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The 2019 Film Release Calendar: February

New year, new movies.

I begin every new year by taking a look at what movies there are to come out. It helps me to be aware of stuff so I can actively track it throughout the year, and I think it’s helpful for most people who care about movies to at least be informed of what’s going on. Far too often do I talk to my friends who are casually into movies, and they have no idea what’s coming out or when the stuff they want to see is supposed to come out.

Of course, when I do something, I really do it, so instead of just a casual preview of the big 35 movies of the year, I go all out. You’re gonna get everything as it’s currently scheduled to come out, plus another 200 or so movies that are not dated but are finished and ready to come out, plus another 100 or so that I’ve been tracking from previous years. I dare to say that no one on the internet goes as deep into their coverage as I do.

Today we’re going over February.

February

Velvet Buzzsaw

Big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.

It’s Dan Gilroy, whose first two movies were exclusively 4 star movies for me (Nightcrawler, Roman J. Israel Esq).

This one also has Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo, and also adds Toni Collete and John Malkovich.

Based on the first two, I feel like I need to also go 4 stars here, but something is telling me to go 3.5 stars, so that’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll be wrong if need be. I think it’s because they could have slotted this end of last year but instead put it in February. Plus it’s a thriller (possibly horror?) about the art world. Not loving that combination even though I should trust Gilroy. But this also should not go any lower than 3.5, so I’m sticking with that and we’ll see if he can maintain his streak of 4 star films.

Jacob’s Ladder

After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images.

Did we need this?

Also, this isn’t gonna stick. Not even a trailer released yet, and it’s supposed to come out in less than a month?

This will get pushed to later in the year. But even so, doesn’t look great.

2.5 stars.

Miss Bala

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.

Another remake. This one directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

Thrillers like this usually don’t translate into English as well.

3 stars.

It’s also coming out in February, which is a clear sign to not bother going higher than 3.

Piercing

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.

Looks awesome.

By the guy who directed The Eyes of My Mother, which was a really solid debut.

Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa. I’m in.

3.5 stars. Should be solid.

Then Came You

A hypochondriac working as an airport baggage handler is forced to confront his fears when a British teenager with a terminal illness enlists him to help her carry out her eccentric bucket list.

Within ten seconds of the trailer, I knew exactly what I was getting.

3 stars.

This has almost no potential to be anything but 3 stars.

Arctic

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.

Plane crash survival movie. Yeah, boy.

Starring Mads Mikkelson. I am so in.

This should be 3.5 stars. Maybe it’ll only be 3, but I have to go 3.5. This is extremely my jam.

Cold Pursuit

A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son.

Starring Liam Neeson.

The trailer was fun. Great use of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Really well cut. Wanted to make me go 3.5 stars, but Liam Neeson thrillers are almost exclusively 3 stars, so that’s what the guess is. I’ll happily take better, but none of them ever are.

High Flying Bird

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

And here we are. February and already I’m being tested again with Steven Soderbergh.

Every year a Soderbergh movie comes out and every year I underrate it by a half-star.

And you know what? I’m doing it again!

3.5 stars.

I know I shouldn’t, but truly, my gut says go 3.5 stars on this. So I will.

I know I will regret this in December when this is invariably 4 stars like every Soderbergh movie, but I take solace in the fact that his movies have a floor of 3.5 stars and that at worst I will only be a half-star off on this.

George Santayana is giving me the slow head shake right now.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

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.

3 stars.

It’s a Lego movie. All of these have gone 3 stars or 2.5 stars for me. This is the “main” one, so I guess I go 3 stars, even though I really don’t enjoy these movies all that much. Mostly I’m just hoping for these movies to slowly start going away, even though it doesn’t seem like that’s anywhere near happening.

The Prodigy

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

Oh yeah, this movie. I saw a trailer in front of something.

2.5 stars.

Generic horror thriller. 100% not for me and 100% chance I will not care in the slightest.

What Men Want

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 their thoughts.

Remake of the Mel Gibson movie. Didn’t need to be made on any level, but here we are.

Still, this feels properly within the realm of the 3 star February movie.

Looks like it won’t be great, but will be enjoyable enough.

Isn’t It Romantic

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

Oh no.

But you know what? The trailer looks fun, and now that I look closer, it’s by Todd Strauss-Schulson, who did The Final Girls, which I liked a lot.

Not crazy about the cast, or the extra writers they put on to rewrite the original writer (especially with their previous output), but the concept should easily carry this to 3 stars. I can’t get my hopes up for higher, because I’d just be setting myself up for disappointment. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised by this if it’s really that good.

Sidebar: there is a script from probably like 8 or 9 years ago written by Sam Esmail who created Mr. Robot, called Norm the Movie, which is almost this exact same concept, except a dude finds his life is a movie and not a romantic comedy. It’s go a much more freewheeling vibe and deals with much more existential questions (namely, “what happens when the movie ends?”). They’ll never make it, but I remember reading that script and loving it.

Alita: Battle Angel

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.

Oh yeah, anime eyes.

James Cameron was gonna do this and then handed off duties to Robert Rodriguez.

3 stars.

I have to guess that. Not a chance this is 4 stars, and slim chance it’s 3.5. But also the kind of movie it is prevents it from going any lower than 3.

Also, the cast is insane: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Lana Condor, Eliza Gonzalez, Michelle Rodriguez, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley. On that alone I should say 3.5, but knowing they pushed this from December into February and the trailer tells me this should exclusively be a 3 star movie.

Happy Death Day 2U

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

Oh, great, a sequel. I guess this is inevitable. I can accept it if it’s gonna end at 2 and be a worthwhile story. I’m worried this is just a sequel for the sake of a sequel, though. Doesn’t seem that way, but also I can’t assume anything great from this.

3 stars, on the sequel drop. I’ll be happy if I can get 3.5 out of this like the first one, but let’s not assume that.

Donnybrook

Two men prepare to compete in a legendary bare-knuckle fight where the winner gets a $100,000 prize.

Starring Frank Grillo? Well that’s easy. 3 stars. Maybe I can get 3.5, but we stick with 3, knowing we will for sure get that.

Paddleton

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

Netflix movie. Mark Duplass and Ray Romano. Oh, and the guy write Blu Jay, that other Netflix movie with Duplass.

3 stars. That seems pretty straightforward.

Fighting with My Family

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.

Oh yeah, the wrestling movie. Stars Florence Pugh, who I like a lot. The story doesn’t seem amazing. So I gotta guess 3 stars and hope this can go higher.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

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.

This franchise is always watchable. 3 stars. Never gonna be as cute as the first, and I don’t think it’ll drop to 2.5. Could, but I doubt it.

Rhythm Section

A woman seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family.

Starring Blake Lively.

Well yeah, this sounds like a 3 star action movie, doesn’t it?

Also stars Jude Law and directed by Reed Morano, who just did I Think We’re Alone Now.

So yeah, I’m getting 3 stars out of this.

The Turning

A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents.

From the director of The Runaways and starring Mackenzie Davis, the little girl from The Florida Project and one of the kids from Stranger Things. Well that’s interesting.

Also based on “The Turn of the Screw.” I’m worried because that story doesn’t really expound on what’s going on, and this is going to.

3 stars. This sounds like it’s gonna go the standard generic horror route. But, the cast is good, so I have to go 3 and just be disappointed when this is invariably a horror movie I don’t care about at all. If I can get 3 stars out of this I’ll feel like I snuck one past the goalie.

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