After seeing a record low 62 films in theaters last year, I was not only determined to watch 100 films in theaters this year, as I always do, but to break my personal record of seeing over 117 films in theaters this year. Luckily for me, I was able to graduate film school this year as well as break that personal record. In 2019 I saw 123 films in theaters (roughly one film every three days). 2019 was like any other year for film. A lot of mediocre and bad movies with most of the films of quality coming in the fall, around Oscar season. Before we look ahead to this coming year and what you should make a mental note of what to look out for, let’s first take a brief look back at my most anticipated films from last year’s list and see how my picks panned out…
10. Rocketman – 9/10 Saw this film twice, loved it, which shouldn’t be too big of a surprise since I am a massive Elton John fan and hope Taron Egerton gets some love come Oscar nomination time.
9. Aladdin – 6/10 Although much better than “The Lion King” from this summer, I was overall disappointed and this live action remake did not live up to the animated original film. Decent if you keep your expectations in check.
8. Velvet Buzzsaw – 6/10 Some fantastic performances and a memorable setting couldn’t make up for the horror clichés and lack of genuine scares. The details are finely painted but the overall plot could have used a few more coats of paint.
7. IT: Chapter Two – 2.5/10 The most disappointing movie of 2019 for me following such an amazing first film, which was the best horror film of 2017. The movie falls prey to King’s source material with its terrible ending included. A terrible movie.
6. Midsommar – 8/10 Although not as incredible as the best film of last year, “Hereditary”, “Midsommar” is a horror film that has a lot going for it and some of the most memorably imagery of the year. If only it didn’t owe so much to “The Wicker Man”.
5. Ad Astra – 7/10 A good movie that is more of a strong character study of a son and his father instead of an action packed space adventure like you’d expect from Ridley Scott. Some beautiful elements to admire but won’t blow you away.
4. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker – 5/10 There are elements to appreciate (visual effects, score, entertainment value) but this newest trilogy is so jumbled as this movie tries to undo what “The Last Jedi” did. This movie’s own worst enemy is itself.
3. Avengers: Endgame – 7/10 An epic conclusion with some amazing battle scenes and emotional farewells. The film gets bogged down with some of the time travel elements and some plot problems but overall is a worthy ending to this phase of the MCU.
2. The Irishman – 8.5/10 Martin Scorsese delivers another great film that may not reach the level of some of his other gangster films, but this film is completely different than all his other gangster films as Scorsese reflects upon life and death through this well acted narrative.
1. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – 7.5/10 Although I was slightly disappointed due to the insanely high standards Tarantino has set for himself, this film grows on me the more I watch it. It may have some problems but it has the cool factor, is fun to watch and may be my favorite film of 2019.
Looking back at last year’s list, only “IT: Chapter Two” is the lone terrible movie with “The Rise of Skywalker” closing out a disappointing trilogy with mediocrity. The rest of the films were fairly enjoyable and some are some of the year’s best films. I’m proud of the list and look forward to evaluating the list of 2020 films when next year comes to a close. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some Honorable Mentions so we can get into the Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2020…
20. The Many Saints of Newark (*DELAYED UNTIL 2021*)
19. Death on the Nile (October 9th 2020)
18. Black Widow (November 6th 2020)
17. Onward (March 6th 2020)
16. Promising Young Woman (TBA 2020)
15. News of the World (December 25th 2020)
14. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (September 4th 2020)
13. Eternals (*DELAYED UNTIL 2021*)
12. The Card Counter (Fall 2020)
11. The King of Staten Island (June 12th 2020/Straight to VOD)
10. Last Night in Soho
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2021*
Director: Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver)
Screenwriters: Edgar Wright, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Starring: Anya Taylor Joy, Matt Smith, Thomasin McKenzie, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: A girl goes back in time to the 1960s in London. Wright calls it a psychological horror-thriller in the vein of “Don’t Look Now” and Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion”. The film will take place in London’s Soho district.
9. Nightmare Alley
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2021*
Director: Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Crimson Peak, The Shape of Water)
Screenwriters: Guillermo del Toro, Kim Morgan
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Ron Perlman, Holt McCallany, Richard Jenkins
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: Based on the William Lindsay Greshem novel of the same name, the story follows the exploits of Stanton Carlisle, a ruthless hustler who learns the tricks of the carny trade and uses them to establish himself as a spiritual guru, preying on the wealthy and the weak.
8. No Time to Die
Release Date: November 20th 2020
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1, Beasts of No Nation, 2018’s Maniac Season 1)
Screenwriters: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Scott Z. Burns, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Ana de Armas, Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Naomie Harris, Billy Magnussen
Plot Summary: In “No Time To Die”, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
7. Army of the Dead
Release Date: Late 2020
Director: Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen)
Screenwriters: Zack Snyder, Joby Harold, Shay Hatten
Starring: Dave Bautista, Chris D’Elia, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
6. The Last Duel
Release Date: December 25th 2020
Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Alien: Covenant)
Screenwriters: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: This true story takes place in 1386 and tells the story a Norman knight who returns from war to find his wife accusing his old friend of raping her. The story sees the French court decide the fate of the accusation with trial by combat between the pair.
Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows
5. The Mandalorian Season 2 – October 2020 (Disney+)
4. The Righteous Gemstones Season 2 – Late Summer 2020 (HBO)
3. South Park Season 24 – September 2020 (Comedy Central)
2. Yellowstone Season 3 – June 21st 2020 (Paramount Network)
1. Westworld Season 3 – March 15th 2020 (HBO)
FINAL NOTE: Every year I look for patterns or similarities with my most anticipated films and without giving away what is in my Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2020, you can see that most of these films I selected are bigger budget spectacle films. Even though I often tend to gravitate towards the low to mid budget range films, there are a few very talented film makers putting out some huge scale work this year, which is exciting. Surprisingly, there are three remakes in my Top 10 films. I normally steer away from unoriginality, but I think once you see the full list, you will see why I included these films and that I still have plenty of room for originality on my list. It is also worth nothing that 3 of my Top 20 and 2 of my Top 10 most anticipated films of 2020 will currently be released on September 25th, 2020. Normally September is not a great month for film, but it looks like if these release dates hold, we are all in for a treat come late September. I would love to see you guys try to predict which films will crack my Top 5. A few should be obvious but I will Venmo $10 to anyone whom can get all 5 predictions (order doesn’t matter). Congrats to last year’s winner: Grady Owen of Chicago, Illinois. As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for the Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2020 coming tomorrow. Happy New Year!