2020: The Year Ahead in Film, by Alistair Harkness

From the latest Bond to Spielberg’s version of West Side Story, there’s plenty to look forward to on the big screen in 2020
The cast of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, with Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria PIC: Ramona RosalesThe cast of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, with Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria PIC: Ramona Rosales
The cast of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, with Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria PIC: Ramona Rosales

No Time to Die: James Bond will return in 2020... though for a while that looked doubtful. After Spectre, Daniel Craig said he’d rather slash his wrists than reprise the role, reportedly turning down a $100m payday for another two movies. Then, when things did look like they were going ahead, director Danny Boyle walked away, citing creative differences. Luckily, a new director was quickly found in Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) and, in what might be the smartest move, Craig brought Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge on board to sharpen up the script and help the franchise respond to a very changed world. With Bond no longer in active service, that means coming to terms with the fact that he’s been replaced by Lashana Lynch’s female “00” agent. How that plays out in a plot that sees Bond called out of retirement by his old CIA cohort Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) will be fascinating to watch. The trailer – replete with Sean Connery’s classic Aston Martin and Rami Malek’s Bond villain – looks banging; as does Craig’s line in navy knitwear. (3 April)

Parasite: Winner of the 2019 Palme d’Or, South Korean genre master Bong Joon-ho’s latest returns him to home territory. Set largely within the confines of an ultra-sleek modernist house, his first Korean film since making the big budget, largely English language blockbusters Snowpiercer and Okja is a deliciously dark and disturbing Hitchcockian horror about a wily family living on the poverty line who hit upon a way to insinuate themselves into the lives of a wealthy family oblivious to their scheming. (7 February)

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Glasgow Film Festival: Always a highlight of the Scottish film-going calendar, and a repository for great cinema in the dying days of winter, this year’s Glasgow Film Festival features a country focus on Icelandic cinema, a retrospective of near future classics (including a chance to see Alfonso Cuaron’s best film, Children of Men, on the big screen) and – sticking with sci-fi – an immersive, weekend-long event entitled Neo-Glasgow that will see the Arches transformed into a dystopian world with installations and screenings of films such as Total Recall and Wall-E. Opening and closing night films are announced on 8 January with the full programme following on 29 January. (From 26 February to 8 March)

The Personal History of David Copperfield: Scottish satirist Armando Iannucci returns with this adaption of Charles Dickens’s classic novel about a young man making his way in the world. As with the Death of Stalin, don’t expect a staid costume drama. Early reviews suggest his sly comic touch is very much in evidence and Dev Patel has earned raves as  the eponymous lead. Ditto Tilda Swinton, cast as his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood. The rest of the large cast is rounded out by the cream of British comic and dramatic talent, among them Hugh Laurie, Gwendoline Christie, Ben Whishaw and, as the eternally optimistic Mr Micawber, Malcolm Tucker himself, Peter Capaldi. (24 January)
Fast & Furious 9: Edinburgh’s Old Town isn’t known for being particularly driver friendly, but following its partial destruction in Avengers: Infinity War, its movie suitability means it’s now a prime location for automotive hi-jinks in this latest instalment in the long-running, ridiculously lucrative action franchise. As with Avengers, Edinburgh is playing itself here – unlike Glasgow, which doubled for London in 2019’s franchise spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. Why Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and crew are in the Scottish capital has yet to be disclosed, but expect plenty of outlandish stunts, terrible acting and repeated mentions of the “family” theme. (22 May)

Uncut Gems: Adam Sandler delivers another of his periodically brilliant performances in this latest palm-sweater from Benny and Josh Safdie, the low-budget arthouse genre aficionados behind 2017’s Robert Pattinson thriller Good Time. Cast as a gaudy diamond dealer and compulsive gambler, Sandler’s ability to be both likeable and obnoxious makes him a perfect fit for a film that immerses us in the world of someone who can’t seem to prevent himself from embracing the chaos of his life. (10 January)

Wonder Woman 1984: The first Wonder Woman film became the highest grossing superhero origin story of all time so expectations are high for Patty Jenkins’ follow-up. After her First World War antics last time, this one sees the ageless, lasso-wielding Amazonian warrior (once again played Gal Gadot) taking on foes in the go-go 1980s. Judging from the trailer – which makes brilliant use of New Order’s Blue Monday – it’s got just the right level of camp and cool to make this the must-see summer blockbuster. (5 June)

Black Widow: Wonder Woman isn’t the only female superhero fronting her own movie. After eight years propping up various Avengers, Scarlett Johansson’s eponymous super-assassin finally gets a solo outing, courtesy of Australian arthouse auteur Cate Shortland (Somersault, The Berlin Syndrome). The Bourne movies look as if they’re looming large over the action, which sees Johansson’s Natasha Romanova confront her past following the events of Avengers: Endgame. The best thing, though, might just be the casting of Florence Pugh as Black Widow’s equally kick-ass sister. (1 May)

Dune: It’s been 36 years since David Lynch botched the last big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-if classic, but if anyone is up to the task of getting it right, it’s Denis Villeneuve. The French-Canadian director established his genre bona fides with Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 and while not much is known about the direction he’s taking it in, he has described it as a “Star Wars movie for adults.” Oscar Isaac, Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Josh Brolin star. (20 November)

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West Side Story: Steven Spielberg has always wanted to do a musical, but the closest he’s come is the opening sequence in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Until now. Not so much a remake of the 1961 film as an all new adaptation of the original Broadway staging, expect Spielberg to bring his signature virtuosic skill to the Romeo and Juliet-inspired story and breathe new life into those Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim songs. Ansel Elgort stars as Tony, while newcomer Rachel Zegler reportedly beat 30,000 hopefuls for the coveted role of Maria. (18 December) 

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