Hello, everyone, and welcome back to The Friendly Film Fan! We’re a little ways into 2020 already (and I promise I will get back on the review circuit soon), but much of the best movies this year are yet to come. There are so many more movie besides just these 10 that I’m eager to watch, and many that will release during Oscar season which don’t even have any marketing released yet, but nevertheless, with what I know about the release calendar right now, it looks like this new decade is starting off with some fond farewells and explosive introductions. I will write most of the descriptions, but there are a few here which come from Deadline that I’ll mostly let speak for themselves. Now, it’s time to begin. Here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2020!
10. West Side Story (2020)
When Steve Spielberg says he’s making a movie, I get excited. When it’s discovered to be a remake of one of the single most iconic movie musicals of all time, and the lead is a total unknown, I get even more excited. West Side Story needs no introduction in terms of its plot, music, or characters, but seeing Spielberg take a crack at it will certainly be interesting to watch; if nothing else, many of the best performances of all time have come from complete unknowns like Rachel Zegler (who will playing Maria), and it releases in December (the prime spot of awards season contenders), so that’s something to look forward to.
From Deadline: Spotlight director Tom McCarthy returns to similarly prestige-looking terrain with this Participant movie about a father who travels from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter who has been arrested for murder. Script comes from McCarthy and Jacques Audiard collaborators Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré. Matt Damon stars. Focus and UPI will roll out beginning in early November, following a similar pattern as eventual Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, which debuted at Venice.
My take: Spotlight, while far from a mind-blowing spectacle or a life-changing experience, is one of the more “objectively” good movies to come out of the 2010s; the script was sharp, the performances were all great, the direction was on point, and the story itself tackled an incredibly sensitive issue without getting too dramatic about its presentation or lionizing its protagonists as some sort of “savior” group. The film would go on to (as mentioned above) win Best Picture at the Oscars, and be cemented as one of the top dramas about investigative journalism ever put to screen (perhaps the best since All the President’s Men). Given these facts, Matt Damon’s recent career track with The Martian and Ford v Ferrari (both of which he was exceptional in), and this incredibly interesting premise, it’s almost impossible not to get excited about a new McCarthy project, especially given that its rollout schedule takes place in the heart of Oscar season.
From Deadline: Rebecca Hall makes her directing debut on this classy looking drama adaptation of the Harlem Renaissance novel by Nella Larsen. Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Andre Holland star in the story about the practice of racial passing, a term coined to classify a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group.
My take: Rebecca Hall has always been one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, churning out great performances in any number of movies (regardless of their quality), and directing debuts from established creatives always get me excited. Some of the best movies of the past decade (Lady Bird, Get Out), and indeed of all time (Citizen Kane) have been directorial debuts, and with the absolutely killer cast she’s assembled, I have a feeling Rebecca Hall has something to say that will ring as truly powerful and poignant to us all.
7. Black Widow
Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, debuted to solid reception, but not quite the buzz they were probably hoping for, and the film’s faults started to come to light pretty quickly (no, not Brie Larson herself, who the manbabies who are still mad at for…existing, I guess; I’m talking about the story faults). Add to that the fact that fans of the MCU have been clamoring for a Black Widow solo film ever since the original Avengers, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty hot hype train. The story is meant to be set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, but since Marvel decided to complete the character’s arc in Avengers: Endgame, fans have also been wondering just how much impact on the universe as a whole the film can really have. The teaser trailer definitely has a lot going for it, especially with Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour now in the mix, as well as some tense music and great costume design, so it will be interesting to see if the more grounded, Winter Soldier-like approach to the film that the trailer displays will end up being the right call. As it stands now, though, it looks like yet another hit for the Marvel Studios box office behemoth.
From Deadline: David Fincher’s anticipated drama-biopic follows legendary screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic 1941 movie Citizen Kane. The Netflix pic stars Gary Oldman in the title role with Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried and Charles Dance, and Tom Burke as Welles.
My take: Netflix has been absolutely killing it on the awards circuit lately, bringing no less than three major Academy Awards contenders to the forefront of the 2019-2020 awards season, and with David Fincher back in the film director’s chair for the first time since 2014’s Gone Girl, it’ll be fascinating to see what he’s able to do in dissecting the development and credit battles over what many claim is arguably the greatest movie of all time.
Christopher Nolan is either the most overrated director of all time or one of the most underrated writers of all time, depending on who you are and what your particular take is, but the fact can’t be denied that his films are just as interesting as they are well-produced, and this John David Washington-led film looks to be right on the same track. After Dunkirk finally got Nolan his long-awaited Best Director nomination, and snagged one of the Best Picture slots in the process, anything he did next would be under the microscope of every movie fan on the planet, and as he loves to do, he’s playing with time again. The trailer teased some pretty exciting things, including the presence of Robert Pattinson as Washington’s co-star, and the plot seems to be dialed into the notion of palindromes (words that are the same backwards and forwards), hence the title. Who knows how this will turn out in the end, but it certainly looks to be the most intriguing movie of the year so far.
The director of Inside Out, one of the absolute best animated movies of all time, goes from the mind to the soul, with Pixar back in the mix to throw in their brilliant animation and lighting engines. It’s sure to look stunning, be hilarious, and probably make us all blubber tears until our eyes run out of water. In the words of one Michael Scott, “I am ready to get hurt again.”
3. No Time to Die
I already wrote a bit about this “Bond film for a MeToo era” in my piece on the Top 10 Best Movie Trailers of 2019, but if anything more can be said, it’s that the film looks to be a high point for the franchise, and a great note on which Daniel Craig can bow out and transition over to his newly-acquired Knives Out follow-up franchise.
2. Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman 1984 marks not just the sequel to one of the most well-received superhero films of all time (even with the much weaker third act), but also a significant step in tone-setting for the DCEU going forward, and with Patty Jenkins back at the helm, it looks to be a brilliantly fun ride. I also wrote about this film in my Top 10 Trailers piece, but suffice it to say, I’m excited to such a degree, you could almost call it giddiness.
Denis Villeneuve will likely go down as the best director to come out of this past decade (he’s already in contention with the best of all time), with the brilliant Prisoners debuting just the year before in 2009, and then a slew of great films following in Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049, the last of which is one of the greatest sequels ever made and one of my top 10 movies of all time. He has such a distinct handle on every story he tells, it’s impossible not to get excited for the next one, and he is the primary reason (in front of only the incredible ensemble cast he’s assembled and reports that the footage shown so far echoes the breathtaking spirit of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars) to be excited for this adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel. With a story like Dune, and every production member on the film (that we know of) working at the top of their game, this thing is bound to have an epic scope; if Villeneuve pulls this off, he could land yet a third time at the top of my list for the Top 10 Best Films of the Year. We’ll have to wait and see.
And those are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2020! What are some films you’re looking forward to this year? Any not on this list (or below) that you think deserve a mention? Let me know in the comment section below! Thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan
Other Films to Look Forward to in 2020: