This month's notable theatrical releases
Below, our editors have selected 10 interesting (but, given that it is February, not necessarily good) films debuting this month, listed in alphabetical order.
’71 Watch trailer(s)
R Drama/Thriller | February 27 | Directed by Yann Demange
Can he do it again? 2014 was quite a year for Jack O’Connell. He made a strong impression in the British prison drama Starred Up (which is out today on DVD/Blu-ray), and followed that by playing Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. His first appearance in 2015 comes in '71, which finds him starring as a British soldier who is abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Yann Demange’s film, written by Gregory Burke, follows his struggle to survive the night. Early reviews have been good.
Fifty Shades of Grey Watch trailer(s)
R Drama | February 13 | Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Also by this director:
67 Nowhere Boy (2010)
Perhaps people don’t want to be seen at the box office buying tickets. Or maybe over 100 million books sold will indeed translate to plenty of dollars spent at theaters. One or both must be true, because Fifty Shades of Grey is already the fastest-selling R-rated movie in Fandango history. There will be protests—by Morality in Media, and by fans who don’t like the casting of Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson—and articles in the N.Y. Times about the uptick in sex toy sales, but there’s apparently no stopping billionaires who dig BDSM and the recent college graduates who fall in love with them. E.L. James knows this, and screenwriter Kelly Marcel and director Sam Taylor-Johnson are about to find out.
Focus Watch trailer(s)
R Rom-Com/Drama | February 27 | Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Will Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned con man who becomes romantically involved with Jess, a novice con artist played Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street). Three years after they’ve ended their relationship, Jess shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of Nicky’s latest scheme, throwing him off his game. But who’s scamming who in this latest film from the writing and directing team of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra?
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Red-band trailer Green-band trailer
R Comedy | February 20 | Directed by Steve Pink
Writer Josh Heald, director Steve Pink, and stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke are all back in this sequel to the surprise 2010 hit Hot Tub Time Machine. Missing from that list is the first film's lead, John Cusack, but joining the fun this time around are Adam Scott (rumored to be playing Cusack’s son in the future), Gillian Jacobs (her Community castmate Chevy Chase returns as well) and Thomas Lennon. Hijinks, antics, and R-rated skulduggery ensue when the guys take another dip in the hot tub to prevent Corddry’s Lou from being shot.
Jupiter Ascending Watch trailer(s)
PG-13 Sci-Fi/Action-Adventure | February 6 | Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski
Also by these directors:
When Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis’ follow-up to Cloud Atlas, was pushed from its original 2014 summer release date to February 6, 2015, it elicited some concerns about the quality of the film. A recent screening in Sundance didn’t quell those fears, as critics were locked out. But reviews have started to come in, and it appears that Jupiter Ascending will not be as terrible as feared, though it also looks unlikely to return the Wachowskis to the critical acclaim of their earlier films. This original sci-fi story follows Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a human who could change the balance of the universe by claiming a very large inheritance: Earth. Channing Tatum plays Caine, a genetically engineered soldier (part wolf, part man) sent to track her down on Earth, and Oscar frontrunner Eddie Redmayne hams it up as the evil Balem. The supporting cast includes the always reliable Sean Bean, Wachowski favorite Doona Bae, Douglas Booth, and James D’Arcy.
Kingsman: The Secret Service Watch trailer(s)
R Action | February 13 | Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Also by this director:
When Matthew Vaughn stepped away from directing X-Men: Days of Future Past, many wondered what he had lined up in its place. It didn’t take too long to find out that he planned to adapt Mark Millar’s comic book series, The Secret Service. It all made sense considering Millar’s role as a consultant at Fox and Vaughn’s success with re-energizing the X-Men franchise with First Class. So far, the decision looks to be a good one, with Kingsman: The Secret Service earning early approval from reviewers. In a film that looks to be closer in tone to Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, Colin Firth stars as a veteran spy of the Kingsman organization who recruits newcomer Taron Egerton into the agency’s training program. The pair, with an assist from Mark Strong and Michael Caine, face off against a lisping, twisted genius played by Samuel L. Jackson, and his blade-legged assistant (Sofia Boutella). Hopefully it will satiate fans of British spy films until SPECTRE hits theaters November 6.
Maps to the Stars Watch trailer(s)
R Drama/Comedy | February 27 | Directed by David Cronenberg
Also by this director (last 10 films):
58 Cosmopolis (2012)
76 A Dangerous Method (2011)
82 Eastern Promises (2007)
81 A History of Violence (2005)
83 Spider (2002)
68 eXistenZ (1999)
47 Crash (1997)
43 M. Butterfly (1993)
67 Naked Lunch (1991)
86 Dead Ringers (1988)
While Julianne Moore is the favorite to take home the best actress Oscar later this month for Still Alice, she already won best actress honors at last year’s Cannes Film Festival for her work in this Hollywood satire from director David Cronenberg and novelist (I’m Losing You) and sometimes actor (One Crazy Summer) Bruce Wagner. Moore plays an aging actress, haunted by the ghost of her legendary mother (Sarah Gadon), who hires Mia Wasikowska’s Agatha as her personal assistant, not knowing that Agatha has ties to the Weiss family—self-help guru Stafford (John Cusack) and Cristina (Olivia Williams), who manages their child-star son, Benjie (Evan Bird)—and is looking for revenge.
The Voices Watch trailer(s)
R Comedy/Horror/Thriller | February 6 | Directed by Marjane Satrapi
After directing Persepolis and Chicken with Plums, Marjane Satrapi surprised audiences at last year's Sundance with her change-of-pace third film, which also serves as her English-language debut. In this black comedy, Ryan Reynolds plays Jerry Hickfang, a factory worker who has a crush on Fiona (Gemma Arterton). Unfortunately for Jerry, he hears voices—specifically, his cat’s—and Mr. Whiskers is always encouraging Jerry to murder Fiona. Luckily for Jerry, his dog Bosco, whom he also hears, is more sweet-natured. But which animal will influence Jerry’s actions? The strong cast includes Anna Kendrick as another potential love interest, and Jacki Weaver as Jerry’s psychiatrist.
What We Do in the Shadows Watch trailer(s)
NR Comedy/Horror | February 13 | Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
How would vampires handle the 21st century? This well-reviewed New Zealand import, written and directed by Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (the director and co-writer of the Clement-starring Eagle vs Shark) and starring them, along with Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fransham, tries to answer that question in the form of a mockumentary. Shot like MTV’s The Real World for actual bloodsuckers, What We Do in the Shadows finds the flatmates trying to woo women, avoiding the sun, and battling their rivals—werewolves.
Wild Tales Watch trailer(s)
R Foreign/Comedy/Drama | February 20 | Directed by Damián Szifron
When Argentinian director Damián Szifron’s film premiered at Cannes last year, it stood out from other films in competition thanks to its embrace of explosive violence and black comedy and its omnibus structure—six short films loosely tied together by the theme of revenge. While early reviews have pointed out that some of the vignettes are more successful than others, Wild Tales still earned an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film, beating out the highly regarded Force Majeure.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2015, visit our Movie Calendar.