The 2016 Film Release Calendar: February

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.

February

The Choice

Travis and Gabby first meet as neighbors in a small coastal town and wind up in a relationship that is tested by life’s most defining events.

Nicholas Sparks alert.

2.5 stars. It’s either that or 2. No other alternatives.

I don’t need to bother with the cast, but I will: Alexandra Daddario, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Benjamin Walker, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson.

How do they keep getting casts on these movies?

Hail, Caesar!

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

Joel and Ethan Coen. How can this not be funny?

George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, David Krumholtz, Dolph Lundgren, Frances McDormand, Fisher Stevens, Clancy Brown, Alden Ehrenreich.

They’re always gonna get a cast.

It’s the Coens, so they automatically get a blanket 4 stars. At worst this is 3.5 stars.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge — an army of undead zombies.

I don’t think we needed a synopsis for this one.

Such a long history with this one. Back in the day it was gonna be David O. Russell and Natalie Portman. Now it’s Burr Steers and Lily James.

The trailer didn’t look promising. This looks like it’s gonna go the way of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. 2.5 stars. At best it’s going 3. It really doesn’t look very good at all.

Regression

A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.

This was bumped because the company went bankrupt.

It’s Alejandro Amenabar, who did Open Your Eyes, The Sea Inside and The Others. Which means it should be okay.

Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis.

Amenabar’s films are usually watchable. The bump can be explained by outside factors. So I won’t downgrade the film based on that.

Though the premise sounds more like a thriller, which doesn’t make me think I’ll like it. So, between 2.5 or 3, I’ll go 2.5 stars.

Deadpool

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool.

A lot of people are really excited for this. I’m not, particularly.

I think this will be entertaining, but I feel like this needs to prove to me that it can be more than just a pretty good movie.

The trailers look good, the tone seems right, but I’m worried the trailers will give away all the good stuff and that the movie just won’t be that great overall.

At minimum, this is 3 stars. 3.5 is possible, but I need to temper expectations here, so I’m sticking with 3 stars.

How to Be Single

New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, and what Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

This synopsis is terrible.

It sounds like your typical January rom com/comedy that doesn’t get the tone right and fluctuates between the two, making it impossible to market. Remember That Awkward Moment?

Alison Brie, Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Damon Wayans Jr., Jason Mantzoukas.

My gut says 3 stars, but that trailer wasn’t promising at all, so 2.5 stars.

Zoolander 2

Derek and Hansel are modeling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.

Yeah… I think it’s well-documented how much I hate the original. I’m really not looking forward to having to see this. I’d like to be able to skip it.

But since I can’t, 0 stars.

I just can’t.

Remember

With the aid of a fellow Auschwitz survivor and a hand-written letter, an elderly man with dementia goes in search of the person responsible for the death of his family.

Atom Egoyan directs this. Christopher Plummer stars, with Martin Landau.

Could be all right.

3 stars.

Worried that this could veer into road trip cliches. But what the hell.

Race

Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.

Amazing how they just dump black biopics in the early months because they don’t think people want to see them.

I thought Anthony Mackie really wanted to make one of these.

William Hurt, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons are also in it.

3 stars on principle. I’m sure this is watchable, but February is not a promising month.

Tumbledown

A young woman struggles to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, when a brash New York writer forces her to confront her loss and the ambiguous circumstances of his death.

Holdover from last year.

On that alone, I assume VOD drop, so 2.5 stars. Plus the synopsis doesn’t sound appealing.

Joe Manganiello, Rebecca Hall, Dianna Agron, Jason Sudeikis, Blythe Danner — this looks like a New York indie.

Gonna stick with 2.5 and let this prove itself to me.

Forsaken

Kiefer and Donald Sutherland share the screen in this brooding western about an embittered gunslinger who attempts to make amends with his estranged father whilst their community is besieged by ruthless land-grabbers.

I can’t believe this is actually coming out. This has been at least two years on the shelf.

It’s a western, so I’m going 3 stars. Even if this is generic, the western bump will likely push it to 3 for me.

Risen

Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius, a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius, are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

Yes, I know, it’s a religious film. I usually skip these and ignore them completely because they’re all the same garbage. But this one is actually being directed by Kevin Reynolds, who did Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, and the recent Hatfields and McCoys miniseries. So on his name alone, I’ll see this.

It stars Tom Felton, Joseph Fiennes and Cliff Curtis.

2.5 stars.

Not saying it’ll be any good, I’m just saying I’ll see it.

Viral

Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.

This looks like a Blumhouse movie. I don’t know if I’m gonna see it or skip it, but if I do see it, 2.5 stars.

Eddie the Eagle

The story of Great Britain’s first ski jumper to enter the Winter Olympics.

Biopic. The director did Sunshine on Leith, which I really enjoyed for what it was.

Taron Edgerton is starring along with Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken.

My kinda cast.

The trailer, however, is really on the nose.

It looks by the numbers, based on that trailer. That, plus the release date, makes me have to say 3 stars and hope for better. Because I can’t rightly assume 3.5 stars based on what I’ve seen.

Gods of Egypt

A common thief joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt.

Have you seen the trailers for this? Yeah… me too.

The less said, the better.

That said, I’m still saying 3 stars. At worst I’m thinking this is 2.5. It could be truly unwatchable and go 2, but that seems unlikely. I expect this to be shit, therefore I will expect the ridiculous stuff to entertain me or at worst make me yawn. I mean, it’s guys riding the backs of giant fire breathing snakes. What are we really expecting out of this?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.
3 stars. I don’t particularly love the original, though I respect it and think it’s a good movie. I can’t imagine what I’d be getting out of this to make me really love it.

Triple 9

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

It’s John Hillcoat, so he’s usually quality. Though they bumped this out of September and into February. Which is troubling.

But with a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet, Michael K. Williams, Teresa Palmer, Gal Gadot, Clifton Collins Jr. and Aaron Paul, how can I not still assume that this will be at least pretty good?

Sure, granted, Lawless was disappointing, but this cast is gonna make me go 3.5 stars and let this be disappointing if it’s not that good. Sometimes things need to be held to higher standards.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is March.

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