Here in Illinois, today marks the day of Phase 4. For me, that means the opening of (some) of the movie theaters in the state. Since new releases won’t start until mid to late July (at the earliest), these theaters are simply showing 2020’s pre-pandemic releases as well as some old classics (I plan on going next week to see me some Indiana Jones on the big screen).
Most of the movies of the first half of 2020 have been on streaming services, and have easily been missed by cinephiles such as myself. That said, I wanted to do a small recap of the films I have seen so far.
- Da 5 Bloods (Netflix) Spike Lee’s fictional tale of Vietnam Vets clearly draws from many inspirations like Apocalypse Now and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Lee’s favorite film), but his film (or “joint”) is still unique in its own way. Even if you don’t agree with his political views, you can’t deny the man is a great filmmaker (nor the film’s acting, especially by Delroy Lindo). A great film to show that certain bonds are immune to time and death.
- The King of Staten Island (Amazon Prime) Though an original story of a man (Pete Davidson) who still lives at home and suffers from many anxiety issues, this dramedy is also rather intimate. Like the main character, Davidson lost his own firefighter father during 9/11 (though those events were not the cause in the film for the character’s dad), making the film give us a more intimate look at the characters than we might expect from a Judd Apatow film. Also a great supporting cast as well.
- The Lovebirds (Netflix) Though the situations the two main characters go through are (mostly) far from enticing, the film is worth a look mainly due to the cosmic comedic chemistry of the leads Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Films based off of video games have a rather cruddy track record, but this is one of the few exceptions. Like last year’s Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, the film does enough justice for its source material to satisfy fans and be at least passable for non fans as well. That, and unleashing the ever energetic Jim Carrey is always a pleasure.
- Stargirl (Disney Plus) This film has potential to be the most unseen gem of the year. Unlike many coming of age films, this one actually stars actors and actresses who are teenagers. Great dialogue is supplied, along with the perfect role for former AGT winner Grace Vanderwaal.
- Artemis Fowl (Disney Plus)I never read the books, but I would bet a shiny red penny that the film did not do much justice to the source material. It was way too fast paced, and, despite how lovable Josh Gad may be, he was completely superfluous as the narrator. A friend of mine (who did read the books) related it to M. Night Shamalyan’s version of The Last Airbender, (which I still think may be a little too much).
- Dolittle As RDJ’s first film after leaving the MCU, it was undoubtedly something that would look good on paper. Even having Downey Jr. in the title role does not save this colossal mess of a film.
- Onward (Disney Plus) Recently, I just got around to watching all 22 films in the Disney/Pixar library. When I made my list, this film (which was the last film I saw in theaters before the quarantine) was in the bottom three. Despite only a few minor touching scenes, I would be shocked if we are still talking about this when the much more promising looking Soul comes out later this year.
Some of the ones I am still seeking out…
- Crip Camp
- First Cow
- The Invisible Man
- Never Rarely Sometimes Always
- The Way Back
And some of the ones I am looking forward to in the second half of 2020…
- Black Widow
- Bill & Ted face the music
- No Time to Die
- Top Gun: Maverick