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maryann johanson | watching movies at home

my 2020 film ranking is filling out… even with cinemas closed

Multiplexes and arthouses may be closed during the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still plenty of movies being released directly to streaming… and unlike in previous years, the industry is taking this into account when it comes to deciding which films are eligible for year-end awards. Usually, a movie needs to play on a big screen — typically at least in Los Angeles, and at least for a week — in order to be considered for the Oscars and other honors. This year, rules are being amended to allow streaming debuts to vie for awards.

And so my annual ranking is also taking those releases into account.

Below are my green-light films for 2020 at the moment. See the full and ongoing 2020 ranking — and retain access to it for the rest of the year — by becoming a Patreon supporter for as little as $1 per month. (Previously it was available only to those pledging $5 per month or more.)

Patreon supporters, please go here for all the info you need in order to access restricted content. And thank you for your generosity! I have seen a hit in my income, which has never been very healthy to begin with, because of the pandemic — many of the alt-weekly newspapers that syndicate my reviews have had to reduced or cease publishing because of a fall in the local arts and events advertising that keeps them going. So if you are in a position to pledge some bucks to keep me going while I help you find stuff to watch at home, I’d be enormously grateful. And, as always, huge thanks to my current patrons, many of whom have been with me for years and years. I wouldn’t and couldn’t have kept doing this for coming up on 23 years now without you.

As an extra incentive, if you’ve been thinking about joining my Patreon, now is the time! At the end of May, I will be retiring the $1/month and $3/month tiers at Patreon. From June 1st, the minimum pledge will be $5/month. But if you join at the $1 or $3 level now, and maintain your support, you’ll continue to have access to any content that is for all patrons. Some content still to come will be available only at higher levels, but this ranking will continue to be open to you, and there will be other new content for all patrons as well.

Patreon works in almost any currency, and you can even use PayPal with it. If you prefer to make a one-time donation, you can PayPal me directly. But you’ll miss out on the Patreon bonuses, because unfortunately there’s simply no way to integrate the two systems on my end.

On, and in case you’d noticed that my ranking of 2019’s films isn’t quite finalized yet: yeah, I have a few more films released last year that I hope to add to it shortly. The 2019 ranking is now available for all readers — you don’t need to be a Patreon supporter to check it out.


green light
worth paying multiplex prices for

[5 stars]
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (04.04/03.13/05.13)
Sorry We Missed You (11.02.19/03.04/11.01.19)
The Assistant (01.24/01.31/05.01)
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (02.04/02.07/02.07)
Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint (04.11/04.17/TBA)
A Secret Love° (05.02/04.29/04.29)
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (01.29/01.29/direct to VOD)

[4.5 stars]
Blow the Man Down° (03.14/03.20/03.20)
The Platform (El hoyo)° (03.24/03.21/03.21)
Extra Ordinary (03.26/03.06/09.13.19)
Radioactive (02.24/TBA/TBA)
Saint Frances (03.04/02.28/TBA)
Bad Education (09.24.19/04.25°/TBA)
Corpus Christi (Boze Cialo) (03.10/02.19/10.18.19)
Misbehaviour (03.04/TBA/03.13)
Spaceship Earth (05.05/05.08/TBA)
Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (01.30/01.29/direct to VOD)

[4 stars]
The Personal History of David Copperfield (10.02.19/TBA/01.24)
Emma. (02.04/02.21/02.14)
Ordinary Love (12.03/02.14.20/12.06)
The Gentlemen (01.01/01.24/01.01)
Deerskin (09.20.19/05.01/TBA)
The Photograph (03.02/02.14/03.06)
The Invisible Man (02.28/02.28/02.28)
Buffaloed (02.15/02.14/TBA)
How to Build a Girl (05.04/05.08/TBA)
The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (12.31.19/01.10/TBA)
True History of the Kelly Gang (03.10/04.24/02.28)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (04.31/05.01/TBA)
Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (02.04/01.29/direct to VOD)

[3.5 stars]
South Mountain (05.09/05.05°/TBA)
Hope Gap (05.06/03.06/TBA)
Rewind (05.07/05.08°/TBA)
Becoming° (05.11/05.06/05.06)
Onward (02.29/03.06/03.06)
Olympic Dreams (02.12/02.14/direct to VOD)
Greed (10.10.19/02.21/02.21)
Dream Horse (03.19/TBA/TBA)
Push (02.28/TBA/02.28)
Tape (03.21/03.26/TBA)
Bull (04.25/05.01°/TBA)
Trolls: World Tour (04.06/04.10/04.06)
The Flood (04.30/05.01°/06.21.19)
A Simple Wedding (02.01/02.14/direct to VOD)
The Perfect Candidate (04.02/TBA/03.27)
The Call of the Wild (02.16/02.21/02.19)

indicates a film originally scheduled for theatrical release but released direct to VOD due to the coronavirus crisis

indicates a film originally scheduled for theatrical release but postponed

° indicates a film released direct to streaming

The full and ongoing 2020 ranking is here.


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