6 to See in February 2017
What new movies and television shows are most deserving of your attention this month? Our editor, Dan Owen, selects his top six choices for UK audiences…
Stephen Gaghan directs this movie, loosely based on the Bre-X mining scandal from 1993, about a US businessman (Matthew McConaughey) who travels to Indonesia with geologist Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) to find gold. Co-starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson & Bruce Greenwood.
UK Release: 3 February 2017.
Another superhero? On television? Enough already. But wait! No disrespect to the likes of Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, which are all very good, but Legion represents something a little chewier. David Haller (Dan Stevens) is a man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a boy and has spent his adult life inside different psychiatric hospitals hoping to treat his condition, who comes to realise his condition is actually related to his latent super-power. Oh, and Haller is actually the son of Professor X from the X-Men, but Legion is going to play down this association. Developed by Noah Hawley (the talented writer behind the excellent Fargo series), I can’t wait for this to begin.
The trailer looks adult, stylish, inventive and very intriguing, while early buzz has been extremely positive. X-tremely positive? Okay, ssshhh.
UK TV: 9 February, Fox UK.
The LEGO Movie was much better than it had any right to be, although I can’t say I was a huge fan. I think it was a bit overrated, but it did have some very amusing and creative elements. The idea of a spin-off for the popular Batman character (voiced by Will Arnett) seems ridiculous to me, but the trailers have all been very funny. And with the live-action Batman in the incapable hands of Zack Snyder and crew right now, this is probably going to be the best way to get a genuinely good Bat fix for awhile.
UK Release: 10 February 2017.
24, the television show that helped popularise the term ‘binge-watching’ (in the pre-VOD era of chunky DVD box-sets), is back. However, this time there’s no Jack Bauer uttering “dammit” every half-hour, as the torch has been passed from Kiefer Sutherland to Walking Dead star Corey Hawkins. The format of the show appears to be exactly the same, although they’ve learned a trick from 24: Live Another Day in reducing the episode order to 12 hours to enable a handy time-jump at some point.
It remains to be seen if the lack of Jack is going to be too much to get over for some fans, but having a different character with a new family to endanger will breathe dramatic life into situations. Let’s just hope there are still ways for the writers to get us on the edge of our seats, or gasping in surprise at the twists events take, as 9 seasons of 24 covered just about every terrorist plot imaginable.
Tick tic, tick tock…
UK TV: 15 February, Fox UK.
Oscar-nominated drama from Barry Jenkins, based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, telling the life story of a man from a rough neighbourhood in Miami. Starring Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali & Alex Hibbert.
UK Release: 17 February 2017.
The cult hit John Wick gets a well-deserved sequel, although I’m not sure the mainstream British audience are that bothered. John Wick was an excellent modern B movie, thanks to astonishing choreography, gritty action sequences, the odd appeal of Keanu Reeves, and just the right amount of ludicrousness hanging over everything, but it didn’t seem to crossover in quite the same way Taken did. I predict Chapter 2 will be a modest enough hit for those who saw the original as a Friday night DVD (and don’t fancy seeing Moonlight that same weekend), but there’s a chance strong word-of-mouth will prove me wrong. If the marketing’s good, hopefully lots more people who never saw John Wick will seek it out and then buy a ticket.
UK Release: 17 February 2017.