Tuesday, January 26, 2016

February Movie Preview

            All industries have their peaks and valleys throughout the year. The baseball season runs from April to October before taking the winter off. The NFL dominates the airwaves on Sundays, Mondays, and now Thursday nights before disappearing before winter ends. Summer blockbusters and fall Oscar contenders highlight the heights of Hollywood’s film season. February, traditionally, has largely been a dumping ground for bad or unusual movies. It’s the lull between Oscar season and the start of the blockbuster season (beginning even earlier this year with the Man of Steel sequel due out at the end of March). With all this in mind, let’s take a look at February’s meager offerings.

February 5
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel stars Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, a young English woman in search of love and with a taste for killing zombies. Grahame-Smith’s novel mashed-up Jane Austen’s social commentary on early 18th century England with the tropes of modern zombie fiction. The result was a twisted, hilarious, and respectful take on Austen’s famous novel. Whether the film can live up to the novel’s cleverness remains to be seen.

Hail, Caesar!: The latest picture from the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski, Fargo, Miller’s Crossing, No Country for Old Men) seems like the quintessential Coen brothers movie. The movie tells the story of a 1950s Hollywood fixer played by Josh Brolin who must investigate the kidnapping the studio’s most famous and dimwitted star (George Clooney). The film’s impressive cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Tilda Swinton. The film has impressive credentials, but its release date makes it suspect.

Clever? Maybe, but it makes its point. 

February 12
Deadpool: Do you like smart-ass superheroes? That’s Marvel’s Deadpool. Every single piece of marketing for the movie (and it’s been hard to avoid) suggests that Deadpool is the cool kids superhero movie. The film gives Ryan Reynolds a second shot at the superhero world after his disastrous turn as the Green Lantern. The question is, will snark be enough?

Zoolander 2: The original Zoolander came out in 2001. Why anyone wanted a sequel, 15 years later, to a movie that has a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes only raises a host of questions. Are Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in need of money? Does anyone really remember what the first movie was even about? Why now? Why ever?

February 19
Risen: I saw a trailer for this movie last weekend while seeing The Revenant and, at first, I thought it was a joke. Turns out it’s not, it’s just another movie in the ceaselessly ending parade of explicitly Christian films that appeal to a certain white, evangelical audience. This one deals with a Roman soldier tasked with guarding Jesus’s body to prevent his followers from claiming he was resurrected, lest they become even more dangerous radicals. Only (SHOCKER) Jesus’ body disappears and the soldier wonders whether this prophet might have been different. Please.

This is the cast of a movie about ancient Egypt... 

February 26

Gods of Egypt: If Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings wasn’t enough whitewashing of Egyptian history, try Gods of Egypt. This time a common thief joins up with the various gods of Egypt and high jinks ensue. This is a movie that tries to pass off Gerard Butler (that guy from that terrible 300 movie) and Geoffrey Rush (one of those old white guy British actors) as powerful Egyptian gods. Pass.  

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