International and too close to home, hilarious and horrifying, there is little continuity in February’s list aside from each film being a must see. Need a laugh? We’ve got you. A trip across the border with a burgeoning auteur? Sure. An examination into the dark and prejudiced underbelly of America directed by a comedian? Shockingly enough, yup, that too. Soak them up, or better yet, stockpile them all and spend Valentines day with a good movie (or four).
New Theatrical Releases:
The Lego Batman Movie
Release Date: February 10th
Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, the list goes on…
IMDb Summary: Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.
Why I Am So Excited: The Lego Movie was a huge success, surprisingly winning not only audience praise but critical praise as well. At nearly two hours of clever, self-aware humour it’s hard to pick out only a few highlights, but man was Lego Batman one of them. From adding “Bat” to the beginning of all ideas (“Batsubmarine, patent pending”) to the classic “I’m Batman,” Arnett’s vocal performance brought much needed humour to the character and proved to be a scene-stealer. Batman’s own Lego movie was inevitable, and I can’t to see what other bat-related puns they have in store for the big screen.
New Theatrical Releases:
Release Date: February 24th
Director: Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele, MADtv, Keanu)
Starring: Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford
IMDb Summary: A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.
Why I Am So Excited: I have been looking forward to this since the trailer came out in October. The thriller, a Stepford Wives-inspired satire that holds genuine scares, shows Kaluuya’s character Chris visiting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Soon after arriving, an encounter with another young black man ends in Chris being frantically told to “Get out.” Things take a turn from there. Peele told audiences at Sundance where it received a midnight premiere that “It was important to me for this movie not to be about this black guy going to the South, to a red state, where the presumption for a lot of people is that everybody’s racist there… This was really meant to take a stab at the liberal elite that tends to believe that they’re – we’re – above these things.” Terrifying, smart and timely, this examination of racism in North America should be on everyone’s list.
New On Blu-Ray:
The Eagle Huntress
Release Date: February 7th
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Director: Otto Bell
Starring: Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rys Nurgaiv, Daisy Ridley
IMDb Summary: The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter.
Why It’s Worth Getting: The spectacularly shot documentary following Aisholpan’s journey to become the first female eagle hunter is a seamless conversation between the voice of Ridley, the Nurgaiv family and the scenery of Western Mongolia. Inspirational and beautiful, the documentary is a delight and a must see for children and adults alike.
Criterion Release of the Month:
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Release Date: February 21st
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Director: Pedro Almodovar (The Skin I Live In)
Starring: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano
IMDb Summary: Pepas’s lover, Iván, leaves her and she tries to contact him to find out why he’s left. In her search for Iván, she confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she is. Meanwhile; Candela, her friend, is afraid the police might be looking for her because of her ex-boyfriend, a muslim terrorist, and his criminal activities. As the plot develops, it is revealed that everyone’s lives are more intertwined than they could have ever expected.
Why It’s Worth Getting: The film garnered Oscar, Golden Globes and BAFTA nominations for Almodovar, and though it did not win it set him up in the public eye and international realm. As his career continues to gain momentum, from the similarly nominated Volver (2006) to the BAFTA winning The Skin I Live In (2011), it’s worth taking a look back at the development of this director (and some may say auteur) and his signature style.