Theaters might have been closed for a few months now due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year still has had a bunch of really good movies. It might be a while before we see new productions in theaters even when they reopen apart, of course, from the ones that have already been made. Meanwhile, we can watch and rewatch the best Hollywood movies this year has had to offer.
Note that this list of 10 best Hollywood movies of 2020 so far does not just consist of theatrical releases. It also has Hollywood movies that premiered directly on a streaming platform.
1. Bad Education: Disney+ Hotstar
This Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney starrer is an engrossing comedy-drama. Though it is a comedy and also has many characteristics of an out-and-out satire, it treats its subject matter — corruption in academia — with the gravity it deserves. Both Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney play complex, three-dimensional characters full of vulnerabilities, and the actors do full justice to their roles.
2. Birds Of Prey
This Cathy Yan directorial had to move out of the shadow of 2016’s critically panned Suicide Squad. Fortunately, it featured Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, one of the few good things about the original movie, and also a cast of brilliant actors. Coupled with a good story, great dialogue and a flippant tone, the movie was a delight — funny, witty, action-packed and entertaining.
Sonic the Hedgehog saw the iconic Sega video game character of the same name befriending a small-town cop and taking his help to evade authorities, especially Jim Carrey’s Dr Robotnik, who is hell-bent on capturing him. The film, despite a few production struggles, turned out to be a fun and heartwarming ride for the audience.
4. Onward: Disney+ Hotstar
Not Pixar’s best, but that is like saying a piece of gold nugget that is not as shiny. The animated feature from the best in business, Onward, brought together two actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. It revolved around two elf-brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, voiced by Holland and Pratt, respectively, who ’embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there.’
The trailers for this Kristen Stewart movie did not impress me much, but the actual movie scored with a claustrophobic, atmospheric setting and engaging story.
6. 7500: Amazon Prime Video
7500 is a harrowing, unnerving dramatisation of a plane hijack starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The movie does a great job of making the viewer feel what Tobias (Gordon-Levitt’s co-pilot character) is going through. The restrictive cinematography works wonders for the story, heightening the already sky-high tension.
7. The Vast of Night: Amazon Prime Video
The Vast of Night, an indie sci-fi thriller, harks back to those classic stories and accounts of UFOs and alleged alien sightings, and the steady diet of shows and movies made on them which many of us grew up on. The movie, helmed by Andrew Patterson and penned by James Montague and Craig W Sanger, makes no secret that it is meant to be a nostalgia-tinged experience — for viewers who are old enough anyway.
8. Shirley: Hulu
Shirley is an adaptation of an eponymous novel by Susan Scarf Merrell about a young couple who move to the house of Jackson and her literary critic husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman. Elisabeth Moss plays the titular role. Moss has been on a roll of late with her choices of roles and what she brings to them. But I was not prepared for her performance in Shirley. In this movie, Moss becomes Shirley. There is no other way of saying it. She is Shirley. And frankly, she holds this movie together, and it is hard to imagine anybody else filling the shoes of the author in this way.
9. The Invisible Man
Another Elisabeth Moss starrer. Leigh Whannell’s spin on HG Well’s classic novel of the same name was an inventive reboot, and Moss was reliably brilliant.
10. The Banker: Apple TV+
This Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson starrer is entertaining. For a film like this that tackles racism and racial discrimination, it is also quite uproariously funny. Many critics have said the film is overly dramatic for a movie that deals with such serious issues. I disagree. The film is just entertaining and handles deeper issues well without, admittedly, the sheen of a prestige production.