After breaking my own personal record and seeing 123 films in theaters in 2019, I was mentally prepared to see less movies in 2020 due to working. As we all know, the world drastically changed thanks to the Coronavirus and jobs I wanted were put on hiring freezes, leaving me in limbo. The good news is that it did allow me to expand what I watched and reviewed for this site. I was only able to see 65 films in theaters in 2020 due to theaters being closed down for several months. Considering in 2018 I only saw 62 films, with all theaters open all year long, I actually managed to watch quite a bit. Add to that the 55 Netflix films I reviewed and the 24 seasons of various TV shows I reviewed throughout the year in addition to various films from HBO, Amazon, Apple+, etc. and you actually have a very substantial amount of content I was able to dive into. Every year when I make this list there are usually around two films in my Top 10 that get delayed to the following year. Due to the Coronavirus in 2020, 7 out of my 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2020 were pushed to 2021, something that has never happened before. This list will contain several of those holdovers and well as some newer films that were always intended for 2021. 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. Last Night in Soho – *DELAYED TO 2021*
9. Nightmare Alley – *DELAYED TO 2021*
8. No Time to Die – *DELAYED TO 2021*
7. Army of the Dead – DELAYED TO 2021*
6. The Last Duel – *DELAYED TO 2021*
5. West Side Story – *DEALYED TO 2021*
4. Mank – 7/10 “Mank” is a good movie whose technical aspects and acting is virtually flawless and will impressive anyone who watches. Unfortunately, because David Fincher is one of the best working directors today (and of all time), the bar is set so high that this falls short of some of his other classics and leaves you feeling slightly underwhelmed when it’s all said and done, largely because of its script, which falls short of David Fincher’s talents.
3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 – 8/10 While not on the same level as Aaron Sorkin’s previous directorial effort, “Molly’s Game” (10/10), this follow up is still a great film with an unbelivably talented cast and Sorkin’s reliably strong dialogue that he is known for. Full of historical information, humor and heart, this is a film everyone should take a look at.
2. Tenet – 6/10 Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite writer/directors of all time but even the best of filmmakers stumble from time to time. While elements like the visuals, score and acting are top notch, the script is Nolan’s weakest as none of the characters are developed and we could care less about all of them. Pair that with Nolan’s sound mixing, which continues to get worse with every film and we end up with Nolan’s weakest film to date.
1. Dune – *DELAYED TO 2021*
Looking back at last year’s list, since 70% of them were delayed, I can’t make a fair assessment of how well my predictions turned out. Of the three that were released, there are only a couple of takeaways. First off, Netflix is becoming a bigger powerhouse in terms of snatching up Oscar worthy films and establishing relationships with geniuses like David Fincher. Netflix, able to operate without theaters, had their best year and despite some controversy (“Cuties”), isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Finally, if you would have told me that Christopher Nolan’s latest film would have been one of the most disappointing of the year, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some Honorable Mentions so we can get into the Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2021…
20. Amsterdam (*DELAYED UNTIL 2022*)
19. The Many Saints of Newark (October 1st 2021)
18. Eternals (November 5th 2021)
17. The Card Counter (September 10th 2021)
16. The Green Knight (July 30th 2021)
15. Last Night in Soho (October 29th 2021)
14. House of Gucci (November 24th 2021)
13. Nightmare Alley (December 17th 2021)
12. Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17th 2021)
11. No Time to Die (October 8th 2021)
10. Army of the Dead
Release Date: May 21st 2021
Director: Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen)
Screenwriters: Zack Snyder, Joby Harold, Shay Hatten
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Garret Dillahunt, Raul Castillo, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Matthias Schweighöfer
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, gore and language throughout, some sexual content and brief nudity/graphic nudity
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI1JGPhYBS8&ab_channel=Netflix
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.
9. The Last Duel
Release Date: October 15th 2021
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
Rating: R for strong violence including sexual assault, sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgygUwPJvYk&t=147s&ab_channel=20thCenturyStudios
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.
8. West Side Story
Release Date: December 10th 2021
Director: Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report)
Screenwriter: Tony Kushner
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Josh Andres Rivera, Corey Stoll, Brian D’Arcy James
Rating: PG-13 for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GJLwWiYSg&ab_channel=20thCenturyStudios
Plot Summary: Adaptation of the musical originally penned by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim with music by Leonard Bernstein. The story that transposes Romeo and Juliet into a 1950s New York setting featuring white and Puerto Rican gangs.
7. Disappointment Blvd.
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2022*
Director: Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar)
Screenwriter: Ari Aster
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: Described as an intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2022*
Director: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land, First Man)
Screenwriter: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: Set in Hollywood during the transition from silent films to talkies, focusing on a mixture of historical and fictional characters.
Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows
5. South Park Season 24 – November 25th 2021 (Comedy Central)
4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 15 – December 1st 2021 (FXX)
3. Stranger Things Season 4 – *DELAYED UNTIL 2022* (Netflix)
2. Yellowstone Season 4 – November 7th 2021 (Paramount Network)
1. Dexter: New Blood – November 7th 2021 (Showtime)
FINAL NOTE: More than any year to date, the fact that 70% of last year’s Top 10 List was delayed has really thrown a wrench in this year’s list. Even though 7 films last year are coming out this year, 3 of those films that were in my Top 10 last year didn’t quite make this year’s list due to stronger competition. If you compare last year’s list to this years, you will also see that 3 in this #10-6 slot didn’t rank as high as they did last year. Only one film that was in my #5-1 List last year remains to be in this year’s #5-1 slot. Where it will place though is anyone’s guess. I would love to see you guys try to predict which films will crack my Top 5. 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, who has won two years in a row now. As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for the Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2021 coming tomorrow. Happy New Year and may 2021 be nothing like 2020!