Valentine’s Day brings a bevy of new releases that should pique the interest of a variety of moviegoers. Sonic the Hedgehog finally arrives after a delay caused by a negative reaction to the furry blue racer’s appearance in early trailers. 1970s TV hit Fantasy Island gets a horror remake from Blumhouse, because why not? It probably should not be such an oddity, but The Photograph depicts a tale of black romance starring Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae. Remember Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning duo that wrote The Descendants? They return to direct Downhill, a remake of Sweden’s Force Majeure starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Lastly, two youngsters on a European summer trip fall in love in What About Love, chaperoned by adults Sharon Stone, Iain Glen and Andy Garcia.
At Ciné, you can still enjoy Nic Cage in Richard Stanley’s triumphant return, Color Out of Space. If you are quick enough, you can still catch Joker, Weathering With You and The Lighthouse (more on the latter two films below). John-uary may be over at Flicker, but Ciné has Pink Flamingos on Feb. 14–15. On Feb. 15, the documentary Care examines in-home care for the elderly.
The Georgia Museum of Art’s Black History Month Film Series continues on Feb. 13 with Daughters of the Dust, while the ACC Library screens Selma on Feb. 12. The library’s Teen Services invite teens to learn about Jackie Robinson in 42 on Feb. 14. The Lavonia-Carnegie Library compares the book and movie versions of Matilda on Feb. 17. At UGA, the Animal Voices Film Festival looks at the global wildlife crisis with The Last Animals, showing at the MLC on Feb. 17. At Tate, celebrate Palentine’s Day with Crazy, Stupid, Love on Feb. 13 before Bridesmaids and Hustlers move in for the weekend of Feb. 14–16.
Beechwood’s Flashback Cinema offers an encore screening of Titanic on Feb. 12 and hits the peak of the Harry Potter franchise with Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Feb. 16. On Feb. 18, interested audiences can investigate Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Miracle (Part 1), but you will have to wait until May for Part 2.
BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) (R) The DCEU expands on its Suicide Squad adaptation, an entry that most found disappointing outside of Margot Robbie’s loopy Harley Quinn, the equally violent girlfriend of the Joker. (Jared Leto’s version of Mr. J was not as well received.) Since everyone likes Robbie and Harley Quinn is having a banner year—several concurrent comic books plus a smart cartoon on DC’s specialized streaming service—why not follow up the billion-dollar Joker movie with a Harley movie?
So she does not have to carry the movie all by her lonesome, Harley is joined by Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), aka the Birds of Prey, who beat up all the bad boys like it is just another day in Gotham. As the main bad boy, a Batman villain named Roman “Black Mask” Sionis, Ewan McGregor makes a distinctive first impression on the DCEU. He energizes Black Mask with an entitled rich kid’s psychopathy that’s both funny and sadistic. The movie makes the most of its R-rating, tossing in loads of violence and f-bombs. By its last act, it resembles the superhero movie Quentin Tarantino might make.
WEATHERING WITH YOU (PG-13) Another gorgeous animated feature from Makoto Shinkai, Weathering With You will probably shine a little less brightly for viewers comparing it to Shinkai’s previous film, Your Name—one of the biggest Japanese films of all time—yet the sumptuous animation, sweet characters and jaunty J-pop tracks should win over adventurous audiences looking for atypical animated fare. An incredibly animated Tokyo stands out, even as some of the narrative about a runaway teenager falling in love with a girl who can control whether it rains or shines unspools more cloudily than necessary.
THE LIGHTHOUSE (R) If you missed the initial theatrical run of Robert Eggers’ follow-up to The Witch, like I did, right that wrong and experience one of the weirder big-screen experiences of 2019, as Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson duel over lighthouse-keeping duties on a remote island. Maybe they are crazy; maybe the viewer is.
The Lighthouse is less accessible than its predecessor, which says a lot about this film’s eccentricities. Still, the lead performances alone beg for at least one viewing. If all you know R-Pattz from is Twilight, this film forces you to reassess his talent. With gorgeous black and white cinematography by Academy Award nominee Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse is as stunning as it is unfathomable.
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