2020 was by far the hardest “Best Of” list we’ve ever had to put together for a multitude of reasons. Blame it on COVID, blame it on movies being pushed back to 2021, or blame it on the overall decline of quality filmmaking in the industry. Finding a good movie in 2020 was like finding a unicorn drinking at your local bar. While most of these films won’t fit Hollywood’s new and ridiculous award season standards that are based on everything except quality, you can take to the bank that if a film ended up on this list, then it deserves all the praise it can receive.
Extraction is a culture shock to those who are used to seeing Chris Hemsworth yucking it up in bad comedies such as Ghostbusters 2016 and the Men In Black reboot. Even Hemsworth’s mainstay character of Thor has been downgraded to a comedy act in the last few years. The action choreography is creative and well done. The kills are absolutely brutal so don’t go in thinking you are going to get wisecracks done to 80s Synthpop because what you are going to get is a man with a rake permanently stuck to his face. Extraction is a balls to the walls action joyride that never gets stuck in its own way.
9. Black Box
Black Box is the story about a widowed husband named Nolan (Mamoudou Athie) who struggles with memory loss following the accident that claimed his wife’s life. In his directorial debut, Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour gets it right by not keeping it simple and not overstepping his boundaries. Black Box is a film that keeps its audience intrigued by giving a small enough piece of the puzzle that they come back as ask for the next one. A strong story that holds their interests while giving them pieces of the twist to keep them asking “what’s next”. Black Box is a satisfying sci-fi film and while the horror isn’t as strong as it could be, the sound design and unsettling close ups makes up for the lack of dread. Black Box is a grappling film causing it to leap into one of the top films of the year.
Yummy is a film about a big busted girl going to a plastic surgeon to get her F-Cup breasts reduced only for a zombie apocalypse to break out before the surgery. Some will call that karma, others will call it divine intervention. Yummy is by no means Shaun of the Dead, but it is without doubt a wildly entertaining mix of over the top horror and wacky humor mixed together in a film that doesn’t mix like oil and water. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cringe, and you’ll wish the film was longer. Yummy is a fun, entertaining throwback horror film that you just don’t see much of in 2020, especially here in the States.
Buffaloed shares a lot of similarities to the film 2016 film, The Bronze which was a film about a foulmouth woman living in the past glory of yesteryear. Much like that film, this is a movie that is carried on the back of its lead. Deutch has an energy traps the viewer into the story and almost makes you root for her despite how terrible he is. Zoey is funny, zany, over the top, and always entertaining every time she is on screen. Buffaloed is Deutch’s statement performance putting her in line for major comedic roles in the future. Buffaloed is a stellar blue-collar comedy that is fun and full of Moxy.
The Man Standing Next is an excellent story of espionage and government politics at play. Based on the real-life conflict that led to then-President Park being assassinated by his own KCIA director, the story gives a thrilling look at an internal battle between friendship and loyalty. Now whether you believe that Kim was truly a patriot is a debate for another day, keep in mind the film does take liberties with some of the facts. Ironically, President’s Park real-life daughter Park Geun-hye, was recently elected as Korea’s first female president only to be impeached due to a bribery scandal. The truth is always somewhere in the middle and for you guys who trust your government as far as you can throw them, especially in the age of “The Great Reset”, The Man Standing Next is a must-see for 2020.
5. The Banker
The Banker touts the importance of capitalism and wealth management and does so with strong storytelling and selling conviction in its performance. Anthony Mackie is the highlight in one of the strongest performances of his career. Nicholas Hoult also put up a career performance as the ‘whiteface’ of a black-owned business. Samuel L Jackson is exactly what you would expect from Samuel L Jackson getting by on charisma alone. With sharp costume design, crisp cinematography, great set design, and stellar acting; The Banker is one of the most provocative films of 2020.
Guy Ritchie’s knack for colorful and sometimes over the top characters are in full display as the man once again knocks the world of the British criminal underbelly out of the park.The Gentlemen combines good acting, good writing, and great characters to tell a riveting story that keeps you guessing until the end. The film is a well-paced adventure that gives the audiences the satisfaction of a cinematic roller coaster that doesn’t disappoint when it ends. The Gentleman is as colorful as it is ridiculous and that is what makes it one of the most unique and enjoyable films of the early year.
Heroes sit this one out because Deliver Us From Evil is a film about the baddest of the bad. The beauty of a film like Deliver Us From Evil is that unlike other films that fetishize the criminal underground, this film displays it in all of it’s brutal reality. Our main character of In-nam, a brutal but effective assassin sees the world of human trafficking, organ havesting, and organized crime through a lens that even someone like him pities its realities. All credit to director and screenwriter Hong Won-Chan who masterfully puts together one of the most well crafted action films of the year. The supporting cast does an amazing job at world building this universe of good and evil. Deliver Us From Evil is a high caliber action film that excels in storytelling, character, cinematography, and stunt choreography.
Fatman is the holiday film that is the kick in the ass that everybody needs in 2020. Mel Gibson stars as Kris Kringle who is essentially a struggling business owner who is saddened by the state of the world he lives in. He has seen firsthand that people have changed for the worse. And even more disheartening is that the after-effects are now visible in the children. This character is more comparable to the old man Clint Eastwood plays in “Gran Torino” than Billy Bob Thornton’s irascible Bad Santa. “Fatman” is not the feel-good Hallmark movie to put everyone in the mood for sugar cookies and Christmas trees. If you are looking for a film that massages your sentimentality, look elsewhere. But if you crave a Santa who’s as tired of the world’s nonsense as you are, “Fatman” is what you’ve been hoping for.
Hitman: Agent Jun’s attention to detail and story is what sets it apart from other 2020 films. The storytelling is engaging and doesn’t waste a detail in what is presented and its importance to the central plot. The characters are diverse in their style and personalities. As a leading man, Kwon Sang-woo does a great job of playing the loving father and a badass agent while maintaining believability as both. There are some beautiful animations and some well thought out action sequences that make for great fight choreography. Hitman: Agent Jun wins high marks for originality, creativity, and entertainment making it the #1 film of 2020.
The Golden Holiday