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MoviesRecapsFebruary 2019 Movie Preview

dannythemoviemanFebruary 1, 2019

February is one of those months that sees many films drown in a sea of awards bait films, but that’s not to say it’s a weak month for film. In store for us this month are some action packed English-language remakes of recent foreign films (Miss Bala and Cold Pursuit), highly anticipated sequels to animated hits (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) and the return of some of Hollywood’s auteurs who are hoping to get back into a hot streak (Dan Gilroy with Velvet Buzzsaw and Robert Rodriguez with Alita: Battle Angel). Welcome to our monthly preview for February 2019, where we showcase noteworthy releases and give our curated top five picks. Hope to see you at the movies!

Noteworthy Releases

Miss Bala – February 1st (Theatrical)

Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film. (IMDB)

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer.

Starring Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackie.


They Shall Not Grow Old – February 1st (Theatrical, and for more than 2 days this time!)

A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war. (IMDB)

Directed by Peter Jackson.


Piercing – February 1st (Digital)

A man kisses his wife and baby goodbye and seemingly heads away on business, with a plan to check into a hotel, call an escort service, and kill an unsuspecting prostitute. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Nicolas Pesce.

Starring Christopher Abbot and Mia Wasikowsa.


Velvet Buzzsaw – February 1st (Netflix)

After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Dan Gilroy.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette, Billy Magnussen, John Malkovich, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo and Daveed Diggs.


Arctic – February 8th (Theatrical)

A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. (IMDB)

Directed by Joe Penna (of MysteryGuitarMan fame). Written by Penna with Ryan Morrison.

Starring Mads Mikkelsen.


Cold Pursuit – February 8th (Theatrical)

A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’. (IMDB)

Directed by Hans Petter Moland. Written by Frank Baldwin.

Starring Liam Neeson, Emmy Rossum and Laura Dern.


The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – February 8th (Theatrical)

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. (IMDB)

Directed by Mike Mitchell. Written by Phil Lord & Chris Miller.

Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day and Will Ferrell.


The Prodigy – February 8th (Theatrical)

A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him. (IMDB)

Directed by Nicholas McCarthy. Written by Jeff Buhler.

Starring Taylor Schilling.


What Men Want – February 8th (Theatrical)

A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts. (IMDB)

Directed by Adam Shankman. Written by Tina Gordon Chism, Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory.

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tracy Morgan, Max Greenfield and Pete Davidson.


Happy Death Day 2U – February 13th (Theatrical)

Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Christopher Landon.

Starring Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard.


Everybody Knows – February 15th (Theatrical)

Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Asghar Farhadi.

Stars Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín.


Fighting With My Family – February 22nd (Theatrical)

A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Stephen Merchant.

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Merchant and Nick Frost.


How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – February 22nd (Theatrical)

When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first. (IMDB)

Written & directed by Dean DeBlois.

Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham and Craig Ferguson.


Dan’s Top Five Picks of the Month

5. Isn’t It Romantic – February 13th (Theatrical)

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. (IMDB)

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman.

Starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra and Adam Devine.

Why You Should See It: Although the trailer may seem like the same ol’ same ol’ type of execution, the talent behind this has me convinced otherwise. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson of one of my favorite films of 2015, The Final Girls, gives a lot of promise here. The Final Girls is an extremely meta and laugh out loud hysterical film where the characters get trapped in a Friday The 13th style horror film. If Schulson is able to even mildly inject the charm and hilarity of that film into this one, we could be in store for something just as great.


4. The Unicorn – February 5th (Digital)

An indecisive couple facing the fourth year of their engagement finally decides to take the next big step and have a threesome. (IMDB)

Directed by Robert Schwartzman. Written by Will Elliot, Kirk C. Johnson and Nicholas Rutherford.

Starring Lauren Lapkus, Nicholas Rutherford, Lucy Hale, Beck Bennett, Beverly D’Angelo, John Kapelos, Maya Kazan, Darrell Britt-Gibson and Kyle Mooney.

Why You Should See It: After premiering at last year’s SXSW to strong reviews, The Orchard is finally releasing this hilarious looking indie-romp for us all to finally check out. This likely won’t be the absolute best film of the month, but with such an ensemble and some Saturday Night Live alumni behind it, we should be in store for some enjoyable lighter fare.


3. Paddleton – February 22nd (Netflix)

An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer. (IMDB)

Directed by Alex Lehman. Written by Lehman with Mark Duplass.

Starring Mark Duplass and Ray Romano.

Why You Should See It: Mark Duplass is no stranger to the indie dramedy, and he will very likely be able to pull off his writing talent again with this one, in addition to his acting abilities. But, when combined with an emotionally driven plot and co-star Ray Romano, fresh off the heels of 2017’s incredible The Big Sick, this should be nothing short of an extremely heartwarming tale.


2. Alita: Battle Angel – February 14th (Theatrical)

An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world. (IMDB)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez. Written by Rodriguez, James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis.

Starring Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Eiza González, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Skrein and Christoph Waltz.

Why You Should See It: No matter your take on their recent work, there is no denying that Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron are visionaries. Their films are always high concept, which is a strong suit on it’s own. Shot in house at Rodriguez’ Austin production facility, with one of the most impressive cast lists in ages and such a strong visual appeal, this will be an experience worth witnessing on the big screen, no matter how it actually ends up being.


1. High Flying Bird – February 8th (Netflix)

A sports agent pitches a rookie basketball client on an intriguing and controversial business opportunity during a lockout. (IMDB)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Starring André Holland, Zazie Beetz and Kyle MacLachlan.

Why You Should See It: Stephen Soderbergh is back behind the camera, technically? His previous feature, Unsane, was fully shot on an iPhone, and he’s doing it again with High Flying Bird. Soderbergh’s post ‘retirement’ career has brought us 2 films that rank among the best in his filmography,  and he can hopefully continue this streak, with the creative liberty of smartphone cinematography too. He’s also got André Holland of Best Picture winner Moonlight and a slick story to boot.


Follow me on twitter @daniel_azbel and on letterboxd @danthemovieman.

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