The dog days of winter are upon us, but the party is still going on at the multiplex. Holdovers from 2022 like Avatar: The Way of Water, A Man Called Otto, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish are still going strong, and newer fare like the horror comedy hit M3GAN and the sicko sci-fi movie Infinity Pool are both delighting and shocking audiences.
February has an even stronger lineup of quality movies both on the big screen and at home. From a sleek thriller about sex, power, and money (Sharper) to the latest MCU blockbuster, there’s a little something for everyone this month. Here are the six movies you should look out for and watch.
It’s been a while since 2021’s Old, M. Night Shyamalan’s last film, which featured a terrifying premise of a group of people rapidly aging without explanation. Shyamalan loves to scare people, and this month he is back with another mid-budget horror movie that is bound to unnerve viewers. In this one, the premise is simple: a young family (two dads and a little girl) decide to vacation at a remote cabin in the woods. They are soon visited, and quickly captured by, four individuals who claim that they need to kill one of them to prevent the apocalypse.
Adapted from Paul Tremblay’s award-winning horror novel. The Cabin at the End of the World, the movie has all the hallmarks of a good Shyamalan movie: an isolated location, a high-concept premise, and a twist ending few will see coming. The movie’s cast, which includes Glass Onion‘s Dave Bautista, Hamilton‘s Jonathan Groff, and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, is intriguing, and if it can live up to the ominous trailer, Knock at the Cabin can join The Sixth Sense and Split as one of Shyamalan’s best works. If not, well, it’ can’t be as bad as The Happening, right? Right?
We here at Digital Trends love horror films, and we especially like the ones that are off the radar and just a little bit gaudy and tasteless. Consecration, the new movie from Christopher Smith, looks to fit the bill. A young nun (Jena Malone, who will forever be an icon for bathing in blood at the end of The Neon Demon) ventures to a secluded convent on the Isle of Skye to investigate her brother’s mysterious self-inflicted death. Would it surprise anyone to discover that there’s more going on than just a mere suicide?
For a B movie, the cast is impressive. In addition to Malone, there’s veteran character actor Danny Huston as a shady priest and Janet Suzman, the English actress nominated for an Oscar for 1971’s Nicholas and Alexandra, skulks about as a menacing Mother Superior. The movie may not win points for originality (we’ve seen shady convents before), but who can resist the image of Malone in a bloody nun’s habit standing on an altar?
The 1990s were the golden age for sleek thrillers involving dangerous women, desperate men, and impeccably designed apartments. Drawing on the spirit of such trashy classics as Disclosure and Sliver, Sharper (even the title sounds derivative!) concerns the power struggle between Madeline (Julianne Moore), a woman newly married to wealthy Richard (John Lithgow), and Max (Sebastian Stan), her deadbeat son. Max wants a cut of his mother’s matrimonial wealth, so he devises a plan that involves a mysterious woman (Brianna Middleton), Richard’s estranged son (Justice Smith), and a laundry list of crimes and misdemeanors.
The movie, set to debut on Apple TV+ on February 10, looks like trashy fun. It’s always a pleasure to see rich people be nasty to one another, and the NYC locations look appropriately slick and aspirational. Sharper is directed by Benjamin Caron, who knows how to make something that looks good (The Crown) and energetic (Sherlock), but it’s chief selling point is Moore, who gets another lead role she can sick her teeth into.
One of the underrated characters in all of the MCU is Ant-Man. As embodied by the endlessly charming, and seemingly ageless, Paul Rudd, Scott Lang is a true everyman who just tried to the best he could while standing next to literal gods and monsters. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania sees our favorite shrinking hero ditch his low-stakes solo adventures (the fate of the word did not hang in the balance in the last one) to travel to the Quantumverse, a mostly CG dimension that exists between atoms and served as the deus ex machina in Avengers: Endgame. In this microverse, various Ant-Men, Wasps, and Statures (those who know, know) all battle Kang, a time-traveling villain first seen in the Disney+ series Loki.
Unlike the first two Ant-Man movies, Quantumania promises to have dramatic ramifications for the MCU going forward. As the first film in Phase Five, the movie hopes to establish Jonathan Majors’ Kang as a Thanos-level threat who will pop up in future movies, including the next two Avengers movies. If the two trailers are any indication, Quantumania also promises to wrap up Paul Rudd’s sarcastic take on the character, who doesn’t appear to make it out intact. Color us skeptical, or just plain hopeful, that that’s not the case, and Rudd’s working-class hero will live to shrink another day.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (February 17)
No, you’re not experiencing decades-old déjà vu. One of the best movies that will be released in theaters in 2023 was actually first released in 2000. Director Ang Lee’s masterful wuxia (martial heroes) epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is being rereleased this month. It’s a rare chance to see this movie, which was nominated for 10 Oscars and broke the barrier for foreign-language movies to connect to a wide American audience, on a big screen.
Few movies live up to their legend, but Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon does. That’s largely due to Lee, who directed an action movie of astonishing beauty and rare depth. Credit also should be given to the superb score by Tan Dun and incredible cinematography by Peter Pau, both of whom won Oscars for their hard work. Last but not least, lead actors Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh give this film its heart and soul, making their characters both specific and timeless at the same time. It deserves to be seen on the big screen.
There are some movies that have such convoluted plots and themes, they need to be marketed very carefully (I’m looking at you, Infinity Pool). And then there are movies like Cocaine Bear, which doesn’t need any further explanation beyond its blunt title. It’s a movie about a bear that accidentally ingests a duffel bag full of cocaine. That’s it, that’s the movie.
This is no Snakes on a Plane situation though, as there’s enough talent in front of and behind the camera to make one optimistic that this could be a fun comedic romp. The trailer looks suitably madcap, with an eclectic cast of actors (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ray Liotta, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Margo Martindale) battling either each other or the titular coked-up animal. Pitch Perfect 2‘s Elizabeth Banks directed the picture, and she seems to have found the right tongue-in-cheek tone for the movie. Believe it or not, Cocaine Bear is actually based on a true story.
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