Happy New Year everyone!
Welcome to a new year, new decade of and, once again, I countdown what films I’m looking forward to seeing the most in cinemas in 2020. Like the previous years before and for the foreseeable future, some of the films mentioned here will be considered 2019 releases, depending on what country you’re from. So, again, this list is going by UK/Ireland cinematic releases so award consideration films such as Jojo Rabbit, The Lighthouse etc. will be found on this list. As with any here, some of the films pencilled for cinematic releases are subject to change, some could be pushed forward and some could be pushed back. Could this finally be the year that New Mutants is released? Who knows!
So here at the twenty-five films I’m most looking forward to seeing in 2020.
Release Date: 17th January
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sterling K. Brown, Clifton Collins Jr., Neal Huff, Harmony Korine, Bill Wise, David Garelik and Ruben E. A. Brown
A24 have been one of the biggest success stories of the last decade, putting out a consistent, solid amount of films to critical and audience acclaim, and this year looks to be no different with Waves finally making its way to shores here. Released in the US last November, Waves focuses on the Williams family, a suburban family who are led by a well-intentioned but domineering father, as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. Waves has been earning critical and audience acclaim over in the U.S, with a critical rating of 85% and audience rating of 80% via Rotten Tomatoes. With a talented cast, featuring the ever commanding presence of Sterling K. Brown, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and potential breakout roles for Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell, Waves looks set to hit that emotionally dramatic sweet spot for 2020.
24. The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Release Date: 2nd October (US date only released at the moment)
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alex Sharp, Frank Langella, Mark Rylance, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Michael Keaton, William Hurt, J.C MacKenzie, Thomas Middleditch, Noah Robbins, Daniel Flaherty, Ben Shenkman, Max Adler and Wayne Duvall
Based on the true story of a group of seven defendants charged by the federal Government with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois, on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Aaron Sorkin has been attached to this project since 2007, with Spielberg originally set to direct back then until the Writers Guild strike suspended the project and with a few potential directors along the lines, Aaron Sorkin looks set to finally bring the project to the big screen by helming it his damn self. I thoroughly enjoyed Sorkin’s directorial debut (Molly’s Game) and with his screenplays, and the ensemble involved here, I’m looking forward to seeing how he brings this story to life as I’m unfamiliar with it, but intrigued.
23. The Way Back
Release Date: 13th March 2020
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, Glynn Turman, Brandon Wilson, Hayes MacArthur and Rachel Carpani
The Way Back focuses on Jack Cunningham, a former High School basketball legend that earned a full scholarship for University but, for reasons unknown, walked away from the game, therefore forfeiting his future. Now years later, Jack’s life is spiralling out of control due to an unspeakable loss, leading to alcoholism and a failed marriage. One day, he’s asked to coach the basketball team he once played for which has fallen just as hard since his glory days. As he reluctantly takes on the role, he tries to bring the boys together as a team as well as heal from the deep wounds of his past. I’m a sucker for sports dramas, and what better way to be really looking forward one than from director Gavin O’Connor, the director of other sports centred films Miracle and Warrior? It does feel like it’ll be the basketball equivalent of Warrior, with the film being more focused on the characters journey toward forgiveness and redemption, this case being Ben Affleck’s Jack Cunningham.
Release Date: 6th November
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Ma Dong-seok, Barry Keoghan, Gemma Chan, Haaz Sleiman and Kit Harington
New decade and new phase for Marvel Studios. With the Infinity Saga (is that the official title for the first ten years leading to the climatic Endgame conclusion?) out of the way, Eternals will focus on an immortal alien race created by the Celestials, set to protect humanity from their evil counterparts the Deviants. Sure, details have been scarce as of late, not even as much as a little teaser, but besides the Marvel Studios brand name, it does have an interesting cast assembled and a talented director too, with Chloé Zhao following up here on her 2017 film The Rider.
Release Date: 17th April
Director: Scott Cooper
Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan, Cody Davis and Sawyer Jones
After directing Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, Black Mass and Hostiles, Scott Cooper returns with a supernatural horror film based on the short story ‘The Quiet Boy’ by Nick Antosca. The film is set in small-town Oregon, where teacher Julia Meadows and her sheriff brother Paul become entwined with a young student in her school who is harbouring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences. It looks creepy, weird and right up my alley.
20. Godzilla vs Kong
Release Date: 20th November
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Zhang Ziyi and Lance Reddick
Following on from the last two Godzilla films and Kong: Skull Island we get the main headliner of Godzilla vs Kong. Granted, there might not be as much anticipation around the world that Warner Bros. has been wishing for, but in terms of spectacle my body is ready for the CGI-feast that we should be getting here. As Monarch embarks on a perilous mission into uncharted terrain and unearths clues to the Titans’ origins, a human conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.
19. Coming 2 America
Release Date: 18th December
Director: Craig Brewer
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Flower, Leslie Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones, Paul Bates, Louie Anderson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Rick Ross, Nomzamo Mbatha, Garcelle Beauvais, KiKi Layne, Luenell, Rotimi, Teyana Taylor and Michael Blackson
Set after the events of the first film, former Prince Akeem Joffer is set to become King of Zamunda when he discovers he has a son he never knew about in America– a street savvy Queens native named Lavelle. Honouring his royal father’s dying wish to groom this son as the crown prince, Akeem and Semmi set off to America once again. It’ll be thirty-two years between the original and the sequel, though Eddie Murphy is getting some traction back in the comeback trail after his performance in last years My Name Is Dolemite and who doesn’t want to see him on the bring screen again reprising the role of Prince Akeem Joffer?
18. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Release Date: 10th July
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bokeem Woodbine, Oliver Cooper, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts
We’ve been done this road with the Ghostbusters in 2016. It may not have been the box office hit that Sony Pictures were hoping for, but there’s still some love for that film from critics and audiences alike. While it wasn’t my cup of key, I’m interested in seeing Afterlife on the big screen, primarily as it serves as a reboot-legacy instalment, serving as a sequel to the first two Ivan Reitman films, whilst focusing on a new, younger cast in the process to carry the franchise forward. The trailer does feel like it has nothing but nostalgia, as first trailers go, but I do like the cast they’ve assembled here, particularly in Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon and Bokeem Woodbine, and I’m sure Jason Reitman will handle the material that his father brought to audiences just as well as his old man. Hopefully.
17. No Time To Die
Release Date: 2nd April
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Lashana Lynch, David Dencik and Christoph Waltz
The Daniel Craig Bond films have been hit and miss for me (Casino Royale and Skyfall I like, Quantum of Solace and Spectre not so much), but for it being the twenty-fifth Bond film and with the trailer that was released before Christmas, it does have that vibe of being something special. Another reason I’m interested is that Cary Fukunaga (or Cary Joji Fukunaga) is directing it. Fukunaga directed the entire first season of True Detective (the one that everyone loves), as well as Netflix series Maniac and feature films such as Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre and Beasts of No Nation. I just like his visual style of storytelling. While the regulars return here (Fiennes, Harris, Kinnear and Whishaw) I’m interested in seeing who Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch play in the film and, of course, I’m curious to how menacing Rami Malek’s villain will be on the big screen.
16. Promising Young Woman
Release Date: 17th April
Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Richardson, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Angela Zhou, Alfred Molina and Chris Lovell
Honestly, I never knew about this project until the official trailer was released recently and I’m eager to see what Emerald Fennell has in store with us in this dramatic thriller. Making her directorial feature debut after making a name for herself as showrunner for the second season of Killing Eve, the film focuses on Cassie, a woman who had a promising career ahead of her until a mysterious event sent her future off the rails and led her down a very different path. It looks different to any role I’ve seen Carey Mulligan play and a vengeful storyline is always right up my alley.
15. Bad Boys For Life
Release Date: 17th January
Directors: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton, Alexander Ludwig, Jacob Scipio, Paola Nuñez, DJ Khaled, Jamie Neumann, Massi Furlan, Nicky Jam and Theresa Randle
Seventeen years since Bad Boys II, we’ll finally see the return of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence on the big screen as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys For Life. The film sees the two having to reunite for one last mission when a fierce cartel mob boss, whose brother they took down years earlier, makes an effort to get revenge on Mike as just he and Marcus are about to officially retire. While the long gap between the second film and this one usually isn’t a good sign, the film does look just as ridiculous with its action sequences as the second, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
14. Wonder Woman 1984
Release Date: 5th June
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Natasha Rothwell, Ravi Patel, Gabriella Wilde, Kristoffer Polaha and Amr Waked
Wonder Woman was a great success story for Warner Bros. and DC Films, particularly for Gal Gadot after some of the responses she got with her initial casting was met with some repetitive responses (too skinny, can’t act etc.), and obviously Patty Jenkins, who hadn’t directed a feature film since 2003’s Monster. The film was a massive hit, amongst the critics and audiences (as well as the box office) and Jenkins is now back to helm the sequel here. It’s unclear on the main premise of the film, other than its set in 1984, Kristen Wiig playing Barbara Ann Minerva is an interesting choice that I can’t wait to see unfold in how she’ll become Wonder Woman’s nemesis Cheetah, then there’s Pedro Pascal as the films villain Maxwell Lord. The wildcard in all of this however is the return of Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. How? Why? We’ll have to wait until June to find out.
Release Date: 12th June
Director: Nia DaCosta
Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Tony Todd, Rebecca Spence, Christiana Clark, Cassie Kramer, Brian King, Kyle Kaminsky, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Cedric Mays, Nancy Pender and Pam Jones
Being helmed by an upcoming director in Nia DaCosta, with the script written by Jordan Peele and Win Roselfeld, set in a now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini Green housing projects once stood. Oh and we’re still not sure as to who the film will play out as we still await even an official first look image or a teaser, but the ensemble is what interests me the most besides DaCosta and Peele’s involved. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s star has been on the rise since I first saw him in The Get Down, and after his performance recently in the HBO Watchmen series, his star will only get brighter and as for Teyonah Parris, she’s been killing it since Chi-Raq. Nia DaCosta’s only work I’ve seen has been directing a few episodes of the Top Boy revival series on Netflix and, to be honest, they were my favourite episodes of that season.
12. In The Heights
Release Date: 26th June
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits, Olga Merediz, Gregory Diaz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Stephanie Beatriz, Noah Catala, Dascha Polanco, Marc Anthony and Lin Manuel-Miranda
Set in the neighbourhood of Washington Heights, New York, a bodega owner named Usnavi has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune. I know you’re surprised, a musical that’s in my most anticipated of the year list. I was intrigued as it’s a film adaptation of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s first Broadway musical, it’s directed by Jon M. Chu, the director behind Crazy Rich Asians, and the trailer gives you a glimpse into how colourful and full of life the film adaptation can be. The cast ain’t bad either.
11. Queen & Slim
Release Date: 31st January
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson, Indya Moore, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Melanie Halfpenny and Benito Martinez
Whilst on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defence, leading to the two of them going on the run as they become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country. Queen & Slim has an interesting premise behind it, I’ve liked the films I’ve seen Daniel Kaluuya in and I’m looking forward to seeing what Jodie Turner-Smith is like alongside him.
10. Uncut Gems
Release Date: 31st January
Directors: Benny and Josh Safdie
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Eric Bogosian, Keith Williams Richards, Judd Hirsch, Mike Francesa, Jonathan Aranbayev, Jacob Igielski, Wayne Diamond, Josh Ostrovsky, Benjy Kleiner, Pom Klementieff and Tommy Kominik
Uncut Gems is set in the Diamond district of New York City, focusing on a jewellery store owner with a gambling addiction who is juggling two relationships and escalating debts. Normally I’d avoid an Adam Sandler comedy film like the plague, but when it comes to his dramatic films, the guy delivers. Here he teams up with the Safdie Brothers, who directed Good Time last, which was a solid film with a great performance from Robert Pattinson and pretty much we’re hoping that trend of getting a great performance from their lead actor continues here in Uncut Gems.
09. Bill And Ted Face The Music
Release Date: 21st August
Director: Dean Parisot
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Samara Weaving, Anthony Carrigan, Kid Cudi, Jillian Bell, Hal Landon Jr., Amy Stoch, Jayma Mays, Erinn Hayes, Beck Bennett, Holland Taylor, Kristen Schaal and Kelly Carlin
Bill and Ted Face The Music focuses on William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan, who have yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny, sees the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure, when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and bring harmony to the universe. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends. I never thought we’d see get that final film to complete a Bill & Ted trilogy, but here we are twenty-nine years later with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprising their roles as the Wyld Stallyns, as well as William Sadler returning as the Grim Reaper.
08. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Release Date: 28th February
Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami and Valeria Golino
In 18th century France a young painter, Marianne, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse without her knowing. Therefore, Marianne must observe her model by day to paint her portrait at night. Day by day, the two women become closer as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom before the impending wedding. I missed out on seeing this last year at the Foyle Film Festival and considering the praise it’s been getting lately, I really must see it when it’s out in cinemas in over a month.
07. Jojo Rabbit
Release Date: 1st January
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Archie Yates
A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. It’s Taika Waititi doing a World War II satire, whilst being an imaginary friend to young Jojo, on paper it sounds like it could go either way, but I’m looking forward to seeing it.
06. Top Gun: Maverick
Release Date: 17th July
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Manny Jacinto, Monica Barbaro, Charles Parnell, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, Jake Picking, Raymond Lee and Jean Louisa Kelly
Top Gun: Maverick takes place 34 years after the events of the original film and pits legendary Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as the new flight instructor of Top Gun, in which he guides Bradley, Goose’s son, who seeks to become a pilot much as his father was. Initially I was skeptical of seeing Tom Cruise return to Top Gun considering how long its been…but fuck me those flight scenes look the shit!
Release Date: 10th January
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel May, Adrian Scarborough, Jamie Parker, Michael Jibson, Richard McCabe, Nabhaan Rizwan and Michael Cornelius
04. The Lighthouse
Release Date: 31st January
Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe
Release Date: 7th February
Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin, Park Myung-hoon, Jeong Ji-so, Jung Hyeon-jun, Park Geun-Rok and Jung Yi-seo
All unemployed, Ki-taek and his family take peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks, as they ingratiate themselves into their lives and get entangled in an unexpected incident. Parasite has been topping a lot of end of year lists for 2019, as well as end of decade lists, but unfortunately we just have to wait that little bit longer. Thankfully it hasn’t been spoiled for me and Bong Joon-Ho’s track record, I’m expecting it to at least be good.
Release Date: 17th July
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Clémence Poésy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Himesh Patel, Denzil Smith and Martin Donovan
Tenet is an action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution. It’s Christopher Nolan doing Christopher Nolan things. Whether I end up liking it or not is a different story, but Nolan is one of the few directors that already has my money on opening weekend.
Release Date: 18th December
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Chang Chen
Dune is the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy. Denis Villeneuve is another director that automatically has my money with whatever project he works on but, seriously, look at that cast!
I’m looking forward to many of these as well! Two in particular are In the Heights and Tenet. Musicals don’t happen very often these days it feels like and while they are hit or miss for me, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights shoots straight up there. And I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan so seeing Tenet is a no-brainer.