It was an extremely unusual year for films. It started like any normal year until March when films started to get delayed. The year still had plenty of films that were released either in the time pre-lockdown or the little window before lockdown 2 when studios were still too scared to release films. Streaming services still thrived and provided a big majority of the biggest films released in 2020, so let’s start the countdown of my 10 favourite films of the year.
A surprise Netflix action hit from producers the Russo Brothers, who directed Avengers: Endgame. Extraction felt very much Chris Hemsworth’s chance to break from his beloved Marvel character role, Thor, and get to kick some John Wick style ass. The film’s biggest highlight is an incredible one take that goes for 12 minutes and features incredible action, making it one of the years must watch films. The film was one of Netflix’s biggest hit’s that they’ve ever had and fans will be highly anticipating the sequel.
9. BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE
Perhaps the years biggest surprise, given that we didn’t know the film was happening until just over a month before it’s release on Prime Video. Amazon were guaranteed to have a hit given the huge success of Sacha Baron Cohen’s most popular character, who we haven’t seen 2006. It looked unlikely we would ever get a sequel so the surprise was just as good, and it managed to live up to the first, particularly when it is dealing with the Trump presidency, Rudy Giuliani and the pandemic. The film is primarily about a father and daughter, and Sacha was matched by newcomer by Maria Bakalova, who does an incredible job to stay in character throughout the film and deserves recognition.
8. THE GENTLEMEN
After trying to kick start a franchise with Arthur: Legend of the Sword and then making Disney’s live action Aladdin, Guy Ritchie is back to his roots and his typical British Gangster film, that got him his start in Hollywood. An all star cast featuring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding and a stand-out performance from Hugh Grant. A fun, unique film, which gives a break from blockbusters and Ritchie back to doing what he does best.
7. BAD BOYS FOR LIFE
The highest grossing film in the US for 2020, was a film I had very low expectations for going in. I hadn’t particularly grown up watching the previous 2 Bad Boy films but they are fun. This one does a good job providing good action, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The villain isn’t great and there are holes in the film, but the fun makes the film worth it, and one of my favourites of 2020.
What might be the most divisive film of the year because of it’s unique release where you had to pay $30/£20 to watch it on Disney+ a couple of months before it was going to be released on the streaming service for free. It was so close to coming out pre-lockdown but the film was pushed and trialed a new way of watching which tainted the viewing experience for some. The film itself got mixed reviews from audience, despite mostly positive reviews from critics and I tend to agree with the critics. It has gorgeous colour, and has some great cinematography. It certainly stands on it’s own and develops the story from the original animated classic.
The first of PIXAR’s releases of the year, and one I got to see in the cinema just as the pandemic was starting to have it’s affect on the cinema industry. A heart-warming simple story of two brothers who are trying to cast a spell to see their dad for one last time. The strength of the film is how well it hits the emotional moments and builds to a climax that will bring a tear to the eye of most who watch.
The second PIXAR film of the year was released on Christmas day on Disney+. Following a soul who is trying to reunite with his body so he can fulfil his dream of being a jazz musician. The animation film of the year, that constantly blew my mind with how good it looks. Unlike most PIXAR films, this one isn’t for kids but will definitely be more enjoyed by adults and has a clear and powerful message, which will bring more tears to your eye.
3. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Any film with a script written by Aaron Sorkin, has a good chance of making it into a top 10 list. Based on the real events of the Chicago seven, it is an extremely timely story about corruption and protests. Strong performances from Mark Rylance, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II and everyone in an incredible cast, working with the strongest script of the year, and another strong attempt from Netflix to bring home awards in award season.
2. THE INVISIBLE MAN
I am a sucker for a Universal Monster film. The Invisible Man is a story I have been begging for a modern retelling for years, and was excited more than most when it was announced years ago with Johnny Depp. This is not that iteration. After the failure of The Mummy a couple of years ago, Universal were scrambling and Leigh Whannell, comes to them wanting to direct this with a different and effective story that puts a modern twist on a horror classic. Tense would be the best word to describe this film which is paced perfectly and has you on the edge of the seat, along with a strong as ever performance from Elizabeth Moss.
Another divisive film that perhaps take more than one sitting to fully appreciate because it is a lot to take in the first time you watch it. Christopher Nolan films are always high on anticipated list and Tenet was no difference so getting to see it in IMAX meant it was a must and I am so glad it is. Very much a homage to Nolan’s love of Bond, the film is trippy and confusing at times, but on a re-watch just makes the film stronger and stronger and features some of the most unique action set pieces.
There’s still plenty of films I am yet to see from 2020, but I always prioritize watching ones in cinema where I can. Fingers crossed on getting to see much more on the big screen in 2021, which if things can go back to normal sooner, rather than later and films stop getting delayed will be possible.
What was your favourite film of the year? Let me know!
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