#NativeNerd list: 45 great movies for 2020
As we embark into 2020 and are now at the midpoint of January, I became excited as I continued to watch movie trailer after movie trailer about films I really wanted to see. I decided to create a movie checklist of sorts for my Native Nerd film reviews. But if I am going to do all that work, how much more exciting would it be to share my discoveries with the readers of this Native Nerd column?
So I got to work and came up with 45 films so far. I included the trailers when they were available.
No, I didn’t include them all.
If they looked uninteresting (for example, “Call of the Wild,” with a horrible CGI dog and a bearded Harrison Ford) or unappealing in any way, I just left them out. There are a plethora of longer lists if you want to dig a bit deeper with a quick Google search.
Enjoy faithful readers and moviegoers, here’s to a great year of entertainment.
That said, stay tuned each week for my #NativeNerd film reviews. If you enjoy this article, please share it with your family and friends.
One more note, "Just Mercy" is now in theaters. Though it is not on this list, it is an amazing film worth seeing.
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Betty Gilpin, John Cho
Open date: Jan 3, 2020
Synopsis: A detective investigates a murder scene that has a connection to a case that her new partner handled in the past. The killings occurred in a haunted house that passes on a ghostly curse to those who dare enter it. Soon, the curse spreads to a terminally ill woman and her husband, and another unsuspecting couple who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Native Nerd comment: Looks interestingly creepy, so worth checking it out as John Cho as Peter Spencer, a real estate agent, interacts with Detective Muldoon regarding a scary crawling muddy long-haired ghost that supposedly is now following them to their homes. Even though the reviews are lukewarm, I’ll go see it to make up my own mind.
Bad Boys for Life
Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence
Open date: Jan 17, 2020
Synopsis: Old-school cops Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett team up to take down the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department along with Mike and Marcus go up against the ruthless Armando Armas.
Native Nerd comment: Looks like this movie is going to be hilarious. I love both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence who come together as a great force for comedy goodness while pulling off great action-movie energetic chemistry.
Starring: Robert, Downey Jr.
Open date: January 17, 2020
Synopsis: Dr. John Dolittle lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.
Native Nerd comment: I saw this already, and though critics so far seem to be a bit tough on the film, I loved it. I thought it was funny, light-hearted and a great mix for adults and kids to both enjoy.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding
Open date: January 24, 2020
Synopsis: Mickey Pearson is an American expatriate who became rich by building a marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he's looking to cash out of the business, it soon triggers an array of plots and schemes from those who want his fortune.
Native Nerd comment: In short, it looks hilarious. Ego-centric, over the top guns-blazing humor that is likely to offend many film-goers unaccustomed to dark humor. That is understandable, but I have fairly thick skin, and I’m likely to laugh at quite a few jokes.
Gretel and Hansel
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Sammy Leakey, Alice Krige
Open date: January 31, 2020
Synopsis: A girl and her younger brother unwittingly stumble upon the house of an evil witch in the dark woods.
Native Nerd comment: If you think about the real story of Hansel and Gretel and an old witch who wants to eat the kids, yes, you have a horror story. Looking at the trailer, there is a nice bit of potential creep factor, but it’s the parts a bit more outside the Grimm Fairy Tales genre that I question. I’m on the fence on whether I’ll be a fan or critical, but I’ll go see it.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Starring: Margot Robbie
Open date: February 7, 2020
Synopsis: After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord, Black Mask in Gotham City.
Native Nerd comment: In lieu of all the hype, I predict this film is going to get skewered by the critics and the end result won’t be too positive for a Joker-less Harley Quinn. I actually liked DC’s Suicide Squad, even with the horribly disappointing appearance by Adam Beach’s Slipknot, but I don’t think DC movies quite get the difference in Marvel’s dominance. So many DC films are hit and miss, and I really think this will be a miss. But I am curious, so I’ll go see it.
Starring: Riley Keough
Open date: February 7, 2020
Synopsis: During a family retreat to a remote winter cabin over the holidays, the father is forced to abruptly depart for work, leaving his two children in the care of his new girlfriend, Grace. Isolated and alone, a blizzard traps them inside the lodge as terrifying events summon specters from Grace's dark past.
Native Nerd comment: Looks super creepy. I don’t know anything about this movie or the actors or director, but this looks like it could be a pretty good scary movie, I’m in. Something about getting stuck in a cabin somewhere in a remote wintery location freaks me out.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Starring: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey
Open date: February 14, 2020
Synopsis: Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend -- a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination.
Native Nerd comment: Who was the brainiac who thought to release this on Valentine’s Day? Maybe you take the kids and dump them at this movie and go to a different theater across the hall? (Yeah maybe “Fantasy Island” - see below) Who knows. But I grew up with the Sonic of Sega Genesis and look forward to this movie. Jim Carrey looks like he is having some fun with his character work, so I am hopeful.
Starring: Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Michael Pena
Open date: February 14, 2020
Synopsis: The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort, but when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island's mystery in order to escape with their lives.
Native Nerd comment: Not sure if I am buying Michael Pena as Mr. Rourke and where is Tattoo? I loved that little guy who ran in excited about the arriving plane. Huge misstep there in my opinion. But I hope this movie invests a bit more creatively into things than a simplified “fantasies gone wrong” concept. The jury is out for me.
The Invisible Man
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid
Open date: February 28, 2020
Synopsis: A loose modern adaptation of the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells and a remake of the 1933 film adaptation of the same name.
Native Nerd comment: Interesting contemporary approach to a movie I never saw in the first place. An obsessed sociopath leaves his girlfriend 5 million dollars after his faked death, which she can keep, if she is deemed mentally stable. He torments her as an invisible man, no one believes her, etc. etc. I’ll go see it, but this overplayed concept is kind of a dud to me. The trailer is also getting notice for the abusive relationship, so I am going to approach this movie with a bit of apprehension.
Starring: Vin Diesel
Open date: March 13, 2020
Synopsis: After he and his wife are murdered, marine Ray Garrison is resurrected by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine - Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he cannot recall anything from his former life. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility to get revenge, only to discover that there's more to the conspiracy than he thought.
Native Nerd comment: Yes, yes, yes, bring this movie on. I love the comic book adaptation concept and Vin Diesel has long been one of my favorite action film actors since “The Chronicles of Riddick.” I am all about this and will be there right at the gate.
A Quiet Place Part II
Starring: Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe
Open date: March 20, 2020
Synopsis: Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Native Nerd comment: I at first thought this might be a prequel, but articles online suggest there are some flashbacks in the trailer and the movie then swings into the after story of the original. A Quiet Place 2 looks like it is going to be another great story in the aliens that hunt by sound, and I am all about it. I like Emily Blunt’s acting so I am delightfully optimistic.
Starring: Yifei Liu
Open date: March 27, 2020
Synopsis: To save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army, a fearless young woman disguises herself as a man to battle northern invaders in China.
Native Nerd comment: Ok Disney, keep your hands off the cultural appropriation button. And it appears they might be keeping it that way with Mulan. I look forward to this movie, which I’ll be sure to review.
The New Mutants
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, Alice Braga, Antonio Banderas
Open date: April 3, 2020
Synopsis: Magik, Wolfsbane and other teenage mutants try to come to grips with their superpowers while staying at a secret facility.
Native Nerd comment: I have no idea what to think after Marvel has bait and switched the release date of this movie umpteen times. I am most curious about Danielle Moon Star, the Native American mutant portrayed by Blu Hunt, an actress of Native descent. I don’t like the video game asylum approach, but I hope this movie proves my doubts wrong. I suspect a lukewarm reception, which is a shame as Danielle Moon Star is one of the only lead Native mutants in the X-Men Marvel Universe that is front and center. I hope I am wrong, but we will see.
No Time to Die (James Bond)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Rami Malek
Open date: April 8, 2020
Synopsis: Recruited to rescue a kidnapped scientist, globe-trotting spy James Bond finds himself hot on the trail of a mysterious villain, who's armed with a dangerous new technology.
Native Nerd comment: Looks awesome, to say the least. Daniel Craig is a great James Bond, so I am in.
Starring: Keri Russell, Graham Greene, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas
Open date: April 17, 2020
Synopsis: A mysterious creature escapes from its confines to wreak bloody havoc in a small Oregon town.
Native Nerd comment: Based on the Native American Wendigo being, this movie looks to have a super creep factor. I’ll be sure to review it out of curiosity, I am also curious about what the tribes who recognize the Wendigo might think. Graham Greene is in it, so there is that.
Starring: Janelle Monáe, Jena Malone
Open date: April 24, 2020
Synopsis: A successful author finds herself in a horrifying reality and must figure out the mystery behind it before it is too late.
Native Nerd comment: Not sure what to make of the trailer where a Black woman author finds herself in the mixed realities of the times during slavery working in a field, but also contemporary city life. I am certainly intrigued. I suspect great reviews at first glance.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Open date: May 1, 2020
Synopsis: At birth, the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative.
Native Nerd comment: The excitement and apprehension are overwhelming. After the death of the Black Widow in the Marvel Universe, I am not sure how to take this prequel, other than with welcoming arms. I’ll be there day one. Hopefully, I will be able to see an early press viewing.
The Woman in the Window
Starring: Amy Adams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore
Open date: May 15, 2020
Synopsis: Agoraphobic Dr. Anna Fox witnesses something she shouldn't while keeping tabs on the Russell family, the seemingly picture-perfect clan that lives across the way.
Native Nerd comment: A spin-off from Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” this film is a take on a woman with agoraphobia and panic disorder that sees a murder of her neighbor — or does she? Interesting, and I’ll be there to see it out of curiosity.
Starring: Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Gina Rodriguez, Frank Welker, Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg
Open date: May 15, 2020
Synopsis: With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever -- a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global dog-pocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone could have imagined.
Native Nerd comment: Might be fun, might be a bit too corny. I’ll review it in hopes I might enjoy a bit of my childhood again.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown
Open date: May 22, 2020
Synopsis: SpongeBob and Patrick travel to the lost city of Atlantic City to solve the mysterious kidnapping of Gary the snail. They soon prove that there's nothing stronger than the power of friendship as they encounter danger and delight at every turn.
Native Nerd comment: What’s not to love about SpongeBob and Patrick? I am a longtime fan of the franchise and of course, I’m going to see it. I am admittedly loving the interesting merging of the cartoon colors and CGI morphed into a cartoon. It’s amazing to me.
Starring: Judi Dench, Josh Gad
Open date: May 29, 2020
Synopsis: Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father's disappearance.
Native Nerd comment: Looking like a mash-up of Harry Potter, the Matrix and Percy Jackson, sure what the heck, I am in to go see it.
Wonder Woman 1984
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine
Open date: June 5, 2020
Synopsis: Wonder Woman squares off against the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.
Native Nerd comment: Awesome. I’m there. Don’t know what I can say as all of you saw the Wonder Woman movie most likely. Join me won’t you? I want to know how her love interest comes back from the supposed dead.
Top Gun: Maverick
Starring: Do I even have to write Tom Cruise?
Open date: June 26, 2020
Synopsis: After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.
Native Nerd comment: I have no desire to see this movie. But considering how many of you out there may have loved the first film (I didn’t) I feel a bit of a sense of responsibility to include it on my list. Bring back the music of Kenny Loggins at least.
Worth mentioning for June, the animated movie “Soul” and urban-flavored musical “In the Heights” with Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” as well as the horror film “Candyman, a sequel to the original film with the iconic Tony Todd. written by Jordan Peele (“Us,” “Get Out”) and Win Roselfeld.”
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi
Open date: July 3, 2020
Synopsis: A bank teller called Guy realizes he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.
Native Nerd comment: I will be there with bells on. All-day long.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard
Open date: July 10, 2020
Synopsis: When a single mother and her two children move to a new town, they soon discover that they have a connection to the original Ghostbusters and their grandfather's secret legacy.
Native Nerd comment: It's interesting to see a serious take on a movie that I had loved for its silliness and hilarity so many years ago. But Ghostbusters: Afterlife is sure to be an interesting film. I'll never forget you, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and the late, great Harold Ramis, you are the original Ghostbusters in my mind forever.
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh.
Open date: July 17, 2020
(Possible) synopsis: An action epic film evolving from the world of international espionage.
[Another possible synopsis might also be “A secret agent must prevent World War III through time travel” according to information published by The Verge.]
Native Nerd comment: Out of all the films in 2020 this one I know the least about that I want to see near the top of my list. “Tenet” looks to be an interesting film so I'm all in. It’s worth noting that John David Washington is Denzel Washington’s son who received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Spike Lee's “BlacKkKlansman.” Pattinson, Caine, and Branagh’s roles are too big to not mention. And no doubt there are high expectations with Christopher Nolan directing. According to Indiewire, this film is so secret, Pattinson was reportedly locked in a room to read the script.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt
Open date: July 24, 2020
Synopsis: Film based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles, but with a supernatural element.
Native Nerd comment: I used to love the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland of California so I'm looking forward to this movie with two of my favorite actors, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. Bring it on Disney take my ticket money.
Starring: Jared Leto
Open date: July 31, 2020
Synopsis: Biochemist Michael Morbius tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but when his experiment goes wrong, he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead.
Native Nerd comment: What the heck is going on in the Spider-Man Sony Marvel Universe? This has me completely floored. if you watch the trailer closely you can see Spider-Man painted on the wall with the words murderer which gives evidence this comes from the aspect of the Marvel Universe in which Spider-Man had allegedly killed Mysterio. However, you also see a cameo with Michael Keaton as the Vulture talking to Michael Morbius. Holy moly I am there all day long. I also want to know, ‘Where does Venom and Carnage fit into all of this? I am wondering if questions are going to be answered or I'm just going to have more questions.
Lack of trailers moving forward
There are very few trailers going past August so I’ll just list the movies coming to the screen with a comment or two. Additional disclaimer: A lot of movies change schedules, so like the “Masters of the Universe” movie with He-Man and Skeletor was originally scheduled for 2019, they have shifted once again to 2021. So any movies below are not guaranteed to show on their currently scheduled date.
Bill and Ted Face the Music
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter
Open date: August 21, 2020
Native Nerd comment: The original Bill and Ted come back to the big screen!
The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek
Open date: August 28, 2020
Native Nerd comment: A sequel to the Hitman’s Bodyguard, the producers are likely vying on Reynold’s popularity to boost this above the previously ill-received prequel. I liked it, but other film reviewers sure hated the first one.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Meagan Good, Ron Perlman
Open date: September 4, 2020
Native Nerd comment: Loosely based on the video game, I am looking forward to more Ron Perlman. I’d post a leaked trailer, but they are usually removed at some point. But you can find a few on YouTube right now at low quality.
The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Open date: September 11, 2020
Native Nerd comment: I love the Conjuring franchise, aside from the disaster of “The Nun,” and I am looking forward to more from the Warrens.
The King’s Man (Prequel to the Kingsman movies)
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Ralph Fiennes
Open date: September 18, 2020
Native Nerd comment: I literally discovered this movie was coming to the theater this September as a result of research for this article. Ralph Fiennes stars as the man who effectively got the Kingsman organization started and this is the prequel story. I am all there with a bag of organic corn chips.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Open date: September 25, 2020
Native Nerd comment: About the individuals charged with conspiracy during the Vietnam war.
Starring: Tom Hanks
Open date: October 2, 2020
Native Nerd comment: Tom Hanks Plays an inventor and the last human remaining on a post-apocalyptic world. So already this story has me at the get-go. I'm looking forward to seeing the trailer when it's released.
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci
Open date: October 9, 2020
Native Nerd comment: This film is a remake of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” which already has my interest. But we will see.
Starring: Henry Golding
Open date: October 16, 2020
Native Nerd comment: The next character revealed in the GI Joe Hasbro universe? I'm interested. The GI Joe franchise can be either really ridiculous or pretty good. I am hoping for the pretty good in October.
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Anthony Michael Hall
Open date: October 16, 2020
Native Nerd comment: So the producers have said all of the previous sequels and more are now nullified and this will be the third in the trilogy of Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis is the badass mom who has been running from Michael Myers for decades and Judy Greer is her daughter in the movie. And Anthony Michael Hall is in this? The Breakfast Club actor? The jury is out on this one. And yes, I know Hall has done quite a bit of acting, but I can’t help myself.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Brian Tyree Henry
Open date: November 6, 2020
Native Nerd comment: Known as part of Marvel’s Phase 4, “The Eternals” is a movie based on another aspect of Marvel Comics in which three sets of beings go against each other that live on earth, the earthlings, the underworldly characters, and the Eternals. Though I will go to see it, I question how well it will be received. Time will tell.
Godzilla vs. Kong
Starring: Godzilla and King Kong (of course); Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Zhang Ziyi, and Demián Bichir.
Open date: November 20, 2020
Native Nerd comment: I'm not sure how much I need to explain this but Godzilla is going to fight King Kong. A lot of buildings are going to get smashed and that's pretty much the movie. I haven't been a big fan of Godzilla movies, but I'll go to check it out.
Escape Room 2
Open date: November 30, 2020
Native Nerd comment: I liked the first movie and there's not much to know about this one. But the first movie left on a little bit of a questionable note, so I look forward to what's to come. The moral of the story? Escape these rooms or die, part 2.
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Zendaya
Open date: December 18, 2020
Native Nerd comment: Jason Momoa Dave Bautista and Zendaya? I’m in. I just hope this movie isn't four hours long.
West Side Story
Starring: Rita Moreno, Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler
Open date: Dec 18, 2020
Native Nerd comment: I'm really not sure what to think about this one, but I suspect director Steven Spielberg is just mad that he never thought of this first. Do you really think you could do this movie better Spielberg? I highly doubt it. To be completely honest, I am a bit annoyed that Spielberg thinks he could take this on and create something better. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go see it, but I had to list it as one of the potential movies for December. The one caveat is that one of the original cast members, Rita Moreno is in it.
Coming 2 America
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Garcelle Beauvais, Wesley Snipes
Open date: Dec 18, 2020
Native Nerd comment: Is Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Wesley Snipes really coming back for this movie? This could be really great or a disaster, though I'm really happy to see Eddie Murphy getting kudos for his strong return to television and film. Okay, gentlemen, you have my best wishes, but please don't let me down.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today and a proud movie reviewer.
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