Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Clockwise from left: Wonder Woman 1984 (Photo: Clay Enos), First Cow (Photo: Allyson Riggs), Mulan (Image: Disney), Tenet (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures), In The Heights (Photo: Macall Polay)
Graphic: Jimmy Hasse

Halfway into February might seem like an odd time to run a list of our most anticipated movies of 2020. But let’s be real: The first few weeks of just about any year tend to be a pretty dire time for moviegoing, give or take the odd unseasonable January triumph or low-profile arthouse gem. Hollywood, as a rule, mainly treats the post-holidays timeframe like a write-off period—a designated wasteland for its least promising projects. And those looking to see something good in theaters will often reach not for brand new movies but the previous year’s award-season contenders they haven’t caught up with yet. As a result, January often feels like an extension of the year it follows, at least cinematically speaking. Maybe we all collectively abide by an unspoken agreement: The year in movies doesn’t really begin until February.

Well, February is here. And the Oscars are officially over, bringing to an end the months-long stretch of discussion we unofficially designate “awards season.” In other words, it really is time to look ahead to the slate of movies stretching out before us like an untouched buffet. We’ve selected an even 50 films we’re excited about in 2020. Some are blockbusters in waiting—the Marvel and DC tentpoles, the summer Pixar appointment, the new sci-fi opuses from auteurs wielding giant studio budgets. Others are likely to be up for major awards this time next year. A few are festival favorites we’ve seen already—the films we know you should be excited to see. (We’ve marked those with an 👁️.) And a handful aren’t even certain to open this year—they have no release date yet, but they do have our attention. Last year was a great year for movies. If even half of the films below are as fun, exciting, or interesting as they look, we’ll be saying the same thing at the start of 2021. You know, in February.


First Cow

Select theaters March 6

Director Kelly Reichardt returns to the 19th-century frontier setting of her earlier Meek’s Cutoff (one of The A.V. Club’s favorite films of the decade) for a kind-of buddy comedy starring John Magaro and Orion Lee as unlikely friends who want to start a buttermilk biscuit business in 1820s Oregon Territory. Trouble is, the only cow in the area belongs to a local landowner who isn’t selling the milk. Reichardt’s films always unfold at a meditative pace, which can make them an acquired taste, but early word on First Cow has been glowing; it’ll almost certainly be her funniest film, if that sweetens the deal. [Katie Rife]



👁️ Bacurau

Select theaters March 6

Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius) takes a hard left turn into politically charged pulp with this wild, colorful whatsit about a secluded village in Brazil threatened by a corrupt government looking to rather literally wipe the place off the map. Filho, who shares writing and directing duties with his regular production designer, Juliano Dornelles, has long cited John Carpenter as an influence. Bacurau makes that inspiration explicit, going full Assault On Precinct 13; just sub out gang members for Bolsonaro. [A.A. Dowd]



👁️ The Wild Goose Lake

Select theaters March 6

Death by umbrella is just one of many pleasures in Chinese writer-director Diao Yinan’s elemental noir about a gangster (Hu Ge) who accidentally kills a cop and finds himself on the desperate run from an army of vengeful police officers. Yinan (Black Coal, Thin Ice) abstracts the thin narrative into pure expressive spectacle, offering one striking neon-lit image, carefully choreographed fight scene, and associative burst of violence after another. [A.A. Dowd]



👁️ Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Select theaters March 13

One of the most celebrated movies to premiere last month at Sundance (where it won a special jury prize), Eliza Hittman’s latest drama of troubled adolescence follows a pregnant Pennsylvania teenager (Sidney Flanigan) on a bus trip to New York City to secure an abortion, her supportive cousin (Talia Ryder) in tow. Hittman’s previous films, It Felt Like Love and Beach Rats, established her eye for precise details of environment and character. Here, she applies that observational sensitivity to a more urgent narrative—one topically, movingly concerned with the hoops women are forced to jump through to exercise their (increasingly endangered) reproductive rights. [A.A. Dowd]


A Quiet Place Part II

Theaters everywhere March 20

John Krasinski’s sci-fi/horror smash about a family trying to survive in a world overrun by very good listeners didn’t necessarily cry out for a sequel. That said, the multiplex could probably benefit from more of A Quiet Place’s approach, that potent blend of nonverbal storytelling and Spielbergian suspense set pieces. The question is whether this follow-up, which finds the Abbott family venturing out of their farmhouse sanctuary and encountering new danger of a human as well as extraterrestrial variety, will replicate its predecessor’s winning formula; the trailer implies an uptick in both dialogue and action. [A.A. Dowd]



👁️ Deerskin

Select theaters March 20

After blowing a huge chunk of his saving on a 100% deerskin jacket, a French oddball (The Artist’s Jean Dujardin) bumbles into both an amateur filmmaking career and violent crime—all just to feed his peculiar obsession. Like his cult favorite Rubber, this latest droll comedy from musician-turned-director Quentin Dupieux rides a single absurdist gag to feature length. But it’s a good gag, with a slyly self-implicating point to make about creative motive. And Dujardin is hilarious as an almost banally demented accidental artist. [A.A. Dowd]



👁️ The Climb

Select theaters March 20

First features don’t come much more ambitious than this comedy that tracks the complicated relationship between two best friends whose bond is shattered by a betrayal, then awkwardly re-forged over the years. Actor-director Michael Angelo Covino, who co-wrote the film with costar Kyle Marvin, tells the story in vignettes, many of them (like an opening bike ride up a long hill) elaborately blocked and staged. It’s funny and caustic and unpredictable—an early contender for the most exciting American debut of the year. [A.A. Dowd]


Mulan

Theaters everywhere March 27

Disney’s latest live-action remake is looking decidedly martial: no fast-talking dragons, no cheerful crickets, and no Donnie Osmond songs. Just one young woman (Liu Yifei) joining the army to save her father’s life, while also getting down to some very serious-looking business to, well, defeat the Huns. Donnie Yen co-stars, with Whale Rider’s Niki Caro in the director’s chair; at the very least, it probably won’t be a carbon copy of its animated inspiration, à la last year’s Aladdin and The Lion King. [William Hughes]


The New Mutants

Theaters everywhere April 3|

Shelved for more than two years, Josh Boone’s effort to inject a little horror into the bog standard superhero template is finally ready to see the light of Disney-mandated day. Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Charlie Heaton—or the mid-2017 incarnations of each—star as a group of young mutants facing off against a sinister doctor (Alice Braga) and a haunted house that doesn’t seem to care much about the powers they can bring to bear. This is almost certainly the last gasp of Fox’s X-Men series before the mutants pack their bags and move over to the MCU. Savor it. [William Hughes]


The Lovebirds

Theaters everywhere April 3

It’s the latest entry in a growing subgenre of romantic comedies about boring couples whose relationships are tested, then reinvigorated, after they get thrust into violent circumstances. (See: Date Night, Game Night, Keeping Up With The Joneses, etc.) This one, though, stars the immensely charming Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, whose characters scour New Orleans’ most dangerous and depraved enclaves in a quest to clear their names in a deadly hit-and-run. And it’s been directed by Michael Showalter, who previously oversaw Nanjiani’s star-making turn in The Big Sick. Seems like a winning combo. [Katie Rife]


No Time To Die

Theaters everywhere April 10

Will Daniel Craig make good on his threat to hang up the tuxedo and put his steely version of James Bond to bed? The plot of No Time To Die, his alleged last appearance in the role, winks at the negotiable nature of that impending exit, given that it revolves around 007 being coaxed out of retirement to deal with yet another global terrorist (Rami Malek, following in the footsteps of costar Christoph Waltz by chasing an Oscar win with a Bond-villain paycheck gig). It remains to be seen how Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) will handle the usual blend of quips, gadgets, and innuendo, but the Craig entries in this forever series have been, on average, pretty fun. If this really is the star’s final round of spy games, let’s hope he ends his run on a high note. [A.A. Dowd]


Antlers

Theaters everywhere April 17

In the pantheon of monsters, the Wendigo isn’t nearly as well-represented on screen as the vampire or the werewolf. Maybe that’s why we’re excited for Antlers, in which the fabled horned creature builds a potentially symbiotic relationship with the local boy (Jeremy T. Thomas) harboring it in his small-town Oregon home. Horror gatekeepers beware, however: Antlers looks to be of the “elevated” variety, given the pedigree of its cast (which includes Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons) and the CV of director Scott Cooper, a specialist in handsomely macho, star-studded dramas like Hostiles, Black Mass, and Out Of The Furnace. [A.A. Dowd]



👁️ Promising Young Woman

Select theaters April 17

Carey Mulligan shows off new shades of rage and anguish as a barista who spends her evenings pretending to be black-out drunk in order to entrap sexual predators. Written and directed by Emerald Fennell—who took over showrunner duties for the second season of Killing Eve—this discomfiting blend of drama, thriller, and dark comedy ruffled some feathers at Sundance a few weeks ago; it’s a #MeToo revenge yarn that weaponizes its most mainstream qualities and is too antagonistic to go for easy uplift. [A.A. Dowd]


Antebellum

Theaters everywhere April 24

Janelle Monáe follows up her role in last year’s Harriet with a very different take on the horrors of slavery. Plot details are being kept closely under wraps, but Antebellum appears to take a page from Octavia Butler’s 1979 classic Kindred, trapping a modern black woman in a time loop that sends her back to the plantation-era American South. The filmmakers, Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, have mostly directed music videos, so it’s tough to say how they’ll handle the potentially provocative material. But any horror movie with ideas is probably worth a look—and the vague, ominous teaser’s reminder that Antebellum is “from the producer of Get Out and Us” further stokes anticipation. [Katie Rife]


Black Widow

Theaters everywhere May 1

After years of anticipation from Marvel fans comes a long-awaited… sequel to Captain America: Civil War? Okay, it’s actually the solo debut of Scarlett Johansson’s superspy and former Avenger Natasha Romanoff (it may also possibly be her finale, given the events of Avengers: Endgame). But the movie is set in the aftermath of Civil War, before the apocalyptic shenanigans of Infinity War, with Natasha on the run from the authorities and revisiting her past. She reunites with a surrogate family of operatives that includes Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour, proving that the Marvel Rolodex is as stacked as ever. Behind the camera is Cate Shortland (Lore, Somersault), making that old indies-to-superheroes leap. [Jesse Hassenger]


Wonder Woman 1984

Theaters everywhere June 5

Idealistic art historian (and demigoddess of war) Diana Prince doesn’t age like us regular humans, allowing Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot to return as the franchise fast-forwards from 1918 to 1984. Director Patty Jenkins returns as well, bringing in new faces Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal to play the comic-book baddies Wonder Woman will righteously pound into dust. Early trailers have leaned heavily on colorful ’80s aesthetics, superimposing neon titles and bubbly synth-pop over quick glimpses of the action. Jenkins kicked open the door for levity in the DCEU with Wonder Woman, and with much of the same creative team on board for the sequel—the writers are different, but the producers, director, and star aren’t—expect more of the same, just with more Rubik’s Cube jokes. [Katie Rife]


Candyman

Theaters everywhere June 12

Chicago’s Cabrini-Green is no more, but the vengeful ghost who haunted it is still out for blood in this “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror hit. Director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) and co-writer/producer Jordan Peele return to the gentrified area that’s sprung up in the housing project’s wake for a new take on the material, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris starring alongside the Candyman himself, Tony Todd. The original remains one of the brainiest thrillers to launch a slasher-adjacent franchise, and at least in particular angle, this hotly anticipated follow-up appears to be following suit. [Katie Rife]


Soul

Theaters everywhere June 19

After a decade when Pixar’s sequel-to-original ratio was a disappointing 7:4, they’re starting the 2020s off right with two all-new, non-car, non-toy movies in six months. Soul is the more metaphysical of the two, following the soul of a teacher and jazz musician (Jamie Foxx) transported to a “You Seminar,” where he’s supposed to be discover new passions before being deposited into the body of a new infant. It’s from director Pete Docter, whose track record is pretty spotless, especially considering he spearheaded the similarly ambitious Inside Out. [Jesse Hassenger]


The King Of Staten Island

Theaters everywhere June 19

Judd Apatow makes his personal movies starring his wife and kids, yes, but he’s arguably at his best playing guru to younger comic talent. In The King Of Staten Island, he appears to be giving Saturday Night Live bit player Pete Davidson the Amy Schumer treatment: workshopping a semi-autobiographical, mostly grounded comedy out of the comedian’s distinctive personality. Not one to disappear deep into sketch characters, Davidson has often been at his best on SNL showing self-deprecating candor at the Weekend Update desk. Apatow seems like the right filmmaker to deepen that persona. [Jesse Hassenger]


In The Heights

Theaters everywhere June 26

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s other Tony-winning hit Broadway musical gets its chance to shine in movie theaters, with Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos taking on the role of ambitious bodega owner Usnavi, navigating romance and opportunity in the barrios of New York City. John M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) directs, from a script by Miranda’s original co-author, Quiara Alegría Hudes. Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, and Jimmy Smits co-star. [William Hughes]


Tenet

Theaters everywhere July 17

Christopher Nolan returns to mind-bending sci-fi (maybe?) with a film that everyone is pretty sure is about time travel. The most that we can say with certainty based on the first trailer is that Tenet definitely stars John David Washington and involves things going in reverse—along with such familiar Nolan staples as interesting architecture, natty tailoring, water imagery, and Michael Caine. Could a dead wife be far behind? We kid because we love. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


Jungle Cruise

Theaters everywhere July 24

The Disneyfication of the multiplex continues with this attempt to turn another theme park ride into a Pirates Of The Caribbean-style blockbuster. So why do we care? Because it’s directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the reliable genre specialist behind such (very literal) Liam Neeson vehicles as Non-Stop and The Commuter. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


The French Dispatch

Select theaters July 24

Wes Anderson is not one for the modern world. His run of live-action period pieces continues with The French Dispatch, which reportedly centers on an American journalist in France sometime in the mid-20th century. Aside from that, details have been minimal. The cast includes most of Anderson’s ever-expanding roster of regulars, along with new additions like Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Benicio Del Toro, Elisabeth Moss, and Timothée Chalamet. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


Bill And Ted Face The Music

Theaters everywhere August 21

Photo: Orion Pictures

The Wyld Stallyns at last ride again, as this long-gestating labor of love for two of cinema’s most affable goofballs finally makes its way to the screen. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprise their roles as middle-aged versions of Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Theodore Logan, respectively, while also being joined by returning Reaper William Sadler and Brigette Lundy-Payne and Samara Weaving as the duo’s daughters, Billie and Thea. Galaxy Quest’s Dean Parisot directs, while original series screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon are back to determine, once and for all, whether San Dimas High School Football does well and truly rule. [William Hughes]


The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Select theaters September 25

Steven Spielberg was once attached to direct this dramatization of the legal farce visited upon several prominent countercultural protesters after the 1968 Democratic National Convention. More than a decade into the project’s development, behind-the-camera duties have passed to its screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, who’s assembled an all-star cast, including Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale. With Sorkin at the helm, expect lots of lightning-quick zingers and hopefully not too many sanctimonious speeches about democracy. But can a Hollywood version compete with the you-are-there urgency of Chicago 10, Brett Morgen’s electrifying documentary on the same subject? [A.A. Dowd]


The Many Saints Of Newark

Select theaters September 25

Was anyone really clamoring for a Tony Soprano origin story? Maybe not, but given how well David Chase sustained his HBO mob epic over six tremendous seasons, The Sopranos creator has probably earned the benefit of the doubt—which is to say, our confidence that he’s returning to gangster-controlled Jersey for good reason. This prequel rewinds back to the 1960s and ’70s, following the senior Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) and Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano (Jon Bernthal). Meanwhile, the young Tony is portrayed by James Gandolfini’s real son, Michael. [A.A. Dowd]


Last Night In Soho

Select theaters September 25

After a run of celebrated comedies, Edgar Wright made his first foray into not-entirely-humorous genre territory with Baby Driver, his biggest hit to date. Now, the writer-director and Cornetto Trilogy creator tacks even further away from yuks with Last Night In Soho, starring Jojo Rabbit’s Thomasin McKenzie as a mod-obsessed teenager supernaturally transported to Swinging ’60s London. Sound like a Midnight In Paris lark? According to Wright, it’s actually a throwback psychological thriller—and given the filmmaker’s skill at pastiche, we can’t wait to see his spin on the Repulsion school of freak-outs. [A.A. Dowd]


The Witches

Theaters everywhere October 9

There’s a lot of potential in the idea of Robert Zemeckis applying his cinematic techno-love to the most overtly horrifying of Roald Dahl’s young adult novels, rife as it is with hideous transformations, rampant bodily harm, and little kids getting trapped in paintings by malevolent crones. Anne Hathaway stars as the leader of the titular coven, complete with an ambitious plan for ridding the planet of all those pesky children. She’ll let her hair down alongside Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, and more. [William Hughes]


The Eternals

Theaters everywhere November 6

Having now exhausted most of the really well-known characters on its bench, Marvel is betting big on this roster of Jack Kirby-created semi-gods—and on the drawing power, presumably, of star Angelina Jolie. Facing off against less-photogenic rivals the Deviants, the titular heroes—including Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, and an upsettingly jacked Kumail Nanjiani—come together under the command of The Rider director Chloé Zhao to keep humanity safe in a post- Phase 4 world. [William Hughes]


Stillwater

Select theaters November 6

In the four years since his journalism procedural Spotlight took home Best Picture, Tom McCarthy has kept busy directing a couple episodes of 13 Reasons Why and also, unusually, a kid flick for Disney+. But those seeking a proper, more prestigious follow-up to his Oscar winner might find it in Stillwater, his new drama about an oil rigger (Matt Damon) who travels from Oklahoma to France to exonerate his daughter (Abigail Breslin) of a crime he believes she didn’t commit. The purported fish-out-of-water angle sounds firmly in the wheelhouse of the filmmaker behind The Station Agent. [A.A. Dowd]


Godzilla Vs. Kong

Theaters everywhere November 20

King Of The Monsters was an uneven entry in the expanded cinematic universe launched with 2014’s striking Godzilla. But that hasn’t quite dampened our inner-child excitement for Toho’s most famous monster (or the chonky American version anyway) facing off against the 8th wonder of the world, who’s presumably grown a little since going ape-shit on some American interlopers in Kong: Skull Island. Managing the city-leveling is Adam Wingard, making the leap to the blockbuster big leagues; here’s hoping his stab at colossal kaiju mayhem is as much fun as his first two films, You’re Next and The Guest. [A.A. Dowd]


Happiest Season

Theaters everywhere November 25

Get ready for the internet to explode with heart emojis as Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star in a romantic comedy. That it’s a same-sex rom-com is notable; that it’s a mainstream same-sex rom-com scheduled for a wide release over Thanksgiving feels even more so. Stewart plays a young woman hoping to propose to her girlfriend (Davis) over the holidays, only to find out that she hasn’t yet come out to her family. Some more of your favorite actor people—Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, and Dan Levy—co-star, while Clea DuVall directs. [Jesse Hassenger]


Dune

Theaters everywhere December 18

Having established his heady sci-fi bona fides with Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve has now set out to tackle Frank Herbert’s classic novel about a feudalistic deep future where planetary dynasties scheme for control of a desert planet and the mind-altering, space-bending drug that is its chief natural resource. We have a serious soft spot for David Lynch’s 1984 version, but can’t wait to see what Villeneuve’s film—which is only the first part of a planned two-part adaption—makes of Herbert’s mix of palace intrigue, eco-politics, and religion. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


West Side Story

Theaters everywhere December 18

Photo: 20th Century Pictures

Earlier in their development, both The Color Purple and Hook were considered potential musicals, but director Steven Spielberg eventually backed away from going full-on song-and-dance with either. Decades later, he’s finally circling back to the genre with a new version of the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic (previously adapted by Robert Wise in 1961). Spielberg’s facility with production numbers in movies like 1941 and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom suggests that, at minimum, his take on West Side Story should be a technical marvel. Baby Driver himself Ansel Elgort plays Tony, while newcomer Rachel Zegler plays Maria. [Jesse Hassenger]


Coming 2 America

Theaters everywhere December 18

Eddie Murphy didn’t get his Oscar for Dolemite Is My Name, but his recent comeback has made a reality out of at least one dream: a sequel to the star’s beloved 1988 rom-com Coming To America. Dolemite director Craig Brewer assembles some of the original cast (including James Earl Jones and Arsenio Hall) for a story that finds Murphy’s Prince Akeem journeying back to Queens to meet his long-lost son, played by Superior Donuts’ Jermaine Fowler. While sequels made more than a decade after the fact don’t have a great track record, the presence of Black-ish creator Kenya Barris on the screenwriting team bodes well. So, too, does Murphy’s involvement, given how invigorated he seemed playing Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix biopic. [Katie Rife]


After Yang

TBA

Columbus, in which John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson walked and talked their way across the architectural mecca of the Midwest, was one of the most promising indie debuts of the last decade. Will writer-director-essayist Kogonada make good on that promise with his second feature, based on a sci-fi short story about a father and daughter attempting to save the life of a robot they’ve welcomed into the family? Reuniting with the filmmaker, Richardson joins an intriguing cast that also includes Colin Farrell, Joie Turner-Smith, and Clifton Collins Jr. [A.A. Dowd]


Annette

TBD

The last time the visionary French director Leos Carax made a movie, it was the enigmatic, melancholy, and howlingly weird Holy Motors. Eight years later, he returns with Annette, a fantasy musical written by the beloved cult art-pop duo Sparks. Not much is known about the film (which marks Carax’s English-language debut) apart from the fact that it stars Adam Driver as a stand-up comedian and Marion Cotillard as his opera-singer wife. But we expect something wonderfully strange. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


Benedetta

TBA

Frankly, it’s shocking that Paul Verhoeven hasn’t made a nunsploitation movie yet. The Basic Instinct director finally checks that box with his latest provocation, taking his prurient interests behind convent walls with an adaptation of the nonfiction book Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy, starring Virginie Efira as a 17th-century nun plagued by blasphemous visions that blend the erotic with the sacred. One screenwriter already asked to have his name removed from the credits because he felt Verhoeven’s vision was too sexual. If that doesn’t pique your prurient interest, what could? [Katie Rife]


Blonde

TBA

It’s been far too long since writer-director Andrew Dominik’s last film, the terrific and F-Cinemascore-certified Killing Them Softly. He’s kept busy on a couple episodes of Netflix’s Mindhunter, and now the streaming company is financing his long-in-the-works adaptation of the Joyce Carol Oates novel Blonde, a fictionalized Marilyn Monroe story. Ana de Armas from Knives Out replaces the once-attached Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain as Monroe, heading up a cast that also features Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson, and, in a clear sop to Killing Them Softly fans, Scoot McNairy. [Jesse Hassenger]


Bob’s Burgers

TBA

One of TV’s most consistently delightful animated families is coming to the big screen, complete with bunny ears, punny burgers, and infectious earworm musical numbers in tow. What the Belchers are actually doing at feature length remains unclear—the plot is entirely TBD. But even if this is just a super-sized episode, expect plenty of laughs; after all, creator Loren Bouchard remains on board, as do invaluable stars H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman, Dan Mintz, and Kristen Schaal. [William Hughes]


C’mon C’mon

TBA

Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix wipes off the clown makeup to star in the new movie from Mike Mills—not the R.E.M. bassist, but the writer-director of 20th Century Women. There isn’t a lot of information out yet about C’mon C’mon, which A24 will release in the fall, but it seems to involve a documentary filmmaker (presumably Phoenix) studying gifted children and bonding with his young nephew. The jump from Thumbsucker to Beginners to 20th Century Women indicated a strong upward trajectory for Mills. Whether he’s still peaking, his sensitivity and way with character writing promises to be a interesting match with the expressive Phoenix. [Jesse Hassenger]


Da 5 Bloods

TBA

The last time Spike Lee cashed in his mainstream-hit chips to make a war movie, the result was the not-so-well-received Miracle At St. Anna. But he keeps swinging for the fences, following up his Oscar-nominated BlacKkKlansman with another reconsideration of American history, following a quartet of Vietnam vets as they return to the country where another friend (Chadwick Boseman in flashbacks) was killed in action. They’re also searching for gold they buried so many years ago—suggesting, like his last movie, that Lee’s talent for fusing showmanship and social consciousness has not faded. There was speculation about a Cannes debut, but now that Lee has been named jury president, that seems less likely. [Jesse Hassenger]


I’m Thinking Of Ending Things

TBA

Every new movie by the brilliantly morose Charlie Kaufman is a major event, in part because there’s often an agonizingly long stretch of time between them. In his first since 2015’s stop-motion Anomalisa, Kaufman takes on Ian Reid’s award-winning debut novel about a woman (Jessie Buckley) who travels to the hometown of her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons), only to plummet into a nightmare even more frightening than just, you know, meeting the parents. If that sounds conventional, consider both the reportedly tricky conceptual nature of the book and the filmmaker who’s adapting it, presumably without the assistance of a fictional twin brother. [A.A. Dowd]


Mank

TBD

The meticulous David Fincher finally returns to the big screen with a black-and-white biographical drama about Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), the witty, self-destructive screenwriter and script doctor best known for co-writing Citizen Kane with Orson Welles (The Souvenir’s Tom Burke). The project is a personal one for Fincher; the screenplay was written by his late father, Jack Fincher. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


Memoria

TBA

Memoria represents several milestones in the career of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It’s his first film in English, his first to be shot outside of his homeland of Thailand, and his first starring a major A-list actor. That would be Tilda Swinton, who plays an orchid farmer who gets sucked into a pair of mysteries while visiting her sister in Bogota. Meanwhile, Weerasethakul—who has made some of the most sublimely poetic films of this century—describes the project as “a personal earthquake, a quiet madness.” It’s already been picked up by Neon, whose talent for getting foreign-language films in front of a lot of eyes (they distributed newly minted Best Picture winner Parasite, remember) should help assure Memoria a healthier-than-usual American turnout. Expect us to be first in line. [Katie Rife]


The Old Guard

TBA

Charlize Theron kicks ass once again, this time as the leader of an immortal company of ancient mercenaries (also including KiKi Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Luca Marinelli) with a need to keep their whole “can’t be killed or wounded” status on the down-low. Love And Basketball’s Gina Prince-Bythewood directs, from a script by Greg Rucka, adapting his own comic book for the screen. [William Hughes]


On The Rocks

TBA

Sofia Coppola returns to direct her screenplay about Laura (Rashida Jones), a young mom who meets up with her father (Bill Murray) for a New York-set adventure. On paper, it sounds like a Lost in Translation/Somewhere mash-up, with a carousing Bill Murray from the former and the wayward dad-daughter relationship from the latter. But Coppola has a way of examining her favorite touchstones—ennui, the restlessness of women who feel trapped, the loneliness of youth—from different angles. Plus, she’s doing her pal Murray a solid by presumably offering him another Oscar shot. [Jesse Hassenger]


Rebecca

TBA

Directors have been riffing on the films of Alfred Hitchcock for decades, but straight up remaking one is an entirely different matter. Fortunately, we have a strong feeling that director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Free Fire) isn’t out to make a shot-for-shot tribute in the vein of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. Wheatley’s Rebecca, which stars Lily James and Armie Hammer, is being billed as a new adaptation of the original 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier, and we’re excited to see what his macabre sensibility makes of the source material’s gothic mystery. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]


The Souvenir: Part II

TBA

Writer-director Joanna Hogg returns to her own past as a film student struggling to find herself with this sequel to last year’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama The Souvenir. Part II will follow Honor Swinton Byrne’s Julie in the aftermath of the original’s tragic events, with Tilda Swinton, Ariane Labed, and Richard Ayoade also reprising their roles, alongside new characters played by Charlie Heaton and Harris Dickinson. Stil, Hogg insists that the film is a sequel in name only, with “a different feeling about it.” Let’s hope not too different, as The Souvenir was one of our favorites of 2019. [Katie Rife]


Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson movie

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Paul Thomas Anderson loves a period setting and a sprawling ensemble cast, and he’s getting both with his latest, as-yet-unnamed project. A press release announcing production reveals little more than that it will be shot in California this spring. But trade reports indicate that the film will return to the San Fernando Valley setting of Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love. It’ll also take place in the ’70s, and center around a high-school student who’s also a child actor, leading some observers to refer to it as Anderson’s Dazed And Confused. Honestly, though, the movie could be about basically anything and it would sit pretty at the top of our anticipated list. It’s a new Paul Thomas Anderson movie. What else do you need to know? [Katie Rife]

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