Jacob’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2020 (A.K.A. New Decade/Newer Movies)

We are finally in the year: 2020, which not only means a new decade, but also another year of new upcoming films to look forward to. As always, these are the films I am personally looking forward to in the new year, so the films I am anticipating may be different than anyone else’s. Without further ado, here are the ten films I am looking forward to in 2020!

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‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Film Review

Grade: C+

Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Keri Russell, Oscar Isaac, Jimmy Vee, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Daisy Ridley, and Naomi Ackie in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Three decades. Nine movies (not counting the anthology films). One epic franchise. We have finally reached the end of what has been called “The Skywalker Saga”. With its popularity, there is no doubt that more characters and worlds will be explored in the form of shows and spin-offs (There is reportedly a Kylo Ren prequel series in the works, but with so much news, how can you trust the internet anymore?), yet somehow, this truly feels like the end of a much-beloved franchise. As perfect as it seems, the journey, however, can be a long and winding road filled with so many paths and choices that, as you go, you start to wonder if you have taken the right turn.

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‘The Addams Family’ Film Review

Grade: B+

Charlize Theron, Bette Midler, Snoop Dogg, Conrad Vernon, Oscar Isaac, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, and Finn Wolfhard in The Addams Family (2019)

It is easy to dismiss ‘The Addams Family’ as yet another unnecessary reboot since so many people are more familiar with Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 film and its 1993 sequel; yet, in actuality, this “creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and all-together ooky” family has been around since cartoonist Charles Addams brought them to the comic pages in 1938. Though nothing is more familiar than the 1964 television series with Carolyn Jones as vampiric matriarch Morticia and John Astin as the suave and debonair Gomez and its theme song which still causes fingers to snap along every time it plays. No matter which version you prefer, it is clear that the legacy of the Addams’ still lives on.

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‘Frozen II’ Film Review

Grade: C+

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff in Frozen II (2019)

Even after six years, “Frozen Fever” has never really died down. Just like a snowstorm from Elsa’s ice powers, a sequel to Disney’s gargantuan hit was inevitable. You would think that another feature would be dished out as soon as the iron struck hot (or in this case, cold), yet being Disney, time has to be taken to improve a craft to make sure that their newest moneymaker is better. In a way, it shows here. Not only does the animation look gorgeous and lifelike, the adventure seems to be more treacherous and the stakes are higher. Sadly, that is all I can say about this attempt to make snow fall twice.

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‘Doctor Sleep’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)

When it came time to adapt ‘Doctor Sleep’; Stephen King’s sequel novel to ‘The Shining’, Mike Flanagan seemed to be faced with some tough decisions when writing and directing. Not only were King’s original novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation two different beasts, but they were so dissimilar that the author famously hated Kubrick’s take on his work. However, it seems that Flanagan has succeeded in crafting not only a worthy sequel nearly four decades after the original, yet a movie that seems to work on its own terms (Hey, if it is enough to please the “King”, then I am sure it will work for modern audiences).

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‘Lady and the Tramp’ (2019) Film Review

Grade: B

Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)

When you first log in to Disney+, one of the first things you will see in the streaming competitor to Netflix’s featured category is their “original” film, ‘Lady and the Tramp’. You may either see it as yet another unnecessary live-action remake of a perfect, well-beloved animated classic, or you may bask in its warmth and glow, as you watch two rescue dogs with mouth movements more animated than Jon Favreau’s remake of ‘The Lion King’ (and voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux ) trade witticisms, kiss over a candlelit spaghetti dinner, and fall in love yet again.

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‘The Lion King’ (2019) Film Review

Grade: D+

James Earl Jones and JD McCrary in The Lion King (2019)

For anyone expecting better from Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’; no matter how much we would like to see photo-realistic recreations of our favorite animated characters recreate a masterpiece, looks are not everything. As a high-definition remaster, it succeeds in the visual department, yet lacks the heart, emotion, and energy that made the original so beloved in the first place. What was once epic and masterful has been drained of life. You can blame it on the money-milking machine that is Disney for unnecessarily remaking the films we have once held dear in our childhoods, however, as long as audiences clean their wallets for the sake of nostalgia, the studio will not stop until there is nothing left.

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‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling (2019)

Nostalgia is a precious thing for so many people, and Nickelodeon seems to know it all too well. In recent years, the family-oriented TV studio has followed suit with all the other nostalgic cash-ins, and started rebooting their entertainment for those yearning over a simpler decade when VHS tapes were in and cartoons were entertaining; ‘All That’, ‘Hey Arnold’, and now ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ in the form of a special called ‘Static Cling’. ‘Static Cling’ is an ode to the nostalgic memories we hold dear as well as a commentary on an ever-changing world we are trying to keep up with.

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‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Damon Herriman, Timothy Olyphant, Harley Quinn Smith, Mike Moh, and Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood (2019)

Despite this being his ninth picture, ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ does not feel like a Quentin Tarantino film. It has all the Tarantino touches, fetishes, and obsessions on display (the excessive profanity, graphic violence, and gratuitous shots of bare feet), but it is the director at his most restrained and mellow; relying more on the glitz, glamour, and nostalgia of 60’s culture. Tarantino has crafted a time capsule I could fully immerse myself in, and the style shows. For once, I felt like I was transported back to a time where the Golden Age of Hollywood was ending and the Manson Murders reached infamy (I didn’t say it was all pleasant).

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‘Mandy’ Film Review

Grade: A+

Nicolas Cage, Bill Duke, Richard Brake, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Linus Roache, Andrea Riseborough, Line Pillet, Alexis Julemont, and Clément Baronnet in Mandy (2018)

Everyone knows Nicolas Cage as one of the most insane actors who has ever lived; able to give an over-the-top performance in the blink of an eye, which not even John Malkovich can be able to top; which is why the lead role in ‘Mandy’ is perfect for him. Though “Mandy” is not the name of his character, but that of his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), an artist whose hobbies include being out in the wilderness and turning into a deep and meaningful book. The character of Mandy is also a motivational tool for Cage’s Red to go out for some good old-fashioned bloody revenge when a group of hippie Jesus freaks, led by a Charles Manson-esque figure named Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) mess with him and take her from his life.

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