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“High Flying Bird” and “The LEGO Movie 2”: Movies To See In February

Welcome to the month of February folks! With the Academy Awards only a few weeks away, we’re soon going to have to fully focus in on the non Oscar contending titles. In the meantime, something of note here is that the slate is way better than January. There’s a half dozen or so things that I think are really strong and would stack up well in other months. Here’s hoping that March continues that trend. In fact, three of the ten I mention below are in my top five for 2019 so far. Just know that this isn’t your garden variety second month of the year…

Here now are what I think the ten best bets for movies are during the month of February:

10. What Men Want – This gender swapped remake/reimagining stars Taraji P. Henson in the role once essayed by Mel Gibson. The Trailers haven’t been super promising, but there’s a chance that this could be fun. There aren’t any other big comedies hitting this month, so if you purely want to laugh, this may be your best bet.

9. Fighting with My Family – The secret screening this year at the Sundance Film Festival, you don’t often get sports dramas about professional wrestling. The buzz out of Park City is actually rather solid, which makes this something to watch out for. I’ll be seeing it next week, so stay tuned for my thoughts once I do…

8. Alita: Battle Angel – I saw this one yesterday, and the embargo is up, so I can say that it’s a visual treat, though a less than satisfying film overall. The spectacle is there, it’s just not an especially strong story. I’m still mulling it over, but obviously keep an eye out for a review the week of release. If nothing else, it’s one of the biggest things hitting this month, right?

7. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – This franchise presumably comes to an end with this third installment. For a really well regarded series, this sequel hasn’t been generating a whole lot of buzz. The box office numbers will likely be there though, so all’s well that ends well. It just isn’t the cultural touchstone it once was.

6. The Unicorn – Yesterday I wrote about how taken I was with this little movie. One of the better romantic comedies of late, it has charm to burn. Check back on that piece for exactly why, but just know that it’s really got the goods. It’s out right now, so if you’re looking for a rom com, this is well worth seeking out.

5. Velvet Buzzsaw – My other post yesterday was on this high profile Netflix release. The combination of Dan Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rene Russo made something special in Nightcrawler, so if this satirical horror flick doesn’t reach those levels, it’s still pretty bonkers to watch. See the review for further explanation, but you likely already know if it’s for you or not. If not, move right along. If so, dive in and enjoy!

4. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot – With a title like this, how can you not be curious? Plus, it’s a starring role for now Academy Award nominee Sam Elliott. Whenever that happens, it’s a cause for cinematic rejoicing. I’ll be watching a screener over the weekend, so expect a response to it in the next few days…

3. Cold Pursuit – I saw this flick yesterday afternoon and actually kind of loved it. What could have been a garden variety Liam Neeson action outing instead turned out to be utterly hilarious and way weirder than expected. I’ll be raving about it next week, that’s for sure. Believe it or not, this is the best film of 2019 so far!

2. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part – Tomorrow I’ll be seeing this sequel, with high hopes. The first movie was an absolute delight, so fingers crossed that this one can recapture the magic. If nothing else, there seems to be some silly gags on display. It’s going to make a killing at the box office, regardless. Fans of the first one will undoubtedly be down for a new adventure.

1. High Flying Bird – The other big Netflix release this month is this latest film from director Steven Soderbergh. A sports drama closer to Jerry Maguire than Hoosiers, it’s threading an odd needle. In a way, the movie is sort of perfect for streaming. I’ll have more to say by next weekend, so sit tight for more…

Honorable Mention: Berlin, I Love You, Everybody Knows, Happy Death Day 2U, Isn’t It Romantic, Miss Bala, Piercing, and Ruben Brandt, Collector

Be sure to check all of these out as the month of February continues!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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