What to watch in February, from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to Cocaine Bear
February 2023 looks like a solid month for movie fans with a dark new thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, the kickoff of the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and, most importantly, the true story of the bear that did cocaine. Plus, a cult favorite comedy series is getting a long-awaited revival. Here's what to watch on the big and small screen in February:
Knock at the Cabin (Feb. 3)
Which M. Night Shyamalan will we get with Knock at the Cabin, the man who brought us The Sixth Sense or the man who brought us The Last Airbender?
That's always the question going into a new movie from the twisty director, who has enjoyed a career comeback in recent years after a string of critical disasters. Like his previous film, Old, Shyamalan's latest is a contained thriller with a premise that sounds ripped straight out of The Twilight Zone: a couple and their daughter are held hostage by four people who claim that unless they sacrifice one member of their family, the world will end.
Is there any truth to the strangers' claim, or are they making the whole thing up? That will presumably remain the question until a signature Shyamalan twist is revealed, though a recent trailer may or may not have tipped its hand slightly. Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge star as the couple, while the stranger characters include Dave Bautista in his latest dramatic role and Ron Weasley himself, Rupert Grint, in another Shyamalan collaboration after Servant. The film is based on Paul Tremblay's novel The Cabin at the End of the World.
Early social media buzz has been solid, with Fandango's Erik Davis calling Knock at the Cabin a "real deal nail-biter." Our guess at the twist? It was a secret The Cabin in the Woods prequel all along!
80 for Brady (Feb. 3)
Tom Brady's retirement may have only lasted a matter of weeks, but that was enough time to get a movie about him off the ground and into theaters just a year later.
Featuring an excellent cast of legendary actresses your mom is obsessed with, 80 for Brady tells the true story of a group of older women united in their love of Tom Brady, so they decide to take a trip to Houston to see him play in the Super Bowl. The four central women are played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field, who between them have five Academy Awards. But Tom Brady himself also appears in the movie in addition to producing it — so yes, he did help get a movie made about how women everywhere love him.
80 for Brady is set in 2017, so it won't be an issue that quite a bit has happened in Brady's career and personal life since the film was announced, including him un-retiring from football and subsequently getting divorced. So look forward to the sequel, 85 For Brady, in which Brady goes on a date with all four ladies in one night.
Magic Mike's Last Dance (Feb. 10)
You've heard of Avengers: Endgame? Well, prepare your body for Magic Mike: Endgame.
Channing Tatum returns for the epic conclusion of the Magic Mike saga, Magic Mike's Last Dance, which reunites him with the director of the original film, Steven Soderbergh. Mike Lane is now working as a bartender in Florida when he travels to London with a wealthy socialite, played by Salma Hayek, for One Last Job, planning to put on a live show there.
"With everything on the line, once Mike discovers what she truly has in mind," the official plot synopsis says, "will he — and the roster of hot new dancers he'll have to whip into shape — be able to pull it off?" Yeah, probably.
Since the release of the second film, a Magic Mike live show opened in Las Vegas and beyond, and Soderbergh has said this inspired the third chapter, declaring, "Mike Lane's dream of connecting people through dance must be realized!" Tatum also promised when the film was announced that "the stripperverse will never be the same," and he told People, "I want it to be the Super Bowl of stripping."
It sounds like that ambition will be realized based on the fact that Soderbergh revealed to Empire that the "last 30-plus minutes of the movie are just this giant dance sequence," so Tatum will truly be dancing until he drops this time — or at least until something drops.
Your Place or Mine (Feb. 10)
In a more just society, we'd be getting a splashy new studio romantic comedy released in theaters every few weeks — but for now, Netflix will have to do.
Reese Witherspoon stars in this new rom-com as a single mother, Debbie, whose best friend, Peter (Ashton Kutcher), offers to look after her son while she takes a break. So they swap homes for a week, with Debbie going to Los Angeles and Peter coming to New York. Yeah, you can see where this is going. The arrangement leads to the two getting a "peek into each other's lives that could open the door to love," Netflix's synopsis says.
Your Place or Mine is the feature directorial debut of Aline Brosh McKenna, who previously wrote The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, and Morning Glory, in addition to co-creating Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the rest of the cast includes Jesse Williams, Tig Notaro, and Rachel Bloom. After what happened with No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits, one can only imagine a version of this exact same movie but with Justin Timberlake is also on the way.
Somebody I Used to Know (Feb. 10)
Rom-com fans are eating well, at least on streaming, as Your Place or Mine isn't even the only film in the genre debuting on Feb. 10. Who's up for a Valentine's Day double feature?
Alison Brie stars in this one from Amazon Prime Video as a workaholic, Ally, who reconnects with an ex-boyfriend, Sean (Jay Ellis). Sparks fly, and Ally begins questioning her decision to leave him years ago — only to find out he's getting married to Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons).
Oh, and apparently Ally used to be a nudist, leading to a scene — featured on the poster — where she goes streaking at a golf course. "There's a streaking scene in the movie, which is based on my own history with streaking," Brie revealed to Access Hollywood, adding, "I love to streak!"
Brie herself wrote the film with her real-life husband, Dave Franco. Franco directs in his follow-up to the horror-thriller The Rental, his directorial debut that also starred Brie. The rest of the cast includes Julie Hagerty, Haley Joel Osment, Amy Sedaris, and Danny Pudi, making this a Community reunion before the actual, upcoming Community reunion. But don't worry, Dean: Britta's not in this.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey (Feb. 15)
Oh, the joys (?) of public domain law.
The beloved children's character Winnie-the-Pooh is finally being turned into a slasher villain, as the world has so clearly demanded. In Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, Winnie and Piglet have turned feral after being abandoned by Christopher Robin, so they go on a bloody rampage.
We know what you're thinking: how is this legal? Well, the very first Winnie-the-Pooh book became public domain in 2022, so anyone can make a movie about Pooh now, and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield wasted no time capitalizing on that. But he had to be careful to adapt specifically that original book, not the Disney version of Pooh. "We did as much as we could to make sure [the film] was only based on the 1926 version of it," he told Variety.
That doesn't really explain why the trailer makes it look like Winnie and Piglet are just regular men in masks rather than animals as the premise implies, but that can probably be blamed on the film's minuscule budget. Will the movie be any good as a slasher, or is it more of a Dumb Starbucks-esque stunt than anything? Probably the latter, but the grabby premise ginned up so much interest online, the distributor adjusted plans to release the movie on one night only, and it will now play for almost a week in theaters.
With Mickey Mouse potentially entering the public domain by 2024, get ready for the unauthorized, hard R, Joker-style film Mickey next.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Feb. 17)
The road to Avengers: Secret Wars begins now. Phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks off with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which looks like a crucial entry in the franchise. For one, it will introduce Marvel's next big bad on par with Thanos: Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a "variant" of the man Loki met at the end of time in Loki, who will become the villain of the next Avengers film, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
This will be the first Ant-Man movie to spend an extended period of time in the microscopic universe known as the Quantum Realm, where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Scott's daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) all end up, and it's there that Kang comes into the picture. But Janet may be able to help them navigate this tiny world, as she was lost in the Quantum Realm for years before being rescued in the second film.
Scott's daughter Cassie is older now (and recast for the second time) thanks to the time jump in Avengers: Endgame, and seeing as she becomes a superhero in the comics, keep an eye on the film to set up an eventual Young Avengers crossover with the other children of the MCU. MODOK, a famous villain from the comics who's essentially just a giant head on legs, will also be making his live-action debut, and Bill Murray even has a role. But who cares about any of that when the real star of the show is Gregg Turkington as Baskin-Robbins manager Dale, who will be making his grand return from the first Ant-Man. Give him a Disney+ spinoff, cowards!
Hello Tomorrow! (Feb. 17)
Apple TV+ is staying in the Billy Crudup business, which seems like a winning streaming strategy to us.
After scoring an Emmy for his role on Apple's The Morning Show, Crudup leads this new sci-fi dramedy series with a "retrofuturistic" look and feel combining advanced technology with a 1950s aesthetic — sort of like the Fallout games, but before the apocalypse. Crudup plays a salesman leading a team selling timeshares on the moon, though the trailer seems to imply he's a con man and that the whole thing is a scam of some kind.
"Crudup stars as Jack, a salesman of great talent and ambition, whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, revitalizes his desperate customers, but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him," Apple says. Are we looking at an "Elizabeth Holmes, but with the moon" situation?
The rest of the cast includes Alison Pill, Hank Azaria, and Jacki Weaver. For retrofuturism fans, allow this show to tide you over until the long-awaited Fallout TV series arrives, likely later in 2023.
Cocaine Bear (Feb. 24)
It's a movie called Cocaine Bear, and it's about a bear who does cocaine. Need we say more?
Okay, we'll say more. Elizabeth Banks directs this movie that seems like the least likely candidate to be based on a true story, but actually is: in 1985, a real black bear accidentally ingested a duffel bag of cocaine that fell out of a plane. The same thing happens in this movie version, except unlike in real life, this leads the bear to go on a coke-fueled, bloody rampage. (No humans actually died in real life, if that makes you feel better about laughing along with the film's violence.)
For what sounds like a SyFy original movie pitched by a drunken Don Draper, the film has a shockingly stacked cast. It stars Keri Russell, Brooklynn Prince, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Rhys, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta in one of his final, posthumous film roles. What a way to go out, right?
The marketing for the film has already been just as deranged as you'd hope, with the film's official Twitter account tweeting in character as the Cocaine Bear. Between this and M3GAN, it's already turning out to be a strong year for unhinged cinema.
The Consultant (Feb. 24)
You had our curiosity, but after saying Christoph Waltz's name, now you have our attention.
The two-time Oscar winner stars in this new thriller series from Amazon Prime Video as a consultant who's hired to improve the business at a gaming company. But after the mysterious man comes into the picture, "employees experience new demands and challenges that put everything into question … including their lives," Prime Video says. It was based on the novel of the same name by Bentley Little.
The show hails from Tony Basgallop, who created the M. Night Shyamalan horror series Servant, and the rest of the cast includes Regus Patoff, Nat Wolff, Brittany O'Grady, and Aimee Carrero. Matt Shakman, best known for directing every episode of WandaVision, also produces and directed the pilot, so if things suddenly shift to black-and-white like we're watching an episode of Bewitched, you'll know why.
We Have a Ghost (Feb. 24)
If there's stranger things in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?
Coming off his role as Santa Claus, Stranger Things star David Harbour now plays an actual ghost in this new supernatural comedy from Netflix. It sees a family move into a new house, only to discover a ghost named Ernest, played by Harbour, is haunting it. But he seems to actually be a pretty normal, friendly guy, and when footage of Ernest is uploaded online, it becomes a massive viral sensation — leading the family to draw scrutiny from the CIA. Anthony Mackie, Tig Notaro, and Jennifer Coolidge star, with the latter playing a psychic medium. Doesn't that casting just feel so right on a spiritual level?
Though it looks much more like a family-friendly comedy than his prior work, horror fans have their eye on We Have a Ghost given it's the latest film from Christopher Landon, director of the critically-acclaimed "Groundhog Day meets a slasher" movie Happy Death Day and "Freaky Friday meets Friday the 13th" movie Freaky. If nothing else, fingers crossed this might be Landon's "one for them" to be followed by his "one for me," the long-awaited crossover Freaky Death Day.
Party Down (Feb. 24)
Are we having fun yet? More than a decade later, the stars of the cult favorite comedy series Party Down are getting ready to tighten their bow ties once again.
The original series aired for just two seasons on Starz in 2009 and 2010, following a group of characters who all aspire to make it in Hollywood as they make a living working as caterers. It featured a stacked cast of comedians who have gone on to become much more famous, including Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Lizzy Caplan, and Jane Lynch. They're all back for the new season with the exception of Lizzy Caplan, who sadly couldn't return due to scheduling issues.
"Ten years after struggling actor Henry Pollard quit acting and gave up his day job working for Party Down Catering, a stroke of bad luck lands him back with his old team of Hollywood dreamers and misfits tending bar," the official synopsis for the new season reads. New additions include Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson, Zoë Chao, and James Marsden. It's a similar situation to the revival of Arrested Development, another cult classic sitcom that wasn't a hit at the time but returned many years later — though hopefully, this one is less of a party pooper.
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