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10 Films to See In February

Written by on February 5, 2015 

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While our recent trip to Sundance afforded us a preview of some of 2015’s best films, it’s back to that treacherous arena that is the early months of the year. While a few major studio releases are vaguely on our radar (Jupiter Ascending, which is far from the disaster some predicted) and others have us running away from the theater (Fifty Shades of Grey), there are promising options, as well as a bevy of notable independent dramas and comedies. Check out the ten we’re most excited about below, many of which will be available on VOD.

Matinees to See: 1971 (2/6), Jupiter Ascending (2/6), The Last 5 Years (2/13), Gett (2/13), Queen & Country (2/18), Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2/20), All the Wilderness (2/20), Wild Canaries (2/25), Everly (2/27), and Focus (2/27)

10. Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn; Feb. 13th)

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Synopsis: A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.

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Why You Should See It: Although I’ve often found Matthew Vaughn‘s films to be entertaining but ultimately forgettable, his latest, Kingsman: The Secret Service, looks to be one of his more well-received features. A send-up of the spy genre, it also seems like the closest we’ll get to his take on Bond, specifically with Colin Firth in the lead role. While the trailers have yet to impress, we can hope that the buzz is to be believed.

9. Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes; Feb. 6th)

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Synopsis: From first rehearsal to world premiere, Ballet 422 takes us backstage at New York City Ballet as emerging choreographer Justin Peck crafts a new work.

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Why You Should See It: A quick glance at films such as Afterschool, Tiny Furniture, and Martha Marcy May Marlene will reveal a distinct visual style from cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes. While his work has likely been most-seen in HBO’s Girls, he’ll be hitting nationwide theaters next summer, having shot Judd Apatow‘s next comedy, Trainwreck. Before that project, he helmed a new documentary, Ballet 422, which arrives this week — and we’ve already named it one of our favorites of the year.

8. The Salvation (Kristian Levring; Feb. 27th)

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Synopsis: In 1870s America, a peaceful American settler kills his family’s murderer which unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader. His cowardly fellow townspeople then betray him, forcing him to hunt down the outlaws alone.

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Why You Should See It:  Following up his Best Actor win at Cannes for The HuntMads Mikkelsen returned to the festival in a far different genre. The western The Salvation, also starring Eva Green and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, appears to be a handsomely crafted period piece. As we said in our review, “Pulpy, violent, exploitative and trashy, The Salvation harkens back to the spaghetti Western era before the genre became introspective with the likes of Unforgiven or No Country For Old Men.”

7. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (Spike Lee; Feb. 13th)

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Synopsis: Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood…

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Why You Should See It: We found Spike Lee‘s latest, already available on VOD, to be one of his best in years. Our review claims it’s his “freest-feeling endeavor in a spell, the full-forced reminder that, after years divided by safe hits (Inside Man and, yes, Oldboy) and personal duds (Miracle at St. Anna, the aforementioned Red Hook Summer), he’s yet to lose sight of how both the personal and the lively might flow together. Weighed with regard to a place amongst the Lee canon, it stands as a work equally divided by divergences and conformities nevertheless united, forcefully, by a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool insanity.”

6. My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Liv Corfixen; Feb. 27th)

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Synopsis: Portrait of filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn during the filming and release of Only God Forgives.

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Why You Should See It: While we imagine Nicolas Winding Refn‘s next feature will be out by next year, 2015 brings us a look inside one of the man’s most divisive films, Only God Forgives, as captured by his wife, Liv Corfixen. We said in our review that the documentary “gives us intimate, day-by-day access to their life together during the six-month trip to Thailand with their two children and the way Refn tries to blend being an artist and having a family. Challenging and engaging, it’s a documentary that is perhaps more interesting and deep than the film it is about.”

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