The Collegian
Friday, August 07, 2020

Film Fridays: Movie recommendations for February

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Have you seen the memes about January 2020 being the longest month ever? That’s how movie fans probably felt with January’s movie releases. But don’t worry! February is here and we can start fresh because this month is bringing many good movies. 

Here are the six movies that I find the most intriguing to watch:

Buffaloed (Out Feb. 14)

“The maroon suit and nurse shoes may not tell you this, but I’m a hustler.” Directed by Tanya Wexler and written by Brian Sacca, "Buffaloed" follows the story of Peg Dahl (Zoey Deutch), a hustler and high school senior, who gets accepted into the college of her dreams. When she realizes she cannot afford the tuition, she decides to do anything to earn her tuition money and leave Buffalo, New York, for good, even if that means joining the underworld of debt-collecting.

The trailer had me cracking up from the first few seconds. Zoey Deutch gives a hilarious performance in this indie feminist comedy about a young woman taking over a man’s world in the wittiest way. Coming out on Valentine’s Day, Buffaloed is a refreshing and original break from the rom-coms of this month. 

Burden (Out Feb. 28)

“If you truly want to leave klan, then your first step is admitting what you done.” Based on a true story, "Burden" takes place in South Carolina in 1996, when a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a local town. Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund), a rising KKK leader, attempts to leave the white supremacist organization after his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough) and high school best friend (Usher Raymond) force him to reconsider his long-held beliefs. When the Klan seeks revenge, an African American reverend (Forest Whitaker) accepts Mike, his girlfriend and her son into his community to protect them.

Directed and written by Andrew Heckler, "Burden" premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award, but it is being released only in limited movie theaters now. The plot is controversial. It focuses on racism and the KKK, yet Heckler seems to try to make his (white) audience have empathy for Mike, a white man trying to leave KKK, and the “tough” decision he makes (even the movie title bears Mike’s last name). However, I would still recommend you watch this movie; even through its controversy and bias, it may spark some difficult but crucial discussions. 

The Last Thing He Wanted (Out Feb. 21 on Netflix)

“The reporter with a moral compass, always a step ahead. Everything that happens, she's sourced up and in print.” In "The Last Thing He Wanted," Anne Hathaway stars as Elena McMahon, a veteran Washington D.C. journalist and single mother, who loses the thread of her own narrative after her coverage gets censored. After her father (Willem Dafoe) leaves her a series of unfinished arm deals in Central America where she has investigated Contras’ activity for years, Elena becomes a pawn in the very story she's trying to break.

Based on the trailer, this movie seems to have more action than investigative journalism, so I don’t expect it to pay the same ode to journalism as "Spotlight" (2015) and "All the President’s Men" (1976). Directed by Dee Rees and written by Marco Villalobos and Rees, "The Last Thing He Wanted" still looks like a promising thriller of investigation, corruption and reporting the truth. And if you haven’t figured out from my previous reviews and recommendations, I’m all about that!  

Ordinary Love (Out Feb. 14)

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“I can’t tell her how frightened I am. I have to just continue as normal. That’s my job in all this.” "Ordinary Love" follows the story of a long-time couple, Tom and Joan (Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville), whose life changes after the latter’s breast cancer diagnosis. In the course of Joan’s treatment, they are faced with the challenges that lie ahead and the epic questions life throws at each and every one of us.

Directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn and written by Owen McCafferty, "Ordinary Love" takes a gracefully tender and honest look at the extraordinary power of love in tough times. Neeson and Manville seem to have great chemistry on screen and frankly, I could not bear to see Neeson in a fourth "Taken" movie or some other Taken-like movie. So, I’m excited to give this one a watch.

Wendy (Out Feb. 28)

“All children grow up, but some -- the wild ones, the ones with the light in their eye -- escape.” Influenced by the classic story of Peter Pan, "Wendy" takes us to a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued. There, a young girl Wendy must save her freedom, and the carefree spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up. 

Directed by Benh Zeitlin and written by Eliza Zeitlin and Benh Zeitlin, "Wendy" seems to be a movie for everyone -- small kids, big kids, grown-ups who feel nostalgia for their cheerful childhood, college kids like us who also go through our own transition to adulthood and what it means to “grow up.” In all this stress and daily routine, we tend to neglect that inner child inside us, the carefree one who never minded the world’s opinions, the spontaneous one that found joy in every little thing, the dreamer who dreamt of taking over the world. I think "Wendy" is here to remind us of that inner child inside us. 

Emma. (Out Feb. 21)

“The words must be your own. You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” Adapted from Jane Austen's beloved comedy, "Emma." follows the story of the clever, beautiful and rich Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she plays matchmaker for her friends and adventures through romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.

The trailer for this classic satire of social class and the great pain of growing up looks witty, wacky, elegant and amusing. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, "Emma." is one of the most promising movies of the month.

Contact contributor Myrsini Manou-Georgila at myrsini.manougeorgila@richmond.edu.  

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