February isn’t always a cold month. Sometimes the movies are hotter than hell… he said, auditioning for a job writing the reviews that frequently get quoted on movie posters. But seriously, this February is sporting some films that have been over-hyped and some that have been tragically undersold. Here’s a collection of the most interesting films coming to screens near you in the month of February.
Deadpool – Starring one of the most overrated, though at times excellent, characters in the Marvel canon, this film has been in the works in some way or another since Blade blew up. It’s finally here and people are at maximum froth to see Ryan Reynolds get a second go at Wade Wilson, the snarky disfigured assassin from the comic, that he already played once in the underwhelming X-Men Origins: Wolverine. If I’m being honest, it looks terrible. But I was sometimes fond of the comic as a youngster and I’m going to give it a chance. The supporting comedic cast is top notch. Stars Ryan Reynolds, Karan Soni, TJ Miller, and Morena Baccarin, directed by Tim Miller
Zoolander 2 – Speaking of frothy pitch, I can’t wait for this movie. People in the 25 to 48 demographic probably feel more than the younger readers, but Zoolander was like a rite of passage. This sequel has to be better than the recent update of the similarly hallowed Dumb & Dumber. I have faith it will; Stiller is still solid. Stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, and Will Ferrell, directed by Ben Stiller
Where to Invade Next – Michael Moore hasn’t been relevant on the screen in quite a while, and he’s currently physically ailing as well, but this film is rumored to be a return to form. Is that a form you ever liked? For many it is, for many more it’s not. I’m intrigued by this one, but if I’m honest Canadian Bacon is still by far my favorite film of his. This time he’s riffing on the idea of the US being a colonial power… again. Stars Michael Moore, directed by Michael Moore.
Race – As a fellow Clevelander, I’m constantly shocked that there hasn’t already been a dramatic film about the life and achievements of Jesse Owens. But here it finally is, and I don’t know how to feel. It looks like it might have promise, but it also looks almost too polished. And the advent of CGI to simulate old things as well as futuristic things isn’t a good development. Plus Sudeikis as a dramatic actor is a gamble. But I’m on board. This is a long overdue and potentially fascinating biopic. Stars Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, and Jeremy Irons, directed by Stephen Hopkins
Neerja – Here’s another intense-looking biopic, about the much less famous, though incredibly important Neerja Bhanot. She was an Indian flight attendant who sacrificed her life to save passengers during the hijacking of Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. People who remember this seemingly forgotten era of plane hijackings will likely find this film enthralling. Stars Sonam Kapoor, directed by Ram Madhvani
Triple 9 – This is maybe my most heavily anticipated release of the year, and it’s already almost here. One of my favorite directors making a film with one of the best casts I’ve ever seen in my life, about a bunch of cops and robbers going bananas on each other. It looks like Heat on steroids. I’m very much on board for this picture. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Gal Gadot, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, and Michael Kenneth Williams, directed by John Hillcoat
Eddie the Eagle – Wow, another biopic about a sort-of-famous person from my youth that I’m actually excited to see. Fans of the Cool Runnings era of Olympics will remember the scrappy British ski jumper, nicknamed Eddie the Eagle, who was totally awful but totally endearing as well. Yep, he’s getting a candy-coated biopic that overstates his achievements and makes us all feel great about Cold War shenanigans. I am so there. Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, directed by Dexter Fletcher
Sword of Destiny – It’s not coming to a theater near you; it’s coming much closer. The long awaited—or rather, not at all long awaited, but still curiously anticipated—sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is coming to Netflix this month. I have no idea what to expect, but I can make some predictions. Yuen Wo Ping is a master, but he’s still no Ang Lee. Especially when it comes to directing the parts without kung fu wizardry. And that could be a big problem, for those are the most important parts of all… young grasshopper. Stars Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, and Jason Scott Lee, directed by Yuen Woo-Ping.
By Ygal Kaufman