Each month, The Dissolve looks ahead at what’s coming to theaters over the next four weeks, both opening widely and in limited release. (Limited releases are marked with an *; movies being released VOD are considered to be opening widely.) Plan your schedules accordingly.
The week of February 7
The big one: The Lego Movie
Feature-length toy commercial or smart, self-aware take on how kids interact with corporate brands? Judging by the early reviews of The Lego Movie—which screened for critics this past weekend—the Warner Bros. animated feature falls squarely in the latter category, which is a relief to those of us with kids, looking for something to do on a cold February weekend. The Dissolve will have a full review of the film running Thursday.
A Field In England … a semi-psychedelic tale of a group of lost men in war-torn 17th-century Britain, directed by Kill List/Sightseers helmer Ben Wheatley
The Last Of The Unjust* … Claude Lanzmann’s latest documentary about the men responsible for the Holocaust, built around unused interviews conducted for Shoah
The Monuments Men … the delayed WWII caper film directed by and starring George Clooney
Nurse 3D* … a campy-looking erotic horror film starring Paz de la Huerta
7 Boxes* … a low-to-the-ground Paraguayan action picture about a teenage wheelbarrow courier in trouble with the mob
Vampire Academy … adapting Richelle Mead’s popular series of YA novels
And: After The Dark, Cavemen*, Demi-Souer*, A Fantastic Fear Of Everything*, The Ganzfield Haunting*, Kids For Cash*, Love & Air Sex, The Outsider*, The Pretty One*, and Welcome To The Jungle.
The week of February 14
The big one: RoboCop (opening 2/12)
Anyone concerned that the new version of RoboCop would lose the political edge of director Paul Verhoeven’s original should’ve had some of those fears allayed by the hiring of José Padilha, a Brazilian filmmaker whose documentary Bus 174 and action thriller Elite Squad showed him as someone highly engaged with social issues. It remains to be seen whether Padilha’s RoboCop will rise above redundancy, but with a cast that includes Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jackie Earle Haley, at least the scenery won’t go un-chewed. And even if the movie bombs, The Dissolve has a whole Movie Of The Week slate lined up for the 1987 version, to ease any potential pain.
About Last Night … a remake of the 1986 romantic comedy, which was itself a very loose adaptation of David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity In Chicago
Endless Love … another remake of a 1980s romance, with Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde taking on the roles originated by Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt
Jimmy P. … the divisive Arnaud Desplechin film that played at Cannes last year, starring Benecio del Toro as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet under the psychiatric care of a doctor played by Mathieu Amalric
Le Week-End … written by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Roger Michell, starring Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as an aging couple having a tumultuous second honeymoon in Paris
Winter’s Tale … an Akiva Goldsman-written and -directed adaptation of Mark Helprin’s classic fantasy novel
And: Adult World*, Date And Switch, Easy Money: Hard To Kill*, The German Doctor*, Girl On A Bicycle*, The Returned, and Someone Marry Barry (opening 2/11).
The week of February 21
The big one: Omar*
Writer-director Hany Abu-Assad’s 2005 suicide-bombing drama Paradise Now is a gripping, potent film that was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. With Omar, Abu-Assad returns to the fraught world of Palestinian/Israeli relations, telling the story of a militant forced to become an undercover agent; and again, he’s scored an Oscar nomination in the Foreign Language Film category.
Pompeii … based on the historical disaster, and directed by the other Paul Anderson
3 Days To Kill … with Kevin Costner in full Liam Neeson mode as a Secret Service agent working a mission and fighting for his daughter
The Wind Rises* … the latest Hayao Miyazaki animated classic, finally opening wider after its brief Oscar-qualifying run last year
And: Almost Human*, Barefoot*, Bethlehem*, Child’s Pose* (opening 2/19), Holy Ghost People, and In Secret*.
The week of February 28
The big one: The Lunchbox*
If The Film Federation Of India had chosen Ritesh Batra’s melodrama The Lunchbox as its selection for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards, there’s a good chance the movie would be one of the Oscar front-runners. A charming, moving non-romance, The Lunchbox stars the magnificent Irrfan Khan as a widower who strikes up a correspondence with a neglected housewife (Nimrat Kaur) when she sends him her husband’s lunch by mistake. The two continue to swap stories about their lives, as Batra sketches in a picture of middle-class ennui in modern India. Fresh from successful screenings at Cannes, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Sundance, The Lunchbox now stands a chance to become a word-of-mouth hit on the arthouse circuit.
The Bag Man* … a low-budget crime thriller starring John Cusack, Robert De Niro, and Crispin Glover
Non-Stop … another Liam Neeson action vehicle, co-starring Julianne Moore and directed by Orphan’s Jaume Collet-Serra
Son Of God … a Jesus-focused, edited-down version of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s TV miniseries The Bible
Welcome To Yesterday* … a found-footage time-travel adventure
And: HairBrained*, Odd Thomas, Repentance, Stalingrad*, and U Want Me 2 Kill Him? (opening 2/25).