It is strange to make a Year-Ender list of what we found the most entertaining movies from Hollywood without mentioning a single Marvel movie. Well, that was 2020 for you, and thanks to the pandemic, it has been Marvel-free year, that saw only a few blockbuster releases, though Netflix and Amazon offered some gems and then not so much. There have been films like Tenet and Mulan and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 that braved the lockdown to reach theatres/ Disney and Warner Bros meanwhile tried to attract more consumers by either partially or completely releasing their films on Disney+ and HBO Max respectively. The Matrix 4, Godzilla vs Kong, The Suicide Squad And Others, Warner Bros. Pictures To Release Their 2021 Biggies in Both Theatres and HBO Max (Watch Video).
With limited releases in cinema this year, and lot of those releases not being upto the mark, we had a very miserly choice of movies to be plucked as our most fave films of the year. Strangely, perhaps reflecting the bizarreness of the year, we have to give a Christopher Nolan film a miss in this list, as I am still wrapping my thoughts around Tenet and figure out if I truly enjoyed it or not. So here are our fave 11 films from this year!
Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys For Life may not be a great choice of cinema, but it is very entertaining, hilarious and often thrilling, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in top form as the returning protagonists. At least we have to give it points for breaking the usual Hollywood rule when it comes to franchises - 'the third film is always the worst'!
Birds of Prey
In a year that was devoid of superhero content, Birds of Prey (with a ridiculously long tagline) felt like the silver lining on a dark cloud. It is unapologetically violent, darkly humorous and stylishly shot, with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn shining throughout and Ewan McGregor being excellent as the pompous antagonist, Black Mask.
The Invisible Man
One of the better horror-thrillers of the year, The Invisible Man is scary when it needs to be, enjoyably thrilling and has some great twists and turns. Moreover, The Invisible Man benefits from a terrific performance by Elisabeth Moss.
Da 5 Bloods
Spike Lee's most ambitious film felt very relevant when it came out during the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Gorgeously shot and brilliantly enacted, it is gripping, turning raw and violent when it needed to be, while featuring great performances from Delroy Lindo and the late Chadwick Boseman, both deserving an Oscar nom.
Palm Springs looks to the classic Groundhog Day for inspiration, as it delivers a quirky romcom out of a wedding date movie. Featuring hilarious turns from its two leads - Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, with a nice supporting turn from JK Simmons, Palm Springs springs a nice surprise at every nook, making it enjoyable while it lasts.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Keanu Reeves is going through the best phase of his career, post John Wick, with whatever he is touching turning to gold. Thanks to the pandemic, while this belated sequel to the Bill & Ted franchise may not have won over the box office, it is still an entertaining followup to a crazy series, filled with funny cameos and Easter Eggs, and benefitting from that wonderful bromance of Reeves and Alex Winter.
Just when you thought Sherlock Holmes saga has been milked dry, comes this very colourful, enjoyable and entertaining spinoff, centred around Sherlock's lesser-known sister. Millie Bobby Brown is a treat to watch as the titular character, while Henry Cavill manages to make his jaw look more impressive as Enola's more famous sibling. We are really curious to see how and when Netflix will take this franchise forward.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
An important film for our times, this Netflix film is based on the real-life trial of activists and protestors of anti-Vietnam war during the '70s. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a powerful courtroom drama, filled with excellent performances and terrific movie quotes and moments, as it harks on the importance of placing a person's right to live over political appeasement.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
2020 is definitely a strange year. Who would have thought that the best feature film list would have not one but two entries featuring Sacha Baron Cohen! This belated sequel to a very atrocious mockumentary styled comedy continues to go LOL with its sharp political digs, gross out gags, and unexpected twists and cameos, shocks you with some scandalous moments and then surprises you with its feminist touches.
David Fincher's latest coming out on Netflix may not be his most accessible film and still it is one of his best works to date. The biopic of the late screenplaywright Herman J Mankiewicz, the movie is about how he came to write the classic Citizen Kane, using inspirations from two people who were once close to him. Shot in black and white, Mank is a fitting tribute to an era of cinema greats, that was seeing a slow but sure transition from being capitalist to a socialist-tending industry. Also features fine performances from Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried.
Disney had a very bad year when it came to movies, mostly because Marvel was not there to save it from the blushes. That said, the studios can at least have some cheer from the fact that it derives some cheery from this animated film (with enough credit to Pixar). Soul, while still veering towards a Pixar template, manages to be a very lovely film, with some fine voice performances, stunning visuals and a great music score.
PS - At the time of writing this feature, we are yet to experience some of the upcoming releases like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Midnight Sky etc. We will update this list if these releases manage to impress us enough to warrant an entry here.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 21, 2020 08:06 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).