Friday, February 1, 2019

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In February (2019)

According to: Selina

20 – Crossbreed (2/5)

Tag Line: This is war.
Production Company: Jaguar Cinema, Jaguar Motion Pictures
Director: Brandon Slagle
Writer: Brandon Slagle, Robert Thompson
Actors: Vivica A. Fox, Daniel Baldwin, Stink Fisher, Devanny Pinn, Vernon Wells, Antoine Lanier, John T. Woods, Jason McNeil, Mu-Shaka Benson, Brandyn T. Williams, Jason John Beebe, Olivia Baseman, Tom DiNardo, Serena Lorien, Amanda Mikhail, Greg Robbins, Ryan Kiser, G. Paul Salvetti
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unknown
Length: 86 minutes

IMDb Blurb: In the near future, the President of the New United States of America hires a team of military veterans to retrieve an alien bio-weapon from a top secret research facility orbiting the Earth.

Kind of slim pickings this month. Crossbreed looks fine, but there’s not much that really sets it apart. Never-the-less, it seems to be a solid B-movie alien film. I wouldn’t hate watching it.

19 – Run the Race (2/22)

Tag Line: The weight of the world. The love of a brother.
Production Company: Reserve Entertainment
Director: Chris Dowling
Writer: Jake McEntire, Jason Baumgardner, Chris Dowling
Actors: Mykelti Williamson, Frances Fisher, Kristoffer Polaha, Tanner Stine, Evan Hofer, Kelsey Reinhardt, Mario Van Peebles, Caleb Catille, Eddie George, Tim Tebow, Jake McEntire, Gianna Simone, Rob Moran, Rebecca Lines, Darrell Foster, Jaci Velasquez, Caleb Emery, Neva Howell, Kevin Wayne, Brandi Lewis, Ken Carpenter, Harrison Stone, London Curtis
Genre: Drama, Sport
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Against the backdrop of high school football and track, two brothers in a small Southern town face escalating problems with two different world views, straining - but ultimately strengthening - the bonds of brotherhood.

American Football is not my thing. That said, I do still enjoy a film based around it now and then… especially when someone who understands the true ins and outs of the game is involved. In this case, Tim Tebow is a producer.

Now, I don’t know a lot about football, but I know that name well. If he’s involved in any kind of expert capacity, then we’re bound to get something a little more honest than we would have otherwise. Yes, the story does seem to move out of football and into track territory, but I think it’s still a good sign that there’s such a well-known expert behind the scenes.

Run the Race does seem like it’s going to dip into faith and spirituality – but that was likely to be expected and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get preachy.

I believe it’s going to wind up being an emotion-filled, eventually-uplifting sports film. It might be worth a watch.

18 – The Prodigy (2/8)

Tag Line: There’s something wrong with Miles.
Production Company: Orion Pictures, Vinson Films
Director: Nicholas McCarthy
Writer: Jeff Buhler
Actors: Taylor Schilling, Brittany Allen, Colm Feore, Peter Mooney, Jackson Robert Scott, Olunike Adeliyi, Elisa Moolecherry, Paul Fauteux, David Kohlsmith, Paula Boudreau, Ashley Black
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A mother concerned about her young son's disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.

Although The Prodigy looks pretty good, it also looks very typical. It has all the pieces of a trope-y film. A smart, but emotionless, child. A frightened mother. I suspect the father will either become absent or die – as well.

Now, we all know I can get behind a trope-filled film if it shows promise, and this trailer does show a little of that. Still, it shows some evidence that it may actually have nothing to set it apart. That may just be the trailer’s fault – though. It could be cut badly.

I’m willing to give this movie a chance, but I am not going into it with any expectations.

17 – Isn’t it Romantic (2/13)

Tag Line: None of the feels.
Production Company: BRON Studios, Camp Sugar, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Netflix, New Line Cinema
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Writer: Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, Katie Silberman
Actors: Tom Ellis, Priyanka Chopra, Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Betty Gilpin, Adam Devine, Jennifer Saunders, Faith Logan, Brandon Scott Jones, Shyrley Rodriguez, Sawandi Wilson, Michelle Buteau, Thomas Canestraro, Joe Towne
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

I’m back and forth on this film.

On one hand, it’s an interesting concept. If it’s done right, it could be to the rom-com genre what Scream was to horror. Of course, that would be an incredibly difficult goal to reach. The self-aware camp needs to really be on point; and there’s a very precarious balance between taking it too seriously and not taking it seriously enough.

On the other hand? I’m so SICK of this kind of story. I had the same issue with Dumplin’ (2018). By continuing on with these stories about how overweight women can’t be involved in this or that, or can’t be loved, except under certain circumstances… it keeps the issue running. Yes, the stories usually work out with the main character getting what they want – but it shouldn’t be an issue in the first place.

Slowly, the world is changing. As my daughter grows up, she’s going to see less and less around her that tells her she needs to be a certain body type. But stories like this? They bring the issue around again. Yes, they send messages to the older generations that your body type is yours and that’s fine – but to younger generations who aren’t growing up with the same issues we had? It’s telling them there are issues they should have.

I guess, what it comes down to, is how the movie handles the subject – but I can’t be ok with putting it any higher on my list until I know.

16 – Then Came You (2/1)

Tag Line: Living in the moment is hard to do alone.
Production Company: BCDF Pictures
Director: Peter Hutchings
Writer: Fergal Rock
Actors: Asa Butterfield, Nina Dobrev, Maisie Williams, Peyton List, Ken Jeong, Tyler Hoechlin, Sonya Walger, David Koechner, Tituss Burgess, Briana Venskus, Francesca Noel, Colin Moss, Ann Osmond, Ron Simons
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unknown
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A hypochondriac working as an airport baggage handler is forced to confront his fears when a British teenager with a terminal illness enlists him to help her carry out her eccentric bucket list.

I like the general concept of this film. It’s somewhat different than the majority of films in its category. Of course, I still feel like I know exactly what direction it’ll take.

That’s the problem with a film like this. It’s very rare for it to turn out to be more than a basic emotionally manipulative story that takes the exact same road as all the others. Yes, there’s a small difference in motivation and how the main characters meet… but not enough of one.

It may wind up being a decent trope film, but I have some skepticism over whether or not it will do enough to stand out.

Can’t hate on the cast, though. The three main actors are enough to draw my attention: Asa Butterfield (Slaughterhouse Rulez, The Space Between Us, Hugo), Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries, The Final Girls, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, iBoy, Doctor Who). That said, they’re not the only eye-catching names in the cast. You also have people like Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I Hate Kids, Set it Up), Ken Jeong (Bob’s Burgers, Crazy Rich Asians, The Hangover), and David Koechner (American Dad!, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Anchorman). They’re the biggest reason I opted to add this film to the top 20 list.

It goes without saying that the top three billed are great actors that can handle drama without issue, but then you have supporting actors with names that are synonymous with comedy above all else – and that leads me to believe that there might be an underlying vein of something more than I expect. 

15 – Kim Possible (2/15)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Omnifilm Entertainment
Director: Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein
Writer: Josh A. Cagan, Mark McCorkle, Robert Schooley
Actors: Alyson Hannigan, Sean Giambrone, Patton Oswalt, Christy Carlson Romano, Sadie Stanley, Nancy Cartwright, Todd Stashwick, Patrick Sabongui, Isaac Ryan Brown, Taylor Ortega, Ciara Riley Wilson, Connie Ray, Erika Tham, Aliza Vellani, Connor Fielding, Owen Fielding, Michael P. Northey, Christopher Logan, Nakai Takawira, Karissa Ketter, Serena Crouse, Kennith Overbey, Julian Lokash
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: Unknown
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Everyday teen hero Kim Possible (Sadie Stanley) and her best friend Ron Stoppable (Sean Giambrone) embark on their freshman year of high school, all while saving the world from evil villains. While Kim and Ron have always been one step ahead of their opponents, navigating the social hierarchy of high school is more challenging than the action-heroes ever imagined. With Drakken (Todd Stashwick) and Shego (Taylor Ortega) lurking in the wings, Kim must rely on her family and friends on Team Possible -- Ron, tech-genius Wade (Issac Ryan Brown), new friend Athena (Ciara Wilson), and Rufus, a naked mole-rat -- to stop these super villains.

I don’t care how old I get, I will always be down for a Kim Possible (2002-2007) marathon. She was so badass. I was in college when the show started, and I still loved it – even though I was nowhere near Disney’s target demographic for it. I have seen pretty much every episodes and animated movie that’s come out featuring the title heroine and her sidekick Ron Stoppable.

I always knew the cartoon would translate well to live-action, and now we’re here. I really hope it lives up to the original cartoon.

For the most part, the casting looks on point – though I have some issues, they’re minor. The biggest one – just to show you how minor my issues are – would be Isaac Ryan Brown (Black-ish, Miles from Tomorrowland, Puppy Dog Pals) as Wade. I know nothing about the actor in general, I can’t speak to his talent, but he’s just not as stocky as I remember Wade being. I know it’s silly, but I was looking forward to seeing someone a little closer to what I remember the character looking like.

The only reason Kim Possible is so low on my list is because I have some issues with Disney remakes of beloved stories.

Boy Meets World (1993-2000) was my favorite show back in the day. I am a trivia god about that show. I’ve seen it – all the way through – about 100 times… and whenever I get too depressed, I watch it all over again. Needless to say, I was excited to see Girl Meets World (2014-2017). It wound up having some episodes that felt so true to the feel of the original… but it also had others that were Disney-fied to be more cringe than decent content. It was upsetting for a long-term fan of the characters.

I’m hoping Disney won’t try to change the feeling of the show too much. The original writers are on board, so I’m hopeful.

14 – Arctic (2/1)

Tag Line: Survival is its own Journey
Production Company: Armory Films, Pegasus Pictures, Union Entertainment Group (II)
Director: Joe Penna
Writer: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Actors: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.

I enjoy survival movies like this one.

Granted, this could easily be one of the dime a dozen There’s not much to suggest anything else. It would normally rest on the writer/director for me, but they’re wild cards here.

For Joe Penna (Turning Point, Meridian, Sand Box) and Ryan Morrison (Turning Point, Beyond, Instant Gateway), this will be their first full-length feature film. I’m not familiar with any of their shorts or TV episodes. They could be amazing, or they could be trope manipulators. Couldn’t tell you.

The only thing I can say for sure is that the trailer looks great. There’s an immediate sense of dread and intrigue. On top of that, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Charlie Countryman, Casino Royale) can pull off thrilling drama pretty damn well.

The whole thing will rest on the script and direction. Provided he has something decent to work with, Mikkelsen will bring it up a level. I’m willing to give it a chance. New creators always get the benefit of the doubt from me.

13 – Braid (2/1)

Tag Line: When you wake up do your dreams go to sleep?
Production Company: Wandering Bard, Somnia Productions
Director: Mitzi Peirone
Writer: Mitzi Peirone
Actors: Madeline Brewer, Scott Cohen, Sarah Hay, Imogen Waterhouse, Mauricio Ovalle, Mary Looram, Brad Calcaterra, Dhoni Middleton, Jill Dalton, Ethel Fisher, Lenore Wolf, Nancy Ozelli, Tai Lyn Sandhu, Zoe Feigelson, Zack Calhoon
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 82 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Two wanted women decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend who lives in the fantasy world they created as children; to take the money they have to take part in a deadly perverse game of make believe.

In concept, this film seems a little basic. I feel like we watch one or two movies that follow the same base trope per year.

It’s that Truth or Dare (2017) or Saw (2004) kind of story. Choose between two horrific things to get something. In some stories the prize is not dying, in others it’s about cash… the point is that there’s a reward/punishment theme.

Personally, I like that type of story. I do wind up drawn to movies that explore the idea. In this case, it seems that there’s nothing mystical involved. It’s a single, present, person enforcing the choices – which goes against the usual mystical force. I feel like that’s not explored enough. That means there’s a lot of direction this movie can go that we may have never seen before.

The tagline, however, makes me wonder if the trailer is being honest.

It’s possible it’ll just be another recipe film – but I’m hoping not.

12 – Cold Pursuit (2/8)

Tag Line: The perfect revenge is all in the execution.
Production Company: Paradox Films, StudioCanal
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Writer: Frank Baldwin, Kim Fupz Aakeson
Actors: Emmy Rossum, Liam Neeson, Julia Jones, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, David O’Hara, William Forsythe, Domenick Lombardozzi, Elysia Rotaru, Emily Maddison, Raoul Max Trujillo, Victor Zink Jr., Tom Jackson, John Doman, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Nathaniel Arcand, Michael Richardson, Arnold Pinnock, Elizabeth Thai, Bradley Stryker,
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 118 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film 'In Order of Disappearance'.

Cold Pursuit looks like a good, solid, action flick.

Plus, it’s got Liam Neeson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Silence, Taken) in it, and Liam Neeson is always a good reason to see a film.

I’m just a little concerned that the trailer indicates there might be some comedy involved, but IMDb doesn’t list comedy as a genre. Sometimes that’s a sign that the film is not being marketed correctly. We’ll see how that factors in.

11 – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2/8)

Tag Line: The universe is expanding.
Production Company: Warner Bros., Warner Animation Group, LEGO System A/S, Rideback, Lord Miller, Vertigo Entertainment, Animal Logic, NPV Entertainment, StarReel Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Matthew Fogel
Actors: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Ben Schwartz, Noel Fielding, Jason Momoa, Cobie Smulders, Ike Barinholtz, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, Jimmy O. Yang, Jorma Taccone, Bruce Willis, Gary Payton, Sheryl Swoopes, Todd Hansen, Doug Nicholas, Liam Knight, Emmett Mitchel, Sawyer Jones, Graham Miller, Cora Miller, Ollie Mitchell, Mike Mitchell, Christopher Miller, Margot Rubin, Emily Nordwind, Chris McKay, Trisha Gum, Ryan Halprin, Lauren White
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 106 minutes

IMDb Blurb: It's been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.

I expected this to be higher on my list when it came out, because I loved the first one, but I have some issues with the trailer.

The first film was framed to be part of the real world. Due to that framing device, I find it difficult to believe that that the Lego world shown in the film could exist on its own. That said, there’s no hint of a continuation of that framing device shown in the trailer for the sequel. Sure, it may just not be shown… but it’s nagging at the back of my mind.

It still looks like it’ll be a fun movie, but I’m having some trouble believing it’s not going to suffer from sequelitis.

I think it might just be fear, though. Maybe everything will still be awesome. Let’s hope.

10 – To Dust (2/8)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: King Bee Productions, Salem Street Entertainment, UnLTD Productions, BRON Studios, Storyland Pictures, Wing and a Prayer Pictures
Director: Shawn Snyder
Writer: Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder
Actors: Géza Röhrig, Sammy Volt, Sarah Jes Austell, Matthew Broderick, Natalie Carter, Bern Cohen, Ben Hammer, Leo Heller, Marceline Hugot
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 105 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Shmuel, a Hasidic cantor in Upstate New York, distraught by the untimely death of his wife, struggles to find religious solace, while secretly obsessing over how her body will decay. As a clandestine partnership develops with Albert, a local community college biology professor, the two embark on a darkly comic and increasingly literal undertaking into the underworld.

I find the concept of this film to be outstanding.

Anyone who’s lost someone they love knows just how hard it is to live inside your own head for a while after. To Dust not only explores that, but it also explores religion and humanity. I think there’s a lot of substance to what I saw in the trailer.

I know this is the dark horse on my top 10, but I have faith in it.

9 – The Isle (2/8)

Tag Line: Their song will haunt you.
Production Company: Cleves Media, Fizz and Ginger Films
Director: Matthew Butler-Hart   
Writer: Matthew Butler-Hart, Tori Butler-Hart
Actors: Conleth Hill, Alex Hassell, Tori Butler-Hart, Fisayo Akinade, Alix Wilton Regan, Graham Butler, Emma King, Dickon Tyrrell, Joe Bannister, Ben Lee
Genre: Fantasy, History, Horror
Rated: Unknown
Length: 96 minutes

IMDb Blurb: On a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in 1846 a heavy storm hits, causing a ship to sink. Three survivors row through a thick early morning mist, lost and disorientated. The mist begins to clear and The Isle appears before them. They soon discover that it is almost abandoned except for four sole residents: an old harbour man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman. Once rested and recovered the sailors are desperate to leave and return to the mainland, but the promised boat never appears. One of them starts to investigate and learns of a tragedy at sea that occurred five years previously causing several young men from the island to perish. When his two shipmates meet with accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to uncover the truth whilst he battles to save his own life.

I have no idea what’s happening on the island in the trailer – but that’s the whole point.

The way the trailer is set up, you learn that there’s some weird – maybe supernatural – going on, but you’re not sure what it is. You know the main characters are needed by the people living there for something, but you don’t know what.

A good trailer shows you stuff about the film, but also makes you ask questions. It builds intrigue.

Now, the movie may or may not be a typical trope-fest of a horror – but the trailer is so expertly done that I don’t care. I want to see it any find out for myself.

8 – What Men Want (2/8)

Tag Line: She can hear men’s thoughts. Let the games begin.
Production Company: BET Films, Paramount Players, Will Packer Productions
Director: Adam Shankman
Writer: Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck, Alex Gregory, Jas Waters, Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake
Actors: Taraji P. Henson, Tracy Jordan, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Max Greenfield, Kellan Lutz, Pete Davidson, Aldis Hodge, Shaquille O’Neal, Tamala Jones, Erykah Badu, Josh Brener, Richard Roundtree, Brian Bosworth, Jason Jones, Mark Cuban, Ashani Roberts Chris Witaske, Phoebe Robinson, Kausar Mohammed
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 117 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men's thoughts.

This film is a gender-swapped version of What Women Want (2000). I’m not gonna lie, as corny as that film was, I truly enjoyed it. I even remember it fondly all these years later (I don’t think I’ve seen it since I was in my early twenties).

With Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Proud Mary, Hidden Figures) taking the main character in What Men Want, I have even higher hopes for this one. I remember Mel Gibson’s (Machete Kills, Signs, Ransom) performance being more ‘cringe’ than ‘good’. Of course, that’s fine in a comedy film like this, but I’m almost positive that Henson will give it a little more authenticity.

I’m also excited to see Adam Shankman (Hairspray, A Walk to Remember, The Pacifier) directing his first R-rated film. I enjoy his body of work immensely. Both the stuff he’s directed and the stuff he’s choreographed – though I doubt there’ll be much choreography in this one.

Finally, there’s the inclusion of Tracy Morgan (30 Rock, The Clapper, Top Five) being... well… Tracy Morgan. He’s just hilarious.

7 – St. Agatha (2/8)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Dragon Blood Holdings, St. Agatha, The Outside Writers
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michael, Clint Sears
Actors: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Seth Michaels, Trin Miller, Lindsay Seim, Shaun Fletcher, Jayson Warner Smith, Maximus Murrah
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unknown
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Set in the 1950s in small-town Georgia, a pregnant young woman named Agatha seeks refuge in a convent. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark layer where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power Agatha has is tested as she learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the odd people that lurk inside its halls.

St. Agatha looks pretty basic – solid, but basic. So, why is it so high on my list?

Darren Lynn Bousman (Tales of Halloween, Saw III, The Barrens).

Now, Bousman may not be considered the top of the top – but he’s a camp superstar. With cult favorites like The Devil’s Carnival (2012) and Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) to boast about, as well as more mainstream favorites like Saw II (2005)… he can offer this film a lot.

What looks like it might be somewhat basic, I think will wind up having a lot more to it with Bousman behind the wheel. I think it needs to be strongly considered as something to keep an eye on.

6 – Happy Death Day 2U (2/14)

Tag Line: Death makes a killer comeback.
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Digital Riot Media
Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell
Actors: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Steve Zissis, Sarah Bennani, Charles Aitken, Wendy Miklovic, Phi Vu, Caleb Pillyards, Tenea Intriago, Sarah Yarkin, Laura Clifton, GiGi Erneta, Blaine Kern III, Tran Tran, Cariella Smith, Brenda Currin, Lindsey G. Smith
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 100 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.

I have some minor issues with this film. Much like the issues I have with The Lego Movie 2. I’m not exactly sure how to continue the story from the original film.

That said, the first Happy Death Day (2017) was campy and awesomely hilarious. I intend to re-watch it before seeing he sequel.

Because they were able to pull off the horror version of Groundhog Day (1993) as successfully as they did, I’m not only willing to give the benefit of the doubt on the sequel, but I’m out-right looking forward to it.

Bring it on.

– Miss Bala (2/1)

Tag Line: Who would you become to save your family?
Production Company: Canana Films, Misher Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer
Actors: Gina Rodriguez, Thomas Dekker, Vivian Chan, Barbarella Pardo, Cristina Rodlo, Sebastian Cano, Gaby Orihuela, Damian Alcazar, Ricardo Abarca, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Erick Rene Delgadillo Urbina, Mikail Plata, Jorge Humberto Millan Mardueno
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 104 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.

This film takes the central plot of Taken (2008), heightens the stakes and turns the protagonist female. Then you’ve got a kick-ass up-and-coming actress, Gina Rodriguez (Carmen Sandiego, Jane the Virgin, Big Mouth), that takes top billing.

I really can’t see anything wrong with Miss Bala. I think it’s going to be great.

4 – Velvet Buzzsaw (2/1)

Tag Line: All art is dangerous.
Production Company: Netflix
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Alan Mandell, Mig Macario, Nitya Vidyasagar, Sedale Threatt Jr., Mark Steger,
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 112 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

The idea of powerful, supernatural art is not new. There are even real-life myths of cursed paintings – such as that of the “Crying Boy” painting that escaped numerous fires unscathed.

The reason this movie is so high on my list isn’t so much about originality of concept as it is execution.

The trailer suggests that the concept is handled incredibly well. It looks thrilling, and with Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Southpaw, End of Watch) involved, you know it’s not going to have acting issues.

3 – Fighting With My Family (2/14)

Tag Line: Meet an outsider who changed the game.
Production Company: Channel 4 Television Corporation, Film4, Misher Films, Seven Bucks Productions, The Ink Factory, WWE Studios
Director: Stephen Merchant       
Writer: Stephen Merchant          
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Merchant, Nick Frost, Kim Matula, Aqueela Zoll, Saraya-Jade Bevis, Paul Wight, Eli Jane, Stephen Farrelly, Hannah Rae, Chloe Csengery, Jill Buchanan, Josh Myers, Thea Trinidad, Ruth Horrocks
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 108 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

I saw this trailer a few months ago and I was SO looking forward to the month it came out.

I don’t watch wrestling anymore, but I used to when I was I was younger. Now, the most I really have to do with the WWE is listening to a podcast called the Basement Bookers (found on iTunes, Google, and Stitcher) Basement Jer and Rich the Riz have some incredibly unique personalities and it’s just generally a good time to listen to.

Back to Fighting With My Family – this movie covers the real life story of WWE Diva: Paige. Even not knowing that’s it’s a true story, though, it looks like a great movie.

You don’t need to be a WWE fan in order to appreciate the humor and family drama that’s shown in the trailer… and you definitely don’t need to be a wrestling fan to love the hell out of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Ballers, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Moana). Sure, he got his start wrestling, but now he’s just an all-around awesome entertainer. He’s a national treasure and no one will ever be able to tell me different.

Whether you like wrestling or not, I recommend giving this one a chance.

2 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2/22)

Tag Line: Their final quest.
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation, Mad Hatter Entertainment
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell
Actors: Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harrington, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Jay Baruchel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Craig Ferguson, Justin Rupple, AJ Kane
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 104 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn't the only Night Fury, he must seek "The Hidden World", a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.

If you read my article on cinematic landscapes then you know I love How to Train Your Dragon (2010). It’s my favorite animated film ever. This sequel could have been a two-hour long movie about Toothless and Hiccup flying around and it’d have made my top 10. No doubt.

That said, it looks a LOT better than that.

Any other month? It might have made number 1. I really thought it would, unless a Marvel film was coming out same month. Color me shocked. Still, it’s one of the best films coming out in February and I cannot wait.

1 – Alita: Battle Angel (2/14)

Tag Line: An angel falls. A warrior rises.
Production Company: Twentieth Century Fox, Lightstorm Entertainment, Troublemaker Studios, TSG Entertainment
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez, Yukito Kishiro
Actors: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Eiza González, Jennifer Connelly, Lana Condor, Michelle Rodriguez, Ed Skrein, Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earle Haley, Casper Van Dien, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Elle LaMont, Jeff Fahey, Keean Johnson, Derek Mears, Sam Medina,
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 122 minutes

IMDb Blurb: An action-packed story of one young woman's journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.

This came out of left field for me, but the moment I saw the trailer I know it would be my number 1 for the month. It killed me to put something above How to Train Your Dragon, but I had to be honest.

I’ve never read the manga but, as an outsider, this trailer looked insane. The visuals are incredible, the story looks engaging, the voice acting was flawless, and the character models were entrancing.

I know they made her eyes as big as they did to keep the manga feel and I really think they succeeded. I immediately questioned if it was a manga and searched it out when the trailer ended. I feel that makes it well-done call back to the original content.

I’m looking forward to seeing Alita: Battle Angel for Valentine’s Day.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat

Kim Possible .20
Piercing .19
Run the Race .18
Everybody Knows .17
To Dust .16
Arctic .15
The Isle .14
St. Agatha .13
The Prodigy .12
Miss Bala .11
Scooby Doo! And the Curse of the 13th Ghost .10
Happy Death Day 2U .9
Isn’t it Romantic .8
Velvet Buzzsaw .7
Cold Pursuit .6
Fighting With My Family .5
Then Came You .4
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part .3
Alita: Battle Angel .2
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World .1

Monday, January 28, 2019

Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Movie Name/Year: Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Tagline: Justice At Any Cost
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Drama
Length: 108 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Warp Films, G-BASE, The Film Department, Evil Twins
Producers: Gerard Butler, Lucas Foster, Dave Gare, Mark Gill, Michael Goguen, Robert Katz, Neil Sacker, Alan Siegel, Gregory Veeser, Ian Watermeier, Jeff G. Waxman, Kurt Wimmer
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Actors: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Gregory Itzin, Regina Hall, Viola Davis

Blurb from Netflix: A horrific crime leaves a family man shattered. When the system fails him, he only has one option.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll be upfront with you. This wasn’t my first watch-through of this movie. I first saw it closer to the timeframe it was in theaters. I remember that first viewing left me somewhat stunned at the brutality, and it certainly had sucked me in with the story.

At this point, the Saw (2004) franchise was well under way. Audiences that followed that series of movies, or those like it, might not have experienced this film with the same gut-punch. The thing is, this movie wasn’t marketed as a horror. (I believed it when I read that the film nearly got a NC-17 rating until they scaled back…just a little.) I’d say most viewers got a little bit more than they bargained for when signing on for a Crime Drama-Thriller. Though, it didn’t quite go to the same horrific extremes as the torture-porn franchises or even more low-key properties on that spectrum such as Untraceable (2008).

I’m completely unsurprised that the movie appealed to audiences far more than the critics. If you’re thinking about it too hard, some of the story is a bit hard to swallow. If you’re just along for the ride, it’s easier to sink in to the experience.

The scenarios within the film weren’t much easier to take the second time around. It opens with a real gut-punch that doesn’t really lose impact with a single repetition… the situation is just horrible. I don’t want to spoil anything so I really have to dance around it. The movie’s a bit heavy-handed in the way the story tries to point out flaws in the broken ‘System.’

At the same time, the dynamic between Gerard Butler (Gamer, Olympus Has Fallen, The Vanishing) and Jamie Foxx (The Soloist, Django Unchained, Baby Driver) was really enjoyable. Their back and forth makes the movie, really. 

I’m not sure that I’d give this movie a third watch-through, but that’s primarily because of the overall punch to the feels. I would strongly recommend avoiding watching this one with younger audiences, for sure. Other than that, It wasn’t bad. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 26%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 75%
Metascore - 34/100
Metacritic User Score – 7/10
IMDB Score – 7.4/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

Movie Trailer: