The 2010s are OVER! But while you're hopefully starting your New Years Resolutions and recovering from the existentialism of an entire decade passing before your eyes, why not stop for a minute and look forward with me?
While 2020 might be the first year in a while that a 'Star Wars' or 'Avengers' film eats up all the hype in advanced, I'd argue there's still plenty of projects that film fans need to keep on their radar. Some of these you might have heard of and some of these you may not believe actually exist; trust me, they do.
A few quick ground rules:
1. This is not the "10 films that I think will be the best films of the year come next December." These are the films I'm most looking forward to seeing next year, for better or worse. Some of these may only have one or two details we know about them, but those one or two reasons may get me more interested than others.
2. This is based on my own interests. Not everyone has an interest in the newest DC Extended Universe project or an unknown indie that doesn't even have a trailer yet. I would love to see what you guys are looking forward to, so leave your lists below, or on my social media feeds when I post this list.
Before I begin, here are some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut:
- The Lovebirds (April 3rd) - Michael Showalter's 'The Big Sick' was one of the best romantic comedies in years, so to hear he'd by doing another one, once again with star Kumail Nanjiani, that was really all I needed to get excited. Nanjiani and Issa Rae will play a couple on the verge of breaking up, who find themselves in the midst of a bizarre murder mystery, hoping to escape the night with their relationship and good names intact.
- Black Widow (May 1st) - A decade after first being introduced in 'Iron Man 2,' the soviet superspy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally getting her first solo film, with Scarlett Johansson once again reprising the role. 'Berlin Syndrome' director Cate Shortland will helm the project that will also feature Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, and O.T. Fagenbele, exploring Natasha Romanoff's story between the events of 2016's 'Captain America: Civil War' and 2018's 'Avengers: Infinity War.' I admit, I wasn't initially hooked on the idea, but then that first trailer dropped and now I'm ready for what Phase 4 of the MCU can offer.
- Top Gun: Maverick (June 26th) - Tom Cruise is back in a fighter jet! Joseph Kosinski ('Tron: Legacy,' 'Only the Brave') directs the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 Tony Scott classic, with both Cruise and Val Kilmer reprising their roles of Maverick and Iceman from the first film, in addition to new cast members Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Jon Hamm. Also, this is the first movie my dad has wanted to see in a theater in, like, forever, so that immediately puts it on my radar (pun ABSOLUTELY intended).
- Death on the Nile (October 9th) - Frankly, I really enjoyed the 2017 iteration of 'Murder on the Orient Express,' and I'll buy anything Kenneth Branagh directs (he also has his adaptation of 'Artemis Fowl' set to come out this year as well). Branagh reunites with original screenwriter Michael Green, as well as an eclectic cast including Armie Hammer, Gal Gadot, Letitia Wright, Annette Benning, and Russell Brand, to continue the story of master detective Hercule Poirot as he solves a mystery during his holiday in Egypt.
- Godzilla v. Kong (November 20th) - Legendary's MonsterVerse has sneakily become one of the more successful post-MCU shared universes, and this appears to be their 'Avengers,' pitting the two most iconic beasts against one another. Adam Wingard ('The Guest,' 'Death Note') will direct a script from 'Pirates of the Caribbean' mastermind Terry Rossio, with a cast including Alexander Skarsgard, Eiza Gonzalez, Rebecca Hall, and Brian Tyree Henry, as well as Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, and Zhang Ziyi (returning from 'Godzilla: King of Monsters'). Also...come on, it's GODZILLA VERSUS KING KONG!
- Raya and the Last Dragon (November 25th) - Aside from the confirmation of Ewan McGregor returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the most buzz I heard from Disney's D23 convention was about this film. Written by Adele Lim ('Crazy Rich Asians'), the film follows a young girl named Raya who travels the realm of Kumandra to find the last dragon in the world. That's about the extent of what we know so far, and admittedly I'm still on a bit of a 'Frozen II' high, but this definitely has my attention.
- News of the World (December 25th) - Tom Hanks stars in another Paul Greengrass directed project after 2013's excellent 'Captain Phillips.' With a script from 'Lion's Luke Davies, the film takes place in post-Civil War America, telling the story of a travelling newsreader who must escort a young orphan to her parents.
ON TO THE LIST!
5. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter
Based on true events, the film tells of the Chicago Seven, a group of anti-war protestors who were charged by the federal government with attempting to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1968, crossing state lines to incite a riot was considered illegal, causing significant media attention around the group.
The film will be directed by Aaron Sorkin, who made his directorial debut with 2017's 'Molly's Game' starring Jessica Chastain. However, you're probably much more familiar with Sorkin as a screenwriter for projects like David Fincher's 'The Social Network,' and Danny Boyle's 'Steve Jobs,' as well as his work on NBC's 'The West Wing' and HBO's 'The Newsroom.'
The film also has a stacked cast including Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as members of the group, as well as Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, William Hurt, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Frank Langella.
I wasn't necessarily the biggest fan of 'Molly's Game' per say, but I've always had a lot of faith that Aaron Sorkin can become a top-tier director with his writing credentials alone. The story sounds remarkably fascinating and can hopefully have some insight into civilian v. government civil rights. Throw in some classic Sorkin dialogue quips and an insane cast that you know can pull it off, and I have to be excited for this.
'The Trial of the Chicago 7' is set for release on September 25th
The King's Man
Harris Dickinson and Ralph Fiennes star in 20th Century Fox' 'The King's Man'
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox - YouTube
Set during World War I, and decades before the events of 'Kingsman: The Secret Service,' the Kingsmen are formed as an organization in an effort to stop the world's worst tyrants from destroying the world.
This is set to be the third 'Kingsman' feature film after the 2015 original and 2017's 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle,' and continues to have Matthew Vaughan in the director's chair, as well as script duties alongside Karl Gajdusek ('Stranger Things'). The cast includes Harris Dickinson as our seemingly new protagonist, Conrad, alongside Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hollander, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Charles Dance and Rhys Ifans.
I unabashedly loved the first 'Kingsman' film from 2015 for it's fresh, no-holds-bar approach to spy parody, insane action sensibilities, and likeable characters. Then we got the sequel, which felt like it took all of the sincerity out of the picture in favor of "go big or go home" theatrics, and was a hot mess in the process.
Granted, I have not lost faith in Matthew Vaughan as a director (his filmography speaks for itself in my eyes), and approaching the origins of the Kingsmen with a different aesthetic and tone could be just what this franchise needs to come back to prominence.
*But Matthew Vaughan, if somehow you're reading this, please make something else after this; staying on one franchise for too long is just going to burn you out and my heart will break if that happens, PRETTY PLEASE.
'The Kings Man' is set for release on September 18th
Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey voice characters in Pixar's 'Soul'
Photo Credit: Pixar - YouTube
Pixar's newest effort will follow Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle school music teacher who loves jazz and seems to finally have an opportunity to play onstage after impressing some local musicians. However, an accident causes his soul to leave his body, transported to the "You Seminar" where souls develop passions before being appointed a body. Journeying back to his body, he encounters another soul, 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), who has a much more cynical look on life.
Pete Docter ('Inside Out,' 'Up,' 'Monsters Inc.') will direct the project, as well as write the script alongside Fey and Kemp Powers ('Star Trek: Discovery'), with a voice cast that also includes Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Questlove.
The words "Pete Docter is directing a Pixar film" is pretty much like ringing a dog's dinner bell for me. Seriously, Docter is one of my favorite directors working today, with such an insanely terrific grasp on Pixar's greatest strengths: human emotional, sly humor, and clever story structures and twists. The trailer looks like Pixar going more existential which, after 'Inside Out,' they absolutely have credibility to try, and the voice cast intrigues me. We might know more about Pixar's other 2020 offering, Dan Scanlon's 'Onward' at this point, but this is the one I'm salivating overseeing in the new year.
'Soul' is set for release on June 19th
John David Washington and Robert Pattinson star in Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Tenet'
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures - YouTube
As in typical Christopher Nolan fashion, we don't know all of the details for 'Tenet's story right now. We do know that it will follow a secret agent (played by John David Washington) who is tasked with stopping a potential World War III using some sort of time travel mechanics.
Christopher Nolan directs and writes the project with a cast including Washington and Robert Pattison, alongside Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Himesh Patel, Dimple Kapadia, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Significantly, he will also be reuniting with 'Interstellar' cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, as well as swapping out his usual collaborators, composer Hans Zimmer and editor Lee Smith, for Ludwig Gorannsson ('Black Panther,' 'Creed') and Jennifer Lame ('Hereditary,' 'Marriage Story') respectively.
I'm not an "everything Christopher Nolan touches is diamond-encrusted gold" type of fan, but it's mostly because I want at least a hint of what his insane creativity will bring us before I get excited. Well, one amazing trailer later and I'm definitely hooked now!
I love the angle he seems to be approaching time in this context, the cast seems incredible, and, as he does, leaves so much for us to speculate on ('Inception' connections anyone?). Regardless, I can't wait to see what kind of insane spectacle this might deliver; as the internet might say, #InNolanWeTrust.
'Tenet' is set for release on July 17th
Wonder Woman 1984
Chris Pine and Gal Gadot star in Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Wonder Woman 1984'
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures - YouTube
Following the events of 'Wonder Woman,' we pick up with the hero known as Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) in 1984, seemingly coming into conflict with archaeologist Barbara Minerca (played by Kristen Wiig) and media mogul Maxwell Lord (played by Pedro Pascal). However, things seem to take on a new meaning when her past love interest, Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) seemingly returns from the dead.
Patty Jenkins returns as director from the first 'Wonder Woman' film, writing the script alongside DC Comics writer Geoff Johns and 'Zombieland 2: Double Tap's David Callaham. In addition, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are set to reprise their roles as Hippolyta and Antiope respectively, and while Hans Zimmer may not be working with Christopher Nolan this year, he IS composing the music for this film (Zimmer and Junkie XL co-wrote the now iconic 'Wonder Woman' theme, though Ruper Gregson-Williams composed the score for the 2017 film).
I thought the first trailer for this movie was tremendous; seemingly unique sense of lived-in 80's aesthetic, excellent a creepy looking Maxwell Lord as a villain, Kristen Wiig actually looking like she gets to flex her acting chops, and Steve Trevor's return seemingly framed as being the biggest mystery in film since Rey's parents (yes I went there, tee-hee).
Patty Jenkins took a character that could have been so hammy in so many ways and gave us a sincere, respectful and tough-as-nails hero that I can't wait to see in action again. Along with Cathy Yan's 'Birds of Prey,' the DCEU might have some darn good stuff this year, and I'll keep hoping for now.
'Wonder Woman 1984' is set for release on June 5th