Greetings, movie fans! A lot blockbuster films were delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic and we’re still seeing postponements this year too. However, film studios are gradually releasing more films in 2021. Essentially, studios need streaming to save them. But 2020 was a different story. Hollywood just thought movie theaters would reopen at some point and people would come flooding back. It’s laughable. Needless to say, 2020 had a very strange movie slate. I saw countless disappointing indie and horror films. Even some of the bigger releases were pretty bad. So, I’m giving you a list of notable releases in 2020 ranked from my biggest disappointments to my favorites. I’m not including everything, but the list should still be quite interesting. Let’s check out the movies from 2020.
This movie wound up on the bottom of my list. Songbird is a post-apocalyptic film that takes place during the COVID pandemic in an even grimmer situation than our own reality. There’s no reason to feel offended by the subject matter. It’s just a pandemic version of Romeo and Juliet. This movie doesn’t have violence, action, topical social issues, or anything that’s remotely interesting. Dude, give me some bloodshed! If a filmmaker is going to make a commentary about the pandemic, do something!
28) The Rhythm Section
Here’s a release that came out in January, preceding the pandemic. The Rhythm Section is a crime thriller that features a female assassin in training. This movie is just really slow and boring. It has some action scenes, but the cinematography is sloppy and disorienting. I don’t find the characters compelling and the overall story is bland. But that’s okay because this year’s January crime thrillers are also disappointing.
27) The Craft: Legacy
I’m a big fan of the original Craft film. This long awaited sequel has mildly entertaining characters, but the story isn’t very good and it’s a little heavy handed with the social commentary. It feels like one of those direct-to-video releases. If you really like the first Craft movie, you could watch this one too, but keep your expectations low. The first Craft release is a better film.
Wow! This movie is incredibly mean spirited. Very few people will enjoy this horror film. Antebellum melds together the Civil War era with racist conflicts from today. The story is slow and super disorganized. I think a lot of viewers will have a difficult time following the story. This film would be lower on my list, except the third act is a lot better. I actually found the final twenty minutes quite exciting and karmic. It has an interesting twist, but the overall experience isn’t great. If you’re searching for social commentaries, I can think of significantly better films.
25) Project Power
This movie was one of my least favorite releases from Netflix. It’s a gritty superhero film, which should be up my alley, but I couldn’t get invested in the plot or characters. It has a lot of action and visual effects. That’s probably the best part. Basically, a better script would have boosted this movie for a viewer like me. Despite every effort to make Project Power a big release for Netflix, it’s a pretty forgettable movie.
24) Come Play
I watched a lot of horror films in 2020. Come Play is about a young boy who accidentally befriends a monster who lives through electronic devices and the internet. Yeah, the plot sounds preposterous. I don’t hate this movie, but it’s pretty slow and the lighting is so dark. It’s genuinely difficult to see what’s happening in the film. I also can’t say it’s scary in any way, shape, or form. The ending is okay, but it’s just another mundane horror movie. I’m wondering if Come Play is a commentary about online predators. If that’s the case, the message isn’t clear enough.
23) Honest Thief
Sure, I like Liam Neeson as an action star. This movie is about an infamous thief who’s trying to clean up his life. Honest Thief is so low on my list because it’s surprisingly boring. It has a limited number of action scenes and very little happens in this movie. Seriously, it’s almost false advertising. The trailers market this movie as an action film, but that’s not even true! It’s like a cross between a crime drama and romance. However, I heard The Marksman is even worse from this year.
Here’s another January release that predated the pandemic in the USA. I really wanted to like this movie, but it’s just another January release. Unfortunately, the first month of the year is usually a dumping ground for disappointing movies. Underwater is about a deep sea oil drill that experiences an attack from unidentifiable sea creatures. It has some okay elements and the creatures are pretty cool, but it has pacing issues and the lighting is really dark. Again, I could barely see anything. However, Kristen Stewart is a decent action heroine and I could imagine Underwater developing a cult following. I might plop it on the top 20 list of aquatic horror films some day.
21) Deep Blue Sea 3
Don’t judge me. I kept my expectations really low. Naturally, I didn’t expect another Deep Blue Sea movie to be good. It’s somewhat entertaining, but I expected a more wacky and fun experience. Actually, it looks like the studio spent a decent amount of money on this release. It’s little more than a Syfy Channel flick. I don’t hate it by any means, but this film can’t compete with zillions of available shark movies.
20) The New Mutants
Here’s another big letdown. The New Mutants is a spinoff from the X-Men series, but it doesn’t offer anything new or interesting. It’s about a group of teenagers who attend a special program for young people who are developing mutant powers. Like many of the films on this list, the plot is weak and the characters lack development. It’s a pretty short movie, but the story drags regardless. I find this type of film annoying because it spends more time setting up a sequel that will never happen, rather than telling a good story. The third act is more exciting, so I’m glad it has a redeemable element. It’s time for Disney to try their version of the X-Men.
This Netflix original received a lot of attention from critics and home audiences. However, I wasn’t a fan. Extraction is about a soldier who’s going on an important mission in India. This movie has really good action scenes, but it has pacing issues and the story has a bunch of plot holes. In fact, parts of this film are confusing because it has too many subplots. A lot of people like this movie and it’s available on Netflix, so check it out.
18) Books of Blood
Here’s a rare Hulu original film. It’s a horror movie that includes three stories with a loose connection. Ultimately, everything comes full circle at the end. Books of Blood isn’t particularly impressive or scary, but it’s okay for a streaming release. I didn’t mind it. The writing isn’t very strong, but I certainly saw a lot worse in 2o20. If you subscribe to Hulu, this film might be worth a watch for viewers who enjoy horror. Just keep your expectations on the lower end of the spectrum.
I can’t say this film is great, but it has enjoyable death scenes and some comedic elements. Freaky is about a teenage girl who accidentally swaps her body with a serial killer. It’s a fun experience with whacky action and death scenes, although I expected more. Vince Vaughn is hilarious as a teenage girl trapped in a grown man’s body. He’s the best part of the movie. The other characters are less entertaining and it feels like the runtime is too long. Freaky is a mixed bag with positive and negative elements. If you’re really curious about this film, try it out. I saw worse releases last year.
This war film is only available on Apple TV+. Is this movie worth a subscription? I wasn’t impressed, but Greyhound has some positive elements. It’s a relatively short film that highlights the peril of taking supplies and soldiers to Europe during World War II. Greyhound has some realistic elements and decent action scenes. However, it’s missing several important things. The characters have minimal development and it almost lacks a story entirely. I’m not kidding. It’s just a series of action scenes and dialogue sewn together. Truthfully, this movie had potential, but it needed a full length story.
15) The Empty Man
I can see why Disney buried this release from 20th Century Fox in movie theaters during the pandemic. They actually released this film in theaters, even though most cities aren’t operating theaters right now. Critics and audiences would have torn this movie apart during normal times. The Empty Man is a horror film that focuses on a police officer, a cult, and a missing girl. Actually, I don’t mind this movie. It’s not very frightening, but the plot reveals an interesting mystery. The Empty Man keeps the audience guessing and it moves along well despite being a full two hours in length. However, I don’t think it will be a very popular movie and the plot is confusing. Also, some people might not like the ending. For me, this film is suitable for home viewing on the couch and that’s good enough.
Even Disney+ is releasing original movies. Godmothered is a fantasy comedy about a fairy godmother who’s trying to bring some joy and luck to a cynical woman who stopped believing in magic years ago. The concept might not be special, but it works pretty well. This movie is charming, witty, and suitable for various ages. It takes a while for everything to get started. I didn’t find this movie very entertaining until the second half. Luckily, it picks up the pace and ends on a high note. Godmothered has several flaws, but it’s fine for a streaming film.
13) His House
This horror movie focuses on a couple who fled their home country and immigrated to the United Kingdom. However, a malevolent entity followed them and is hiding in the walls of their new house. For the record, His House is a very good film and it could have been higher on my list if it was more re-watchable. It’s the type of movie I enjoyed watching once. This film has important revelations late in the story and the impact isn’t the same after the first watch. But it’s better than many Netflix originals and you should check it out.
12) Love and Monsters
I found this comedic action film really cute. With that said, it lost my attention periodically. Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic movie that includes giant bugs, reptiles, crustaceans, amphibians, and other creatures. This film has decent humor, character development, and general entertainment value. It’s hard to explain, but Love and Monsters has pacing issues and the plot meanders sometimes. Again, I would rank this movie higher if the enjoyment was a little more consistent. But it was received well by critics and audiences, so this film is definitely worth watching.
You’re probably tired of post-apocalyptic movies, but Greenland is better than many of them. It’s about a family who’s trying to reach salvation at a military base while a meteor threatens to destroy all life on Earth. Surprisingly, Greenland isn’t a generic post-apocalyptic action flick. It’s more realistic with an emphasis on the characters. I could actually picture something like this happening some day. I like this movie pretty well, but the third act falls apart and the momentum slows down. If you like the post-apocalyptic genre, check it out.
This low budget action film surprised me. I didn’t think Rogue was bad at all, even though it’s entirely a typical B movie. A group of soldiers are hunting down terrorists in Africa and a female lioness is on the rampage as well. Believe it or not, this film makes a really good and topical point. The acting isn’t great and the CGI lions are totally fake, but the action scenes are solid, parts of the movie are funny, and it has great entertainment value. It’s currently streaming on Hulu, if you’re curious.
9) Monster Hunter
Yeah, this movie is pretty bad. Do we have to hate every low grade release? During other years, I would be tougher on this film, but we’re living in a pandemic and Hollywood was really stingy in 2020. After watching a bunch of pretentious art house films, low budget horror flicks, and everything studios wanted to throw away; Monster Hunter didn’t look too shabby. It’s basically like a Syfy Channel film with a bigger budget. I thought it was fun with lots of monsters, action scenes, and whimsical elements. Some of the humor is infantile, but I enjoyed the overall experience. You can buy it on iTunes if dumb fun sounds like a good idea.
I recently watched this crime thriller and it’s fine if you don’t mind Lifetime channel films. Fatale might not be a high quality movie, but it kept me engaged and intrigued through the entire runtime. I find this film entertaining and a good way to kill ninety minutes. It checks off several elements I want to see in a movie. It has drama, hardly any pacing issues, a decent protagonist, and good entertainment value. Sure, Fatale is completely predictable, but that’s not the point. During a year when choices were slim, this type of film didn’t seem too bad.
7) The Witches
This fantasy kids movie is a remake of the 1990 release. It’s a fun and whimsical comedy with a dark subject matter. However, it’s not too scary for kids. This film is about a coven of witches who plan to turn the world’s children into mice. The Witches is delightfully goofy with solid characters and a brisk pace. Most of the visual effects look phony, but it’s fine for a kids movie and the overall product is better than most films on the 2020 slate. It’s available on HBO Max.
6) The Old Guard
Here’s my favorite Netflix original from 2020. It’s a darker and more violent take on the superhero genre with immortal humans who can’t die in combat. They live on for centuries and fight crime to make the world a better place. I actually thought The Old Guard could have been a successful theatrical release during non-pandemic times. The writing is pretty good and the characters are awesome. It has many great action sequences and the story even has some heartwarming elements. The Old Guard is a superhero film for adults with tons of bloody violence and it’s a lot of fun. Make sure you watch it on Netflix at some point.
Hulu doesn’t release many original movies, but Run is one of those hidden gems. They acquired it from Lionsgate and it features a paraplegic girl who thinks her mother is hiding a dark secret. I was pleasantly surprised with this film’s quality. Run is a solid crime thriller and horror movie with intensity, twists and turns, excitement, and periodic moments of slow burns. The acting is fabulous and the script has some issues, but I simply don’t care of those flaws. This film is entertaining and significantly different than the other releases in 2020. Don’t miss it on Hulu.
4) Birds of Prey
Some people were hard on this movie, but I like Birds of Prey quite a bit. This superhero film is raunchy, funny, original, and not afraid to throw in the kitchen sink. The action scenes are incredible and I thought the script was surprisingly good. Birds of Prey moves along quickly, despite being nearly two hours in length. Sometimes it goes too far with disturbing content, but most of the film works out fine. I really enjoy this version of Harley Quinn, but here’s a warning for comic book fans. Birds of Prey isn’t comic book accurate. That part doesn’t bother me, but it was a deal breaker for some viewers.
3) Wonder Woman 1984
Apparently, I really like controversial movies. This Wonder Woman sequel is significantly different than its predecessor, but it still works. It tales place during a time of pop culture, excessive commercialization, and accessibility to everything imaginable. But it wasn’t enough for many people. Hence, Wonder Woman 1984 has a lighter tone, but it still exudes heart, topical themes, and homages to the Lynda Carter tv series, comic books, and the Super Friends animated program. Patty Jenkins found a way to make the magic lasso and invisible jet cool, which is practically an impossible task. This movie is a lot of fun and just substantial enough to stand along side of other successful DC films.
Another controversial film lands at the top of my list. The live action remake of Disney’s Mulan probably appeals more to adults than kids, but it’s a high quality movie with a great cast, homages to Chinese cinema, exciting action scenes, and really thoughtful elements. I appreciate the multitude of changes from the animated version, even though the songs weren’t included. Mulan is another strong addition to Disney’s library of classic remakes. Forget about the political elements for a minute and check it out on Disney+. It’s genuinely a good movie.
1) Enola Holmes
You might feel surprised to see Enola Holmes as my number one film from 2020. This YA mystery features the youngest Holmes sibling and her journey to both womanhood and a sleuthing career. It’s one of the stronger Netflix originals with a solid plot, good mystery elements, charm, humor, and well developed characters. This film is an entertaining adventure from beginning to end. You never know. Sometimes less recognizable and smaller films impress me the most. After all, Pokemon Detective Pikachu was my favorite movie in 2019. Overall, Enola Holmes just seems like a authentic experience that includes the right elements.
That’s what 2020 offered! What movies did you watch last year? Leave a comment. Keep watching for more updates about movies, gaming, and streaming. LA County isn’t opening movie theaters, amusement parks, concert halls, or sports stadiums any time soon. Even schools are going to be closed until much later in the year. Maybe venues are starting to reopen in your area. Luckily, I’m fully vaccinated. I still need to be really careful, but it makes me feel a little more secure. Take care of yourselves and come back again next week. Bye!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.