Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In February (2017)

According to: Cat




20 – Fifty Shades Darker (2/10)


Tag Line: Slip into something a shade darker
Production Companies:  Universal Pictures
Director:  James Foley
Writers: Niall Leonard, E.L. James
Actors:  Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Tyler Hoechlin, Bella Heathcote, Kim Basinger, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle, Max Martini, Marcia Gay Harden, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Jaclyn Jonet, Paniz Zade
Genre:  Drama, Romance
Rated:  R

I am absolutely excited about some of the movies coming out this month. There are a crazy number being released on my birthday, even. This one is among those. Happy birthday to me! This Fifty Shades movie, however, is not my present. One of the other movies further along the list will be taking that spot.

I consider this one an honorable mention that’s made the list, just barely, because it’s a bankable movie. There’s so much controversy swirling around this book trilogy and the resulting film adaptations. I’m not here to go into that.

In honesty, I’ve read the books. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I had friends quoting alleged passages that had me scratching my head. My burning curiosity pushed me to see if it was really part of the story or not. I’m not here to review them, however.

If you step away from all the brouhaha and just take the movie on its own value rather than what sort of lifestyle it is or isn’t portraying correctly, it just might be an interesting Valentine’s date movie. (Especially if you’re in a phase where you might be paying more attention to your date than the movie.)

I’ve really enjoyed some of director James Foley’s (Fear, Perfect Stranger, House of Cards) work over the years. This will likely prod my curiosity into watching this one eventually.

19 – Wheeler (2/3)


Tag Line: It all begins with a song.
Production Company: Momentum Pictures, La Costa Productions
Director: Ryan Ross
Writers: Stephen Dorff, Ryan Ross
Actors: Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, Audrey Spillman, Bobby Tomberlin, Bart Herbison, Jim Ed Norman, Travis Meadows, Anastasia Munoz, Ryan Ross
Genre: Drama, Music
Rated: PG

Now this film is one I’m really hoping to see sometime really soon.

Stephen Dorff (Immortals, Heatstroke, American Hero) might not have the most blockbusters under his belt, and is usually seen as ‘that guy from Blade (1998),’ but there’s some serious depth there. There’s more to this actor than being easy on the eyes. I think this movie puts a pretty good exclamation point on that.

This film centers on the Nashville, TN country music scene from the perspective of a singer-songwriter looking to break into the business the old fashioned way – playing open mics and the like until their music gains traction.

What makes this movie unique, though, is that this documentary-style scenario was filmed in real places with real people. Dorff donned some makeup prosthetics and went out in public to these iconic places like the Bluebird Café and the Ryland and only a handful of people ever knew that it was really him. People thought he was a real up-and-comer on the music scene and that they were filming for YouTube or something. Dorff has said that his time incognito was from a desire to capture an authentic audience reaction to the music rather than his acting career.

The performances are all live takes.

Dorff is really performing all the music in this movie. It’s his voice, and actually his music. He wrote or co-wrote everything. This movie is a passion project for him, considering his father and late brother are heavyweights in the songwriting industry. Music is something that’s just in his blood. 

He collaborated with his brother on at least one song featured in the movie. Sadly, his brother passed away in December of 2016 and there’s an ongoing investigation that prevents the release of his cause of death. This family tragedy makes the movie a bit bittersweet for Dorff, whom in recent interviews has mentioned that the movie is now a bit of a tribute.

I’m afraid I’m not ‘current’ on the country music scene to recognize a lot of the industry names that are involved with this movie. A lot of the cast are such figures, playing themselves. There are even some country music legends in the film, such as Kris Kristofferson (Deadfall, The Motel Life, Traded) shown in the trailer.

I’m so excited about this movie but, realistically, it won’t likely be as big a box office draw as most of the rest of the list – but you can always go see it and prove me wrong! I really hope this one does well.

18 – Bornless Ones (2/10)



Tag Line: Only Evil Will Survive
Production Companies: Black Drone Media
Director: Alexander Babaev
Writer: Alexander Babaev
Actors: Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston, Mark Furze, Bobby T, David Banks, Victoria Clare, Gwen Holloway, Nick Saso, Rob Tepper, Lana Titov, Greg Travis
Genre: Horror
Rated: NR

What can I say, I’ve become a bit of a horror junkie. I like to watch just to see if something will actually disturb or scare me more than just grossing me out.

This movie looks interesting. It seems to be playing to some standard horror tropes – the remote house where people run afoul of something sinister among them. I’m curious to see where they’re going with it and the trailer looked sufficiently creepy. I want to know more!

As a bonus tidbit of trivia for you, this is the film debut for actress, Bobby T (Deal or No Deal). She was formerly a briefcase model on a gameshow. Now her character was featured prominently in the trailer scenes. I’m rooting for her in this kickoff to her career, and am hoping her performance is good.

17 – Rings (2/3)


Tag Line: Seven days
Production Companies: Macari/Edelstein, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Vertigo Entertainment, Waddieish Claretrap
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman, David Loucka, Kôji Suzuki (novel)
Actors: Vincent D'Onofrio, Laura Wiggins, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Johnny Galecki, Lizzie Brocheré, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Zach Roerig, Alex Roe
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rated: PG-13

The Ring (2002) is widely considered a modern horror classic. The good news, in this age where everything is getting remade, is that this movie has been confirmed as a sequel and not a reboot. Rumors of remake were circulating as the actress attached to the prior movies will not be a part of this new one.

We have a new cast featuring the likes of Vincent D'Onofrio ( The Judge, Daredevil, Jurassic World), Aimee Teegarden (Beneath the Darkness, Star-Crossed, Notorious), Johnny Galecki (Hancock, In Time, CBGB), Laura Wiggins (Hard Drive, The Tomorrow People, Stolen from the Cradle), Alex Roe (Unstrung, Sniper: Legacy, The 5th Wave), and Zach Roerig (Dear Me, Field of Lost Shoes, The Vampire Diaries).

I am intrigued regarding how some of them will factor into the story, as I don’t recall seeing Teegarden or Roerig in the trailer.

16 – Running Wild (2/10)


Tag Line: What you fight for defines who you are.
Production Companies: ESX Entertainment, ESX Productions
Director: Alex Ranarivelo     
Writers: Christina Moore, Brian Rudnick
Actors: Sharon Stone, Tommy Flanagan, Christina Moore, Jason Lewis, Jessica Uberuaga, Dorian Brown Pham, Tom Williamson, John Ducey, Michael Wiseman, Lidia Porto, Ali Afshar, Anthony Snow, George Kosturos, Ben Kopperl
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG

Here’s a release I am happy to see sharing my birthday. Pretty horses! OK so squee aside, this looks like a really poignant story.

A woman trying to save her family ranch starts a program to rehabilitate convicts through horse training. It’s one of those classic feel-good setups where you know that the overall story will be rewarding but the drama’s going to go on a rollercoaster with your feels before you get there.

Then, of course, you get Tommy Flanagan (Smokin' Aces, Luster, 48 Hours to Live) that seems to be one of the convicts, and Sharon Stone (Lovelace, A Warrior's Tail, Mothers and Daughters) as the villain that’s out to destroy it all. Forget the horror movies, she can be one scary lady.

15 – War on Everyone (2/3)


Tag Line: They're gonna kick your ass and get away with it.
Production Company: Reprisal Films, Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, Reel Chefs Catering
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writers: John Michael McDonagh
Actors: Alexander Skarsgård, Tessa Thompson, Theo James, Michael Peña, Malcolm Barrett, Stephanie Sigman, Caleb Landry Jones, Paul Reiser, Tait Fletcher, Alma Sisneros, Keith Jardine, Derrick Barry, David Wilmot, Rebekah Wiggins
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

I can see that there might be a bit of backlash regarding this movie when it releases. The crazy way people are treating police officers these days has me a smidge worried for this film’s chances at success.

I’m going to come right out and say that I back the badge. I have family and friends in law enforcement, and they’re awesome people in the calling of helping and protecting others. There are bad guys with badges out there making it harder for them to do their jobs. Not every cop is a ‘good cop’ but you can't assume they're all bad, either. There is a screeching wheel (it’s beyond squeaky) that needs some serious attention before it falls off – but this movie isn’t meant to be taken seriously like that.

This film is meant to be an extreme scenario taking the traditional buddy cop recipe seen in classic movies like Lethal Weapon (1987) and then putting a ‘bad guy’ spin on it and ratcheting it up to a million. It’s a comedy – and I hope that people receive it in the way it was intended.
That being said, I laughed so hard from just the trailer that I was wiping away tears. I can’t wait to see this.

Alexander Skarsgård (The Giver, True Blood, The Legend of Tarzan), fresh off his success as Lord Greystoke, teams up with Michael Peña (Gangster Squad, The Martian, Collateral Beauty) for what looks like a wild ride. Then add in Theo James (The Domino Effect, Divergent, Underworld: Blood Wars) as a villain, and Paul Reiser (Funny People, The Darkness, Stranger Things) as a cranky superior officer. I’ll tell you what this recipe adds up to – awesomesauce.

14 – Havenhurst (2/10)


Tag Line: Evil Lives Here
Production Companies: Protocol Entertainment, Twisted Pictures
Director: Andrew C. Erin
Writer: Andrew C. Erin, Daniel Farrands
Actors: Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Dendrie Taylor, Toby Huss, Douglas Tait, Matt Lasky, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Brian Howe, Currie Graham, Deep Rai
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: NR

The premise of this movie looks interesting. I’m really interested in the background story within the mystery of what happened to the people that have gone missing from the exclusive apartment building community of Havenhurst.

Fionnula Flanagan (The Guard, Defiance, Song of the Sea) was elegantly creepy with a dash of sinister in the trailer. Right away I’m wondering what’s up her sleeve.

This somewhat seems like a horror twist on the Eagles song “Hotel California” (1976) – but instead of checking out any time you like and being unable to leave; it’s something more like you can get evicted any time they like. What happens to Julie Benz’s (Rambo, Dexter, Circle) character that tips the scales to get her in hot water, and how does the young girl played by Belle Shouse (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Secrets and Lies, Journey to the East) fit in? She seemed to know what was up in the trailer.

13 – Rock Dog (2/24)


Tag Line: Chase your dreams. Watch your tail.
Production Companies: Mandoo Pictures, Huayi Tencent Entertainment Company, Eracme Entertainment, Dream Factory Group
Director: Ash Brannon
Writers: Ash Brannon, Kurt Voelker
Actors: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Will Finn, Ash Brannon, Liza Richardson, Julie Craig, Kellen Goff
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG

I’m not sure I need to say a lot about this one. It’s an animated movie about a dog with aspirations of a music career instead of just being a guardian. Of course, there’s some magic and mayhem worked in there too.

I might just watch this just to hear Sam Elliott (The Golden Compass, The Good Dinosaur, The Ranch) talk. That man’s voice, I swear.

Moving on! The movie looks cute and family friendly. The cast is interesting and recognizable, featuring Luke Wilson (Meeting Evil, Ride, Roadies), Eddie Izzard (Valkyrie, Castles In the Sky, Absolutely Anything), J.K. Simmons (The Meddler, Zootopia, La La Land), Mae Whitman (Nights in Rodanthe, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The DUFF), and Matt Dillon (Armored, The Art of the Steal, Wayward Pines); just to name a few.

12 – Fist Fight (2/17)


Tag Lines: After school. Parking lot. It's on.
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Van Brand, 21 Laps Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, Wrigley Pictures
Director: Richie Keen
Writers: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, Max Greenfield
Actors: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Kumail Nanjiani, Dennis Haysbert, Charlie Carver, Max Carver, Kym Whitley, Stephanie Weir, Alexa Nisenson, Autumn Dial
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

It’s said that this movie is a remake of Three O'Clock High (1987). They’ve ‘flipped the script’ a bit, however. Instead of students set to brawl after school, this movie pits a couple teachers against each other. It underscores that we can encounter bullies at any stage of our lives – not just while we’re in school (as students).

This is a comedy, though; so while it’s got an underlying bully issue thing going on – its focus is on the laughs.

Ice Cube (Torque, Are We There Yet?, xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses, Monsters University, Pacific Rim) is a hilariously brilliant combination for this movie. Ice Cube’s inherent menace and in-your-face style of comedy fits right into the bully role.

This is also Tracy Morgan’s (Death at a Funeral, Rio, Accidental Love) first movie since his horrific accident. I can’t wait to see what sort of horrible advice his character gives to Day’s poor underdog teacher.

11 – Adventure Club (2/10)


Tag Line: This could be the ultimate adventure.
Production Companies: Montague Entertainment, Trilight Entertainment
Director: Geoff Anderson
Writers: Robin Dunne, Fred Ewanuick        
Actors: Billy Zane, Kim Coates, Gabrielle Miller, Dalila Bela, Robin Dunne, Farrah Aviva, Jakob Davies, Lorne Cardinal, Sam Ashe Arnold, Kristina Bates, Josh McDonald, Ryland Alexander, Tim Lynchuk
Genre: Family
Rated: NR

This movie just looks like a lot of fun. Watching the trailer has me all nostalgic and pining for the days of the Disney after-school specials. I don’t even care that I’ve dated myself with that. This is one of the movies that has me singing ‘happy birthday to me!’

The young starring actors are some fresh faces with few projects under their belts thus far in their careers. I am looking forward to seeing how they fare. There are some recognizable adults in the mix, though – namely Billy Zane (Titanic, Beyond the Game, Swing State) and Kim Coates (Goon, Strange Weather, Officer Downe).

A magic puzzle box finds its way into the hands of a young boy, whose grandfather was a big-time adventurer – shenanigans ensue. Normally, I’d start yelling ‘run away!’ at the first sign of a magic puzzle box; but this is a family movie so I’m thinking that Pinhead isn’t going to pop out from anywhere. Their problems will be of another variety.

I will definitely be watching this one with my family! I think my daughter will really get a kick out of it.

This movie also has a message – if not a blatant one. The filmmakers had a special release to 100 Canadian theaters in 2016. The entire box office proceeds from that run were donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.




10 – Get Out (2/24)


Tag Line: Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you're welcome.
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Actors: Allison Williams, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Daniel Kaluuya, Caleb Landry Jones, Erika Alexander, Betty Gabriel, Lyle Brocato, Marcus Henderson, LilRel Howery, Jeronimo Spinx, Jana Allen, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Julie Ann Doan
Genre: Horror
Rated: R

This movie is Jordan Peele’s (Bob's Burgers, Keanu, Storks) directorial debut. From what I’ve seen in the trailer, it looks like he’s done a good job right out of the gate. I seriously hope that watching the movie doesn’t change that opinion.

I’ve read that Peele was inspired by the original Night of the Living Dead (1968), which was groundbreaking in its time with its protagonist’s ethnicity and underlying plot dealing with racism using the horror movie as a vehicle.

Peele seems to be doing something similar here. Considering the current cultural climate, I think that we need more creative eye-openers like that. While I don’t remember many details from that classic horror movie, this one is not going to be subtle at all. I was cringing a bit in the trailer – but that’s not a bad thing.

I just hope that people don’t get all silly over it. It’s a horror movie, right? It’s meant to horrify you. It almost seems like a crazy bigoted twist on The Stepford Wives (2004), as far as the plot goes.

9 – A United Kingdom (2/10)


Tag Line: The true story of a love that shook an empire.
Production Companies: Film United, Harbinger Pictures, Pathé, Perfect Weekend, Yoruba Saxon Productions
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Guy Hibbert
Actors: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo, Vusi Kunene, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Arnold Oceng, Anastasia Hille, Charlotte Hope, Theo Landey, Abena Ayivor, Jack Lowden, Zackary Momoh
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13

This movie is based on a true story during the time of apartheid in Africa. It was filmed on location in Botswana and New Zealand, and actually uses the actual house that the main characters, Ruth and Seretse lived in.

The Botswanan people welcomed this movie with open arms, it seems, as roughly 3,000 showed up for an open invitation for extras when filming began.

This is one of those wonderful love stories where everyone trying to tear the couple down and you get to watch them navigate that adversity together. Now throw in the political landscape of the British Empire and the royal family of the native Botswanan people – these hurdles aren’t the usual issues that couples have to deal with.

This film looks classy. David Oyelowo (Interstellar, Queen of Katwe, Star Wars Rebels) and Rosamund Pike (Wrath of the Titans, Jack Reacher, Gone Girl) have some really good chemistry from what I can tell in the trailers. Jack Davenport (Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Tank, Guernica) makes an excellent villain here. Though, I’m interested to see what role Tom Felton (Night Wolf, The Apparition, The Flash) plays in this story landscape.

This one’s probably going to be a movie to keep your eyes on when award season comes around next year.

8 – A Cure for Wellness (2/17)

 

Tag Line: There is a cure.
Production Companies: Regency Enterprises, New Regency Productions, Blind Wink Productions, Studio Babelsberg, TSG Entertainment
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: Gore Verbinski, Justin Haythe
Actors: Dane DeHGaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie, Adrien Schiller, Lisa Banes, Carl Lumbly, Susanne Wuest, Magnus Krepper, Natalia Bobrich, Eric Todd, Ivo Nandi, Johannes Krisch, Judith Hoersch
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R

At first glance, after watching the trailers, this doesn’t appear to be your typical asylum tale. There’s some sort of mystery wrapped up in it and I am very intrigued. I want to know more about these water immersion tanks and what they signify (or if it’s water in some of them). I want to know what’s up with the people ballroom dancing in white.

Most asylum movies feature the haunted remains after everything’s gone wrong and gotten shut down. This movie appears to focus on the wicked shenanigans-in-progress.

7 – Eloise (2/3)


Tag Line: Their nightmares will become reality.
Production Companies: Buy Here Pay Here Entertainment, SLAM Productions, Palm Drive Productions, Vinson Films
Director: Robert Legato
Writer: Christopher Borrelli
Actors: Chace Crawford, Eliza Dushku, Robert Patrick, Brandon T. Jackson, Martin Klebba, Nicole Forester, P.J. Byrne, Ricky Wayne, Tim Holmes, Milica Govich
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R

Whereas my prior recommendation dealt with an atypical asylum scenario – this movie seems to be closer to the usual recipe.

Why oh why do people in these movies go to these places at night?!

With the information given in the trailer, however, they seem to have a plausible reason for showing up at the ruined compound – rather than some random insanity like throwing a party, taking a dare, a reality tv experiment, or ghost-hunting on purpose.

I find it fascinating that this movie was filmed at a real asylum. There was an actual Eloise Insane Asylum in Michigan, which was once one of the largest asylums in the world. It was so big that it had its own farms, power plant, fire department, police, post office, and train station to service the 78-building monstrosity of mental health ‘care.’ It operated from the 1830s up until 1982. Most of the buildings have since fallen to ruin from the ravages of time, vandalism, and arson. The only building still mostly intact is the main asylum building – which is likely where they did most of the filming. (Other building remnants are highly unstable, from what I’ve read.)

I’ve got to say, this is an interesting cast combination with Chace Crawford (Cry of Fear, Undrafted, Rules Don't Apply), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, The Scribbler, Jane Wants a Boyfriend), Robert Patrick (The Road Within, Tell, Scorpion), and Brandon T. Jackson (Lottery Ticket, Approaching Midnight, Get A Job). I’ve missed seeing Dushku on the big screen. Movies like this seem to be right in her wheelhouse.

6 – I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore (2/24)


Tag Line:  For Ruth, the last straw was a spoon.
Production Company: Film Science, XYZ Films
Director: Macon Blair
Writer: Macon Blair
Actors: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye, Christine Woods, Robert Longstreet, Macon Blair
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rated: NR

I can’t wait to watch this Netflix original movie. This one was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival, taking home the US Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic.

Aside from the broad genre umbrellas of ‘crime’ and ‘thriller,’ there seems to be some dark comedic undertones here, if the trailer is any accurate indication.

I think we can all relate to some aspects of this movie – at least where Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men, The Intervention, Little Boxes) loses faith in humanity after life throwing a few sizable lemons at her. She gets together with her neighbor, Elijah Wood (Grand Piano, Open Windows, Set Fire to the Stars) to take matters into her own hands – and it looks like they bumble into something they might not be able to handle.

Just as a side note, there is no official movie poster for this title. Apparently they’ve only released a series of stills from the movie.

5 – The Great Wall (2/17)


Tag Line: 1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?
Production Companies: Legendary East, Atlas Entertainment, China Film Group, Kava Productions, Le Vision Pictures, Legendary Entertainment
Director: Yimou Zhang
Writers: Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy
Actors: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Eddie Peng, Numan Acar, Lu Han, Vicky Yu, Bing Liu, Kenny Lin, Hanyu Shang, Ryan Zheng, Johnny Cicco, Xuan Huang, Karry Wang, Cheney Chen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

When I first saw this trailer on TV, I don’t think I was entirely paying attention. What I got out of it caused me to roll my eyes – like it was some sort of period piece where Matt Damon (The Adjustment Bureau, We Bought A Zoo, The Monuments Men) was transplanted into ancient China or something.

That’s not what’s going on in this movie. I’m glad I watched a couple other versions of the trailer before deciding on where I wanted this movie in my list – it might’ve otherwise been closer to the bottom. (You know, if we went in numerical order rather than the countdown.)

This also makes a good point here – there’s a lot of backlash, apparently, trying to shame the film makers and even Damon for his participation in the movie; citing cultural misappropriation. That’s not the case here. The only way that would have been a valid argument was if Damon was portrayed as a Chinese character. It’s quite clear that his character is not Chinese. He’s a foreigner that has come to China to trade alongside his compatriot played by Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Bloodsucking Bastards, Narcos). They get swept up in this war with what’s beyond the wall as a matter of circumstance.

Now, that being said, as a fantasy piece, this looks really interesting. The visuals in the trailer are absolutely stunning. There’s a high caliber of stuntwork here as well. This movie looks like it might be something really epic. The word is that this might actually be the most expensive Chinese film ever made. From what I’ve seen so far, they got a lot of bang for their bucks.

4 – Collide (2/24)


Tag Line: How far would you go for the one you love?
Production Companies: 42, Automatik Entertainment, DMG Entertainment, Hands-on Producers, Silver Pictures, Open Road Films
Director: Eran Creevy
Writers: Eran Creevy, F. Scott Frazier
Actors: Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Ben Kingsley
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I first mentioned this movie on my April 2016 top 20. It was fairly “low” on the list, considering it wasn’t entirely clear if it was really being released then or not. The alleged release date was 4/20 – so it’s quite possible that was someone’s idea of a joke.

In any case, now that this release date is a reality –and I’ve actually seen some trailers in television circulation; I’m quite confident in elevating this movie’s ranking on my list.

As I said before: “It’s Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Young Ones, Equals) as an action lead and Sir Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock, Solace, Misconduct) is the bad guy! I’m sold”

But who is the one that Hoult’s character loves that he has to do so much to save? Why it’s Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Inferno, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)! I think that regardless of why the release dates were changed, this new timeframe will serve this movie well now that her individual level of recognition has astronomically increased. (I’m not sorry for that pun. Not at all.)

I can’t wait to see this one. It’s a really big contender for what I actually watch around my birthday.

3 – The Space Between Us (2/3)


Tag Line: What's Your Favorite Thing About Earth?
Production Companies: Los Angeles Media Fund, STX Entertainment, Southpaw Entertainment
Director: Peter Chelsom
Writers: Stewart Schill, Richard Barton Lewis, Allan Loeb
Actors: Britt Robertson, Asa Butterfield, Janet Montgomery, Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman, BD Wong, Colin Egglesfield, Lora Martinez-Cunningham, Peter Chelsom, Jenny Gabrielle
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13

Can you imagine growing up on Mars and only ever having contact with less people than you have digits to count on? That just simply boggles the mind. This film takes place in a future where the beginnings of Mars colonization is a thing. I find the premise absolutely endearing.

We often take for granted everything we have on this beautiful blue marble in space. How wondrous would it seem if the landscapes you were used to were comprised of monochrome red.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a sweet love story for the younger crowd. This movie should be great for the whole family (within reason – given the rating).

I am loving the cast combination here, too. This isn’t the first time Asa Butterfield (The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, Hugo, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) has been in space, considering his success in Ender’s Game (2013). I think he pairs well with Britt Robertson (Delivery Man, The Longest Ride, Mr. Church).

Add Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Man Down) as seemingly the well-meaning mentor type. He’s got his longer Sirius Black-like hair again for this movie. I think it’s a good look for him! (That might just be the nostalgic feels talking.)

2 – The Lego Batman Movie (2/10)


Tag Lines: Always be yourself... unless you can be Batman
Production Companies: Animal Logic, Animal Logic (Animation Studio), DC Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Lin Pictures, Lord Miller, Vertigo Entertainment, Warner Animation Group, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros.
Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
Actors: Jenny Slate, Will Arnett, Ralph Piennes, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG

Why should you watch this movie?

It’s Batman. That’s why.

No, seriously. If you liked The Lego Movie (2014), you’ll probably enjoy this spin-off. It looks hilarious.

1 – John Wick: Chapter 2 (2/10)


Tag Line: Never stab the devil in the back.
Production Companies: Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven, Lionsgate
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Bridget Moynahan, Peter Stormare, John Leguizamo, Peter Serafinowicz, David Patrick Kelly, Thomas Sadoski, Common, Lance Reddick, Franco Nero, Aly Mang, Wass Stevens
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R

I just got all giddy while looking up information on this movie. This is movie #2 of a John Wick trilogy. There will be another one after this one. I am excited!

Keanu Reeves (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Knock Knock, The Neon Demon) tends to be the butt of many jokes – but he’s really no laughing matter. I don’t care if his movies have done well at the box office or not – he’s not a bad actor. I love the intensity he gives to his roles and his dedication to his craft.

There was a video that surfaced online some time ago of Reeves moving through a live ammo firearms course with some unbelievable precision. It seems like he got some training from some ex-special forces members to prepare for this role.

The first John Wick (2014) was absolutely awesome. The guy just wanted to live peacefully in retirement – but you know what they say when you live by the gun. Interchange that with sword or whatever other weapon you want to. The saying generally ends the same – that’s the way you go out.
In this movie, it seems that poor John Wick got his vengeance from the first movie and just wants to slip back off into retirement land. That does not seem to be in the cards for the former hitman any time in the near future.

Interestingly, this is the first time that Reeves will share the screen with Laurence Fishburne (Contagion, The Signal, Standoff) since Matrix Revolutions (2003).

The cast is packed with talent from Ruby Rose (Dark Matter, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage), Ian McShane (Jack the Giant Slayer, Ray Donovan, The Brothers Grimsby), Peter Stormare (Strange Magic, Kings of the Dancehall, American Gods), and even John Leguizamo (The Lincoln Lawyer, Underdogs, American Ultra).

There’ll be lots of action here, and lots of violence. This will definitely be a strong R rating. I have my decision cut out for me this month. You know what I’ll probably do to pick my birthday movie?

I’m going to trust the dice.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Fifty Shades Darker - 20
Stake Land II: The Stakelander - 19
Bornless Ones - 18
Rock Dog - 17
Running Wild - 16
Everybody Loves Somebody - 15
Adventure Club - 14
Fist Fight - 13
Rings - 12
Collide - 11
Eloise - 10
Havenhurst - 9
Get Out - 8
A United Kingdom - 7
The Space Between Us - 6
John Wick: Chapter 2 - 5
The Lego Batman Movie - 4
I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore - 3
The Great Wall - 2
A Cure for Wellness - 1

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