Even though the Oscars list has been announced, there are plenty of movies that are just making their way to the big screens for first viewings. These are the movies you’ll be voting on at the next Oscars ceremony, and they’re also the ones that you will have to chose from when you and your date need to go out on Valentine’s Day. So what’s looking good to you this February?
Whenever you walk into a musical, there is a certain aura of disbelief that must be immediately dispelled. You have to accept that, during this story, there will be moments where all the characters get up to randomly start singing and dancing, no matter where they are or what they are doing, and no one in the world of that story will find it the slightest bit weird. We all know that is what musicals are like, and we accept that. La La Land is no exception, as it is happy to prove that in the first ten minutes where everyone in a Los Angles traffic jam will get out of their cars and burst into song and dance on the highway. In this way, it is a musical like any other, and it is doing its best to prove to us that it is a musical that can dance with the best of them. La La Land aims to return to the golden age of cinema and musicals, combining the new age of cinema with the old style of Hollywood, wanting to be Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and still something new. It is a lofty goal, and one that they may have overshot with – for all their high hopes and dreams, La La Land may not have been as worthy of all its awards as you would think it to be.
We’ve entered the span of time where the popular movies (that aren’t part of sagas or cinematic universes) are the ones based in outer space. In the last three years alone, I’m counting fourteen of them (not including franchise films, which could have easily pushed it to twenty). Now the ones that probably come to mind first are films like Gravity (2013), Interstellar (2014), The Martian (2015) – thrillers, mostly, filled pretty heavily with science and big, life-altering questions that the characters would face before posing them to the audience. Passengers decided to sidestep the landmine of trying to figure out how much science its audience could take (real or imaginary) and marketed themselves as an adventurous, almost action-style trip thousands of miles into space. Unfortunately, not only is the film not an action-packed adventure, it’s not even much of a thriller or a drama. It is what seems to be a half-written script that relies on the star power of its two cast members to get people in the theater.
*Warning: Potential Spoilers*
I will be the first to admit that I was not nearly as excited for the release of Rogue One as I was for The Force Awakens this time last year. I found it hard to get excited to meet characters that I knew going into the film I would never see again, no matter what happened to them in the story, because we’ve already gone past all that. Other than a possibility for cameos in the Clone Wars TV show, these characters would not be coming back. In the end, Rogue One didn’t make me care about their characters (except for K-2SO, I swear there are no robots they can’t make me love), but I was still watching Star Wars unfold before my eyes. Even though the story was like nothing I had come to expect from the galaxy far far away and I wished they had explored some of the other details they introduced to us, the finale battle alone was enough to remind me that yes, this is the Rebel Alliance. This is a realm missing their Jedi. This is what Star Wars is.
Some of us may be going back to school and work, but some of us still have a couple of weeks off. And even if you don’t have time off, well it’s still pretty cold out so why not spend it inside a warm theater, picturing yourself in the world of a great film? Here are some of the movies coming out this January, what are the ones you are most excited to see?