The best movies to see this month

Ten February film releases you need to know about

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1/10

Selma

Why we’re excited
After getting just two nominations at the Oscars, ‘Selma’ is at the centre of a storm about diversity in Hollywood. Perhaps the most shocking of its omissions is British actor David Oyelowo – missing from the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Martin Luther King leading a voting-rights march in the Alabaman city of Selma in 1965. The critics have been raving about Oyelowo: ‘He gives one of the greatest performances you’ll see,’ according to the Hollywood Reporter. This we want to see.

What could go wrong?
With the film? Absolutely nothing. With the Academy? Where do we start?

‘Selma’ is out on Feb 6.

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2
2/10

The Interview

Why we’re excited
Because this is the dumb-ass satire that became the most-talked-about movie of the year. First came a massive cyber-attack on its studio Sony by hackers said to be linked to North Korea. Sony cancelled the release. Barack Obama and George Clooney joined the outcry against censoring freedom of speech. Sony relented – kind of. Was is worth it? Yes says our reviewer: ‘“The Interview” confirms Seth Rogen as the most ambitious mainstream comedian in Hollywood.’ Rogen stars with James Franco as tabloid TV show journalists on a mission to kill the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

What could go wrong?
We gave it a thumbs-up, but not everyone’s convinced, with most critics settling with the 'it’s-stupid-but-kinda-entertaining' line.

‘The Interview’ is out on Feb 6.

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3
3/10

The Philadelphia Story

Why we’re excited
Because here’s a chance to see one of the all-time great screwball comedies back on the big screen for the first time in years. Katharine Hepburn stars as an ice queen heiress juggling three eligible bachelors on the eve of her wedding: playboy ex, dull-as-dishwater fiancé and charming reporter.

What could go wrong? Nothing whatsoever. This wisecracking comedy has been a regular on best-of lists since the 1940s.

‘The Philadelphia Story’ is out on Feb 13.

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4
4/10

The Duke of Burgundy

Why we’re excited
Because you never know what to expect from British auteur Peter Strickland. In an era of cookie-cutter cinema, his films are ambitious, original and entirely unclassifiable. His last, ‘Berberian Sound Studio’, was a weird 1970s-inspired horror (with no gore). His latest is a love story about two lesbians in an S&M relationship – one of them is a butterfly professor.

What could go wrong?
For arthouse film lovers this looks like a winner. Members of the dirty mac brigade tempted by the lesbian sex may be left rubbing their heads (and not another part of their anatomy).

‘The Duke of Burgundy’ is out on Feb 20.

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5
5/10

Catch Me Daddy

Why we’re excited
Because this ‘honour killing’ drama has been hailed one of the best British debuts in years. Its first-time director is Daniel Wolfe (best known for making music videos) and it’s the story of a British-Pakistani teenager who runs away from her family in Yorkshire with her white boyfriend. A gang of hired thugs are hot on their tail.

What could go wrong?
Not much according to Time Out film editor Dave Calhoun: ‘There are some clichés here of the socially aware, northern-set British film. But mostly Wolfe offers us a view of this pitiless story that feels fresh and immediate.’

‘Catch Me Daddy’ is out on Feb 27.

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6
6/10

It Follows

Why we’re excited
This low budget US horror was one of the buzziest films of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Directed by David Robert Mitchell (‘The Myth of the American Sleepover’), the evil stalking ‘It Follows’ is sexually transmitted. Maika Monroe stars as a 19-year-old who discovers she might have lost more than just her virginity after having sex with one of the infected. ‘Ingenious and scalp-prickingly scary’ is the verdict of one critic on the film.

What could go wrong?
A couple of critics have argued that the film starts off better than it finishes. But we’re not going to let that put us off.

‘It Follows’ is out on Feb 27.

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7
7/10

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Why we’re excited
Just watch the trailer. It’s as crammed full of hilarious gags as you’d expect from Aardman, the stop-motion gang behind ‘Wallace & Gromit’ and ‘Chicken Run’. This latest is a spin-off the BBC kids’ TV series ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and follows the capers of Shaun and his flock as they get lost in the big smoke.

What could go wrong?
‘Shaun the Sheep’ is children’s TV so while this will be perfect for teeny tiny kids, will it have the rebellious fun of Aardman’s more adult-friendly films?

‘Shaun the Sheep’ is out on Feb 6.

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8
8/10

Love Is Strange

Why we’re excited
‘Heartbreaking’, 'Exceptionally beautiful', 'Wise.’ That’s just a taste of the ecstatic praise for this New York indie romantic drama about a newly married gay couple. Music teacher George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow), a painter, have been together for 39 years. But when the law finally changes and they get legally hitched, George is sacked from his job at a local Catholic school. Unable to pay the mortgage, they’re evicted and move in – living apart – with friends and family.

What could go wrong?
‘Love is Strange’ is sensitive and sharply observed, and it gets the five-star review treatment from Time Out. But some critics have found it – lovely performances aside – lacking a strong pulse.

‘Love is Strange’ is out on Feb 6.

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9
9/10

Jupiter Ascending

Why we're excited
The last time sibling directors Andy and Lana Wachowski dipped their toes into ‘ordinary Joe discovers he’s the saviour of the galaxy’ territory, they made ‘The Matrix’. ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is a new spin on the idea. This time, Mila Kunis is The One, a janitor who turns out to be the Queen of the Universe. Somehow. The trailer looks completely batshit – which is exactly how we like it.

What could go wrong?
Where do we start? It could very easily be a sprawling, Day-Glo pantomime embarrassment. The Wachowskis proved with ‘Cloud Atlas’ that they can approach ludicrous material with a straight face and make it hugely entertaining, but only after they'd fallen flat three times in a row with the ‘Matrix’ sequels and ‘Speed Racer’.

‘Jupiter Ascending’ is out on Feb 6.

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10
10/10

Fifty Shades of Grey

Why we’re excited
Excited is the wrong word. We don’t want to give you the wrong idea. But from the moment artsy Sam Taylor-Johnson signed up to direct the film of EL James’s trashy bonkbusting S&M novel we’ve been intrigued. Which way will it go? Trash or classy?

What could go wrong?
Pretty much everything. What we’re really hoping is that scriptwriter Kelly Marcel polishes some of the book’s most terrible lines. Example: ‘Jeez, I’m a quivering, moist mess.’ Quite.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is out on Feb 13.

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Comments

1 comments
Chris jones
Chris jones

Schoenarts is amazing in 'Rust and Bone' as well, with Marainne Cotillard. By the way he's Belgian, not Dutch, and it not too hard to pronounce if you ignore the spelling - shone (rhymes with bone) arts - shone-arts .