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2020 in Movies: The First Six Months

Updated on July 2, 2020
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Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

The Best of (the 1st half of) 2020
The Best of (the 1st half of) 2020

THE TOP 5

1. The Vast of Night (review)

“Though steeped in easter-eggy homages to everything from The Twilight Zone to The War of the Worlds to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the film is undeniably still a one-of-a-kind original (along with being wildly entertaining... and worthy of not one but multiple viewings). It is also, we can hope, a clear harbinger of even more phenomenal things to come from its newbie director."

2. 1917 (review)

“Working alongside the great cinematographer Roger Deakins (who should immediately clear space on his mantel for Oscar number two), Mendes has created an immersive and legitimately war-is-hell experience instantly reminiscent of the first half-hour of 1998’s Saving Private Ryan—though not quite as graphic or insanely frenetic.”

3. Da 5 Bloods (review)

“Even if Spike Lee’s fantastic new film Da 5 Bloods hadn’t debuted this week (on Netflix), it still would be one of the most powerful and resonant films of the year. Arriving as it does, however, in the midst of Black Lives Matter protests and national unrest, helps it hit home that much more. Which is to say, a hell of a lot.”

4. Banana Split (review)

“This is no shrug-worthy, eh-what-the-heck way of passing time until movie theaters reopen. Banana Split is a refreshing, funny, and touching escape from current events that reminds you of everything that’s great about movies.”

5. Athlete A (review)

“The story of how gymnast Maggie Nichols (and many others) stepped up and spoke out about sexual assaults, cover-ups, and the totalitarian regime of USAG is not only worthy of your undivided attention, it’s as inspirational as they come. But parts of the story are also more sickening and infuriating than you could imagine.”

THE REST (click on title for full review)

6. Emma
7. The Invisible Man
8. Michael Hutchence: Mystify
9. The Photograph
10. Mine 9
11. Escape from Pretoria
12. To the Stars
13. The Way Back
14. Les Misérables
15. Onward
16. 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up
17. Olympic Dreams
18. Miss Americana
19. Short Circuit
20. Bad Boys for Life
21. Just Mercy
22. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
23. 7500
24. Judy & Punch
25. Buffaloed
26. The Half of It
27. Beastie Boys Story
28. Other Music
29. Trolls World Tour
30. Sea Fever
31. Ride Like a Girl
32. Lost Transmissions
33. Lost Girls
34. Military Wives
35. Bad Education
36. The Willoughbys
37. International Falls
38. Big Time Adolescence
39. The Hunt
40. Guns Akimbo
41. All the Bright Places
42. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
43. Troop Zero
44. Underwater
45. My Spy
46. Spelling the Dream
47. Valley Girl
48. James vs His Future Self
49. Blow the Man Down
50. Spenser Confidential
51. Sonic the Hedgehog
52. Extraction
53. Love Wedding Repeat
54. The Coldest Game
55. The Lovebirds
56. Arkansas
57. The Rhythm Section
58. The Gentlemen
59. Sergio
60. Impractical Jokers: The Movie
61. The Call of the Wild
62. Irresistible
63. The Wrong Missy
64. The Night Clerk
65. Stargirl
66. Coffee & Kareem
67. Artemis Fowl

THE BOTTOM 5

68. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (review)

“It’s a damning compliment to be sure, but in the sense that one star is in fact better than zero, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous—oh, who really cares?) is better than Suicide Squad. In the bigger picture, though, the film is a firm continuation of DC’s continued ineptitude. This thing just doesn’t fly.”

69. Vivarium (review)

“It gets derailed by a frustratingly nonsensical and pretentious script and yawn-worthy themes. In the end, it winds up being nothing more than an excuse for a pity party for stars Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, who deserve much, much better.”

70. Dolittle (review)

“Director Stephen Gaghan (who also co-wrote this mess) should quietly, immediately, and indefinitely take his seat next to Cats’ Tom Hooper in director detention, and his colleagues in the writer’s room (Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, and Chris McKay) can join him to think about what they’ve done.”

71. The Last Thing He Wanted (review)

“I was proven wrong last year (thanks, Cats!) when I jumped the gun and declared Serenity the worst of 2019 far too early, so I’m hesitant to make the same mistake twice… but, my heavens, The Last Thing He Wanted is unquestionably the last thing anyone would want in a movie. Ever.”

72. Fantasy Island (review)

“Over the course of the film’s 109 minutes, we jump back and forth between the fantasies in neck-snapping fashion, as the movie shifts from the look and feel of a bland Saw entry to a sappy Lifetime time-travel drama to MTV Spring Break circa-1995 to a cut-rate Platoon rip-off… all of which, naturally, makes Fantasy Island feel like four horrendously crappy movies in one.”

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