Synopsis: Detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a young heiress aboard a cruise ship on the Nile River.
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Thoughts: Only a few years back in the late summer of 2017 I was expressing my doubts that director Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella) was going to be able to remake Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and improve upon the sterling 1974 film. Released in November of that year, it did solid business with audiences but left many critics feeling they had hopped on a slower ride than expected. I quite enjoyed the update, actually, finding Branagh’s fussy Hercule Poirot cucumber cool fun and the rest of the starry cast more than up for the devious twists and turns Christie plotted out. It was perfect winter weather viewing, the kind of film that deep armchairs and warm blankets were made for. As viewers were already aware, that film ended with Poirot being called to Egypt to investigate a “death on the Nile” and come October the promise of a sequel is finally arriving.
Itself a remake of the 1978 follow-up the blockbuster smash of Orient Express, Death on the Nile is another opportunity for Branagh to gather an impressive crew of suspects and victims that board a cruise ship headed for doom. With the sort of jaw-dropping but still believable plot machinations that only Christie truly perfected in her lifetime, some prefer the original sequel to its predecessor so I’ll be interested if Branagh can win over his original naysayers on this second round of whodunit. This downright beautiful first look certainly bodes well for it being another tantalizing mix of A-list stars (Wonder Woman 1984’s Gal Gadot, Call Me by Your Name’s Armie Hammer, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’s Annette Bening) and up and comers (Emma Mackey of Netflix’s Sex Education, Letitia Wright from Black Panther, and Furious 7’s Ali Fazal) that come under suspicion when murder drops anchor. I’m expecting another classy affair from Branagh and company…and who knows if by the end we won’t get a tease of where Poirot might be headed next. The possibilities are endless…
Synopsis: Set to a new wave ’80s soundtrack, a pair of young lovers from different backgrounds defy their parents and friends to stay together. A musical adaptation of the 1983 film.
Release Date: May 8, 2020
Thoughts: In Hollywood, the phrase ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t really apply…it’s more like ‘If it’s ain’t broke, remake it’ and that could explain why we’re finally getting a look at this trailer for the long in development new edition of 1983’s Valley Girl. Now, at first, I was, like, totally horrified at the thought of a true time capsule of cinema getting re-done because, like, why? Gag me with a spoon. Then I heard it wasn’t just a simple remake but would add some gnarly tuneage from the era to become a full blown musical so I was, like, open to the idea. I’m pretty sure I’ll be all ‘Whatever’ about the end product but after, like, six weeks of stay at home quarantine I have to admit the fun frolicking in Day-Glo neon on display looks like totally tubular fun right about now. Starring Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2 U) with a little cameo from Alicia Silverstone (The Lodge), I’ll probably swing by this party….but only if the apps are tasty.
Synopsis: Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.
Release Date: June 12, 2020
Thoughts: As I recalled in my 31 Days to Scare review, 1992’s Candyman remains one of the rare movies that still manages to frighten me to this day. It scared me terribly when I first saw it and I get a little rush of sweat in my brow when I know I’m going to be seeing it again. It’s just that well-crafted of a horror film. So I was more than a little curious when a remake was announced, thinking it was just another in the long-line of ill-conceived reboots that no one asked for. It’s when Oscar-winning screenwriter and surging director Jordan Peele (Us) came on board to co-write the script and director Nia DaCosta signed on to direct that I really got interested and if this first trailer is any indication, this 2020 Candyman is going to pack that same scary sting as the original. With an enviable cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq), Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk) and even original cast member Vanessa Williams (no, not that one) returning as what looks to be the same character this one is something to look forward to. Looking over the cast on IMDb reveals Peele is either making a sequel ala the recent Halloween or remaking the original with a twist…either way I’m in for some sweet screams.
Synopsis: Forced to venture into the unknown, the Abbott family realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Release Date: March 20, 2020
Thoughts: When A Quiet Place debuted in 2018, it became a sleeper hit and earned co-writer/director/star John Krasinski major kudos in Hollywood for delivering an old-fashioned thriller that capitalized on restraint. One strong point about it is that is Krasinksi and his team wrapped things up so well it felt like a sequel wasn’t necessary…but you know how a movie studio desperate for a non-franchise hit reacts when a minor budgeted film strikes gold. Yep…another chapter of A Quiet Place is completed and waiting for its March release and here is the first full trailer.
Sneaking a small teaser into theaters several weeks ago, I sort of thought that might be a nice place to end the marketing and preserve some mystery. After all, we knew who was coming back (Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns who nearly earned an Oscar nomination for the first film), Noah Jupe (Ford v. Ferrari) and Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck) so aside from that we didn’t totally need the lengthy preview that Paramount just released. If you haven’t seen the first film or want to keep Part II spoiler-free, I suggest you refrain from watching this…as nicely put together as it is, I’m not sure I wanted to know certain things before seeing the finished movie.
Synopsis: An action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution.
Release Date: July 17, 2020
Thoughts: Shrouded in mystery, if you’ve been to the movies the last few months you may have caught a super exclusive theatrical-only preview for Tenet, the new thriller from Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Interstellar) but the time has finally come for a full trailer to be released. Starring John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) and Robert Pattinson (The Rover), little is known what exactly is up Nolan’s tricky tricky sleeves and this first look appears to leave viewers with even more questions. In other words, it’s a pretty fantastic way to get people excited for the July release – here’s hoping Nolan can maintain that secrecy until it opens.
Synopsis: A bodega owner has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune.
Release Date: June 26, 2020
Thoughts: By now, most fans of the musical phenomenon Hamilton are well-aware of creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous Broadway success story, In the Heights. Also a celebrated piece of theatrical entertainment and winner of multiple awards, when I saw the show in its national tour it didn’t quite land with me as much as I thought it would. That’s why I’m especially interested to see the film adaptation arriving next summer which is getting a flashy treatment from Warner Brothers. I think this is going to transfer well to the screen and by the looks of the first trailer of the big-time movie musical directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and starring Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born) taking on the role Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) originated, this could be a hot ticket come June. While we wait for the inevitable film version of Hamilton, fingers crossed In the Heights shows how easy it is for Miranda’s work to soar in a different medium.
Synopsis: The story follows a family moving to a small town, where they learn more about who they are and the secrets of the town itself.
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Thoughts: In 2016, Paul Feig tried to do something different in continuing/rebooting the Ghostbusters franchise. Reducing that effort to just being the ‘female Ghostbusters’ seems entirely reductive so I’ll tread carefully and say that the movie didn’t work and not because of any gender switching that happened. It failed to capture the tone of the original films and, more than that, didn’t capitalize on the talents of it’s skilled stars – instead choosing to forcefully make them work in roles they weren’t suited for. Unfortunately, it fed the hungry bellies of the haters already poised to take it down.
Unwilling to give up on a reboot of their precious franchise so easily, Sony pivoted in a rather clever way by enlisting Jason Reitman (Labor Day), the son of original co-writer/director Ivan Reitman (Kindergarten Cop), to write and direct a true sequel to the original films and our first look at the highly anticipated summer 2020 film has arrived. Let me say, there’s a point in this two and a half minute trailer where a little tingle started deep in my spine and quickly rose through the top of my head like an exaggerated thermometer in one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons. I get the feeling Reitman, having grown up around this world, is the right person to take the reins on this series and with the rumored return of many of the original stars (who showed up in the 2016 movie but mostly as different characters) I’m truly happy to this resurrected again.
Synopsis: Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing an all-new foe: The Cheetah.
Release Date: June 5, 2020
Thoughts: THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A TRAILER AND GET PEOPLE EXCITED!
Let’s face it, when Wonder Woman rolled into theaters in 2017 the odds weren’t exactly stacked in her favor thanks to the recent efforts from DC Studios. Yet the film was an unimpeachable knockout, with smart direction from Patty Jenkins and led by Gal Gadot (Keeping Up with the Joneses) to critical, audience, and box office success. True, subsequent DC films failed to build upon the good example Wonder Woman set so in summer of 2020 expectations are even higher for Wonder Woman 1984 to get things back on track.
From the looks of this trailer, we’re in for a rad delight with Jenkins and Gadot leaping ahead several decades to a story set in 1984 that finds Wonder Woman reunited with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, A Wrinkle in Time) and dealing with super villains Barbara Minerva (aka Cheetah) (Kristin Wiig, Where’d You Go, Bernadette) and Max Lord (Pedro Pascal, If Beale Street Could Talk). The full plot is unknown but is it too much to hope they’ll take a page from Cheetah on the Prowl, the read-along book I had as a kid (see below)? 🙂 Everything about this preview is on point and gave me the kind of goosebump chills of excitement I used to feel when I was a teen waiting for the next ‘90s summer blockbuster. Love the editing, love the music choice, already looking forward to Wonder Woman’s visit to an ’80s mall. This just jumped to the top of my most anticipated list of 2020.
Synopsis: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Thoughts: Ever since the first trailer for CATS dropped in July, it’s been the talk of the town and not in the way Universal Studios had hoped it would be. The initial reaction to the starry cast including Jennifer Hudson (The Three Stooges), Judi Dench (All is True), James Corden (Into the Woods), Taylor Swift (The Lorax), Idris Elba (Molly’s Game), Rebel Wilson (The Hustle), and Ian McKellen (Beauty & the Beast) being turned into digital felines was a mixture of hilarity and horror but once that first round of shock wore off I think there was a general curiosity to how exactly the movie would turn out. Insiders had underestimated the power of a family-friendly feel-good holiday musical before and The Greatest Showman is a perfect example of that. Still, CATS is a different beast and even though it continues to have it’s strong supporters (I’m a ride or die Rumpleteazer fan and will not apologize) plenty will line up to tear it down. I was hoping this second trailer would smooth things out a bit and put some of those naysayers in their place but this is another weird looking swirl of kitty kat mayhem. I mean, I’m fascinated more than ever to see it but it didn’t exactly calm my nerves. The proportions are strange and the bodies seem weirdly matched to the heads…it’s all just so bizarre. My mind is just…amazed.
With a little over a month left before the film opens, we’ll be getting more and more teases of CATS and that started last week with the release of a new song written for the movie by Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Weber. With the movie rumored not to be ready in time for early awards consideration (think Golden Globes), the song may be the best bet the picture has at getting an Oscar nomination. Listen to it below.
Synopsis: As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them.
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Thoughts: In 2014, the spy adventure Kingsman: The Secret Service was a surprise hit with audiences and critics and presented a cheeky fun alternative to the wise acre superhero franchise films that were multiplying like rabbits. It also helped to introduce the public to Taron Egerton who would return in 2017 for the go-big-or-go-home sequel before hitting the big time with his hopefully Oscar nominated turn in 2019’s Elton John biopic Rocketman. With Egerton’s star on the rise and booked out on other projects and with the franchise having bankable legs, 20th Century Fox was in a bit of a tough place with director Matthew Vaughn on how to continue the story of the elite gentlemen’s agency that battled boffo baddies in style. The answer? Go back to the beginning. Recently moved from it’s original February release date, September 2020 will now bring us The King’s Man, tracking the original formation of the organization featuring Ralph Fiennes (Official Secrets), Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), Djimon Hounsou (Charlie’s Angels), and Harris Dickinson (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil). I’m sure I’ll miss the Egerton-factor but this second trailer feels in the same spirit as the two previous films with action packed intrigue to spare. Looks like royal fun.