THE HEAT DURING WINTER’S DOLDRUMS CAN BE FOUND INSIDE YOUR LOCAL MOVIE THEATER, WHERE 2023’S FIRST BIG RELEASES INCLUDE FAN-FAVORITE FRANCHISES, THRILLERS, AND HEART-WARMING SPORTS COMEDIES
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
MARCH (RATED PG-13)
British actress Helen Mirren’s casting as Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir, known as the “Iron Lady,” drew some criticism when it was first announced (Our eyebrows raised more at Liev Schreiber playing Henry Kissinger). Filmed in London and billed as a “dramatic biographical thriller,” the fi lm focuses on 1973’s Yom Kippur War and the high-stakes challenges and decisions Meir (1898–1978) must confront and make. According to IMDb, the PG-13 rating is partly due to “persuasive smoking.”
Keanu Reeves/John Wick fans rejoice! The long-awaited fourth and possibly penultimate installment of the Lionsgate franchise finds hitman Wick still trying to earn his freedom from the High Table. The action traverses the globe with stops in New York, Paris, Japan, and Berlin as the price on Wick’s head increases and friends are revealed to be foes. The cast includes Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise the Dancing Clown in 2017’s It), Laurence Fishburne, Donnie Yen, and Natalia Tena.
FEBRUARY (RATED R)
Add 1940s detective to the long roster of characters in Liam Neeson’s diverse portfolio. The thriller is set in San Francisco where downtrodden tough-guy private investigator Philip Marlowe trails the murderer of an heiress. This is the 11th time author Raymond Chandler’s anti-hero has been portrayed on fi lm, starting with The Big Sleep in 1946 starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This turn co-stars, Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, and Colm Meaney.
NOW PLAYING (RATED R
“Redemption can be found in the most unusual places.” When a lightning strike forces a commercial airliner to make a harrowing emergency landing on a war-torn island, Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) must transform from hero pilot to rescuer after his passengers are taken hostage. Torrance is forced to rely on an unlikely ally, the accused murderer who was being extradited by the FBI aboard the doomed plane (Mike Colter, Zero Dark Thirty). The “white knuckle” action flick, filmed in Puerto Rico, also stars Tony Goldwyn and Daniella Pineda.
SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS
MARCH (RATED PG-13)
Given all the o -screen drama with Warner Brothers’ DC Comics films, the future of Zachary Levi’s Shazam! is unclear. In the meantime, this is the second chance to enjoy his spoton casting as teenager Billy Batson, who endearingly continues to be amazed at his recently acquired adult superpowers. Fury of the Gods was announced shortly after the 2018 original debuted but was delayed by COVID-19. Levi recently told Entertainment Weekly fans should keep hope alive for a third installment now that new DC co-chairs, director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran, are in charge. “I think it’s going to do reasonably well,” predicted Levi, adding, “If they decide to recast me, them’s the breaks.” Co-starring Rachel Zegler, Helen Mirren, Adam Brody, and Lucy Liu.
‘80 FOR BRADY
Selected to open this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, this superstar-studded comedy is based on the true tale of four friends and rabid New England Patriots fans who make the bold decision to attend the 2017 Super Bowl to cheer on their hero, quarterback Tom Brady. The fi lm was produced by Brady, who also appears. The multi-award-winning leads are Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field. Overdoing team merch, the women dive into the festivities surrounding the Big Game with assists from Mayor of Flavortown Guy Fieri and Broadway great Billy Porter. Co-starring Harry Hamlin, Sara Gilbert, and Bob Balaban.
MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE
Channing Tatum is back as choreographer/stripper Mike Lane in the third and final installment of the franchise that began in 2012. Expectations are raised with the return of Steven Soderbergh, who directed the original. Having left Miami for London, the dancer now works for a rich investor played by Salma Hayek as he pulls out all the stops to create a transcendent new show. The pair steam up the screen, as do the dance sequences. And of course Donna Summer’s “The Last Dance” is on the soundtrack. Caitlin Gerard returns as Kim.