Friday, January 31, 2020

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In February (2020)

According to: Selina

20 – Impractical Jokers: the Movie (2/21)

Production/Distribution: truTV
Director: Chris Henchy
Writer: Joe Gatto, Chris Henchy, James Murray, Brian Quinn, Sal Vulcano
Actors: Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Jaden Smith, Paula Abdul, Joey Fatone, Kane Hodder
Genre: Comedy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 93 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The story of a humiliating high school mishap from 1992 that sends the Impractical Jokers on the road competing in hidden-camera challenges for the chance to turn back the clock and redeem three of the four Jokers.

Honestly? I’m not a fan of Impractical Jokers (2011-). I’m not the biggest fan of pranks and I think some of their stuff borders on mean. That said, I do understand why other people might enjoy something like it.

Aside from a bit of a story-driven framing device, it could be pretty much a long episode of the show. That leads me to believe that if you’re a fan, you’ll probably enjoy it.

It’s not for me, though.

19 – Saint Frances (2/28)

Production/Distribution: Oscilloscope
Director: Alex Thompson
Writer: Kelly O’Sullivan
Actors: Kelly O’Sullivan, Ramona Edith Williams, Charin Alvarez, Braden Crothers, William Drain, Laura T. Fisher, Mary Beth Fisher, Meighan Gerachis, Francis Guinan, Max Lipchitz, Lily Mojekwu, Bradley Grant Smith, Jim True-Frost, H.B. Ward, Rebekah Ward, Roger Welp
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 106 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After an accidental pregnancy turned abortion, a deadbeat nanny finds an unlikely friendship with the six-year old she's charged with protecting.

Saint Frances is getting insane reviews among the film festival circuit goers. Still, I’m a bit concerned about it.

I can’t deny that the trailer makes the characters seem interesting and I definitely look forward to seeing it. That said, movies like this can turn out to be a bit preachy about whatever stance on abortion they happen to be taking. Personally, I don’t care if I believe with the stance or not, I don’t watch fiction movies to be preached at. If I want that I know where the documentary section is.

That said, there’s no guarantees that this film will have that kind of quality to it – and there are some other aspects that make me want to see it.

Saint Frances touches on a huge number of female-centric topics. The only movies I’ve seen cover this many of those topics have been coming-of-age films. It’s like movie creators believe that once a woman hits 18, those issues just vanish. It’s nice to see adults dealing with them for once.

I do think that this film probably deserves to be higher than I’m putting it, but my personal concerns won’t really let me do that.

18 – Greed (2/21)

Production/Distribution: Film4, Revolution Films, Sony Pictures International Productions, Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writer: Michael Winterbottom, Sean Gray
Actors: Asa Butterfield, Sophie Cookson, Isla Fisher, Shirley Henderson, Stephen Fry, Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, Sarah Solemani, Enzo Cilenti, Pearl Mackie, Jamie Blackley, Charlie Cooper, Shanina Shaik, Polly Kemp
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 164 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Satire about the world of the super-rich.

Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, The Secret Life of Pets, Holmes & Watson) just has the most punch-able face I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that I’ve only ever seen him play obnoxious characters. Of course, that could be due to the face thing. In which case, I get it.

Previous opinion aside, this does look like an interesting movie.

I enjoy films that explore the war between the classes. I try not to fall victim to prejudgment of people, but I think it’s a very human flaw that a lot – if not most – of us have. Movies like this let me indulge the flaw for a couple of hours before I have to go back to fighting it, and I think that’s important.

That said, the plot is a little muddled in the trailer, that’s why I can’t put this any higher. I know it’s about a rich guy and I know he’s super obnoxious (after all, he’s played by Coogan), but other than that I don’t know much. Is it tax evasion? Is he scamming people? The trailer’s all over the place, I don’t really know.

I might see this one, but I’m not likely to see it in theaters.

17 – Olympic Dreams (2/14)

Production/Distribution: IFC Films
Director: Jeremy Teicher
Writer: Nick Kroll, Alexi Pappas, Jeremy Teicher
Actors: Gus Kenworthy, Nick Kroll, Alexi Pappas, Morgan Schild
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sport
Rated: PG-13
Length: 85 minutes

IMDb Blurb: In the Olympic Athlete Village, a young cross-country skier bonds with a volunteer doctor after her competition ends.

I’ll be honest, the movie itself looks pretty basic, plot-wise. There are other things that make this film seem more interesting than most.

Olympic Dreams is the first feature film made in an Olympic village. That alone is kind of interesting. It’s not just a setting designed to look like the Olympics – it’s the actual place. That gives the whole thing an extra layer of authenticity that I feel comes through in the trailer.

Then there’s Nick Kroll (Big Mouth, Operation Finale, Uncle Drew). I only know Kroll from his comedy work. While researching this movie, I found dramas that he’s been in, but I don’t recall him ever being a leading man in a romance before. I’m significantly interested in seeing how he’ll do in this role. I’ve also looked into getting to see one of his dramas. I’ve never considered Kroll as anything but a comedian an I’m looking forward to seeing him in parts I once couldn’t fathom him in.

I think that Olympic Dreams can go one of two ways. It could be incredibly basic, not much more than a sports romance that you’d see anywhere else. Or it could rise above other films with a sense of realism because of the phenomenal setting and interesting casting choices. I look forward to finding out.

16 – Brahms: The Boy II (2/21)

Production/Distribution: Huayi Brothers, Lakeshore Entertainment, STX Entertainment, GEM Entertainment, Capelight Pictures, Golden Village Pictures, Polyfilm Verleih, Viva International Pictures, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group,
The Searchers
Director: William Brent Bell
Writer: Stacey Menear
Actors: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Ralph Ineson, Anjali Jay, Christopher Convery, Oliver Rice, Joely Collins, Daphne Hoskins, Charles Jarman, Natalie Moon, Ellie King, Joanne Kimm
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: After a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion, their young son soon makes friends with a life-like doll called Brahms.

The first film, The Boy (2016), had good and bad aspects. There was decent suspense and some really great acting. On the other hand, there were unnecessary scenes and, although the twist at the end should have been good, it kind of negated the rest of the film.

That ending, however, makes what the trailer shows for the sequel interesting.

Already, you have a different feel because the child seems to be the main focus of the malevolent entity this time around and he doesn’t seem all that innocent according to the trailer. It seems like the film is building him up to be some kind of psychopath in the making.

There will be a different cast, which is pretty par for the course in movies like this – but it does leave the casting quality up in the air. The new actors will be filling some pretty big shoes. Katie Holmes (Ocean’s Eight, Logan Lucky, The Giver), however, gives me some hope that the quality should be pretty parallel to the first one.

Without going too much into it, in an attempt to not spoil the first one, the sequel looks like it will be relying much more heavily on a supernatural feel than the first one did. Although this makes me worry that the suspense factors will suffer, especially since we already know the original twist, it also leaves room for William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside, Stay Alive, Wer) and Stacey Menear (Mixtape), the director and writer, to explain some of the essence of the first film a little better.

If it’s made properly, Brahms: The Boy II could wind up improving the original. Here’s hoping.

15 – VFW (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Fangoria, RLJE Films
Director: Joe Begos
Writer: Max Brallier, Matthew McArdle
Actors: Martin Kove, Stephen Lang, David Patrick Kelly, William Sadler, Sierra McCormick, Dora Madison, George Wendt, Fred Williamson, Tom Williamson, Travis Hammer, Graham Skipper, Josh Ethier, Chloe Carabasi, JP DeStefano, Linnea Wilson
Genre: Action, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 92 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A group of war veterans must defend their local VFW post and an innocent teen against a deranged drug dealer and his relentless army of punk mutants.

Although VFW does seem to have a lower production value than some of the movies lower on my list, I still find it interesting enough that I don’t mind.

The film was shot on location in a Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. There were actual veterans used as extras. Normally, movie trivia doesn’t affect my decision on whether or not I want to see a film, but in this case it’s caught my attention.

A lot of films about veterans follow strict trope rules. As much as you want to root for those characters, it’s hard to see past their cookie-cutter existence.

VFW seems like it’s going to take a different route. They may have one or two characters that follow the veteran recipes, but with as many as there are in the film, they’ll have to deviate and give the audience a fresh take somewhere. Otherwise, what would be the point?

Stephen Lang (Into the Badlands, Don’t Breathe, Avatar) is a bonus. It’s hard to look away from him when he’s on screen.

Also, the punk mutants remind me of the Freakshow enemy group from City of Heroes and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work on the big screen.

14 – Come to Daddy (2/21 – Canada and Japan)

Production/Distribution: Firefly Films, Blinder Films, Nowhere, Scythia Films, Saban Films, Umbrella Entertainment, Hark, Mongrel Media, Signature
Director: Ant Timpson
Writer: Ant Timpson, Toby Harvard
Actors: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Simon Chin, Ona Grauer, Ryan Beil, Raresh DiMofte, Alla Rouba, Noam Zylberman, Gord Middleton, Oliver Wilson
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.

I had trouble getting past the title of this film. ‘Come to daddy’ just feels like such a gross and creepy sentence to me. I don’t know why. It’s just, ick.

Of course, the trailer fits with what the title imparts upon me. It seems creepy and weird and scary. It’s remarkable just how good Elijah Wood (Star Wars Resistance, Lord of the Rings, The Last Witch Hunter) is at portraying that kind of film or the kinds of characters that belong in that kind of film.

With the interesting trailer, this film would be higher, but there’s something stopping me.

I know the writer, Toby Harvard (Tropical Cop Tales, The Greasy Strangler, Privado), from ABCs of Death 2 (2014). If you remember that review, I hated that movie, though I liked some of the segments. Harvard, however, is from one of my least favorite parts of the film. “G for Grandad” was nonsensical and relied on basic gross out cringe. It didn’t even really feel like horror.

I’m concerned that Harvard might not be up to a movie like this. I’m hoping I’m wrong, though. Maybe Wood’s involvement should be telling me different. We’ll have to watch it to find out.

13 – Buffaloed (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Lost City, Bold Crayon, Particular Crowd, Magnolia Pictures
Director: Tanya Wexler
Writer: Brian Sacca
Actors: Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer, Jai Courtney, Noah Reid, Lusia Strus, Jayne Eastwood, Jermaine Fowler, Raymond Ablack, Brian Sacca, James M. Connor, Kate Moyer, Alex Harrouch, Casey Hudecki, Nicholas Carella, Nicole Williams, Jennifer Farrugia
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Set in the underworld of debt-collecting and follows the homegrown hustler Peg Dahl, who will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY.

I love this story – at least the way the trailer shows it.

I have some insane student loan debt and I can kind of understand the desire to do pretty much anything to get through it. Personally, I’ll stick to the legal shit, though.

Still, with that in mind, this plot seems very realistic. Zoey Deutch (The Politician, Set it Up, The Disaster Artist) looks adorable and well-fit for her part in it and the trailer looks bad ass. There’s nothing I don’t want to see about Buffaloed.

12 – The Lodge (2/7)

Production/Distribution: FilmNation Entertainment, Hammer Films, Neon, GEM Entertainment, Cine Canibal, SquareOne Entertainment, The Searchers, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA), Stage 6 Films, VVS Films
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Writer: Sergio Casci, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Actors: Richard Armitage, Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Rebecca Faulkenberry, Katelyn Wells, Danny Keough, Lola Reid
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 108 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé's two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.

The Lodge feels like an interesting take on the typically claustrophobic ‘cabin in the woods’ film. The ‘mom’ figure is barely known to the children which takes away that built-in form of trust that you get whenever the main characters in a film are a family. They don’t trust her and they definitely don’t seem to like her.

That leaves a lot more room for psychological scares. I’m betting, at some point in the film, either the mother figure suspects the kids or vice-versa.

I’ll admit that this film could turn out to be very tropey, possibly preachy. I’m hoping it checks itself enough to be able to utilize the intriguing setting that’s being used.

11 – Emma (2/21)

Production/Distribution: Working Title Films, Blueprint Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, Focus Features, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Writer: Eleanor Catton, Jane Austen
Actors: Tanya Reynolds, Anya Taylor-Joy, Josh O’Connor, Gemma Whelan, Bill Nighy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Callum Turner, Miranda Hart, Rupert Graves, Chloe Pirrie, Amber Anderson, Myra McFadyen, Isabella Kennard-Barden, Rose Shalloo, Jill Buchanan, Suzy Bloom, Charlotte Todd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG
Length: 122 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Based on the classic Jane Austen novel.

It could be argued that Emma looks like just another film based on a classic book. It very well could be. That said, the trailer does a decent job of portraying the characters to me. I wind up curious about how the actors will interact on screen.

Both the director and writer, Autumn de Wilde (The Postman Dreams, Directions, Blame it on the Youth) and Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries), are wild cards. For both of them in their respective roles, it’s their first full-length feature film. Since they’re working off a well-known masterpiece, however, I feel like it will be a decent measure of what they are capable of.

The actors are where the majority of my interest comes from, though.

I only know Gemma Whelan (Horrible Histories, Christmas Survival, Prevenge) from Game of Thrones (2012-2019), but I thought she was amazing throughout her time on the series. Bill Nighy (Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Pride, The World’s End) is one of those actors with a range that could have him popping up in any film of any genre and still rocking the part. The one I’m most interested in seeing, however, is Anya Taylor-Joy (Peaky Binders, Glass, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance). I only know her from a couple of movies, but I enjoyed her so much in Split (2016) that I’m seriously looking forward to seeing her in anything else.

I believe Emma will be worth a watch.

10 – Sonic the Hedgehog (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Sega, Original Film, Blur Studio, Marza Animation Planet, DJ2 Entertainment, Paramount Animation, Digital Makeup Group, Sega Sammy Group, Stories International, Andes Films, B&H Film Distribution, Blitz, Central Partnership, Finnkino, Forum Film Bulgaria, Intercontinental Film Distributors (HK), Karantanija Cinemas, Lotte Entertainment, Towa Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writer: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima, Hirokazu Yasuhara
Actors: Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Neal McDonough, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally, Tika Sumpter, Leanne Lapp, Debs Howard, Michael Hogan, Shannon Chan-Kent, Lisa Chandler, Emma Oliver, Elfina Luk, Lee Majdoub, Melody Nosipho Niemann
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 100 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.

I don’t really find the trailers that compelling for Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s not that I wouldn’t be up for a movie about the character, either. When other people had a Nintendo, I had a Sega. I was a Sonic girl up until much later in life. Still, the story in the trailers seems a bit on the weak side.

Never-the-less, it’s in my top 10 because something needs to be said for a production company that listens to the fans.

After that first atrocious Sonic design came out, I was ready to shrug off the film altogether. I figured there was no way the company was going to spend millions just to fix things. It was clearly going to go the way of Super Mario Bros. (1993). When they decided to change things instead and then came out with the MUCH better look we see in later trailers… I knew that the story no longer mattered to me.

I intend to see this movie in theaters, opening weekend. I feel like I have to. The more money this movie makes, the more likely production companies will be to listen to the fans in the future. As movie goers, we have a chance to send a message to the production companies that if they write and design for the fans, it will be better for them. Then maybe we’ll have to be a little less nervous about adaptation flicks.

I hope it’s worth it.

9 – The Call of the Wild (2/21)

Production/Distribution: 3 Arts Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Twentieth Century Fox, 20th Century Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 20th Century Fox Argentina, 20th Century Fox Brazil, 20th Century Fox, Forum Hungary, Walt Disney Studios Japan, Galaxy Distributors
Director: Chris Sanders
Writer: Michael Green, Jack London
Actors: Karen Gillan, Harrison Ford, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford, Jean Louisa Kelly, Omar Sy, Wes Brown, Terry Notary, Preston Bailey, Colin Woodell, Michael Horse, Scott MacDonald, Stephanie Czajkowski, Alex Solowitz, Brad Greenquist, Adam Fergus
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 105 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A sled dog struggles for survival in the Alaskan wild.

Who doesn’t like a good faithful dog story?

Honestly, my love of dogs knows no bounds. I would watch pretty much any film based around a pup, no matter how ridiculous. In this case, there seems to be some serious action going on. It looks like the kind of movie no one’s going to be bored during. (Assuming not all the action is in the trailer.)

I will admit that the CGI dog looks a little off. I imagine they went that route, instead of having a dog actor, because a lot of the stunts look very dangerous. Even for a well-trained animal. I have to respect that… but the CGI still looks a little weird. If it was a bit more realistic this film might have been higher on my list.

8 – The Photograph (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Perfect World Pictures, Will Packer Productions, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: Stella Meghie
Actors: LaKeith Stanfield, Issa Rae, Chelsea Peretti, Rob Morgan, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Courtney B. Vance, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Teyonah Parris, Kenneth Kynt Bryan, Lil Rel Howery, Y’lan Noel, Wakeema Hollis, Chanté Adams, Ken Holmes, Dakota Paradise
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m much more likely to have a soft spot for films like The Photograph. That said? It really does look like a beautiful movie. It takes a look at two different generations and how the younger of the two learns from her mother’s successes and mistakes. I love stories that go into that kind of thing.

The plot alone, and how it’s shown on the trailer, would have gotten it on my list. The reason it’s so high is because of my absolute adoration of LaKeith Stanfield (Knives Out, Atlanta, Get Out).

Even with Stanfield’s awards and nominations I still find him criminally under-valued. As amazing as he’s been in good films, I’ve seen him take bad movies and make them watchable – in some cases even somewhat enjoyable. I’m absolutely sure that he can elevate just about any film he’s in to new heights. I think he should be a household name. I’ll follow him to any movie he’s in.

7 – Wendy (2/28)

Production/Distribution: The Department of Motion Pictures, Court 13 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 20th Century Fox Brazil, 20th Century Fox España, 20th Century Fox, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Writer: Benh Zeitlin, Eliza Zeitlin
Actors: Tommie Lynn Milazzo, Shay Walker, Devin France, Stephanie Lynn Wilson, Ahmad Cage, Gage Naquin, Krzysztof Meyn, Gavin Naquin, Romyri Ross
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 112 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.

This seems like a more realistic version of the Peter Pan story, told entirely about Wendy instead of Peter. I have to admit, it’s cute take.

The trailer looks like it’s full of action and whimsy. It tells a new story from the view point of Wendy about Wendy but, at the same time, there are familiar aspects. You can see pirates and that fear of growing up. Adults vs. children. Hope. It’s all there.

Pretty much everyone in, and responsible for, this film is an unknown to me. That interests me as well. It’s pretty rare that a big film like this would involve so many less experienced people. It’s something to take note of.

6 – Downhill (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Filmhaus Films, Likely Story, Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Twentieth Century Studios Home Entertainment
Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Writer: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Jesse Armstrong, Ruben Östlund
Actors: Will Ferrell, Miranda Otto, Zach Woods, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kristofer Hivju, Giulio Berruti, Zoe Chao, Hélène Cardona, Julian Grey, Matt Lindquist, Ammon Jacob Ford, Nadiv Molcho, Kimberly Rydell, Jono Bergmann, Ferdinand Ramml, Peter Schorn
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 86 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

I am not a Will Ferrell (Zeroville, Daddy’s Home, Get Hard) fan. I don’t like his style of line delivery. It’s just my general opinion of things and I understand it’s not the popular opinion. Still, as a result, his movies do tend to be lower on my list – if they make it at all.

That makes it kind of interesting that Downhill is this high.

Will Ferrell’s involvement is not as important to me as how amusing the plot is.

Everyone thinks they know what they’d do in a life-or-death situation. I mean, how many times have you heard someone say they’d take a bullet for someone else? There’s a whole damn song about it. This film explores the truth that you don’t really know what you would do if your life was on the line. It’s instinctual. Fight or flight.

In this case, the father of the family doesn’t protect them, he grabs his phone and runs away and there’s, understandably, fall out.

The concept is interesting and the trailer looks so amusing that I’m absolutely here for it.

5 – To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2/12)

Production/Distribution: Ace Entertainment, All The Boys Productions, Awesomeness Films, Overbrook Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Netflix
Director: Michael Fimognari
Writer: Sofia Alvarez, J. Mills Goodloe, Jenny Han
Actors: Noah Centineo, Madeleine Arthur, Lana Condor, Ross Butler, Sarayu Blue, Holland Taylor, Jordan Fisher, John Corbett, Janel Parrish, Jill Morrison, Anna Cathcart, Emilija Baranac, Trezzon Mahoro, Jara Zeimer, Julie Tao, Linda Ko, Momona Tamada, Christian Darrel Scott, June B. Wilde, Alessandro Miro, Maggie Sullivun, James Hibbard, Gary Hetherington, Winslow Holmes, Irene Reynolds
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 99 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Lara Jean and Peter have just taken their relationship from pretend to officially official when another recipient of one of her old love letters enters the picture.

As cute at the first move was, and as much as I could personally relate to it, there was no way for me to know that it would become a film some would say was iconic of a generation. It was a good film, but for people in the age demographic it targeted, it rose to much higher levels.

That means that I’ve known the sequel would be on my list since way before I ever saw the coming attraction.

The trailer, however, looks pretty good. It gives me the same feelings I got watching the John Hughes (Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles) films from the 80s – much like the first film did. Everything feels relatable and it tugs at the heart strings. Even just assuming what the full-on plot will be, I feel for the characters. I want to know what’s going to happen.

Lana Condor (Summer Night, Alita: Battle Angel, Patriots Day) and Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date, T@gged, Swiped) are returning, which I’m all for. Their characters are acted phenomenally by them and I couldn’t imagine a sequel without either actor. I’m eager to see how they interact with Jordan Fisher (Liv and Maddie, Rent: Live, Grease Live!) – who looks adorable in the trailer.

I want to believe that this film will stack up to the first. I hope it does.

4 – Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island (2/14)

Production/Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Sony Pictures Releasing, AMC Theatres, Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Galaxy Distributors, Sony Pictures Releasing, Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Actors: Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday, Michael Peña, Michael Rooker, Kim Coates, Charlotte McKinney, Ryan Hansen, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Evan Evagora, Robbie Jones, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Goran D. Kleut, Nick Slater, Ian Roberts, Renee Murden, Jeriya Benn, Tim Wong, Steven A. Davis, Tane Williams-Accra, Mark Weinhandl
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Horror
Rated: PG-13
Length: 110 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A horror adaptation of the popular '70s TV show about a magical island resort.

I have a weak spot for ‘be careful what you wish for’ horror films. Most of them are pretty basic, though. Make a wish, a supernatural being makes it come true, usually with malicious intent. Occasionally, it could just not be what the main character thought it would be like.

This is a little different. If anything, it reminds me of a horror version of the episode of the original Star Trek (1966-1969) series called ‘Shore Leave’. It was my favorite episode of that entire series next to ‘I, Mudd.’ So, I’m really in love with the trailer for Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island.

It doesn’t hurt that it has a hell of a cast. Lucy Hale (Dude, The Unicorn, Pretty Little Liars), Michael Rooker (Brightburn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hypothermia), and Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy, Bad Blood, Goon: Last of the Enforcers) are all great at their art. Michael Peña (A Wrinkle in Time, 12 Strong, Extinction) was an actor that I enjoyed even before his part in the Marvel films, but after that I just find him that much more adorable – especially since a lot of his ranting was apparently ad-libbed.

Then there’s Maggie Q (Designated Survivor, Young Justice, Allegiant) who is just a QUEEN. I have been following her since Nikita and I think she is VERY underrated. I’ve never seen her turn in a bad performance.

Logically, I know that there are a thousand ways for this film to go wrong. It is an adaptation, after all. That said, I have high hopes.

3 – The Invisible Man (2/28)

Production/Distribution: Goalpost Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Dark Universe, Universal Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: H.G. Wells, Leigh Whannell
Actors: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman, Harriet Dyer, Amali Golden, Benedict Hardie, Zara Michales, Sam Smith, Anthony Brandon Wong, Bianca Pomponio, Dennis Kreusler, Michael Knott, Randolph Fields
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

I love this trailer. It takes a realistic motivation for an antagonist and adds in a thread of paranormal. I’ve been looking forward to this film for a while.

If you’re a horror fan and you’re not looking forward to this, then I think you might need to re-evaluate things.

Writer/Director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious, Upgrade) is a modern horror heavyweight where writing is concerned. He is responsible for millions of butts jumping in theater seats. If anyone is going to do the story of the invisible man justice, it’s him. He knows creepy. It runs in his veins.

He’s even getting to work with a great cast. I’m a casual fan of Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, Us, The Pack), but a huge fan of Aldis Hodge (Clemency, Brian Banks, Hidden Figures). He’s been getting some decent attention these past few years and I hope that recognition keeps on coming, because he deserves it.

There’s a deep psychological terror woven, even just through the trailer. It draws attention to mental abuse and equates it to the physical stuff that people think of much more often when someone has an issue. It doesn’t just go through the intensity of an invisible antagonist, but even the invisible torture an abused person can suffer.

It’s brilliant and I will be severely pissed off if the movie doesn’t measure up.

2 – Burden (2/28)

Production/Distribution: Bill Kenwright Films, The Fyzz Facility, Unburdened Entertainment, Thefyzz, 101 Studios
Director: Andrew Heckler
Writer: Andrew Heckler
Actors: Crystal Fox, Andrea Riseborough, Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker, Tom Wilkinson, Tess Harper, Austin Hébert, Usher Raymond, Anna Colwell, Jason Davis, Dexter Darden, Charles Green, Robin Dyke, Jeff Pope, Joshua Burge, Jessjames Locorriere, Alex Van, Al Mitchell, Olivia De Paux, Devin Bright, Tia Hendricks, Roman Spink, Fiona Domenica, Lindsey Moser, Tian Richards, Chris Ward, Nicole Dupre Sobchack, Estes Tarver, Tyrin Niles, Michael David Yuhl
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 129 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy strives to keep the peace even as he urges the group's Grand Dragon to disavow his racist past.

There is so much to say about this film based on a true story.

A lot of the plot of Burden is grounded in forgiveness. Honestly, that’s something that never came easy to me. Especially when it comes to severe breaks of trust. I absolutely believe I wouldn’t be able to forgive a former KKK member. That’s a crime against mankind. Not exactly an ‘I scratched your car’ kind of thing.

I think that’s why I find this movie to be such an incredible draw. I don’t understand what kind of faith and love someone needs to hold inside them to help a person that has hurt so many of their own.

There’s a lot to be said for the thread of ‘change through love’ that is shown in the trailer. I understand that the world needs to believe people can change. That racists can be shown the light. That violence can be turned into protectiveness.

The world is fucked up and I treasure films like this that try to show a glimmer of hope in the darkness.

There are some decent actors involved here. I very much enjoy the talent of Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound, Pan, Tron) and Usher Raymond (Hands of Stone, People You May Know, Bad Hair). They’re both very good at what they do and tend to embody their characters well.

Forest Whitaker (Finding Steve McQueen, Empire, Black Panther) is who I found myself watching the most in the trailer. Just from what I can get from the plot, I don’t think there’s anyone else I would have been able to believe as the reverend. I think he was the perfect choice.

This was a passion project for writer/director Andrew Heckler (Roads to Riches, Duty Dating, Lip Service). He learned the story of Reverend Kennedy in 1998 and he’s been working on it since then. Whenever there’s passion like that involved, I expect a lot. And this was a behemoth of a subject to tackle for his first time writing or directing a full-length feature film.

I have faith in Burden and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

1 – Birds of Prey (2/7)

Production/Distribution: Clubhouse Pictures (II), DC Entertainment, Kroll & Co. Entertainment, LuckyChap Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros.
Director: Cathy Yan
Writer: Christina Hodson
Actors: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Bojana Novakovic, Greice Santo, Matthew Willig, Chris Messina, Ali Wong, Charlene Amoia, Ella Jay Basco, Jenelle McKee, Steven Williams, Isabel Pakzad, François Chau, Derek Wilson, Paloma Rabinov, Nico Greetham, Dana Lee, Mike Ferguson, Dominic Pace, Anthony Molinari, Sara Montez, Gerald Downey, Michael Masini, Anna Mikami, David Anthony Buglione, Lenora May, Ella Mika, Joe Bucaro III, Miyuki Matsunaga, Ego Mikitas, Dan Cole, Bruno Oliver
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Rated: R
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

They took the best part of Suicide Squad (2016), cut the rest, and made a movie out of it. Of course this was going to be my number one film for February.

Margot Robbie (Bombshell, Mary Queen of Scots, Terminal) IS Harley Quinn. The casting director that tapped her was on point that day. Robbie is to Quinn as Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame, The Judge, Chef) is to Iron Man. I can’t imagine anyone else being able to do better than her. End of story.

I cannot wait to see what she does in her very own movie. There’s a great cast backing her, but I’m ALL Robbie for this one.

Even if I wasn’t, though. All the trailers are SICK. Even the soundtrack trailer. I’m going to trust this new era of DC and give my faith to Birds of Prey.

I’m going to see this film as soon as I can – hopefully opening night, definitely that first weekend.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat

Buffaloed .20
Come to Daddy .19
Come As You Are .18
 Ordinary Love .17
What About Love .16
The Whistlers .15
VFW .14
Brahms: The Boy II .13
The Lodge .12
Saint Frances .11
The Invisible Man .10
Downhill .9
The Photograph .8
Sonic the Hedgehog .7
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 .6
Burden .5
Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island .4
Emma .3
Birds of Prey .2
The Call of the Wild .1


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