Here’s the scoop — 2019 was my favorite year in film of the decade. Now, however, we must look to a new decade in film.
Based on what I have seen, there are some exciting releases this year. It was difficult to pick just three, but aside from “Dune,” “The French Dispatch” and “The Green Knight,” here are a some of the most anticipated movies of 2020 worth keeping on your radar.
“No Time To Die” — April 8
The fifth and final time Daniel Craig plays James Bond. Craig began playing the character in “Casino Royale” 14 years ago. Many, including myself, regard this to be Craig’s best performance as Bond and one of the best movies in a franchise which spans seven decades.
“No Time to Die” will introduce us to a few new characters — most notably, Rami Malek as a mysterious new villain who we see in a “Phantom of the Opera”-like mask with a disfigured face. It sounds like his plan may have something to do with immortality, as he says his skills will remain long after he is dead. Bond later says, “history isn’t kind to men who play god.”
Another new face will be Lashana Lynch. She is a 007 agent in MI6 whom the trailer portrays as being in a hostile relationship with Bond. As if Bond didn’t have enough on his hands during his farewell tour, Christoph Waltz returns and will no doubt be a threat.
Cary Joji Fukunaga is the director for the film, and I must admit, I have not seen any of his work. His filmography includes “Beasts of No Nation” (2015), “True Detective” (2014) and “Maniac” (2018). All in all, I am curious to see where “No Time to Die” ends up in the Craig-Bond series hierarchy, and hopeful it doesn’t follow in the footsteps of “Quantum Solace.”
“Tenet” — July 17
“Tenet” is Christopher Nolan’s newest action thriller, starring John David Washington (“Ballers,” “BlacKkKlansman”), Robert Pattinson (“Good Time,” “The Lighthouse”) and Elizabeth Debicki (“The Night Manager,” “Widows”).
The plot largely remains under wraps, but we know it will involve the world of international espionage. At first, the trailer indicates that the protagonist, Washington’s character, must prevent a worldwide disaster — original. By the end of the trailer, however, your head hurts because you remember it’s a Nolan film and nothing will make sense without deeper examination.
I saw an interesting Instagram post showing how Nolan has begun the past two decades with “Memento” (2000) and “Inception” (2010). In the former, the English director presents a character with severe memory loss trying to find his wife’s killer. The latter deals with dreams and dreams inside dreams and so on. You get the point.
There is no combination quite like Nolan and themes of time and perception, as well as non-linear timelines. Like all his films, we can expect “Tenet” to be a spectacle. No director utilizes absurd large-scale practical effects and half million-dollar IMAX cameras as much as Nolan. Let’s just hope he doesn’t break his third one.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” — Sep. 25
This is the last film on this list releases in the fall, so there is not a lot of information about the film yet. But, the little I do know about “The Trial of the Chicago 7” earns the film a spot on my most anticipated list. The biggest reason this movie warrants excitement is Aaron Sorkin.
Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and it will be his second time in the director’s chair. His first attempt was one of my favorite movies of 2017 — “Molly’s Game,” the story of Molly Bloom, portrayed by Jessica Chastain, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker table runner.
Not to beat a dead horse, but Sorkin truly is in a class of his own when it comes to screenwriting, and he is easily my favorite. His clever dialogue and witty characters are what make his films so entertaining and re-watchable.
We know “The Trial of the Chicago 7” will take place in 1968 and will focus on the trial of seven individuals who incited a riot protesting President Johnson’s Vietnam War policies. Sorkin has been outspoken about his fondness for courtroom dramas, and the title of the film starts with “Trial,” so I assume his focus will be on the legal proceedings.
Charges in the trial include conspiracy to incite a riot and excessive force by the police against demonstrators. I cannot wait to see this film. I am confident Sorkin will win best adapted screenplay next year, and hopefully more.
There is no chance I would leave you with just three films. I do believe 2020 will be a good year for cinema, and maybe even better than last year.
Honorable Mentions include “Promising Young Woman” (April 17), “Antebellum” (April 24), “The Woman in the Window” (May 15), “Wonder Woman 1984” (June 5), “The King’s Man” (Sep. 18), “Last Night in Soho” (Sep. 25), “Good Morning, Midnight” and “Mank” (TBD).