Matt’s Favourite Films & Performers of 2020

Note: Due to the high number of images in this post, it has been broken up into two pages. You can find navigation links at the bottom of each page.

My Favourite Films of 2020

And so, without any further ado, here are my favourite films of 2020. I saw a lot of movies this year, but just to get this out of the way: if you don’t see something you loved here that means that either I didn’t see it, or it’s not one of my favourites.

The films are presented in alphabetical order, except for my favourite film which is listed last.

Anything for Jackson

Sheila McCarthy & Julian Richings / Anything for Jackson

Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings are both living legend characters actors of Canadian screen. As a pair of desperate grandparents that unleash more than they bargained for when they start dabbling in satanic rituals, they are both incredible. The story is great, the performances are great, and the effects are exceptional, given the obvious budgetary limitations. What’s more, the people who made Anything For Jackson have a long history of making hallmark movies, and this is such an about-face that it boggles the mind.

Read my original review here.

Bill & Ted Face The Music

Keanu Reeves & Alex Winter / Bill & Ted Face the Music
Keanu Reeves & Alex Winter / Bill & Ted Face the Music

If you’d told me that Bill & Ted would come back with exactly the movie we needed at the time we needed it in 2020, I might have laughed. I would have been foolish in hindsight though because of course, these guys would do that. Bill and Ted Face The Music is the story of how William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan finally bring the song that saves the world to the people and the reminder that their message of “be excellent to each other” is needed now more than ever.

Read my original review here.

Da Five Bloods

Isiah Whitlock Jr., Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors / Da 5 Bloods

Spike Lee has often written about the black experience in America and Da Five Bloods is no different. Following a team of four aging war buddies returning the scene of the death of their leader and friend to recover both his remains and gold bars they had stashed, the story illuminates how America failed its black soldiers and highlights the importance of the Black Lives Matter movements all in one fell swoop. Featuring a cast of incredible character actors and a standout performance from Delroy Lindo, this is easily one of the most important pictures of the year.

(I did not review this film).

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man
Elisabeth Moss / The Invisible Man

Updating a monster movie to contemporary times is a fine needle to thread, whether you update it straight or add a modern twist. Leigh Whannell takes the latter approach, adding a story about toxic men, gaslighting, and domestic abuse. Elisabeth Moss is on board to give her usual great performance, as is Aldis Hodge who I firmly believe will be a movie star one day. Combine that with Whannell’s trademark directing style and camera work, and you have a film that can tell you in a nearly silent opening sequence everything you need to know about the characters, as well as a film that finds a way to make a brutal fight between an invisible man and a group of guards surprising and fun.

Read my original review here.

The Old Guard

Marwan Kenzari, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlize Theron, Luca Marinelli, Kiki Layne / The Old Guard

Charlize is the reigning queen of action, and The Old Guard puts her at the head of a team of ageless mercenaries that have fought their way through history. Think of an x-men story where all of the good guys are Wolverine, and you sort of get what we’re talking about.

It has some obvious sequel bait issues toward the end, but the acting, the story, and the highly choreographed action are all superb (plus there’s a great b-plot love story in there, too). If Charlize is the queen, this movie presents KiKi Layne as the up and coming princess, and I seriously hope we get those sequels that the film so desperately wants.

(I did not review this film).

Palm Springs

Cristin Milioti & Andy Samberg / Palm Springs

The time loop trope is now so well worn that to make it unique and special a twist needs to be added, and adding another person to the mix is a solution so simple I’m surprised it didn’t happen ages ago. Crossing the story of self actualization with a romantic comedy is only as good as the lead couple, and thankfully Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have such an easy chemistry that I can’t wait to see them work together again.

Palm Springs is another one of those movies that feels more relevant in 2020 –don’t we all feel trapped where we are?– and maybe more powerful, too, but it’s one that you should definitely check out.

(I did not review this film).

Soul

Soul
Soul

It sounds wild that the studio that started with a movie about toys coming to life now makes masterpieces on the regular, but that is the story of Pixar. Soul continues this trend, with the main character literally dying in the first frames of the story to end up in the early stages of the afterlife and fighting to get back to Earth.

It’s hard to speak about without spoiling, but Pete Docter is a man who we should speak about more often when we speak about master storytellers.

Read my original review here.

Survival Skills

Vayu O’Donnell / Survival Skills

Indie film is often the place where big swings are taken, and this movie is definitely a big swing. In a world where we are constantly hearing that we shouldn’t let a few bad apples spoil the barrel when it comes to policing, Survival Skills lays bare that the problem isn’t the apples at all; it is the barrel itself.

Made all the more powerful by having come out during a period of nationwide police riots in America, and anchored by a pitch-perfect central performance by Vayu O’Donnell, Survival Skills is definitely one that you should seek out.

Read my original review here. Read my interview with director Quinn Armstrong here.

Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers
Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers represents animation at its best. Well acted, gorgeous to look at, and with a story about friendship and sticking to your principles. The visual style is such that it all but leaps off your screen at you as it shifts between a beautiful watercolour world and a dynamic line art world of animal senses.

I don’t want to tell you anything about this film that I haven’t said before, just that you should watch it and enjoy it.

Read my original review here.

You Will Remember Me

Rémy Girard & Karelle Tremblay / You Will Remember Me

Rémy Girard is one of our great actors, and You Will Remember Me is a showcase for him to remind us as such. Playing an opinionated academic suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s, this film requires him to turn on a dime from cogent to lost, from elation to heartbreak, and he is so on point with the performance that your hear will break multiple times watching it.

Read my original review here.

Another Round

Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Mads Mikkelsen, Magnus Millang / Another Round

And so here we are with my favourite film of 2020. Another Round is the story of four friends who are all, for various reasons, have stopped living their lives and need something to give them a jump start. deciding as a group to test the theory that the human body is 0.05% blood alcohol deficient, they start drinking to see how it will impact their lives.

There are both boons and flaws to this plan, and each of them sees both improvements in their life and consequences. Not an entirely happy film, and not entirely sad, Another Round is a very human film that feels like it could be about so many of us. The film’s message comes down to finding what’s important in life and living that life to the fullest, and the big dance scene at the end is enough to bring me nearly to tears.

Funny, dark, affirming, well acted, well directed, and with a relatable emotional centre, Another Round is my favourite movie of the year.

Read my original review here.


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