A winter wonderland of cinematic options are vying to lure viewers from the comfort of their homes to some big-screen action, adventure, comedy, and drama. We preview what awaits

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI

CALL OF THE WILD
FEBRUARY 21 (UNRATED)
Adapted from Jack London’s classic book of the same name, this “adventure of a lifetime beyond all maps” takes Harrison Ford and his intrepid half St. Bernard/ half Australian Shepherd sled dog, Buck, through the snowy and at once beautiful and treacherous Alaska Yukon on an exhilarating journey. The supporting cast includes Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, and Dan Stevens.

Fun fact: The fully CGI Buck is a digital scan of a real dog adopted during production from a Kansas animal shelter

ONWARD
MARCH 6 (UNRATED)
An animated comedy-adventure from Disney Pixar set in a suburban fantasy world with no humans—only elves, trolls, and sprites. Barley and Ian Lightfoot (Chris Pratt and Tom Holland), two teenage elf brothers, discover their late father might be able to spend one last day with them thanks to a magical spell. The siblings embark on a quest during which they encounter an array of characters including Manticore (Octavia Spencer), Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis- Dreyfus), and Cheers’ John Ratzenberger.

DOWNHILL
FEBRUARY 14 (RATED R)
This black comedy, a “different kind of disaster movie,” made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as his spouse. The title has dual meaning for the couple after they narrowly escape an avalanche during an Alpine family ski vacation and are forced to take a hard look at their fractured relationship. Inspired by the 2014 Swedish motion picture, Force Majeure, and filmed in Austria, it also stars Miranda Otto and Trenton’s own Zach Woods.

MA Spread

THE GENTLEMEN
JANUARY 24 (RATED R)
When word gets out that American expatriate Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) wants to sell his London-based marijuana empire, all hell breaks loose among some decidedly shady contenders striving to succeed him. If gallows humor mixed with drugs and violence is your thing, this Guy Ritchie-written-and-directed crime flick should place on your must-see list. The supporting cast includes Charlie Hunnam, an almost unrecognizable Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Hugh Grant. Largely shot at West London Film Studios, it’s the second collaboration between Ritchie and Hunnam, the first 2017’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

MY SPY
MARCH 13 (RATED PG-13)
After blowing an important mission, hardened CIA operative JJ, (David Bautista, of Guardians of the Galaxy) is given one last chance to keep his job by his boss, Kim (Ken Jeong). When JJ’s cover is blown by a bullied nine-year-old girl, he is forced to give in to her demands to be trained in spying skills. Peter Segal, who also directed 2008’s Get Smart remake with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, helms this action-comedy. The effervescent Chloe Coleman, currently filming Avatar 2 and having appeared in HBO’s Big Little Lies, plays the young Sophie. Kristen Schaal also stars.

THE WAY BACK
MARCH 6 (UNRATED)
Ben Affleck brings his own personal experiences to the role of Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star struggling with alcoholism. When he is offered an unexpected coaching job at his alma mater and his initially troubled and disorganized team begins a winning streak, old demons surface. Originally titled The Has Been, the new one takes a more positive outlook as Cunningham attempts to stay on the road to redemption. Among the supporting cast members is Hayes McArthur, recently seen as Rashida Jones’ police partner/love interest, Jay Geils, in the TBS comedy series, Angie Tribeca.

BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN
FEBRUARY 7 (RATED R)
After splitting up with Batman’s nemesis, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn gets her own Joker-free movie; a twisted tale told by Harley herself. When Gotham’s nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his right-hand, Zsasz, target the young Cassandra Cain, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Police Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) in an unlikely foursome. Ewan McGregor is the criminal underworld kingpin, Sionis, (aka Black Mask, and see feature article on McGregor in this issue) in this outlandish DC Comics action film.