The 2020 Film Release Calendar: May

This has been perhaps the strangest Release Calendar I’ve ever done. Because the Oscars were held a few weeks earlier than they usually are, I wasn’t able to fit in the majority of the calendar before them. Usually I get the whole thing done by late January. And now, we’re post-Oscars, and I’m only on March. And the only reason January and February got done is because I wanted to get them up before some of the films actually came out.

But, here we are, working our way through the rest of the calendar for all the films to look forward to. I think you all know how this works — I’m gonna preview everything that’s set to come out (and a lot more that isn’t), and then guess what I think I’m gonna rate them all when I do manage to see them. And then we’ll use this as evidence of my ineptitude come the December wrap-up articles. These are my own twenty-seven 8×10 colored glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

Anyway, here’s May:


Black Widow

A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

I mean, it’s Marvel. That means automatic blanket 3.5 stars.

I like that Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz are in this, but I really can’t guess anything more than 3.5. The character of Black Widow is both very interesting and very not interesting at the same time, given how there are loads of possibilities for the character and her backstory, but also it’s Marvel. They won’t use 85% of the routes they can take. And also, she’s dead. So there’s really not a whole lot they can do here to change much. If anything it’s just an excuse to get one more movie out of Scarlett before they move on forever.

So, let’s assume the Marvel standard and go from there. There aren’t many Marvel movies that actually do get to 4 stars for me. Best bet is always assume the usual and see what we get.

Dream Horse

Jan, a cleaner and bartender, decides to breed a race horse in her Welsh village. As the horse rises through the ranks, Jan and the townspeople are pitted against the racing elite in a race for the national championship.

Seems like a fun family movie. Toni Collette stars.

It’s a horse racing movie. And I always really like those. And it seems like the movie that, while you know what’s gonna happen, it’ll be really charming along the way.

I’m fine going 3.5 stars on this. I hope I get 4. I hope this is the uplifting hidden gem of the year.


A love story set in the Los Angeles music industry.

Director of Late Night. First time writer. Both women.

Cool looking cast. Kelvin Harrison Jr, Dakota Johnson, June Diane Raphael, Bill Pullman, Ice Cube, Eddie Izzard, Tracee Ellis Ross, Zoe Chao… sounds like it could be good, but the synopsis is vague enough that it could also be very not good as well.

3.5 stars has to be the guess, lest I know more.


During World War II, a US Navy skipper must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolf packs.

Tom Hanks wrote it. And he stars in it. The director’s only made one movie, Get Low, which was solid, but also 11 years ago. I’m curious about what this is gonna be.

3.5 stars. Gotta go on the Hanks factor.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Directed by Armando Iannucci, which is really all you need to know. In the Loop and Death of Stalin were incredible. Reviews from the UK release have been amazing, and the trailer looks great.

4 stars. I have no reason to think otherwise based on what I’ve seen from him thus far.


Scooby and the gang face their most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this dogpocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

Oh hell no. It’s bad CGI animation.

I love Scooby Doo, but not when it looks like this. It’s an origin story too, and they’re really stretching that plot pretty thin to make it like one of the bad animated movies we see today.

2.5 stars. I can’t in good conscience guess any higher than that. It looks awful.

The Devil All the Time

In the 1960s after World War II in Southern Ohio, bizarre, compelling and mentally disturbed people suffer from the war’s psychological damages.

Directed by Antonio Campos, who did Christine, which I loved.

Stars Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Haley Bennett, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska and Jason Clarke. SHIT. What a cast.

I wanna go 4, but I know I should say 3.5 stars. So I’m gonna say 3.5 stars and hope this is great.

The Woman in the Window

An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.

Joe Wright directs. Tracy Letts wrote the script.

Stars Amy Adams. Jennifer Jason Leigh. Gary Oldman. Julianne Moore. Wyatt Russell. Anthony Mackie. Brian Tyree-Henry. Tracy Letts. Incredible cast.

Disney pushed it about eight months once they bought Fox and ordered a bunch of reshoots, which I assume means they toned it down from whatever it is and make it more Mouse-friendly. And that’s never a good sign. Put it this way — Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were gonna score the film, and now it’s Danny Elfman. If that doesn’t feel like a perfect symbol of what happened to this movie, then I don’t know what is.

Trailer is fine. Can’t really tell one way or the other from that. But, it’s Joe Wright, and to this point — Pride and Prejudice was solid, Atonement is incredible, The Soloist was fine, Hanna is amazing, I love Anna Karenina, we’re all just gonna forget Pan happened, and Darkest Hour is great.

Given all the people behind this, I cannot assume anything less than 3.5 stars. Maybe I get 4. I’ll be very happy with 4. But it’s a Gone Girl type novel, from the sound of it, and I have no idea what these reshoots and the Disney takeover are gonna do to this movie. So we’re gonna stick with 3.5, because at worst it should be that with all these people, and then see what we get.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Chris Rock wrote a Saw movie. I can’t tell what that means. I thought he was directing it too, but instead they brought back Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed II, III and IV. I remember absolutely nothing since the first one, so that means nothing to me. Mostly what I want to know is what Rock is doing with the subject matter. Clearly, he had some sort of social commentary in mind with it when he pitched it. So the question is, how funny is it, how smart is it, and how little is it gonna be ‘Saw’ torture porn.

I have no way of knowing anything until they let on more about it, so I have to guess 3 stars. Horror isn’t my genre, so I’d be pretty shocked if I somehow got 4 stars out of this. Which means, even if it’s really good, 3.5 stars is probably the ceiling for me. So let’s assume 3 stars and see if we can actually get a good movie out of this, or all the talk about Chris Rock writing a Saw movie was for nothing.

Fast & Furious 9

It’s a Fast and Furious movie. 3.5 stars. These movies are exclusively 3.5 stars. They’re dumb, they’re fun, and they just get crazier as they go along. We know the drill. Why change now?

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home.

It’s SpongeBob. Automatic 3 stars. I know exactly what I’m getting with this all around.


A Democrat strategist helps a retired veteran run for mayor in a small, conservative Midwest town.

Jon Stewart wrote and directed this. His first film, Rosewater, was solid, even if it wasn’t for most people. I suspect he’ll be much more sure-handed the second time out.

The cast looks great — Rose Byrne, Steve Carell, Mackenzie Davis, Chris Cooper, Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne — I’m in for this. Let’s see how that trailer looks.

Looks fun. 3.5 stars. Hope I can get to 4, but this feels strictly 3.5. Still, this looks like it’ll be one of the good ones.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl II, a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

Kenneth Branagh directed this. It was scheduled for last summer, but they pushed it to this summer. I’m not sure that really changes what I was gonna do with this one. Though Thom Yorke in the trailer is an interesting choice. Though of course, that trailer was from 2018 and we’ve seen nothing since, so I have no idea how much they changed it.

Still, looks like a 3 star movie. Can’t imagine reshoots or whatever changed it all that much. Looks like a big budget family movie, the kind with a budget so high it can’t really go below 3 stars unless it’s truly awful. And even Kenneth Branagh’s worst films as a director didn’t go below 3 stars. So I trust him to keep this watchable.

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One response

  1. Chinoiserie

    Disney isn’t going to release Fox films under Disney banner so I don’t see why would they tone down a film, I have understood more like the film has actual issues. But I hope not, I have been looking forward to this. Also the writer of the book seems pretty scandalous so maybe they wanted more time to get away form that.

    February 19, 2020 at 1:39 am

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