January is over, which means there are finally some decent movies to see! February is all about Valentine's Day, which means romance and action movies galore. Plus, with the Oscars right around the corner, there's a chance to see one of the nominated movies in the foreign category, and one of the nominated docs. A little something for everyone and early good buzz on a few of these flicks means this month should prove to be at least 95% less horrible than January's offerings.
ALL of the Action
"Bullet to the Head" (Feb. 1)
What's happening?! In January, we got a Schwarzenegger action flick from acclaimed Korean director Jee-woon Kim, and now we get a Stallone movie directed by legend Walter Hill? In this high-octane revenge picture, Stallone stars as a heavily tattooed hitman who partners with a cop to avenge the deaths of their partners. The tagline is "Revenge never gets old," which is a horrible notion to encourage, but man does it make for an exciting premise! The trailer is ridiculous in the best and most crowd-pleasing way, and it strikes a nice balance between exhilarating action and a tongue-in-cheek lightness. The RT score of 56% seems right on the money.
"Top Gun IMAX 3-D" (Feb. 8)
The classic Tom Cruise joint returns to theaters in 3-D IMAX. Because that is what the world was clamoring for.
"A Good Day To Die Hard" (Feb. 14)
The fifth in the "Die Hard" franchise hits theaters on Valentine's Day, so we know where all the cool couples will be that day. Well, okay, the cool couples probably won't be at the movies at all, fine, but "A Good Day To Die Hard" is definitely the most exciting of the V-day crop. Here, John McClane (Bruce Willis, but you knew that) teams up with his son to stop a weapons heist in Moscow and even if this movie is the worst, it's gonna be the BEST. The trailer is already the strongest of 2013, giving absolutely nothing away except that the action is totally going to melt your face.
"Snitch" (Feb. 22)
Dwayne Johnson stars as a regular ol' suburban dad who goes undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel in order to prove his son's innocence in this completely implausible, but maybe just maybe stupidly fun action flick, though the trailer seems a little too serious to let us get our hopes up. It also starts Susan Sarandon, everyone's favorite "Wire" alum Michael K. Williams, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal and Benjamin Bratt as the Big Bad.
Let's Get Romantical
The first ever zombie romance on the big screen! It's never happened before because it goes against everything that zombies are! In this adaptation of the YA novel by Isaac Marion, a zombie meets a girl and as he starts to fall for her, he finds himself increasingly reverting back into a live human. The star-crossed comedy is already receiving glowing reviews and stars Nicholas Hoult as the zombie whose a little different from the rest of them and Teresa Palmer as the girl he falls for. Can't. Wait. Opening. Weekend. Seeing it. Want. Now.
"Beautiful Creatures" (Feb. 14)
Another supernatural romance based on a book, "Beautiful Creatures" is about a girl who, on her sixteenth birthday, will either be claimed for the light side or the dark side of witchcraft, an event that may destroy her burgeoning romance with a local boy. There are three more books in the series, so if the movie takes off as expected, it could become the new "Twilight." It's hard to say if virtual unknown Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert ("Ginger & Rosa," daughter of Jane Campion) will drum up the same chemistry as Bella and Edward. Still, the Deep South setting allows for great costumes and silly accents, which already makes it better than every movie in the "Twilight" film series combined.
"Safe Haven" (Feb. 14)
What would Valentines Day be without Nicholas Sparks? This latest adaptation reunites Sparks with director Lasse Hallstrom ("Dear John"), and stars dynamic duo Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. But "Safe Haven" isn't just any old Sparks story! Hough plays a woman who moves to a small town and starts to fall for a widower, but she has a dark secret! The trailer gives no indication of any darkness whatsoever, so seeing the exit reactions from folks expecting a run-of-the-mill romance should be great fun.
Thrills & Chills
Steven Soderbergh is apparently in a state of constant movie-making or has at least 2 clones, because here he is with his eighth movie in five years, and his third with Channing Tatum. This thriller follows a couple played by Tatum and Rooney Mara whose relationship starts to unravel when the wife's psychiatrist (Jude Law) gives her a prescription that has some strange side effects. The trailer is intriguing without giving anything away and the reviews are strong, creating one of the year's first must-sees.
"Dark Skies" (Feb. 22)
Keri Russell + aliens = duh. What, does this logic not suit you?! Fine, we'll elaborate. In this indie horror thriller, from Scott Stewart, who for better or worse brought you "Legion" and "Priest," a family is haunted by aliens who prey on their children every night. The neighbors don't believe them, some sort of possession starts to happen and things get weird. It's from Blumhouse, the company behind "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious," and the trailer is appropriately creepy, so there is some promise here.
Ones of a Kind
"Identity Thief" (Feb. 8)
Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman's identity, and he travels from Denver to Miami to find and stop her in this comedy from Seth Gordon, director of "Horrible Bosses" and "The King of Kong." We all know by now that both Bateman and McCarthy can bring it, so even though the trailer is a bit lackluster, we still have some faith. As it's the only straight-up comedy being released in all of February, it should draw quite the crowd.
"Escape from Planet Earth" (Feb. 14)
The only animated release of February 2013, this movie is about a group of imprisoned aliens escaping Area 51 to stop the military from destroying their planets. Some of the jokes are cute enough (it was the aliens in Area 51 who created things like the Internet and the iPhone, not humans!), but the movie doesn't seem like much to write home about. Still, it may end up doing rather well as it is the only family fare in the month of February.
Maybe Not Coming To a Theater Near You
After a strong showing at Cannes, Toronto and Telluride, this film about the 1988 campaign to defeat Pinochet in Chile, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, finally opens in limited release. It's nominated for Best Foreign Language film at this year;s Academy Awards, so if you're into being informed as much as you can before the ceremony, make sure to catch it!
"Like Someone in Love" (Feb. 15)
Abbas Kiarostami's quiet, rich and elegant story is about an unlikely friendship struck up between a young call girl and a lonely elderly man, with a final scene that will stay with you long after the credits roll. A major day for film fans, who will be flocking to their local indie houses in droves.
"The Gatekeepers" (Feb. 20)
This Academy Award-nominated documentary offers a rare look inside Israel's secret service, the Shin Bet. Fascinating, well-crafted and controversial, do yourself a favor and do not miss the movie that very well may walk away with the golden statue come Oscar night.
"Future Weather" (Feb. 22)
This film about a spirited young girl abandoned by her mother garnered glowing reviews and snagged awards on the indie film festival circuit. Young actress Perla Haney-Jardine has been showered with praise, even drawing comparisons to Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone." Support true independent cinema and seek this film out if it's playing in your area. If it's not, VOD comes to the rescue in March.
"Saving Lincoln" (Feb. 15)
This is just too weird not to mention: a movie about Lincoln & his bodyguard, set entirely against actual Civil War-era photographs. The trailer is incredibly bizarre, and for some reason even great actors like Bruce Davison seem strange and wooden in their performances. Please watch the trailer. You have to watch the trailer. What is happening?