The story of February at the movies is awfully similar to that of the last few months: Theatres remain closed in Montreal, but open in other parts of North America (including the six Quebec regions that will see a reopening on Feb. 8), which complicates releases somewhat. In some cases, films are being held until province-wide reopening; in others, films are going through with their regular release and leaving their Quebec release up in the air. Suffice to say that any info about new movies to watch in February contained herein (that doesn’t pertain to a major streaming service) could very well become irrelevant in the next few days.
Netflix ponied up a whopping $30-million to acquire the rights to Malcolm & Marie (Feb. 5), a drama by Sam Levinson (Euphoria) that was shot on the sly during the pandemic. John David Washington stars as a filmmaker who forgets to thank his girlfriend (Zendaya) during an awards acceptance speech; the film focuses on the ensuing blowout. Early reviews have been savage, though it must be said that the film is certainly picking its battles by reportedly focusing much of its ire on film critics themselves — see my review here. Other Netflix highlights this month include the Korean space opera (billed as the first of its kind) Space Sweepers and To All The Boys: Always and Forever, the third and final chapter in the extremely popular teen rom-com series starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo.
Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek star in Bliss (Feb. 5), a new sci-fi film from Mike Cahill (I, Origins, Another Earth) in which Wilson plays a man who meets a woman (Hayek) who tries to convince him he’s living in a simulation — see my review here. The week after that, Amazon presents The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, a time-travelling rom-com that sounds exactly like last year’s Palm Springs; Kathryn Newton (Freaky) stars. One of the many casualties of Warner’s decision to bring all of their 2021 releases to HBOMax, Judas and the Black Messiah (Feb. 12) is the story of Black Panther Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) and William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), an FBI informant who infiltrated the ranks of the Black Panthers. HBOMax being unavailable in Canada, the film will be available for VOD rental on the day of release.
Another film to go directly to HBOMax is Tom and Jerry (Feb 26), the live-action/animation hybrid starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Unlike Judas and the Black Messiah, however, it is unclear whether the film will be available on VOD or go directly to Crave, which is usually the case with HBOMax originals. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo reteam 10 years after the breakout hit of Bridesmaids with Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar (Feb. 12 on VOD), a comedy they co-wrote and co-star in. Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) stars in Minari (Feb. 26 on VOD), a highly acclaimed drama about a family of South Korean immigrants who move to America in the 1980s with the intention of building a farm. Flora & Ulysses is a family comedy about a young girl who adopts a squirrel with supernatural powers. Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz star in the film, which hits Disney Plus on Feb. 19.
Viggo Mortensen makes his directorial debut with Falling (Feb. 5 on VOD), a drama in which he stars as a gay man who recalls his complicated relationship with his brash, homophobic father (Lance Henriksen) when he comes to California with a potential move in mind — see my review here. Supernova (Feb. 16 on VOD) has broadly similar thematic concerns, telling the story of a highly accomplished gay couple (Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth) who go on one last road trip when they learn that Tucci’s character has early-onset dementia. Claes Bang (The Square), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) and Guy Pearce star in The Last Vermeer (Feb. 23 on VOD), a historical thriller about an art forger who swindles the Nazis with fake paintings.
There are also several highly anticipated movies being released this month, though it’s unclear whether or not the current release dates apply to Canada and/or Quebec. These include Lee Daniels’ Montreal-shot Billie Holiday biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday, the Anthony Hopkins-starring dementia drama The Father, Chloé Zhao’s award-winning Nomadland starring Frances McDormand, Robin Wright’s directorial debut Land and French Exit, a Montreal-shot dramedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer as an heiress who has squandered her fortune and attempts to live the rest of her life in a borrowed apartment in Paris with her grown son (Lucas Hedges). Suffice to say that there’s a very high chance these movies will be available to us sooner rather than later — it’s only a question of when. ■
This article was originally published in the February issue of Cult MTL.
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