The most exciting movie releases of 2020

Tom Beasley
Contributor
George MacKay in '1917'. (Credit: eOne)

It’s now 2020 and so it’s time to look ahead to another year of movies — good and, almost certainly, bad. The catalogue of upcoming movies is already looking exciting and packed to the brim with original properties, sequels and adaptations.

This post will be regularly updated with all of the major film releases coming to UK cinemas and Netflix...

1 January

The Gentlemen (18)

Guy Ritchie is back in the gangster genre with this tale of Matthew McConaughey’s American expat drug dealer, who sparks a power struggle in the London underworld when he hints at selling off his marijuana empire. Hugh Grant appears as a private investigator, with Charlie Hunnam portraying McConaughey’s right-hand man. The rest of the cast includes Michelle Dockery, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, Eddie Marsan and Jeremy Strong.

Read more: Hugh Grant on going dark for The Gentlemen

Jojo Rabbit (12A)

He might have the keys to the Thor franchise, but Taika Waititi has always been a unique and idiosyncratic filmmaker. His latest movie as writer-director is a comedy set in Nazi Germany in which he appears as Adolf Hitler — or at least a version of the Fuhrer conjured up as an imaginary friend by Hitler Youth boy Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). It’s a bold movie and one that is winning as much criticism as praise, but Waititi cannot be accused of playing it safe.

Read more: Waititi and cast discuss limits of comedy

10 January

1917 (15)

After a pair of Bond films, Mendes is taking the budget level down but sacrificing none of his ambition for 1917. It’s a movie set within the trenches of the First World War, following George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as soldiers sent to deliver a vital message. Mendes’ film stitches takes together to give the appearance of a continuous shot, with only one visible cut. It’s an impressive achievement in tension and style.

Read more: Mendes discusses the use of invisible CGI

Seberg (15)

Kristen Stewart has been on a hot streak of performances in interesting films recently, despite the lack of success for the Charlie’s Angels reboot. Her latest plum role is as French New Wave acting icon Jean Seberg in this tale of her surveillance by the FBI over alleged support for the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Jack O’Connell, Anthony Mackie and Vince Vaughn also star.

Read more: Stewart up for playing a gay Marvel superhero

Uncut Gems (15)

A good Adam Sandler movie? Yes, it has happened. Uncut Gems is the latest pulse-pounding thriller from the Safdie brothers and follows Sandler as a jeweller with a penchant for sports gambling, which leaves him in debt to some terrible people. It’s a tense, stressful experience even for those who know nothing about either basketball or betting. Sandler is getting Oscar buzz, so head to cinemas from the 10th or Netflix from the 31st and find out for yourself.

Read more: Sandler threatens to make bad movie on purpose if he loses Oscar race

17 January

A Hidden Life (12A)

Terrence Malick is one of the most celebrated auteurs in Hollywood and a new movie from him is always notable. This one is an epic World War Two tale about an Austrian farmer who refused to join the Nazi cause. It features the final screen performances of acting legends Michael Nyqvist — who passed away in 2017 — and Bruno Ganz, who died last year.

Read more: Notable Hollywood deaths of 2019

Bad Boys For Life (15)

It has been 17 years since Bad Boys II, and 13 years since it inspired one of the best jokes in Hot Fuzz. After that lengthy gestation period, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as detectives. This time, they’re on the cusp of retirement — because of course they are — when a Romanian mob boss pulls them back in — because of course he does. Expect plenty of nods to the past.

Read more: Looking back at Will Smith’s biggest regret

Bombshell (15)

A trio of glittering female Hollywood stars — Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie — appear in this account of the sexual misconduct allegations made by Fox News staff against CEO Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow. Oscars beckon.

Read more: Theron praises Bombshell make-up job

Just Mercy (12A)

Before he gets going on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for Marvel, director Destin Daniel Cretton has made this based-on-truth drama about an African-American man (Jamie Foxx) wrongly imprisoned and sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. Michael B. Jordan plays the attorney fighting his cause. It’s sure to be a thought-provoking and powerful tale.

Read more: The road to Marvel’s diverse Phase Four

Waves (15)

The best way to follow an acclaimed horror movie like It Comes at Night is to do something completely different. Trey Edward Shults has certainly done that with Waves, which traces the turbulent life of an African-American family from numerous perspectives, including that of father Sterling K. Brown. Music is baked into the movie, alongside a vibrant visual style. It’s a treat.

Read more: Sterling K. Brown on his cut Frozen 2 song

Weathering With You (12A)

Makoto Shinkai delivered one of the best animations of the decade with Your Name, and has followed it up with the emotionally potent Weathering With You. The film follows a young man who flees his hometown for the big city, where he meets a young woman with the ability to control the weather. It’s a fantasy-tinged romance with a strong, compelling environmental message.

Read more: The tortured history of remaking anime classic Akira

24 January

PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! (U)

If you’re a childless adult, you probably haven’t heard of PAW Patrol. But if you’re the parent of a small child, it could well be an all-consuming force in your life. After last year’s feature-length outing Mighty Pups was a box office success, the TV show is once again heading to the big screen for PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! The canine characters have to step in when their racing hero is unable to take to the track, and that’s the plot apparently.

Read more: Is animation just for kids?

The Grudge (15)

One of the most successful and recognisable J-Horror properties is getting another English language reboot this year. Indie horror rising star Nicolas Pesce is in the director’s chair, with genre icon Sam Raimi aboard as producer. It’s a starry cast, too, with John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Betty Gilpin, Jacki Weaver, Lin Shaye and Demián Bichir.

Read more: Best horror movies of 2019

The Personal History Of David Copperfield (PG)

If Charles Dickens usually feels a bit dry and old-fashioned, then Armando Iannucci has arrived to change that perception with his take on one of the great novelist’s most renowned stories. Dev Patel plays the title character as he lives through the riches-to-rags-to-riches-again tale, with the likes of Peter Capaldi, Morfydd Clark, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Laurie and Tilda Swinton populating the stellar supporting cast.

Read more: Dev Patel shines in Copperfield trailer

31 January

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG)

There are few pieces of movie casting that immediately make as much sense as Tom Hanks portraying American television icon Mister Rogers. But this is not a straight biopic, with Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller telling the story of a journalist writing a profile of the wholesome, sweater-wearing star. Much like the man himself, it’s as sweet as they come.

Read more: Stars who refuse to watch their own films

Queen & Slim (15)

The story of Bonnie and Clyde gets a modern twist with this timely, resonant story of a black couple forced to go on the run when a cop ends up dead following a traffic stop. Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya play the protagonists, with the story penned by Emmy-winner Lena Waithe for debutant director Melina Matsoukas.

Read more: Director says awards voters refused to watch Queen & Slim

The Rhythm Section (15)

This secretive thriller from director Reed Morano, adapted from a spy novel, follows Blake Lively as a woman investigating the mysterious death of her family in a plane crash years before. She assumes the identity of an assassin to work out just what is going on.

Read more: Production break was a blessing, says Rhythm Section director

Richard Jewell (15)

The Clint Eastwood real-life story is now essentially a genre in itself, with films like Sully and American Sniper recently proving to be hits with both audiences and critics. His latest tells the story of the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, played by Paul Walter Hauser, who alerted authorities to the presence of a bomb, only to be accused of being the one who planted it. Olivia Wilde plays a reporter, while Kathy Bates is receiving awards attention for her role as Jewell’s mother.

Read more: Wilde defends film over sexism controversy

The Lighthouse (15)

Robert Eggers made a huge impact on horror with The Witch, and has now produced something entirely mad and singular. This film depicts Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers isolated during a storm, in which madness soon descends. The boxy frame and black and white cinematography only increases the sense of strange, quasi-supernatural distress. It’s an unforgettable film in just about every way.

Read more: How does Pattinson make himself cry on set?

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (15)

Few films have been in development hell for as long as Terry Gilliam’s take on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic 17th century novel Don Quixote. Adam Driver plays an advertising director, with Jonathan Pryce starring as the elderly cobbler he cast as Don Quixote while making a student film a decade earlier. After a 30-year battle by Gilliam to get the movie made, and then into cinemas, it has to be worth a trip to the multiplex.

Read more: Gilliam tears into Black Panther and its message