2020 has been awful for Hollywood new releases, but it's not all bad.
We highlight the best movies of the year.
Included (so far): "Mulan," "Da 5 Bloods," "Bad Boys for Life," and "The Trial of the Chicago 7."
Let's face it, 2020 has been bad. Really bad.
But at least we still have movies. Whether it's through streaming, premium video on demand, or at the movie theater (if it's safe), we have been treated with a great range of stories. They have come from masters like Spike Lee ("Da 5 Bloods") and Christopher Nolan ("Tenet") while others have come from budding talents like Regina King (her directorial debut "One Night in Miami") and Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah ("Bad Boys for Life").
We'll continue to add to this list as the year progresses, but for now, here are the best movies of 2020 we've watched so far.
"The Assistant" shows an office environment pre #MeToo.
Writer-director Kitty Green examines a day in the life of someone working for a powerful executive with no understanding of #MeToo.
Julia Garner plays an assistant who must navigate every single aspect of the office she works at which leads to her realizing that there are some really twisted things going on behind closed doors. We are helplessly paralyzed watching her try to do right in an environment that is all wrong. — Jason Guerrasio
"Bad Boys for Life" surprised everyone as the first big popcorn movie of the year.
The January release of "Bad Boys for Life" originally had us concerned it was going to be a clunker. But the return of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to their famous roles became one of the few unexpected good times at the movies in this strange year.
The third film in the franchise had everything you wanted from a sequel. It was genuinely funny, had unexpected twists (there was a witch!), and wound up including a wholesome message about family that reminded us of another larger-than-life action franchise. (Can we please get these guys to team up with Universal for a "Fast and Furious" crossover? )
After it smashed box-office records, a fourth movie is already in the works and we're ready for whatever mischief these bad boys get into next. If you need a laugh right now in 2020, this is it. — Kirsten Acuna
"Da 5 Bloods" is Spike Lee's best work in years.
Spike Lee's powerful look at a group of veterans who return to Vietnam to track down a treasure and bring home the remains of their fallen squad leader is the director's best work in years.
"Feels Good Man" will make you wonder if a meme helped influence the 2016 election.
If you've never understood the Pepe the Frog meme, "Feels Good Man" is a fascinating exploration into how a harmless cartoon can become larger than life by transforming from an internet mascot to a symbol of the alt-right.
The documentary — which is available to rent through Vimeo and Amazon — chronicles the meme's origins on 4chan all the way to the artist's ongoing battle to reclaim his original art as a force for good. Long after the film is over, you'll wonder if Pepe played a role in influencing the 2016 election. — Kirsten Acuna
"The Invisible Man" will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Director Leigh Whannel, along with the help of the horror masters at Blumhouse, crafts a clever modern-day look at this classic horror tale.
Elisabeth Moss gives an amazing performance as a woman tormented by her abusive ex who invented an invisibility suit. It's a captivating work that keeps you on the edge of your seat. — Jason Guerrasio
"The King of Staten Island" shows off Pete Davidson's talents and Judd Apatow's growth as a storyteller.
Pete Davidson's life is the inspiration for the latest movie from Judd Apatow. The combination delivers both laughs and tears.
Davidson is a standout in his first big role as he plays a guy still trying to figure things out after the death of his firefighter father. The evolution of his character through the movie shows off Davidson's talents but also Apatow's growth as a storyteller. — Jason Guerrasio
"Mulan" is Disney's best live-action remake to date that really deserved to be seen on the big screen.
If you're worried about the live-action "Mulan" being another shot-for-shot remake of a Disney classic, that's not what you're getting here. While the film pays homage to the original, it stands on its own and feels more like a superhero movie about a young woman embracing her power than a film about a Disney princess.
If you're upset the remake isn't a musical, you'll be happy to learn the film still incorporates some of the original's iconic music. No one is breaking out into song, but the music for "Reflection" and "Honor to Us All" is used cleverly and should satisfy any '90s kids who grew up with the film.
The biggest shortcoming is that if you're not seeing this in theaters, you may not feel the emotional weight of at least one big scene. If you're still hesitant, it received a thumbs up from the original co-director, Tony Bancroft, and also has a cameo you won't want to miss.
"Mulan" is currently available to unlock at a premium price to Disney Plus subscribers. It will be available to all Disney Plus subscribers on December 4 at no additional cost. — Kirsten Acuna
You can read our full review here.
"Nomadland" may give Frances McDormand her next Oscar.
Frances McDormand is on pace for another Oscar win as she delivers an incredible performance playing a woman who, after losing everything during the Great Recession of the early 2000s, now lives a nomadic life in her van.
Featuring many non-actors who live that way, the movie is a fascinating glimpse at a different way of life. — Jason Guerrasio
"Nomadland" is in theaters in December.
"The Old Guard" is fueled by thrilling action sequences that we can't get enough of.
It looks like Netflix has found a big-budget comic book franchise with this one. Charlize Theron is fantastic as an immortal warrior who over the centuries has unwittingly helped humanity.
Fueled with fantastic fight sequences, we cannot get enough of this movie. — Jason Guerrasio
"One Night in Miami" is Regina King's directorial debut, and she is as big of a talent behind the camera as she is in front of it.
Regina King's feature directing debut proves that the hugely talented actress also is majorly talented behind the camera, too.
Based on the stage play of the same name, we look at the fictitious meeting between the biggest voices of the civil rights movement — Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. — Jason Guerrasio
Available in theaters and on Amazon later this year.
"Sound of Metal" is a beautiful movie about coming to terms with an abrupt, life-altering change in your life.
Riz Ahmed gives a riveting performance as a drummer who rapidly loses his hearing. If you or someone you know has been affected by hearing loss, "Sound of Metal" shows Ruben's internal struggles and frustrations by muffling the speech and sounds he hears at times to try and give viewers an idea of what he's experiencing.
The movie takes a deep dive into a deaf community to show that being deaf is not a handicap nor is it something that needs fixing. "The Walking Dead" fans will be delighted to see fan-favorite Lauren Ridloff as a teacher who helps Ruben learn to sign. That will hit harder with fans who know that Ridloff, a deaf actress, taught many of the "Walking Dead" cast how to sign along with another cast member. Ahmed learned sign language for the film and many of the cast were hired from the deaf community.
It's not a perfect film, but, "Sound of Metal" will remind you how life can change in an instant, and, despite any ups and downs, those changes don't need to define you. — Kirsten Acuna
"Sound of Metal" will be released in theaters November 20 and available to stream on Amazon Prime on December 4, 2020.
"Palm Springs" has cemented stars Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg in the category of all-time best rom-com couples.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have cemented their spot in the list of all-time great rom-com couples thanks to this time-loop comedy.
Set at a beautiful Palm Springs resort for a wedding, the two find themselves repeating the same day over and over again. In the process, along with doing hilarious things to pass the time, the two realize why life is worth living. — Jason Guerrasio
"Pieces of a Woman" features a must-see performance by Vanessa Kirby.
Vanessa Kirby is remarkable in this movie that focuses on a woman dealing with the aftermath of her daughter dying during childbirth.
Her feelings of emptiness and depression lead to distance between her and her husband (played perfectly by Shia LaBeouf). Kirby's performance is Oscar-worthy and a must-see. — Jason Guerrasio
Available in theaters and on Netflix later this year.
"Project Power" is a refreshing addition to the superhero franchise.
This slick Netflix action movie about a street drug that gives the user a superpower for five minutes is a refreshing addition to the genre.
Jamie Foxx is great as the guy who is out to track down his daughter who is being used as a Guinea pig for the drug, and the sequences throughout are impressive. — Jason Guerrasio
"The Rental" is an impressive thriller from Dave Franco.
Dave Franco's directorial debut is an impressive thriller in which two couples find themselves being tormented by a hammer-wielding psycho at the vacation home they have rented.
Franco ditches jump scares for just straight up demented gore that's amped up with the conflict he builds among the four main characters. — Jason Guerrasio
"The Social Dilemma" may make you want to delete a few apps from your phone.
When you hear former employees of Google, Twitter, and Facebook all say they don't let their kids use social media, that should be a red flag.
Netflix's documentary is a must-watch if you're on any type of social media platform and have wondered how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more use specific tools to keep you engaged in their apps longer. It scratches the surface on how algorithms have helped the rise and spread of misinformation during elections and the coronavirus pandemic, and the potential negative psychological effects that can incur if you become addicted to them. — Kirsten Acuna
"Swallow" star Haley Bennet delivers one of the best performances of the year.
Haley Bennet is amazing in this thriller. She plays a newly pregnant housewife who begins to swallow small objects after becoming overcome by her mundane life.
Her performance demands to be seen — it's one of the best of the year. — Jason Guerrasio
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" at times feels like it's addressing things going on right now in today's world.
Aaron Sorkin's latest directing effort looks at the anti-Vietnam activists who were put on trial for the uprising caused during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Frank Langella all shine in this courtroom drama that at times feels like it's addressing things going on right now in today's world. — Jason Guerrasio
Available in theaters now and on Netflix beginning October 16.
"Tenet" is a movie that will not be fully appreciated until years from now.
Taking away all the pressure put on this movie to be the savior of Hollywood and just looking at the work itself, this complex thriller/spy movie is a marvel in storytelling that likely will not be fully appreciated until years from now.
Christopher Nolan's talent to tell original tales on a grand scale is rare for this day and age, which is what makes this such a special movie. It also requires multiple viewings and lots of reflection, but who has the time for either at the moment? — Jason Guerrasio
Grownups could even learn a thing or two right now from the "Trolls" sequel which has a strong message about unity and acceptance.
Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) return in a colorful, bright sequel that's about far more than the adorable troll gang having fun. "Trolls: World Tour" delivers a strong message about accepting others' differences as Poppy sets out to unite six troll kingdoms that were broken long ago in order to live in harmony.
Initially, the young queen believes the perfect world would consist of one where everyone looks and sounds the same, enjoying pop music. After meeting different trolls in foreign kingdoms, she learns real harmony takes many different voices existing together and comes to the harsh realization that history is often written from the winning perspective.
It's a no-brainer why the "Trolls" sequel did so well on VOD. It's unexpectedly timely as civil unrest and protests continue in the United States. Grownups could learn a thing or two from the trolls. — Kirsten Acuna
Read the original article on Insider