The Whale, Winnie the Pooh, Aftersun, The Son, Magic Mike, Cocaine Bear, Oscars

Life is short but February is shorter. The “purification month”, according to the Romans who practiced atonement and purification. It’s also Groundhog Day (February 2nd) and Valentine’s Day (February 14th), which ties in well with some of this month’s more cerebral films, which feature plenty of blame, regret and sadness.

It’s undoubtedly a somber month in filmland, although the harder hits are from A-list directors: Darren Aronofsky, Steven Soderbergh, Sarah Polley and newcomer Charlotte Wells, who has garnered flamboyant praise for her feature debut. After sun.

Brendan Fraser stirs the usual controversy in a teacup The whale. And the Oscar nominees are out, so it’s time to tick off the contenders.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered to you every Thursday.

The whale

The latest from Darren Aronofsky, who brought us along The fountain, The wrestler, Black Swan and Mother! The whale is his first feature film in five years and has caused a lot of conversation. Brendan Fraser plays a morbidly obese English teacher trying to reconnect with his daughter. Fraser wore a fat suit for the role, so he and Aronofsky faced criticism for not using an obese actor – somewhat predictably. The reviews were positive but not uniform. Opens February 2nd.

The honeymoon

The latest from British comedy writer Dean Craig who has written death at a funeral. His recent films have also died, but this one might be worth a look: it looks rough and ridiculous, with some good physical comedy. A newly married couple travels to Venice on their honeymoon; The groom’s dumb friend crashes the party and things go wrong from there. Asim Chaudhry plays the friend. Opens February 2nd.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Steven Soderbergh returns to the director’s chair he left after the original Magic Mike ten years ago. Channing Tatum brings the beef (for the last time?) as a stripper with a heart of gold. Salma Hayek plays the woman who wants to help him get his act onto the London stage. The tagline says it’s “the final tease,” but we’ll see. There have been rumors of spin-offs featuring characters other than Magic Mike. The streak will likely continue as long as she has legs – and pecs, biceps and butt. just shoot me Opens February 9th.

The son

French playwright and director Florian Zeller wrote and directed The father, based on his own game. Christopher Hampton helped adapt to an English setting. In The son, Hugh Jackman plays a man who broke up from his marriage a few years earlier. Now his ex-wife (Laura Dern) asks him for help with her 17-year-old son (Zen McGrath), whom he barely knows. Zeller again directs his own work and adapts the play with Hampton. fans of The father will be pending. Anthony Hopkins enters. Opens February 9th.

women speak

This could be the movie of the month. It’s based on a true story. In a strictly conservative Mennonite colony in Bolivia, some women find themselves drugged and raped by their own husbands. The women meet to think about what to do: stay, go, fight back? Canadian actress, writer and director Sarah Polley has assembled a brilliant cast: Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand, Ben Whishaw, Judith Ivey. It was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for the upcoming Oscars, surprising even its director. looks intense Opens February 16th.


Nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars (which will be held on March 13). Two 13-year-old boys, Leo and Remi, have an intense but innocent friendship that gets complicated when they get to high school. It is the second feature film by Belgian director Lukas Dhont based on his experiences as a teenager. He won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes (runner-up) and the Sydney Film Festival Prize at last year’s Sydney Film Festival. Opens February 16th.

know the score

This is Janine Hosking’s biographical documentary about Australian conductor Simone Young, who stormed classical music strongholds, kicked in doors and smashed ceilings. Is she the real version of the character Cate Blanchett plays? tar? Not quite, although Blanchett produced the documentary. At one point, Young responds to the gender question with a catchy line: “What does being a woman have to do with conducting? My tits don’t get in the way’. Looks great. Opens February 16th.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey

Is nothing sacred? Winnie Pooh reborn as a slasher movie? How is that even possible when Disney owns the rights to the original books? In fact, the first book entered the US public domain in January last year. So here we have an adult Christopher Robin returning to the Hundred Acre Wood to find that Pooh and Piglet have never forgiven him for leaving. They take bloody revenge on a group of women who have rented a cottage nearby. Looks totally whimsical and horrific – so just right for the horror crowd. Opens February 16th.

cocaine bear

Elizabeth Banks never fails to surprise. She has already directed two films, including the rebooted Charlie’s Angel. Here she takes on a horror comedy based on the true story of a black bear who ate a bundle of cocaine in the forest. This happened in 1985 when some drug smugglers threw away a few keys to lighten their cargo. This bear died of an overdose. This one, of course, rages, which is only fair. Looks like some good naughty fun. February 23.

After sun

The debut of Scottish author and director Charlotte Wells, Blighty is well received. A woman remembers the vacation she spent with her father in Turkey 20 years ago when she was 11 years old. Paul Mescal plays the father, who is only 31 and struggling with depression. As the older Sophie, Celia Rowlson-Hall tries to answer the questions her younger self couldn’t fathom. The British Cinema Bible Picture and sound called this the best film of last year. Opens February 23rd.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered to you every Thursday. The Whale, Winnie the Pooh, Aftersun, The Son, Magic Mike, Cocaine Bear, Oscars

Jaclyn Diaz

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