When I say ‘things’, I obviously mean film and TV. That’s what this blog is all about after all. Here’s all the stuff I’m most looking forward to in 2020, with the obvious clause that some of the year’s most exciting films probably won’t be known about until midway through the year when they show up at a festival and blow everybody’s minds.
Chris Nolan’s latest original thriller is, obviously, the focus of my cultural hype this year. Released on Inception’s tenth anniversary and with a similarly mysterious aesthetic, the John David Washington/Robert Pattinson vehicle has Big Masterpiece Energy written all over it.
2. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Sorkin’s back, baby! While his last directorial effort Molly’s Game wasn’t quite his strongest cinematic work, this legal drama has an ensemble cast to melt the ears off of any self-respecting Sorkin head. Michael Keaton, Jeremy Strong, Thomas Middleditch, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Lengella, Mark Rylance, William Hurt … and hopefully some women.
3. SUCCESSION 3
Speaking of Jeremy Strong, Succession returns to HBO late summer/early autumn. It’s the best show on TV and it’s hard to imagine that will change anytime soon. What will be the fallout of Kendall (Strong)’s near-patricidal act of betrayal against Logan? And will Cousin Greg, without Tom’s permission, ascend to the top tiers of RoyCo?
Inside Out mastermind Pete Docter tackles another element of the human condition, y’know, for kids! Soul is about the soul… if you couldn’t tell, and features the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey in a Pixar feature that kicks off in the world of jazz. The most surprising factor… usual Docter composer Michael Giacchino won’t be scoring, but Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will!
Denis Villeneuve gets his Interstellar moment, tackling Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi with a studio blank check, a cast that includes Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya and a prime December release date.
6. THE NEW POPE
January is giving us the sequel(?) to Paolo Sorrentino’s incredible miniseries The Young Pope featuring the return — in some capacity — of Jude Law’s sexy pope and the arrival of John Malkovich as… a second pope. Awwww yeah.
7. SMALL AXE
Steve McQueen has emerged with Shame, Hunger and Widows as Britain’s strongest director of meaningful character-based stories. His new BBC miniseries is based around British social history in the Thatcher era and stars John Boyega.
8. THE FRENCH DISPATCH
Wes Anderson wades back into Grand Budapest Hotel territory with a star-studded period piece. Frances McDormand, Kate Winslet, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and the usual Wes crew appear along with everyone’s favourite beautiful young screen lovers, Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet.
9. THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN
Spongebob Squarepants is, when handled well, one of the most delightful cartoon sandboxes to play in. This latest feature film is trying a funky new style of CGI which seems more true to the show’s roots than 2015’s fairly ugly Sponge Out of Water. Keanu Reeves plays a sage bush.
From years of listenint to Andy Greenwald on The Watch Podcast, I’ve learned that we love the same things about television: absurdity, surprise and rich character study. I’m therefore trusting his first creation as a showrunner will satisfy my cravings: Rosario Dawson stars as a political fixer who returns to her small Albuquerque hometown. And there’s an escape from the zoo.
Jordan Peele produces this black comedy about Nazi hunters starring, um, Mr. Al Pacino. Also Logan Lerman and Josh Radnor.
12. NORMAL PEOPLE
The so-so Sally Rooney novel that’s a little too close to my reality (two teenagers move from Sligo to Dublin to attend college) get adapted by the fabulous Lenny Abrahamson for the BBC. Several of my friends were extras on this production.
Ryan Murphy’s latest hyper-camp showbiz drama is based in 1940s Hollywood, similar terrain to his superb 2017 series Feud: Bette & Joan and stars Darren Criss, Samara Weaving, Maude Apatow and — hopefully finally getting the great role he deserves — Sheldon Cooper himself, Jim Parsons.
14. PALM SPRINGS
The Lonely Island’s new feature, an absurdist rom-com starring Andy Samberg, Cristin Miloti and J.K. Simmons.
15. LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
Edgar Wright is highly fetishised in the film community, often to an extent that baffles me, but his new noir-ish horror has promise: Anya Taylor Joy and Thomasin McKenzie star, and Wright is undoubtedly a master of twisting genres to his liking.
16. IMPEACHMENT: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Ryan Murphy again, this time documenting the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal with Clive Owen and the great Beanie Feldstein as the then-president and his then-mistress. The timing to release right before the election is a weird move that’s could create anti-Democrat/Biden sentiment amongst viewers, but the show will probably still be thrilling.
17. THE NEST
Carrie Coon and Jude Law play a married couple in an isolated house and I don’t need to know anything else about The Nest.
18. YOUR HONOUR
Bryan Cranston/Michael Stuhlbarg judicial drama? Uh, yes.
19. THE LAST SHIFT
Richard Jenkins is one of the greatest supporting actors alive, but he takes a rare leading role in this story of a fast food worker on his last shift.
20. THE WITCHES
Robert Zemeckis does family fantasy better than anything else (and he’s tried a lot). Now he’s helming the first big Roald Dahl adaptation since Spielberg’s BFG, the first go at the underrated The Witches since the not-great Anjelica Huston version. Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci star.
21. THE ASSISTANT
Kitty Green’s new feature is described as “A day in the life of Jane, an assistant to a high-powered film executive” and stars Julia Garner, Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen and Looking for Alaska’s eponymous breakout Kristine Froseth
Things i’m just not that excited for: No Time To Die, Black Widow, Eternals, Wonder Woman 1984, Mulan, Top Gun Maverick, Jungle Cruise, The King’s Man, West Side Story
Things i’m slightly excited for but don’t want to admit I am: Fast & Furious 9, Venom 2