from singing her controversial ballad “Strange Fruit,” and her defiance proves crucial to the nascent civil rights movement.

Where to watch: Hulu

‘Coming 2 America’ (March 5)

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Jermaine Fowler

Director: Craig Brewer

The skinny: With a supporting cast including James Earl Jones, Tracy Morgan and Wesley Snipes, the sequel to the beloved 1988 comedy returns Murphy as newly crowned King Akeem (Murphy) of Zamunda and Hall as his confidante Semmi, who return to Queens when Akeem finds out he fathered a son (Fowler) with a New York City woman (Leslie Jones).

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ (March 5)

Stars: Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina

Directors: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada

The skinny: Set in the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons used to live in harmony, the Disney animated adventure centers on lone warrior Raya (voiced by Tran) faced with the return of the dangerous, monstrous Druun. To save the world, Raya has to find the mythical last dragon, a magical and self-deprecating sort named Sisu (Awkwafina).

Where to watch: Disney+

‘Cherry’ (March 12)

Stars: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo and Jack Reynor

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

The skinny: The Russo brothers (the filmmakers behind the last three “Avengers” movies) re-team with Holland for this darkly comic coming-of-age tale. Holland’s title character is a young Ohio college dropout and Army medic who returns from Iraq a war hero, finds himself beset by symptoms of PTSD. He robs banks to finance his drug addiction, which puts Cherry’s relationship with his true love (Bravo) at risk. 

Where to watch: Apple TV+

‘The Woman in the Window’ (spring/summer)

Stars: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore

Director: Joe Wright

The skinny: Based on the A.J. Finn novel, the thriller stars Adams as agoraphobic psychologist Anna Fox, who never leaves her brownstone and spies on nearby residents. Anna befriends a woman (Moore) living across the street, witnesses a bloody incident involving her neighbor through the window, and then a mystery arises involving the cops and the woman’s husband (Oldman). 

Where to watch: Netflix

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