“Birds Of Prey” And “Buffaloed”: Films To See In February

Folks, we’re knee deep now in the month of February, if you can believe it! With the Academy Awards only a few short days away, we’re soon going to have to fully focus in on the non Oscar contending titles. For some, it’ll be a relief. For others? Tragedy. In the meantime, something of note here is that the slate is, like last year, much better than in January. There’s plenty things that I think are really solid opening up and would stack up well in other months. In fact, my favorite film of the year so far is hitting screens (seen nearly a year ago, actually). It’s a strong crop, overall, that’s for sure. These movies are, with a few exceptions, not what February usually generates…

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

10. Sonic the Hedgehog – Are we looking at another big budget train wreck? After the horrifying initial design of the character, a more palatable version is hitting theaters soon. Will it be the next Cats or Dolittle? Frankly, the odds are pretty good, so consider this a morbid fascination situation, at best.

9. The Lodge – Arty horror is all the rage these days. A24 has the market share on this type of flick, but NEON tries their hand at it this month with this well regarded effort. It opens this week and I’m about to see it, so check back soon for my take…

8. Olympic Dreams – Nick Kroll makes a bid for serious acceptance here with a romantic dramedy, one with the distinction of being the first project to film in the olympic village during the actual games. Kroll co-writes and stars, which is a compelling concept. I’ll be watching this one in the next few days, so it’s another one you’ll have my take on before long!

7. The Call of the Wild – An adaptation of the classic novel seems like a safe effort for Disney, right? Harrison Ford stars, lending some A-list star power to the effort. Can it reignite interest in the story? We shall see, folks.

6. Fantasy Island – Blumhouse takes the classic television program and makes it into a fright flick. Count me in. Maybe this won’t be especially good, but it’s a clever concept that has my attention. When thinking about the month of February, that sort of thing can still hold some sway, at least until you get further down on this list…

5. Downhill – Despite a middling bow at the Sundance Film Festival, watching Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell in a remake of Force Majeure is a strong selling point. Sundance didn’t think that this English language version had anything new to say, but they’re such talented comic actors, it has to be worth checking out.

4. The Invisible Man – This new take on the classic horror flick has some real potential. Elisabeth Moss carrying the project as a woman stalked by her abusive ex would be a compelling drama on its own. Throw in the fact that he’s invisible and the possibilities for something really interesting are strong. Consider this the big X factor for the month.

3. The Whistlers – Back at the New York Film Festival, I really dug this unique crime tale. It has a bit of a Martin Scorsese feel to it, mixed with a very unique premise, centering on a crooked cop having to learn a mobster’s secret whistling language. It comes together far better than that sounds, so take my word for it, this is a good one. If nothing else, it sounds different than anything else coming to theaters in February, doesn’t it?

2. Birds of Prey – The buzz is pretty strong for this comic book spinoff, starring Margot Robbie once again as Harley Quinn. I see it tomorrow, so I’ll be able to chime in on Wednesday afternoon about its quality, but if everyone involved is having the fun they appear to be having, there’s no reason not to think this is going to be an absolute blast.

1. Buffaloed – Zoe Deutch is awards worthy in this dramedy from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Not just the best option this month, it’s actually the best movie of the year so far, by far. It blew me away at Tribeca, let me tell you. Angry, funny, smart, and impeccably made, this is something special. Don’t you dare ignore it when it hits theaters on Valentine’s Day!

Honorable Mention: And Then We Danced, Burden, Come to Daddy, Emma, Greed, The Impractical Jokers Movie, The Night Clerk, Ordinary Love, The Photograph, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Premature, and Wendy

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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