Monthly Preview: February 2015

calendar2I don’t know about you guys, but it feels like I didn’t write a whole lot on here in the past month, and not for lack of things to say. I wanted to write about Patton Oswalt’s new book (it’s awesome) and the Ghostbusters reboot announcement/ensuing backlash (it should be a perfectly good movie, leave your sexism and childhood-rape analogies at home) and the surprising success of American Sniper (might still get to this at some point). But so far this year, I’ve been making a more concentrated effort to work on my creative writing projects, and this will continue for a little bit. So just fyi, there will be less content for a little while, but hopefully what I do post will still be up to snuff. Anywhoo…

After kicking off with an uncommonly busy January, 2015 continues with another abnormally good-looking monthly schedule here in February. While there’s a little less quantity this time around, that’s more than balanced out by the marquee talent involved on some of this month’s offerings. With two films that qualified as some of my most anticipated films for both this year AND last year, along with some great high-concept foreign fare, it seems like February is poised to keep the momentum up in the early goings of 2015.

Jupiter Ascending: One of the big cinematic disappointments of last year for me was Jupiter Ascending’s sudden nine-month delay, but that delay is finally over and the latest Wachowskis project is finally here. I still for the life of me cannot understand why more people aren’t excited for this movie: between the great cast and the excitingly over-the-top world, it just looks like one compelling and wild ride. This is obviously a huge year for geek-friendly blockbusters, and I can’t think of a better way to start that run than with a space opera from the minds behind The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. Jupiter Ascending is right up my alley on so many levels, and if it’s anything less than a home run I’ll be sorely disappointed.

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Full disclosure: I already got to see this movie once, and my full review will be up when it comes out, but suffice it to say Kingsmen is flat-out AWESOME. Matthew Vaughn captures the same manic, pop-art energy of his last Mark Millar adaptation, Kick-Ass, and provides a great alternative to the more serious-minded modern iteration of James Bond. Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson do a great job, but it’s newcomers Taron Egerton and Sophie Cookson that make really great impressions. This is an absolute must-see, and if you need more convincing I’ll have a full review up on the 13th.

What We Do In The Shadows: I don’t have much (or any) experience with Jermaine Clement; sorry guys, Flight of the Conchords is very much not on my radar. But his reputation has preceded him enough that the idea of him doing a vampire mockumentary can’t help but pique my interest. And everything I’ve heard about the film so far has been absurdly positive, and some of the details of the story sound really clever and fun. While many people complain about the overabundance of vampires on film, movies like this should serve as a great counter-argument. While it doesn’t have a particularly wide release planned at this point, it definitely seems like a movie everyone should seek out at some point or another.

The Salvation: This one is kind of under-the-radar, but it checks off a lot of boxes for me. A brilliantly-colorful, foreign take on the Western? Featuring Mads Mikkelsen toplining a great cast of underrated talent? Yeah, I’ll be there. Honestly the biggest pre-disappointment of this movie is the number of Hannibal fans that will not be chasing this movie down in spite of their rabid devotion to ol’ Mads (not to disparage Hannibal or its fans, because I’m one of them, but yknow what I’m talking about). I remember reading good things about The Salvation through the festival circuit last year, and it should make for a nice shift in style and tone from the rest of the movies this month.

’71: I would imagine that The Troubles are still a touchy subject in Ireland and England, and it would be understandable if a movie focusing around that time would be a big, broad political drama (and there have been several of those). But instead, director Yann Demange seems to have used it as a backdrop for what looks like a real white-knuckle thriller while still retaining the sort of political commentary that such a subject demands, regardless of genre. This is also the last of Jack O’Connell’s films from his breakout 2014, and he seems to be doing just as well here as he did in Starred Up. Overall, ‘71 seems like a hard-hitting end to a concise, high-quality month of film.

And just as a reminder, Everly will be in theaters at the end of this month, in addition to its current VOD release; hopefully I’ll have a review up one way or another.

While Focus has a lot of under-the-radar talent around Will Smith, it also looks very by-the-numbers; despite his occasional pretentiousness, new Cronenberg is always worth a look, but Maps to the Stars looks like standard-issue Hollywood banality porn for me; and while I was happy to see Spike Lee make use of Kickstarter to get back to making smaller, more personal movies, but Da Sweet Blood of Jesus doesn’t really seem like the return to form you’d hope for. Despite these concerns, I remain curious about all three of these movies, and some positive word-of-mouth could certainly convince me to give them a shot.

So there’s February for you; here’s hoping it keeps this year going strong.

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