With the Oscars right around the corner, February is, traditionally, a bit of a slow movie month. However, there are still always a couple great must-sees. This year, February is all about Black Panther, the first black superhero in the Marvel Universe, to get his own film. Released during Black History Month, it is the best character developing Marvel film ever and the best black film of all time. Other notables this month are Winchester, which is campy fun with Oscar winner, Helen Mirren and the final film in the hilariously tame BDSM, Fifty Shades dramedy series, Fifty Shades Freed.
Horror and Helen Mirren make for a campy good time. Based on the true life story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, who lived in the most haunted house in the world.
Plot Summary: The most haunted house in the world sits on an isolated stretch of land that’s 50 miles outside of San Francisco. Built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To an outsider, it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah’s actually building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts — and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.
Cast: Dame Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook, Angus Sampson, Laura Brent, Tyler Coppin, Eamon Farren, Thor Carlsson
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Genres: Thriller, Horror
Production Co: CBS Films
Distributors: Lionsgate Films
Fifty Shades Freed
I laughed my ass off throughout this hilariously unintentionally camp BDSM romp. Best described as a romantic dramedy, this is the perfect silly film for either a girls night out or a first date.
Plot Summary; Believing they’ve left behind the shadowy figures from the past, billionaire Christian Grey and his new wife, Anastasia, fully embrace their inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. Just as the Greys begin to step into their new roles, sinister events come to light and jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins.
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden
Director: James Foley
Genres: Drama, Romance
Production Co: Universal Pictures, Trigger Street Productions
Distributors: Universal Pictures
I missed the screening but was alarmed to hear about the food allergy bullying scene. Peter Rabbit is so beloved in my home that I was disappointed to say the least.
Plot Summary: Peter Rabbit and his three sisters — Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail — enjoy spending their days in Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden. When one of McGregor’s relatives suddenly moves in, he’s less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home. A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme to get rid of Peter – a resourceful rabbit who proves to be a worthy and wily opponent.
Cast: James Corden, Fayssal Bazzi, Domhnall Gleeson, Sia , Colin Moody, Sam Neill, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki
Director: Will Gluck
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Family, Adventure
Production Co: Columbia Pictures, Olive Bridge Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation
Distributors: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Interesting idea to cast the real people to re-enact this true life story of a terrorist on a Paris train.
Plot Summary: On Aug. 21, 2015, the world watches in stunned silence as the media reports a thwarted terrorist attack on a train that’s bound for Paris — an attempt prevented by three young Americans traveling together through Europe. The heroic and courageous actions of Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone help to save the lives of more than 500 passengers on board.
Cast: Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Thomas Lennon, Bryce Gheisar, Paul-Mikél Williams
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genres: Drama, Thriller
Production Co: Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
The best character introducing Marvel movie of all time, Black Panther is also the most important Black film ever made! Uplifting, action-packed and poignant, the film addresses the historic key dilemma in black activism against oppression. It’s the early Malcolm X vs Martin Luther King discourse that still rages today. As we watch police murder black people and the community still struggle in this racist world, should we really keep going high, when they keep going low? Is this really working as a strategy? Or should we meet fire with stronger fire. Bringing themes of unity, ancestry, and love to this age old discussion while still delivering kick-ass action, this film wins on all counts.
Plot Summary: After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther – gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke
Director: Ryan Coogler
Genres: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Production Co: Marvel Studios
Fun for the whole family, this animated film is the latest from four time Oscar winning animator, Nick Park and features Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne as the lead voice.
Plot Summary: A plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe face a grave threat to their simple existence. Lord Nooth plans to take over their land and transform it into a giant mine, forcing Dug and his clan to dig for precious metals. Not ready to go down without a fight, Dug and Hognob must unite their people in an epic quest to defeat a mighty enemy — the Bronze Age.
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Miriam Margolyes, Timothy Spall, Rob Brydon, Richard Ayoade, Johnny Vegas
Director: Nick Park
Genres: Comedy, Animated, Adventure, Family
Distributors: Lionsgate Films
From the director of “Ex Machina”, this looks strange and interesting. The film has been overshadowed by the politics at its studio Paramount, which for some reason have decided to release it to Netflix rather than internationally. I would suggest seeing it in the theaters, as sci-fi plays best on the big screen.
Plot Summary: A biologist searches for her missing husband while on an expedition with a secret agency and discovers a dangerous creature lurking in the wilderness.
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac, David Gyasi, Sonoya Mizuno
Director: Alex Garland
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller
Production Co: Skydance Productions, DNA Films, Scott Rudin Productions, Paramount Pictures, Netflix
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Based on the best-selling YA novel, Every Day is a wonderful film about unconditional love and acceptance. It’s a must-see for every age.
Plot Summary: Sixteen-year-old Rhiannon falls in love with A, a mysterious spirit who inhabits a different body every day. Feeling an unmatched connection, Rhiannon and A try to find each other on a daily basis, always unsure of what or who the next day will bring. Soon, the realities of loving someone who is a different person every 24 hours starts to take its toll, leaving Rhiannon and A to face the hardest decision either has ever had to make.
Cast: Angourie Rice, Maria Bello, Debby Ryan, Jacob Batalon, Justice Jesse Smith, Owen Teague, Lucas Jade Zumann, Colin Ford
Director: Michael Sucsy
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Production Co: FilmWave, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Likely Story, Orion Pictures
Distributors: Orion Pictures
From the producers of “Horrible Bosses”, this is sure to be a blast. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a perfect comedic coupling.
Plot Summary: Max and Annie’s weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party — complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan
Director: John Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Genres: Action, Comedy
Production Co: New Line Cinema, Aggregate Films, Davis Entertainment
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures