February 2016 Movie Preview
With 2016 picking up speed and awards-season starting to kick into high-gear (in the U.K. at least), we’re living in an awesome time where a huge variety of movies will be coming out. February isn’t just the month of romance, but it’s a month that usually has something for everybody. Whether it’s a superhero movie, comedy sequels, action, horror, biopics, animation, crime thrillers etc. February 2016 looks set to be a pretty awesome month at your local multiplex.
But let’s try and find some of the bright sparks and the movies that could be worth your time this month. Let’s dive in!
February 5th 2016
Dad’s Army –
With recent TV shows such as “The Inbetweeners” and “Bad Education” getting the feature film treatment, it only makes sense for the U.K. film industry to dig deep into the well of their history to create rebooted versions of some of their most iconic shows. Coming to us from Oliver Parker (who has a track record with mainstream, crowd-pleasing U.K. films such as ‘St Trinian’s‘ and ‘Johnny English Reborn‘), ‘Dad’s Army‘ is based off the successful 1960/70s TV series by Jimmy Perry and David Croft about the U.K. home guard in World War 2.
I’ve only watched one or two episodes so I know very little about the TV show outside of the very broad strokes, but the cast has me excited for this reboot. Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays etc. this is an awesome cast so hopefully they’re not wasted. However, the trailers have only really made my chuckle. Doing trailers for comedies is a tough balancing act because you don’t want to give away all the jokes but you still have to sell the movie as a fun time, so I’ll always give comedies the benefit of the doubt. The pieces are definitely all in place for this to work, but whether or not it can stick the landing remains to be seen.
Now this is something I actually know a bit more about. Whilst “Dad’s Army” was way before my time, R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps” novels and the popular 1990s TV series of the same name is something that I was regularly exposed to during my childhood. While I’m hardly an expert at “Goosebumps”-lore, they did their job at keeping me up at night with compelling villains and creepy concepts, at least in terms of children’s literature. However, this film-adaptation, brought to us from ‘Gulliver’s Travels‘ director Rob Letterman, isn’t delving into those narratives. Rather, it’s about the author himself.
With Jack Black playing R.L. Stein who, in the movie has trapped all of these real-life monsters into the manuscripts of his own books, we have a meta-narrative device almost akin to the family-classic ‘Jumanji‘. Honestly, the marketing has been really good for ‘Goosebumps‘ and that’s surprising since good live-action family friendly movies are hard to come-by…which has made the stupid U.K. release date of February 2016 as opposed to October 2015 all the more frustrating. I’m actually looking forward to this a lot.
Wait, Slappy the Dummy is in this? NOPE! I’M OUTTA HERE!
Point Break –
What is this? Reboot week at the theatres? So, the 1991 movie ‘Point Break‘ starred a young Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze and despite some action-nostalgia, 25 years on it’s mainly become known as a footnote in the career of Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow. The plot follows an FBI agent who is sent undercover to infiltrate a crime-ring comprised of extreme athletes. It’s the most 90s-sounding thing the 90s ever conjured up.
This re-make comes to us from Ericson Core and was actually released in December 2015 in the U.S. so we already know how terrible the reviews have been. Word-of-mouth has not been kind to the ‘Point Break‘ remake but one positive point that everyone can agree on is that the stunt-team did phenomenal work. Aside from that, this looks like a safe skip.
One of my favourite sub-genres of film is “the movie about making movies”. Films such as ‘Ed Wood‘, ‘Hitchcock‘, ‘Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse‘, ‘The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?‘ and others I personally find fascinating. With this in mind, ‘Trumbo‘ has been one of my most anticipated movies for some time as it centres on the Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who wrote ‘Roman Holiday‘, ‘Spartacus‘, ‘Johnny Got His Gun‘ and more during his time on the American blacklist in the 1940s and 1950s. With director Jay Roach behind the camera, known for his highly political movies, it’s say to say that ‘Trumbo‘ will have a lot to say about the issue of industrial censorship.
‘Trumbo‘, starring Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirran, Diane Lane and more, is coming out at a rather strange time, socially. Where people online will cry foul at anything and decree practically EVERYTHING to be “censorship”. Where the word is used as an extreme way of getting attention with no regard to its actual meaning. Part of me is curious as to how those same people will react to a movie like ‘Trumbo‘, which depicts ACTUAL censorship. Either way, the film looks great, it’s awesome to see Bryan Cranston finally get a top-billing role that can show off his considerable talents and it’s an awesome story to adapt.
“You don’t end something like this by giving them what they have no right to ask!”
February 10th 2016
When the Marvel Comics character Deadpool was created in 1991 by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza…he actually wasn’t all that popular. Wade Wilson was essentially a clone of DC comic’s Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke. Despite a few guest appearances during the 90s, Deadpool didn’t gain his trademark characteristics of breaking the 4th wall, pop-culture references and unorthodox sense of humour until writer Joe Kelly started writing for the character in his first solo series in 1997. Since then, he’s become a fan-favourite, a cosplay staple and his popularity warranted a movie appearance in 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘ where he was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
Now, 7 years later, Reynolds is hoping to redeem the character in his own solo movie from 20th Century Fox as part of the X-Men film-series. Regardless of whether or not the movie turns out okay, the marketing has been terrific every step of the way and Ryan Reynolds was clearly born to play a character like Wade Wilson. With a 15 certificate, ‘Deadpool‘ will be able to go where no other superhero can in terms of humour and violence so the stage is set for a comeback.
February 11th 2016
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies –
I’m clearly in the minority, but I loved 2012’s ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘ which was based off of the Seth Grahame-Smith parody novel of the same name. So my gut instinct is to be supportive of this adaptation off another Grahame-Smith novel; ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies‘. Creatively, there’s not much to write home about as we have the director of ‘Charlie St. Cloud‘ writing and directing but…this could be dumb fun.
The trailers have been solid, but just how long a movie like this can sustain a joke that essentially amounts to a premise remains to be seen. Like ‘Deadpool‘, we have a 15 certificate so we will have some gore and potentially violent action which could salvage it and we also have a strong cast with Lily James, Lena Headey, Matt Smith and more. I’m rooting for it, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give it a pass just because. At least it looks more romantic than ‘Fifty Shades and Grey‘, although zombies aren’t quite as terrifying as serial domestic abusers so…there’s that.
I’ve seen the first “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie but skipped the sequels so I’m in no position to comment on the series as a whole but…really? A 4th movie? The domestic grosses for these films have been getting lower and lower so I don’t really see the business sense here.
Either way, we have a 4th movie in the saga that has become the adventures of singing chipmunks. I ain’t watching it. I haven’t see the previous two so I’m sure I wouldn’t understand the complex web of continuity 😉
Another promising looking biopic this month, ‘Concussion‘ stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovered an epidemic amongst American Football players due to repetitive head-trauma called Chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His attempts to try and protect the football players from the National Football League fell on deaf ears with the NFL trying to dismiss his claims.
I’m not a big sports fan. In fact, you can consider me as anti-sport in that I think it’s a massively corrupt and morally bankrupt business…and I think that because it IS a massively corrupt and morally bankrupt business. So I have some form of gratification that a movie like ‘Concussion‘ has been made which shows how the NFL disregarded its players and medical professionals because they didn’t want to lose or spend money on fixing the problem which lead to numerous deaths. ‘Concussion‘ looks good and it’ll be refreshing to see Will Smith play against type and flex his dramatic chops.
The Green Inferno –
Horror director Eli Roth has made a name for himself in the horror community by grossing people out. The director of ‘Hostel‘ and its sequel, he was one of the first to try and cash in on the “torture-porn” genre and has based his public persona on being deliberately provocative in order to promote his films, often disingenuously. For example, his marketing for ‘The Green Inferno‘ in 2015 revolved around “slacktivism” culture, hashtag trends for social justice etc…even though ‘The Green Inferno‘ was made YEARS before those were even things and the movie is demonstrably not even about those topics.
Either way, the movie is a throwback to hardcore, gory cannibal movies from the 1970s and on that level it may appeal to horror fans or gore-hounds. Outside of that, however, I don’t think there’ll be much here other than gruesome imagery and provocative images. I don’t think Eli Roth is the saviour of mainstream horror, but he at least gets people talking about it.
The Iron Giant: Signature Edition –
‘The Iron Giant‘ from 1999 was the directorial debut of Brad Bird who later went on to direct ‘The Incredibles‘, ‘Ratatouille‘, ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘ and ‘Tomorrowland: A World Beyond‘. At the time, it was critically beloved by almost everyone who saw it but was a financial bomb and has been accredited with being the beginning of the end of Warner Bros. Feature Animation. However, Warner Bros. have decided to give the beloved modern-classic a new lease on life by releasing ‘The Iron Giant: Signature Edition‘ on Blu-Ray as well as giving it a theatrical, limited release.
Just how limited this release will be remains to be seen. I have contacted Warner Bros. to find out more details about this release and they have yet to respond.
‘The Iron Giant: Signature Edition‘ is a remastered, extended cut which includes two minutes of new footage which was left out of the original release 17 years ago. If you’ve not seen the original movie, then this is probably the best time to jump on board because the hype is more than justified. ‘The Iron Giant‘ is a modern classic, a wonderfully charming and entertaining movie and is even a great vocal showcase for Vin Diesel. Check it out if it’s playing near you.
Jem and the Holograms –
In an age where Hollywood will practically greenlight any movie as long as it’s based off a brand, it was kinda inevitable that we’d be getting a movie based off of the 1980s cartoon “Jem and the Holograms”. The children’s TV series centred on a music company owner who is able to lead a double-life as the lead in a rock band thanks to a computer that can project holograms.
I think that’s the premise. It was before my time and I’m hardly the target demographic.
This movie adaptation, directed by Jon M. Chu from the “Step Up” franchise, ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never‘ and ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘, seems to have come to fruition with very few of the franchises’ recognisable elements as well as incorporating modern trends such as online fame and social networking. It was released in the U.S. last October to a mauling from the online community and set the record for the lowest-opening weekend of 2015 in the U.S, so audiences weren’t interested. Expect that lack of interest to carry over to the U.K.
Zoolander No. 2 –
With comedy sequels being all the rage for dormant properties such as ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy‘ and ‘Dumb and Dumber‘, it was only a matter of time before Ben Stiller’s 2001 satire of the fashion industry ‘Zoolander‘ would get an overdue sequel treatment. With Stiller returning in the title role and in the director’s chair, most of the creative team remains on board with ‘Zoolander No. 2‘ along with returning cast members Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. New additions include Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch and prevelant celebrity cameos sp anticipation is high for this sequel.
Truth be told, I’ve not seen ‘Zoolander‘ in a long time and my memories weren’t favourable. I’ll need to revisit it before watching ‘Zoolander No. 2‘ as I’ve actually enjoyed the promotional material and look forward to seeing if there’s another gasoline fight.
February 19th 2016
Bone Tomahawk –
Westerns are typically a tough sell for mainstream audiences. While films like ‘True Grit‘ and ‘Slow West‘ received great critical acclaim they never quite connected with audiences and mainstream films like ‘The Lone Ranger‘, ‘Rango‘ and ‘Cowboys & Aliens‘ were considered box-office disappointments. Western HORROR, however, could be a different story. ‘Bone Tomahawk‘ performed incredibly well on the festival circuit and follows Kurt Russell in the middle of a career comeback as he and his friends have to survive out in the desert fighting against cannibals.
‘Bone Tomahawk‘ looks like a moody and atmospheric thriller with a great cast and Kurt Russell can do no wrong right now. Just look at that facial hair. That thing can only be contained by the big screen.
The Finest Hours –
Another week, another promising biopic, this time in IMAX and 3-D. Directed by Craig Gillespie (‘Lars and the Rea Girl‘, the ‘Fright Night‘ remake and ‘Million Dollar Arm‘), ‘The Finest Hours‘ is based off the true story of the 1952 rescue of the S.S. Pendleton after it split apart during stormy weather. It’s up to Bernard Weather from the coast guard, played by Chris Pine, to save all 32 crew members with space for only 12 on his lifeboat.
Coming to us from the Walt Disney Corporation, expect a more uplifting tale then the premise would suggest as well as a decent amount of spectacle with this being sold as a big-screen experience made to be seen in 3-D, IMAX or IMAX 3-D. Early reviews have been mixed, but I’m a sucker for these kind of true stories and the trailers indicate that the spectacle alone might be worth the price of admission.
Triple 9 –
‘Triple 9‘ is an ensemble heist movie which follows a group of criminals who have to pay off their debts to the Russian mafia by pulling off a huge heist. Their plan; kill a rookie cop on one side of town and while the police force are distracted by the 999-call, the others will commit the heist on the other side of town. Coming from director John Hillcoat (the director of the criminally underrated ‘Lawless‘), we have a prestige cast comprised of Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Kate Winsley, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot and Woody Harrelson.
The trailers look solid, but I’m wondering what the audience investment will be in watching this criminals murder a police officer as part of a grander scheme to commit a huge bank heist. But ‘Triple 9‘ looks good, the cast as you can already tell are terrific and there’s a lot of striking imagery in the promotional material. I don’t think this will be game-changing, but this could be the darkhorse film of February 2016.
I come at ‘Grimsby‘ from a unique perspective in that I’m actually FROM Grimsby (well, actually Hull but I moved to Grimsby). I studied there, I’ve worked there, I have friends there etc. So it’s been interesting to see the town’s backlash against Sacha Baron Cohen’s next movie, especially since the town of Grimsby is already not well represented by the media. I might do a full editorial on this over the coming weeks, but needless to say, Grimsby is not happy with ‘Grimsby‘.
As for the trailers…it looks alright. I’ve had a few laughs and despite not liking Mark Strong for a while, I’ve genuinely warmed to him in recent years so I’m looking forward to seeing him in a full-blown comedy. But did ‘Grimsby‘ need to drag the name of what, for all intents and purposes, is an alright place in the U.K. through the dirt to exist? That remains to be seen.
While in the U.S. ‘The Forest‘ was a “Fuck you, it’s January!” release, in the U.K. it’s a February release which makes everything okay, right?
Natalie Dormer stars as a woman who goes to the Aokigahara Suicide Forest in Japan to try and find her twin sister. The movie is the directorial debut of Jason Zada who created the 2011 interactive horror online video “Take This Lollipop” which is actually a pretty creepy Facebook app.
But the reviews haven’t been great with many of them saying “It’s not AS bad as most January horror films” which may be damning it with faint praise. So this could be one to skip unless you’re a hardcore horror fan or will watch anything with Natalie Dormer.
I was pretty excited for ‘Secret in their Eyes‘ initially when the first trailer came out last Summer. With STX Entertainment distributing the brilliant ‘The Gift‘, an effective premise and a stellar cast comprised of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts and the writer of ‘Captain Phillips‘ in the director’s chair, we have a recipe for awesome-ness.
But a lot of that momentum has died down with reviews being mixed and nothing outside of that original trailer peaking my interest. I’ll still be there opening weekend for this crime thriller, but not with the same level of enthusiasm.
And that is February 2016. Blimey, what a busy month. Valentine’s Weekend will be especially gruelling for dedicated cinephiles but the show goes on! My Top 3 most anticipated movies of the month are, in no particular order;
- ‘The Iron Giant: Signature Edition‘
But that’s just me. What about you? What are you folks looking forward to this February? Are there any other releases that I missed that you can’t wait to see? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below!
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Posted: 1st Feb 16