February! A time for love, but is it a time to love movies? Sure, I guess. It’s been a pretty rough month so far, but are there some gems amongst the sharp, pointy rocks? Let’s take a look!
1. EMMA – Feb. 21. Sure, we get a new take on a Jane Austen classic about once a year these days, but this looks like a fresh, exciting take from first-timer Autumn De Wilde, who comes from the land of the music video. Anna Taylor-Joy (SPLIT, THE VVITCH) is the lead, and she brings an intensity to the already dynamic-looking film.
2. BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN, AKA HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY AKA JOKER? FUCK THAT GUY – Feb. 7, IMAX. So DC tried to do something different and audiences are indifferent. Is it because they made a feminist statement with an all-female lead cast, save for Ewan MacGregor as the villain? Do audiences not care about Harley if there’s no Mr. J in tow? Is Margot Robbie not enough of a draw? Did SUICIDE SQUAD leave a bad taste in audience’s mouths? Is the film not very good? Actually, reviews are pretty solid, if a bit passive. Maybe they didn’t go far enough. I haven’t seen it yet, and it wasn’t shot in native IMAX so you don’t have to splash out for that, but it still looks good.
3. THE LODGE – Feb. 7. Nothing like a good, slow burning family horror film. A broken family tries to reconnect in a cabin in the woods (yeeah), but is there a sinister force at work? Or is the new girlfriend crazy? Riley Keough is the lead, and dammit, she’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet.
4. THE INVISIBLE MAN – Feb. 28, IMAX. The classic tale gets a terrifying new spin for the modern era. What if an asshole could be invisible? Said asshole basically drives poor Elisabeth Moss insane, framing her for his death and stalking her as a ghost. Director Leigh Wannell’s last film was the bananas UPGRADE, so if he can bring that energy here it could be something special.
5. WENDY – Feb. 28. Behn Zeitlin’s last film was the remarkable BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and now he’s remaking PETER PAN in a similarly bugnuts fashion, told from Wendy’s perspective. Unfortunately reviews are all over the spectrum, but at least they’re trying something different, right?
6. GREED – Feb. 21. One of the most fascinating pairings in film has been the partnership between Steve Coogan and writer/director Michael Winterbottom, most recently with THE TRIP series. Here, Coogan plays a billionaire trying to rehabilitate his image by hosting a massive party, with predictably terrible results. Sadly it’s a bit of a misfire, but it’s still fun to watch Coogan be an asshole, plus David Mitchell is along for the ride as an investigative journalist.
7. THE PHOTOGRAPH – Feb. 14. This is your only actual romantic film for V-Day this year, but it’s a pretty decent one. Issa Rae (INSECURE) and Lakeith Stanfield (GET OUT) are falling in love, but her past keeps sabotaging their future. It does look pretty sexy though.
8. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG – Feb. 14. It’s a kid’s movie. It actually looks like they remade HOP with the same actor (poor James Marsden) and replaced the bunny with Sonic, and threw in Jim Carrey playing 90s Jim Carrey. Don’t expect much and you might be entertained.
9. DOWNHILL – Feb. 14. Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are a married couple on the downslope when a skiing holiday makes things even worse. A remake of French hit FORCE MAJEURE, yet with none of the elements that made it successful. Really a shame, Will needs a hit right now.
10. CALL OF THE WILD – Feb. 21. The classic tale comes to life with Harrison Ford and a CGI dog. They honestly should have fully committed to CGI and made it a cartoon, it would have been much better. Now it’s just an awkward hybrid living in the middle of the uncanny valley.
11. BRAHMS: THE BOY II – Feb. 21. Do you like jump scares? Did you like THE BOY? If you said yes to either of those, then I guess this is for you.
12. FANTASY ISLAND – Feb. 14. When they announced a reboot of the beloved TV show starring the great Michael Pena, I was super excited. Then the trailer hit. Oh, it’s a horror film now? Cool. Oh, it looks terrible? Cool cool cool. I remember some episodes of the show got super dark, but it was usually fairly comedic, so why go full horror for this version, especially with someone as talented as Pena on board? BAH! C’mon Tattoo, let’s get back on the plane.
So February’s as bleak as the month itself. March has some pretty big releases for the kids during March Break, so we’ll take a look at that in the near future.