Monday, February 1, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In February (2021)

 According to: Selina
20 – Music (2/12)

EDIT - Upon watching this film, it's come to our attention just how insensitive and awful this film is at representing autism and the autistic community. It promotes dangerous methods to deal with autistic people that could result in their death. We retract our recommendation made based on our viewing of the trailer. We do not recommend watching Music (2021). If you do watch it, please understand that none of the methods used to "aid" or restrain an autistic person should be copied.
19 – Tom and Jerry (2/26)

Production/Distribution: Warner Animation Group, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Keylight Productions, King Features Syndicate, Lin Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Karo Premiere, Kinomania, Warner Bros. Pictures International, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Tim Story
Writer: Kevin Costello, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Actors: Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Rob Delaney, Colin Jost, Ken Jeong, Pallavi Sharda, Jordan Bolger, Daniel Adegboyega, Ajay Chhabra, Janis Ahern, Christina Chong, Nicky Jam, Lil Rel Howery
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: Adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera property, which reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry.
I’m an elder millennial. I grew up on Tom and Jerry. Seeing a semi-live action release for this cartoon from my past was an instant hype. I was ready to put it not only in my top 10, but in my top 5. Why, then, is it this low?
I’ve re-watched the trailer a few times now. The more I watch it, the more off-putting the animation seems when juxtaposed against the backdrop of reality. Also, the situations look a little less thought out than recent plots we’ve seen in similar films – like Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) or Detective Pikachu (2019).
My bet is that Tom and Jerry is going to try to ride a wave of nostalgia. I imagine it will be successful. People who grew up on the cartoon are going to see it (COVID allowing), but I’m betting it’ll be more fun for kids than something all-around family.
Still, I’m one of the people with it on my to-watch list.
18 – Blithe Spirit (2/19)

Production/Distribution: Fred Films, Powderkeg Pictures, Align, British Lion Films, IPG Media Pty, StudioCanal UK, IFC Films, Parakeet Film, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, M2 Films
Director: Edward Hall
Writer: Piers Ashworth, Noël Coward, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft
Actors: Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Michele Dotrice, Dave Johns, Emilia Fox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adil Ray, Judi Dench, Leslie Mann, Simon Kunz, Callie Cooke, Peter A Rogers, Delroy Atkinson, James Fleet, Issy van Randwyck, Tam Williams, Colin Stinton, Stella Stocker, Jaymes Sygrove, Georgina Rich
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 95 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writer's block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.
The feel of this film reminds me of Death Becomes Her (1992). Of course, in the research of this film, I found out that it’s a remake of a 1945 classic with the same name. Maybe it’s more proper to say that Death Becomes Her reminds me of Blithe Spirit.
Either way, it has the same dark comedy, and a similar death-to-life love triangle.
Now, I absolutely adored Death Becomes Her, which leads me to believe this is an easy choice for me. Even without that comparison, though, it’s an interesting plot with a hilarious trailer. The cast is nothing to sneeze at either.
It’d have been higher, but I can’t ignore the reviews.
We’re going to be seeing this a lot for a while: reviews mentioned in the Top 20. Many of these films were supposed to come out in 2020 and were delayed. As other countries got COVID under control, the movies were trickled into released only for them. As a result, we’re going to have a lot of flicks coming out that have been fully reviewed even before we have any access to them. I am going to take the reviews into consideration, but it’s not going to change my interest level for the most part.
The bad reviews for Blithe Spirit seem to delve into the fact that it’s not as good as the original 1945 version. For people, like me, who’ve never seen the first one – that may not matter. It may wind up being very good, and just a victim of a critic’s tendency to be snobs about older films. It happens. Without the audience score to back up, or refute, the critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes, I don’t think the reviews are all that telling.
17 – A Nightmare Wakes (2/4)

Production/Distribution: Eggplant Picture & Sound, Wild Obscura Films, Shudder
Director: Nora Unkel
Writer: Nora Unkel
Actors: Alix Wilton Regan, Giullian Yao Gioello, Philippe Bowgen, Lee Garrett, Claire Glassford, Shannon Spangler, Nick Freeland
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An adaptation of the novel "Frankenstein," as told through the life of Mary Shelley. As she creates her masterpiece, she gives birth to a monster.
I love the idea of looking at Mary Shelley through the eyes of her book: Frankenstein. Shelley is a legend and so is work, so I think that’s an interesting story to pull inspiration from. Not just the titular monster, but how she created it.
The trailer shows some trope-y aspects, but nothing too criminal. At the least I expect it to be a solid thriller, even if it doesn’t rise any higher than that.
I think it’s worth giving a shot.
16 – Space Sweepers (2/5) - Korean

Production/Distribution: Bidangil Pictures, Dexter Studios, Merry Christmas, Netflix
Director: Sung-hee Jo
Writer: Sung-hee Jo
Actors: Song Joong-Ki, Kim Tae-ri, Seon-kyu Jin, Hae-Jin Yoo, Ana Ruggiero, Milan-Devi LaBrey, Garrison Michael Farquharson-Keener, Daniel Joey Albright, John D. Michaels, Michael Davis
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 136 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Set in the year 2092 and follows the crew of a space junk collector ship called The Victory. When they discover a humanoid robot named Dorothy that's known to be a weapon of mass destruction, they get involved in a risky business deal.
There’s some Asian gold on my list this month.
Due to cultural differences, and how often I can’t find one with subtitles I can understand, very few foreign language films make our Top 20. We can go months without even 1 showing up.
This month, there are 3.
Space Sweepers immediately gave me whiffs of Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999). Space pirates with an adorable companion (not a corgi unfortunately, but still) getting themselves into all manner of hijinks? I was immediately in.
I became even more interested when I learned of the plot. It’s not an overly original story, it reminds me a bit of The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which is not the worst movie in the world to be reminded of.
The cherry on top is the visuals. Everything in the trailer is super clean and gorgeous. I’m very much looking forward to this one.
15 – To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2/12)

Production/Distribution: Ace Entertainment, All the Boys Productions, Netflix
Director: Michael Fimognari
Writer: Jenny Han, Katie Lovejoy
Actors: Noah Centineo, Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Madeleine Arthur, Sarayu Blue, Lisa Durupt, Emilija Baranac, Momona Tamada, Rish Shah, Kayla Deorksen, Julie Tao, Linda Ko, June B. Wilde, Joey Pacheco, Janelle McDermoth, Katie Do, Mikayla Lagman, Michael Delleva
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 109 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Continuing the romantic life of the teenage girl and facing her good and hard times with her friends and family.
I rather like the To All the Boys series. It’s very reminiscent of the John Hughes films of the 80s.
I’ll be the first to admit that the second film mostly dealt with more typical and generation-crossing issues (love triangles and lying), but the first one also went into how social media can become an antagonist in a teen’s life. The movies feel more realistic than many other teen flicks do.
In this third installment, there’s a common theme tackled. It seems to go into the threat of growing apart after high school.
Most films that go into that tend to have one of the characters getting into a different college and lying about it. I really like that this one goes more into what happens if one of the protagonists don’t get into the school they were hoping for. It may seem like a small difference, but it changes the entire dynamic of the movie.
In the aforementioned trope, all the blame falls squarely on the liar. It becomes less about growing up and separation than it does about the lie. In the subject as Always and Forever seems to be tackling it, we’re more likely to see a more in depth look about the inevitability of separation than we would have otherwise. We’ll also get to see Lara Jean deal with rejection on a level that goes well beyond romance.
I have high hopes for To All the Boys: Always and Forever.
14 – Cherry (2/26)

Production/Distribution: The Hideaway Entertainment, AGBO, Kasbah Films, Apple TV+
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Angela Russo-Otstot, Jessica Goldberg, Nico Walker
Actors: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli, Jeff Wahlberg, Forrest Goodluck, Michael Gandolfini, Daniel R. Hill, Fionn O’Shea, Edward Kagutuzi, Ola Orebiyi, Sam Clemmett, Kaine Zajaz, Kyle Harvey, Ann Russo, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Pooch Hall, Leo Woodall
Genre: Crime, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 150 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt.
I love Tom Holland (Onward, The Devil All the Time, Spider-Man: Far From Home). He’s so much more than just the guy who plays Spiderman. He may not have it in him to keep his mouth shut, but he can play just about anyone people throw at him. For the foreseeable future, there will not be a trailer that he’s in that won’t make my list – just based on my high expectations of him.
In this case, he’s paired with the Russo Brothers, a winning directorial team if ever there was one. Since they’re used to working with him, it should be a great combination.
As for the story, I’m interested in seeing how it gets worked. PTSD is a common issue dealt with by military personnel – and it’s handled terribly by our country. I’ve seen the VA push people out of their treatment, refuse to return calls, and decide a person’s PTSD was completely cured without so much as an evaluation.
What I want to see from Cherry is a representation of how badly the system itself handles it, not just a few ignorant civilians. In between the drama and crime aspects, I want the story to take an honest look at how hard it is for soldiers to get the help they need – even when they try. If it does that, there’s more than just a chance for a good film, there’s a chance of raising awareness.
The reason Cherry is a little lower on the list than it probably should be is because I don’t yet trust Apple TV+. I’ve found their original programming to be inconsistent at best. Even if Holland and the Russos are at the top of their game, a bad editing job – with too much influence from the companies involved – could tank anything.
13 – Breaking News in Yuba County (2/12)

Production/Distribution: AGC Studios, Nine Stories Productions, Sarma Films, The Black List, Wyolah Films, American International Pictures (AIP), United Artists Releasing, AGC International, Constantin Film Verleih, Constantin-Film, Diamond Films, Golden Village Pictures, Kino Films, Lenta, Lucky Red, Odeon, Paramount Pictures, Paramount, Roadshow Film Distributors (NZ) Ltd., Roadshow Films, Svensk Filmindustri, TF1 Studio, Vertical Entertainment, Volga Film Ukraine, Volga, Remain In Light, The Searchers, VVS Films
Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Amanda Idoko
Actors: Mila Kunis, Allison Janney, Juliette Lewis, Ellen Barkin, Chris Lowell, Awkwafina, Jimmi Simpson, Clifton Collins Jr., Matthew Modine, Regina Hall, Samira Wiley, Wanda Sykes, Bridget Everett, Dominic Burgess, Keong Sim, Lucy Faust
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 96 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After her husband goes missing, Sue Buttons (Allison Janney), an under-appreciated suburban wife, gets a taste of being a local celebrity as she embarks on a city-wide search in Yuba County to find him. In an effort to prolong her newfound fame, she stumbles into hilarious hi jinks as her world turns upside down, dodging a wanna-be mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Regina Hall), her half-sister (Mila Kunis) a local news reporter desperate for a story, and her husband's dead-beat brother (Jimmi Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.
I love nearly everything about this trailer. It just looks hilarious. Even if that wasn’t the case, though, just look at who’s involved.
There isn’t a bad name on the cast list.
Of course, that’s not a guarantee for any movie, and the reason this one isn’t higher is because I suspect there will be a lot of cringe in it – which is not a type of humor I tend to enjoy. Still, with how much the trailer makes me smile, I think it’s definitely worth a shot.
12 – The Father (2/26)

Production/Distribution: Trademark Films, Cine@, AG Studios NYC, Embankment Films, F Comme Film, Film4, Viewfinder, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, CDI Films, Cinéart, Elevation Pictures, Lionsgate UK, Shaw Organisation, Sony Pictures Classics, TOBIS Film, A Contracorriente Films,, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: Florian Zeller
Writer: Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
Actors: Olivia Colman, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Ayesha Dharker, Roman Zeller, Scott Mullins
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 97 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
Watching someone slowly lose themselves to Alzheimer’s Disease is terrifying. There are any number of films that have shown us what it feels like to lose someone we love to the ailment. The Father seems to show us a different perspective. If I’m getting the right feel from the trailer, we’re going to see a lot of what goes down from the viewpoint of the patient.
Alone, the plot would be a huge draw for fans of drama, but the fact that Anthony Hopkins (Westworld, Thor: Ragnarok, Hitchcock) is playing the protagonist afflicted with Alzheimer’s is absolutely unignorable.
Hopkins is the perfect person to play a part like this. He has a way with nuance that is unmatched by anyone else in the business. That is what I believe is going to elevate this movie to greatness.
I expect it will be a hell of a tearjearker. Have tissues on hand.
11 – Minamata (2/5)

Production/Distribution: Metalwork Pictures, Head Gear Films, Infinitum Nihil, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, Shaw Organisation, Vertigo Releasing, American International Pictures (AIP), Front Row Filmed Entertainment, GEM Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Director: Andrew Levitas
Writer: Andrew Levitas, David Kessler, Jason Forman, Stephen Deuters
Actors: Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Katherine Jenkins, Jun Kunimura, Lily Robinson, Minami, Masayoshi Haneda, Ryô Kase, Akiko Iwase, Kenta Ogawa, Bomber Hurley Smith
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 115 minutes
IMDb Blurb: War photographer W. Eugene Smith travels back to Japan where he documents the devastating effect of mercury poisoning in coastal communities.
I’m excited for Minamata because it looks like a return to form for Johnny Depp (The Professor, Murder on the Orient Express, Pirates of the Caribbean). He looks completely immersed in this roll, transformed into W. Eugene Smith, and I think that speaks well for what his performance will look like. I’m incredibly excited to see him in a part like this again – where he can become another person and blow our minds.
The story looks compelling and relevant as well, but I’d have been here for it just to see Depp rising from the ashes.

10 – Malcolm & Marie (2/5)

Production/Distribution: Little Lamb, The Reasonable Bunch, Netflix
Director: Sam Levinson
Writer: Sam Levinson
Actors: John David Washington, Zendaya
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 106 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A director and his girlfriend's relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics' responses.
There’s been some controversy over this film that I’ve decided to address first.
The thing people are having an issue with is that John David Washington (Tenet, BlacKkKlansman, Monster) is older than Zendaya (Euphoria, The OA, Spider-Man: Far from Home). People are acting as if Zendaya’s a minor. She’s 24. She’s a grown-ass woman. Shut the fuck up. I have nothing else to say on that.
Moving on.
The entire story is told in one place. It’s told in the relationship between two people. There are no outside influences. No colorful settings to distract us.
This is the kind of film that is a true showcase of the actors. The direction and the writing can be as good as it wants, but the actors are the ones who are either going to bring it home, or drop the ball.
In this case, I have faith in both actors. Zendaya has come a long way since Disney, and Washington has this hard-to-look-away-from presence that makes him seem larger than life at times. If anyone is going to pull this idea off, it’s them.
As long as they’re at the top of their game.
The camera will pick up on any cracks in their chemistry. Anything off is going to feel like a HUGE issue.
I’d definitely call Malcolm & Marie the dark horse for the month.
9 – Flora & Ulysses (2/19)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Netter Productions, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+
Director: Lena Khan
Writer: Brad Copeland, Kate DiCamillo
Actors: Alyson Hannigan, Danny Pudi, Kate Micucci, Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan, Emma Oliver, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, John Kassir, Nancy Robertson, Christine Lee, Matilda Lawler, Jesse Reid, Nicholas Dohy
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: The adventures of a young girl and a squirrel with superpowers.
Girl meets superhero squirrel. If this works out, I’m going to be even more pissed that it was a rat instead of a squirrel that saved the day in Avengers: Endgame (2019). Just saying.
How cute does this trailer look, though? There’s humor, family fun, and even some action. I honestly believe that this is the kind of film adults will enjoy watching with their kids. Maybe not the 100th time, but definitely like the first three.
8 – Bliss (2/5)

Production/Distribution: Amazon Studios, Endgame Entertainment, Big Indie Pictures, Pakt Media, Stellar Visioning, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Mike Cahill
Writer: Mike Cahill
Actors: Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Ronny Chieng, Steve Zissis, Joshua Leonard, Madeline Zima, Bill Nye, Slavoj Zizek, DeRon Horton, Eugene Young, Dayne Catalano, Adam William Zastrow, Lora Lee, Kosah Rukavina, Debbie Fan
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 103 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A mind-bending love story following Greg who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel, a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is a computer simulation.
Bliss has the vibe of Black Box (2020) mixed with The Matrix (1999). Great films on their own, there’s no wonder that the trailer seems interesting. As intriguing as it is, it’s also risky.
Because both films that are brought to mind when watching the Bliss trailer are amazing, that raises the bar really high. It’s going to be compared to both flicks. If it doesn’t measure up, it’s going to be very obvious. That could cause people to judge it much more harshly than they would have otherwise.
It has a decent cast, though Owen Wilson (Zoolander, Cars 3, She’s Funny that Way) is an almost shocking choice. He’s not in a whole lot of serious movies. I think of him more as a comedy actor. It will be interesting to see how he plays it here.
7 – The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity (2/5) - Chinese

Production/Distribution: Hehe Pictures, Shanghai Film Group, Netflix
Director: Jingming Guo
Writer: Jingming Guo
Actors: Mark Chao, Allen Deng, Jessie Li, Duo Wang, Ziwen Wang
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 132 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Qing Ming, the Yin-Yang Master, took his master's last wish and went to the Captial Tiandu City to attend the heaven ceremony.
This movie is adapted from a series of books that I have not read. As a result, I can’t really speak much to the adaptation aspect. A few bits I’ve heard about from it insist that some of the character designs may be flawed, but I don’t think that will affect anyone who is being introduced to the story for the first time.
And what a story it’s shaping up to be.
It looks like a martial arts extravaganza mixed with the depth of an actually engaging plot. Likely because it was based on a book. All the action is secondary to the story because that came first. And the action still looks heart-pounding.
The trailer is so crisp and gorgeous. The sight of the snake got me READY for this. The entire design of it is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s absolute perfection.
Even if you don’t generally tend to go for foreign films, I think this is one of those you could probably watch without even attempting to read subtitles. It could be like a silent epic for you.
I just can’t wait to see it. Every time I re-watch the trailer it gets me going.
6 – I Care A Lot (2/19)

Production/Distribution: Black Bear Pictures, Crimple Beck, GEM Entertainment, Elevation Pictures, Amazon Prime Video, ErosSTX International, Joy n Cinema, Netflix, The Searchers
Director: J Blakeson
Writer: J Blakeson
Actors: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Dianne West, Chis Messina, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair, Alicia Witt, Damian Young, Nicholas Logan, Liz Eng
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 118 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A crooked legal guardian who drains the savings of her elderly wards meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears.
Elder abuse is not funny. I’ve watching my mom’s landlord try to bully her into moving out. He had her threatened and robbed (legal action was taken). People will hurt, or take advantage of, pretty much anyone they see as weaker than them. It’s an unfortunately and uncomfortable truth about our world.
You know what is funny? Watching someone who pulls that shit get what’s coming to them. That’s what I think this movie is going to be.
My guess is that the character played by Dianne West (The Birdcage, I Am Sam, Life in Pieces) is either a former hitman, part of the mob, or has a son that is one of those things. Watching what happens to the main character when she bites off more than she can chew is going to be hilarious.
Also, Peter Dinklage (Avengers: Infinity War, Game of Thrones, Heads Will Roll) is involved. I will follow that man anywhere.
5 – A Writer’s Odyssey (2/12) - Mandarin

Production/Distribution: United Entertainment Partners, Golden Village Pictures, Purple Plan, CMC Pictures
Director: Yang Lu
Writer: Shu Chen, Xiaocao Liu, Yang Lu, Haiyan Qin, Lu Yan, Yang Yu
Actors: Mi Yang, Hewei Yu, Liya Tong, Zijian Dong, Jiayin Lei, Jingfei Guo
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 130 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A WRITER'S ODYSSEY tells the story of Kongwen Lu (Dong Zijian), the author of a fantasy novel series following a heroic teenager, also named Kongwen, on a quest to end the tyrannical rule of Lord Redmane, under the guidance of a Black Armor (Guo Jingfei). But through a strange twist of fate, the fantasy world of the novel begins to impact life in the real world, leading Guan Ning (Lei Jiayin) to accept a mission from Tu Ling (Yang Mi) to kill the author.
The trope of a writer’s story coming to life, or controlling reality, is one of my favorites. This particular version looks absolutely gorgeous and I’m definitely here for it.
When I live-streamed watching the trailers on Twitch, one of the viewers stated a concern that the transitions might be hard to follow. She likened it to Sucker Punch (2011) in that way.
I’ll grant that movies like this one do have to worry about that particular pitfall, but I don’t think it’s going to be an issue here.
Part of the plot is that the world being written about is affecting the real world. So, I don’t think there will be transitions. Not of that sort, anyway. If anything, I feel like it will be closer to the way The Neverending Story (1984) was shot than Sucker Punch.
Either way, it’s going to be a pulse-pounding watch; with settings and creatures that are beautifully, and flawlessly, designed. Should be worth every moment.
4 – Earwig and the Witch (2/3)

Production/Distribution: HK Enterprises, Studio Ghibli, Shirogumi, NHK, Fathom Events, Bir Film, Elysian Film Group, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, GKIDS, HBO Max, adman Entertainment, Vértigo Films, Wild Bunch Distribution
Director: Gorô Miyazaki
Writer: Diana Wynne Jones, Keiko Niwa, Emi Gunji, Hayao Miyazaki
Actors: JB Blanc, Thomas Bromhead, Alex Cartañá, Pandora Colin, Richarad E. Grant, Gaku Hamada, Logan Hannan, Taylor Henderson, Kokoro Hirasawa, Summer Jenkins, Eva Kaminsky, Vanessa Marshall, Sherina Munaf, Kacey Musgraves, Vivienne Rutherford, Dan Stevens, Shinobu Terajima, Etsushi Toyokawa
Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy
Rated: PG
Length: 82 minutes
IMDb Blurb: It follows an orphan girl, Earwig, who is adopted by a witch and comes home to a spooky house filled with mystery and magic.
I though this film looked cute when I first saw the trailer, but what really piqued my interest was that it was a Studio Ghibli movie.
Sure, the plot looks fine, and the characters are amusingly quirky – but even if that wasn’t the case, it’d have still been high on my Top 20 list.
There’s not much else to say. If you’re looking for a fun and high-quality family flick, and you don’t feel like Disney or DreamWorks, Studio Ghibli is the third giant you turn to.
3 – Judas and the Black Messiah (2/12)

Production/Distribution: Bron Creative, MACRO, Participant, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Shaka King
Writer: Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas
Actors: Jesse Plemons, Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Martin Sheen, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Lil Rey Howery, Terayle Hill, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jermaine Fowler, Nick Fink, Robert Longstreet, Dominique Thorne, Crystal Lee Brown, Khris Davis, Ian Duff
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Rated: R
Length: 126 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O'Neal.
This film, and films like it, are incredibly relevant right now. In this case, we get a hard look at how the law viewed the Black Panthers in the 60s. Honestly, not all that unlike how they seem to view BLM now.
It’s going to be a harsh film. There’s no getting around that. But some subjects need to be harsh. They need to be in your face and hard to ignore. I expect that here.
Moving into a more artistic perspective, I have complete – unbreakable – faith in both Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Queen & Slim, Widows) and LaKeith Stanfield (The Photograph, Knives Out, Uncut Gems). Whatever the creators of this movie want to portray, those two will make it work.
Stanfield is one of my favorite actors from the past ten years. He has such an expressive face and commitment to his characters. Even if nothing else in this film looked good, it’d have made the list just for his involvement.
2 – Woman in Motion (2/2)

Production/Distribution: Stars North, Space Florida, The Production Media Group, Fathom Events
Director: Todd Thompson
Writer: Benjamin Crump, Tim Franta, John McCall, Joe Millin, David Teek, Todd Thompson
Actors: Nichelle Nichols, Vivica A. Fox, Ashley Eckstein, Michael Dorn, George Takei, Lynn Whitfield, Walter Koenig, Jeremy Bulloch, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pharrell Williams, Reginal Hudlin, Rod Roddenberry, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, D.C. Fontana, Joel Harlow, Allison Schroeder, Mae C. Jemison, John Lewis, David Gerrold, Donna Gigliotti, Diana Lovell, Maxine Waters, Steven-Charles Jaffe, Michael Eric Dyson, Benjamin Crump, Story Musgrave, Martin Luther King III, Deborag Riley Draper, Richard Alonzo
Genre: Documentary
Rated: Unrated
Length: 105 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Nichelle Nichols' daunting task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation's best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.
My first instinct at learning this was a documentary was that I would rather read a book than watch a documentary. I just, personally, learn better that way. However, this is about Nichelle Nichols (The Torturer, Tru Loved, This Bitter Earth) and her story, as the title says, is just better in motion.
I’m a Trekkie. I have always loved Star Trek. Nichelle Nichols was a huge part of that. Growing up, she was one of my earliest pop culture role models. I had three: Angela Lansbury (Beauty and the Beast, Mrs. Santa Claus, The Love She Sought) as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote (1984-1996), Lynda Carter (Supergirl, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sky High) as Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman (1975-1979), and Nichelle Nichols as LT. Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969). My mom always told me that a woman could grow up to be whatever she wanted, but those three women were the ones that made me actually believe it.
Nichelle Nichols is an inspiration of equality. She showed millions of people who they could be in a world that hadn’t caught up yet.
I don’t tend to add documentaries to my list, but this one deserves to be here.
Nichelle Nichols is a queen of the highest regard. I approve of absolutely anything that tells people who she is and what she’s done.
1 – Willy’s Wonderland (2/12)

Production/Distribution: JD Entertainment, Landafar Entertainment, Landmark Studio Group, Saturn Films, Movie Cloud, Pegasus Co., Blitz, Eagle Pictures, Foresight Unlimited, Madman Entertainment, Myndform, Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais, SF Norge A/S, Screen Media Films, Signature Entertainment, Splendid Film, VVS Films
Director: Kevin Lewis
Writer: G.O. Parsons
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Beth Grant, Caylee Cowan, Emily Tosta, Terayle Hill, Grant Cramer, Mark Gagliardi, Chris Schmidt Jr., Taylor Towery, Ric Reitz, David Sheftell, Jiri Stanek, Jessica Graves Davis, Jonathan Mercedes, Christopher Bradley, Duke Jackson, Émoi, Kai Kadlec, Chris Warner, Abel Arias, BJ Guyer, Olga Cramer, Chris Padilla, D.j. Stavropoulos
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A quiet drifter is tricked into a janitorial job at the now condemned Wally's Wonderland. The mundane tasks suddenly become an all-out fight for survival against wave after wave of demonic animatronics. Fists fly, kicks land, titans clash -- and only one side will make it out alive.
I had to put this one first. The entire internet is waiting on it.
Willy’s Wonderland is what you get when you tell Nicolas Cage (Primal, Mandy, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) to just go crazy and then drop him in the middle of Five Nights at Freddy’s. How could this not be the best thing we’ve ever seen?
Ok, it’s not gonna be an ‘awards show’ kind of film. We all know that. That’s not what I’m taking about. I’m saying that even if it’s bad, even if the script is the worst ever created, I can’t see how it couldn’t (at the least) be so bad it’s good. We win either way.
I’m here for it.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
Music .20
A Nightmare Wakes .19
To All the Boys: Always and Forever .18
Falling .17
A Writer’s Odyssey.16
Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words .15
Bliss .14
Little Fish .13
More than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story .12
Minamata .11
The Reckoning .10
The United States vs. Billie Holiday .9
Cherry .8
Judas and the Black Messiah .7
Blithe Spirit .6
I Care A Lot .5
Breaking News in Yuba County .4
Tom and Jerry .3
Flora & Ulysses .2
Earwig and the Witch .1
          What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?

1 comment:

  1. It seems like we have a lot of great movies to watch. Thank you.