Movie Preview – February 2020

Columns, Features, Previews, Top Story

Feb 7th

Birds of Prey: With the full title of the movie being Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) this is the latest movie in the DC Extended Universe and something of a follow up to 2016’s Suicide Squad. Margo Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, a character best known for her relationship with The Joker, only this time, the Joker’s out and Harley is taking center stage. The rest of the Suicide Squad is out as well, and several female character from the DC universe are in including Huntress, Black Canary Cassandra Cain and Renee Montoya. 

Horse Girl: Netflix’s most high profile release of the month is this drama starring Alison Brie. Brie and director Jeff Baena wrote the script about an isolated woman who begins to have a series of dreams that begin to affect her real world. The movie was screened at the Sundance film festival last month and was noted for the surreal atmosphere that the movie had throughout. Debby Ryan and Molly Shannon also star in the film. 

Feb 14th

Sonic The Hedgehog: Last year Paramount Pictures released a trailer for their upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie that was scheduled to be released in November. The only problem was that the character design of Sonic himself was so bad that it was all anyone could talk about. The negative fan response to the character design actually resulted in Paramount pulling the movie from the release schedule and moving it back four months in order to have time to completely redesign the character from scratch. Now the film, complete with a new looking main character, is finally being released and we’ll see if the rest of the movie can live up to the new and improved Sonic look. 

Fantasy Island: For those who don’t know Fantasy Island was a TV show in the 1970s about a mysterious island where whatever you wished for would come true. It was popular enough to run for seven seasons and had a one season revival in the 1990s. Now, the franchise is being rebooted again, this time as a horror movie. With a monkey paw type of story, the “fantasies” of the guests to Fantasy Island will seem wonderful at first, but quickly go horribly wrong as the guests will be forced to try and escape from the island with their lives. Michael Pena will play the role of Mr. Roarke, the caretaker of the island, a role that was made famous by Ricardo Montalban in the original TV show. 

Downhill: Starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Downhill is an American remake of the 2014 French movie Force Majeure. Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus play a married couple taking their family on a skiing vacation. When an avalanche seems to threaten the entire family, in a moment of panic, Pete, the father (Will Ferrell), abandons his family in an attempt to save his life. Nobody is hurt, but now the family dynamics are shifted in a way that may not be repairable.  

Feb 21st

The Call of the Wild: Based on the classic novel from 1903, this version of The Call of the Wild stars Harrison Ford as John Thornton. Most of the buzz for this movie however is focusing on Buck, the famous dog character from the story who is largely being created through heavy use of CGI in this movie. The movie is also the live action directorial debut for director Chris Sanders who is famous for his work on animated hits such as Lilo and Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon.

Emma: The other classic novel getting a new adaptation this week is Emma by Jane Austin. While not as popular as some of Jane Austin’s other novels (Namely Pride and Prejudice) Emma has still been adapted a few times before, perhaps most famously in the modernized version of the story Clueless in 1995. This version of Emma is set in the original time period and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, best known for her work in Split in the titular role. 

Feb 28th

The Invisible Man: Once upon a time, Universal Pictures had a dream to copy the success of the Marvel cinematic universe with a shared universe of their own starring the Universal monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman. This plan was put into action in 2017 with the Tom Cruise film The Mummy, a movie that was rejected by critics and audiences alike, losing an estimated $95 million for the studio and halting the idea of a shared universe going forward. The Invisible Man was in production at the time of The Mummy’s failure, and has now ultimately shifted from a chapter in a shared cinematic universe to a stand alone horror movie. Less “big budget action” take than the cinematic universe version of the character, this movie looks to be a more intimate horror movie with the Invisible Man focusing on going after the woman who escaped an abusive relationship with him. 

Wendy: February will have new movies based on classic novels from loyal adaptations like Jane Austin’s Emma, to more dramatic modern reinterpretations like H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, but the most off the wall adaptation of a classic novel might be this final film, a re-imagining of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Though Wendy makes it clear that the movie is inspired by the classic children’s story, the movie looks like it’s going to go in a direction all its own. The trailer for this one boasts some incredible visuals as it offers a meditation of the complexities of childhood and the journey that is really growing up.

Joel Leonard reviews the latest movies each week for Inside Pulse. You can follow him @joelgleo on Twitter though he's not promising to ever tweet anything from there. Joel also co-hosts the Classy Ring Attire podcast and writes the No Chance column on Inside Pulse as well.