After a barren January that saw only two wide-release movies (The 355 and Scream) and a host of smaller, quickly forgotten clunkers (Redeeming Love, anyone?), February ramps things up with a wide variety of films that appeal to virtually every segment of an increasingly segregated moviegoing audience. With so much to choose from, it can be hard to know what’s worth watching. Digital Trends’ February 2022 movie preview will help guide you as to what’s releasing and give you enough information to decide if any of these movies are worth your time.
What’s it about: A bunch of older dudes decide to harm themselves and their celebrity friends by staging elaborate pranks. Who will love it: Gen Xers nostalgic for when MTV turned into a reality TV channel; Gen Zers who still watch FailArmy on YouTube. Preview: The latest entry in the unkillable practical stunt franchise, Jackass Forever promises to deliver more of the same: Jokes involving unsuspecting people, nausea-inducing stunts with deadly insects and animals, and lots and lots of groin injuries. The previous three theatrical installments were wildly successful, and if the multiple trailers are any indication, Jackass’ lowbrow humor still works, for better or worse. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Machine Gun Kelly get slapped in the face by a giant mechanical hand?
What’s it about: The moon attacks the Earth, causing widespread chaos. A ragtag team of scientists must travel to the celestial body and discover the mysterious force behind the destruction. Who will love it: Moviegoers who thought 2012 didn’t contain enough meaningless death; curious moviegoers eager to test out that new Dolby Surround Sound system. Preview: Featuring the hottest cast of 2010, Moonfall feels like from another time … and that’s probably not a good thing. The film’s rampant scenes of mass destruction, improbable escapes from certain death, and woefully inappropriate humor feel like they belong in a movie from another decade. It’s no surprise that Roland Emmerich, that purveyor of big-screen destruction, is behind the helm, eager to replicate the successes of Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow. Lionsgate must have recognized the film’s subject matter was a bit of a bummer as its most recent marketing campaign has emphasized the film’s comedic elements to the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising.
What’s it about: A wealthy woman (Gal Gadot) is murdered while on a cruise in the Nile. The world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must find out who did it before he, or she, strikes again. Who will love it: Agatha Christie fans; lovers of old school mysteries like Clue and Murder by Death; people who are still upset about Gadot’s Imagine video. Preview: A follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile delivers more of the ghastly murders, shifty suspects, and exotic settings that made the 2017 film so successful at the box office (if not with critics). With a cast of glamorous movie stars (Gadot, Annette Bening), respected British character actors (Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders), and rising stars (Emma Mackey, Letitia Wright), the film should have all the ingredients of a crowd-pleasing hit. Yet the film’s numerous release date changes, coupled with the ongoing controversy of Armie Hammer and Wright’s personal lives, have cast a pall over it. Perhaps most disturbing of all is the COVID-fueled shift in audience tastes, which has made it harder for adult-targeted movies like this one to succeed in theaters.
What’s it about: A pop star (Lopez) discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her. She impulsively decides to marry a random stranger to save face, but she gradually discovers her fake feelings for him may be real after all. Who will love it: Rom-com fans; desperate boyfriends looking for a quick and cheap Valentine’s Day gift; bored Peacock subscribers.
Preview: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Marry Me is aimed squarely at a specific female demographic who thought The Devil Wears Prada was too gritty and Something Borrowed too realistic. Also debuting simultaneously on Peacock, the film’s trailer emphasizes the winning appeal of its two romantic leads and the glamorous New York City lifestyle of Lopez’s pop star diva. Lopez is a veteran of this genre, having starred in Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law, and a half dozen other films like it, so she’ll turn on the charm and sell whatever hackneyed plot she’s placed in.
What’s it about: Liam Neeson stars as a man seeking revenge against his former employer after his granddaughter is kidnapped. Sound familiar? Who will love it: Guys; moviegoers who love a Liam Neeson winter season guilty pleasure; did we mention guys?
Preview: If the snow is falling and the wind is chilly, it’s usually time for a modestly budgeted Liam Neeson action flick. This year, it’s Blacklight, which is not about the UV device that uncovers bodily fluids on inorganic surfaces, but a standard revenge thriller involving lots of guns, grunts, and manly grimaces. Neeson thrives in this genre, having starred in the underrated A Walk Among the Tombstones and Non-Stop, so here’s hoping it’s better than his previous collaboration with director Mark Williams, 2020’s uneven Honest Thief.
What’s it about: A young man (Tom Holland) and a charismatic older fortune hunter (Mark Wahlberg, playing against type) seek to recover a lost fortune. Who will love it: Gamers; action-adventure film fans; moviegoers tired of seeing No Way Home for a seventh time.
Preview: Eager to break the curse of video game adaptations, Sony is throwing all its marketing muscle behind Uncharted, a potential new franchise that freely adapts the popular video game series from Naughty Dog. Fans are still griping about the miscasting of the two leads, but after the immense critical and commercial success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, few can deny Holland has the charm to convince even the hardcore fan that he’s the right choice to play Nathan Drake. In addition, the film appears to be faithful to what made the video games so successful: Breathtaking action scenes, off-the-cuff humor, and gorgeous international locations that hide buried treasure (and more than a few bad guys.) No one thinks Uncharted will be the new Indiana Jones, but we’ll settle for a modestly pleasant adventure yarn that has just enough characterization to balance out the explosions.
What’s it about: A soldier must transport a military service dog across the country in time for its owner’s funeral. Who will love it: Dog lovers; road movie fans; people who think Turner & Hootch should have been sadder and sexier. Preview: In his first starring role since the superb caper comedy Logan Lucky in 2015, Tatum looks to bring his charisma to a movie that awkwardly combines three different genres (buddy comedy, road movie, and an animal-as-friend parable) into one 90-minute package. Movies about canines tend to do well this time of year (A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey), so here’s hoping the streak continues. Dog seems to downplay the maudlin aspects these types of film usually contain, as co-director Tatum seemingly learned enough about directorial restraint from frequent collaborator Steven Soderbergh to balance the emotion with some levity.
What’s it about: The Foo Fighters attempt to record their next studio album in a haunted mansion in Encino, California. Antics ensure as Dave Grohl is possessed by an evil spirit and starts murdering his bandmates. Who will love it: Foo Fighters fans; the few people who saw Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny; easy-to-please stoners.
Preview: No doubt the oddest film of this month, Studio 666 features a unique blend of rock documentary and supernatural comedy. While it’s probably too optimistic to think it will be This Is Spinal Tap crossed with Ghostbusters, the film’s trailer shows the cast, particularly Grohl as the possessed singer of the group, having a good time with the far-fetched concept. The film’s R rating promises plenty of gore that will please horror fans, while the songs deliver the band’s trademark hard rock sound.
What’s it about: Some family named Corleone, who may just be in the mafia business. Who will love it: Film buffs looking to see this classic on the big screen; anyone who enjoys a great story told perfectly; cannoli lovers. Preview: In time for its 50th anniversary, Paramount is rereleasing The Godfather in theatres. The merits of this film as unquestionable; it’s not only one of the best films ever made, but also one of the great American tragedies of the 20th century. For its anniversary, Paramount collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope production company to painstakingly restore the visuals and audio of the film. The result promises to faithfully replicate watching the epic movie as it was shown in 1972 in all its operatic splendor. The film will also be presented in select AMC Dolby Vision theatres, which will fully immerse the moviegoer into the Corleone family’s world of festive weddings, secretive meetings, and bloody baptisms.
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