Most anticipated movies of February 2023
Jess Cadogan provides a whistle-stop tour of this month’s big releases, including A24’s much-anticipated now Oscar-nominated The Whale
Whether you’re looking for an Oscar-worthy performance or a family-friendly animation, there’s plenty in store for film lovers throughout February. To begin with, the emotional drama The Whale opened in the UK on February 3rd. This film follows the hardships that come when Charlie (Brendan Fraiser) attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Sadie Sink), and pressure is put on his other relationships. Though the story faces some important issues head-on, it has been called out for its fatphobia, causing controversy. However, this film brought about what the internet has coined ‘the Brenaissance’, with beloved actor Brendan Fraiser coming back into the spotlight and even earning himself an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. With a brilliant cast and director and the backing of notorious company A24, The Whale will surely be nothing if not memorable.
Look no further than Puss in Boots: The Last Wish for something more family-friendly and fun. With rave reviews coming in from all directions, this third instalment in the Puss in Boots franchise is a must-see. Another legendary cast comes together in this fairy-tale extravaganza, with Florence Pugh, Salma Hayek, Olivia Coleman, and Ray Winston starring alongside Antonio Banderas in arguably one of his most iconic roles. Reviews have highly rated the storytelling, performance quality, and interesting new animation style DreamWorks has adopted. Sure to be good fun, this is an exciting addition to the Shrek legacy.
Opening to UK cinemas on February 10th is the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated Women Talking. This gripping drama follows a group of women as they discuss how to proceed when they realise they are being drugged and attacked by the men in their remote religious colony. Based on a book inspired by actual events, director Sarah Polley studies the pain and trauma these women face in minute detail. The incredible ensemble cast includes stars like Claire Foy, Jesse Buckley, and Frances McDormand. With a limited release, this might be a hard one to catch, but one to look out for.
Also opening on February 10th is the wildly different Magic Mike’s Last Dance. As the third instalment in the Magic Mike series, there is already a considerable legacy behind what this film could be and what else Channing Tatum can deliver in his iconic role. This film will see him alongside Salma Hayek as a wealthy socialite as she takes him to London for the chance to direct his show. For a film series based on male strippers, this installation seems somewhat more emotionally driven. Although it solidly remains a Magic Mike film, the emotional connection between Tatum and Hayek is a brilliant addition.
On February 17th, the highly anticipated Marvel film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be released to audiences. This film marks the beginning of ‘phase 5’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opening up a whole new saga for its fans as Jonathan Majors appears in his second Marvel feature, this time as Kang the Conqueror. Although Marvel has been at the top of its game for the last few years, it’s hard not to think it may be losing some momentum. Their previous big release Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was, of course, a huge success that honoured the legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman, but issues such as the tiresome use of CGI in some ventures and the complexity of the stories becoming inaccessible seem to support a waning popularity for the studio.
Although Marvel has been at the top of its game for the last few years, it’s hard not to think it may be losing some momentum
Ending February with a bang, the slasher/comedy Cocaine Bear is set to release on the 24th. Just the idea of this film is baffling, but the general idea is that a wild bear consumes a large amount of cocaine, and terror ensues. Perhaps more baffling is that this film is (loosely) based on actual events. You may need a strong stomach for this film, but once you get over the terrifying CGI bear, it might just be some good old insanity.