WE HAVE OFFICIALLY ENTERED THE CINEMATIC DOLDRUMS, THE SO-CALLED “DUMP PERIOD” FOR THEATRICAL RELEASES, WHERE STUDIOS INITIATE EACH NEW YEAR BY JETTISONING THE MOST MISBEGOTTEN, UNLOVED ORPHANS ON THEIR SLATE. SO WE DID A LITTLE EXTRA DIGGING TO FIND YOU SOMETHING INTERESTING TO SALVAGE YOUR THEATRICAL VIEWING PLEASURE
BY DAN SALAMONE
IT ENDS WITH US
FEBRUARY 7 (UNRATED)
The wonderful Blake Lively and Jenny Slate (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies) team up in this romantic drama adaptation of the best-selling book by Colleen Hoover. The logline is pure soap: Lily (Lively) thinks she’s found her soulmate, but when a painful incident triggers old wounds, she must decide where her future lies. Things become even more complicated when her first love unexpectedly returns to her life. Also starring Brandon Sklenar (1923) and Justin Baldoni (Jane the Virgin).
FEBRUARY 9 (UNRATED)
This Giuseppi Tornatore fi lm celebrates the incredible legacy of legendary composer Ennio Morricone. Western fi lm buffs, there’s a likely chance many of your favorites (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in the West) had him to thank for the music. This documentary offers a chance to enjoy those iconic pieces in a new light, as Tornatore retraces the life and work of Morricone, from his debut with Sergio Leone to the Oscar-winning “The Hateful Eight.”
HE WENT THAT WAY
JANUARY 5 (UNRATED)
How’s this for a catchy plot: “Accompanied by his pet chimpanzee, a celebrity animal trainer picks up a hitchhiker, only to discover his passenger is a cunning young serial killer.” Sound like a tall tale? He Went That Way is based on true events that occurred in 1964, when professional ice skater and animal trainer Dave Pitts picked up killer Larry Lee Ranes on Route 66. Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) plays the 19-year-old killer, while Zachary Quinto takes on the trainer.
FEBRUARY 9 (RATED PG-13)
Here’s another fi lm that speaks to a universal experience: a misunderstood teenager (Kathryn Newton, Freaky, Blockers) and a handsome reanimated corpse from the Victorian era (Cole Sprouse, Riverdale) embark on a murderous romantic adventure. (Wait, that’s not everybody’s high school love story?) The horror comedy features a tart script from Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body) and the sure-handed direction of Zelda Williams (Robin Williams’ daughter).
JANUARY 5 (RATED PG-13)
Blum house has a solid track record for only reserving theatrical releases for horror fi lms worth the commute to your local cineplex. (CEO Jason Blum even has a good record for doing so this time of year, see 2023’s wonderfully devious hit, M3GAN). So even if the trailer is a bit nebulous (is it a water monster or a supernatural entity?), the pedigree is interesting. An expansion of a short by its debuting director, Night Swim follows “a family that discovers their backyard swimming pool has some supernatural qualities.” In addition to the Blum seal of approval, the fi lm boasts an impressive cast, with Wyatt Russell (Kurt Russell’s son) and Kerry Condon (Banshees of Inshirim).
FEBRUARY 14 (RATED R)
If nothing new this winter captures your interest, you can always return to the warm, mega-twee embrace of the 2001 French arthouse surprise smash. The plot is incidental in this whimsical flight of fancy, following a delightful young Parisienne (Audrey Tatou) who decides to enrich the world with random acts of kindness, but if you can give in to the vibe, it’s a joyous ride. Hulu is dropping the cult comedy on V-Day
JANUARY 12 (RATED PG-13)
An adaptation of the Broadway Musical that was, itself, adapted from the 2004 mega-hit written by Tina Fey, the latest serving of Mean Girls follows the socially awkward but lovable new student Cady Heron (played this time around by Angourie Rice) as she navigates the labyrinth of modern high school life. Despite some initial doubts, the film nabbed rave reviews (but they’ll still never be able to make “fetch” a thing).