I don’t have time to write a full review, so here’s a quickie—this is the most I’ve enjoyed Jude Law in a really long time. His performance as the reprehensible Dom is engaging and likeable even as you cringe at how awful he is. Law is better than the movie itself, but it’s a solid alternative to the studio films that loom large over the month. Also, it took me half the movie to recognize the charming actress who plays Dom’s daughter as the Khaleesi herself, Emilia Clarke. She looks SO different without her Daenerys hair.
It’s never a good sign when a horror movie is released outside of the summer movie season or October.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
If you don’t know what this movie is about at this point, congratulations on waking up from that coma.
Nymphomaniac vol. II
The continuation of Lars von Trier’s incredibly boring story about a chick who boned a lot of dudes.
Under the Skin
Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) took forever to make this movie, but if the reviews from last fall’s festival circuit are anything to go by, it’s worth the wait. It’s about a sexy female alien (Scarlett Johansson) who seduces men in Edinborough. It’s likely too weird for serious award consideration—thus the spring release date—but a lot of critics have praised Johansson for giving a career-best performance. Should be available on demand shortly after theatrical release.
Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd and Rashida Jones star in this comedy about a couple of schmoes using salsa dance to compete for the affections of their pretty boss (Jones). It doesn’t look as good as I initially hoped, but fuck it—I’ll see anything with Frost & O’Dowd.
I keep waiting for this to be revealed as a parody trailer, but it keeps insisting on being an actual advertisement for a real movie. Baffling.
David Gordon Green gets back to his Southern gothic roots with Joe, starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan (Mud). Cage plays an ex-con trying to keep on the straight and narrow and Sheridan is the scrappy kid who rouses his protective instincts. Might be hard to find in theaters, but Gordon Green hit a home run with last year’s Prince Avalanche and Joe looks to be in the same modest, perceptive vein. And God knows Cage needs to remind us that he’s a proper actor.
I’m still so fucking pissed at myself for sitting through Knowing.
Another out-of-season horror movie, which would normally be a pass, but reviews for Oculus have been surprisingly strong. Worth it for horror fans to seek out in theaters, a solid on demand/Netflix option for the rest of us.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star in Jim Jarmusch’s latest, about a pair of centuries-old vampire lovers. It got great reviews during festival season last year, but like Under the Skin it’s probably a little too weird—and too light—for award season. Still, between Jarmusch, Hiddles and SWINTON, it’s practically a guaranteed arthouse hit.
The Railway Man
Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in this based-on-a-true-story movie about Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is captured and held in a World War II Japanese POW camp. Decades later he tracks down and confronts the man who tortured him. The memoir from which the movie is adapted is supposedly very powerful, and the trailer looks promising. But this is clear award bait and it’s being released in spring, so I’m suspicious that there’s something wrong with the final product.
AKA, Bird Movie: Still Not Pixar.
A Haunted House 2
Oh, Jesus. PASS.
Written and directed by John Turturro and starring Woody Allen in a rare appearance outside one of his own films, Fading Gigolo is about a man (Turturro) who becomes a gigolo to earn money to help his friend (Allen). Reviews are mostly positive, and it’s safe to say that if you generally enjoy Woody Allen films, then you will enjoy this Woody Allen knock-off starring Woody Allen.
I want to like this because it’s the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, a frequent collaborator of Christopher Nolan’s. As a DP, Pfister is one of the best, but Transcendence looks dumb. Really, really dumb.
A standout from the Director’s Fortnight showcase at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Blue Ruin is about a guy who returns to his hometown, seeking revenge, and then it turns into a nightmare murder spiral. It looks depressing and tense as fuck, and along with Under the Skin and Locke is one of the more intriguing titles this month.
Paul Walker’s penultimate movie looks as terrible as all of Paul Walker’s other movies.
Tom Hardy is the only actor on screen in this film, which got crazy good reviews from film festivals last fall. It’s about a guy, Locke, who tries to deal with a crisis via a series of phone calls while driving home from work. The whole thing occurs over the course of that drive. It’s concepty, but Hardy’s performance is being lauded and it’s supposed to be a solid psychological thriller. Could be hard to find, but probably worth the look anyway.
The Other Woman
A comedy about the wife, the mistress and the girlfriend teaming up to get revenge on the guy giving them all the D, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. Does not look good.
The Quiet Ones
The latest from horror house Hammer Films is not likely to inspire anyone outside the most hardcore horror fans. Oculus is the outlier—The Quiet Ones is more in line with the out-of-season-horror-movie rule.