This Month in Film: February 2019

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2019 is well and truly underway, with January having brought us some fantastic awards contenders (The Favourite, Stan and Ollie and Green Book). February, however, will see us start to say goodbye to awards season releases here in the UK (aside from a few late stragglers), with the cinemas instead starting to be filled once again with more exciting, action-packed releases. Let’s take a look what February has in store:

Alita: Battle Angel, dir. by Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Eiza Gonzales, Christopher Walts
Release Date: 6th February

Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and written by James Cameron (you know, the man behind Avatar, Titanic, The Terminator…), there is no doubt that Alita: Battle Angel will be quite the spectacle. Although the fact that the film’s release was continually pushed back sets alarm bells ringing, these two names alone should be enough to cast potential audience’s worries aside – and that’s without even knowing what the film is about. Cyberpunk film Alita focuses on its namesake, a mysterious cyborg who cannot quite comprehend her identity, her location and her subsequent place within a dystopian world. Given her uniqueness, Alita (Rosa Salazar) is hunted by some classic Sci-Fi baddies and thus must resort to violence to survive. Going from the trailer, she’s a damn good killer, and if one thing’s certain, to call Alita: Battle Angel action-packed is an understatement. Intriguing, exciting and endearing, this film has all the potential to be the main cinematic event of the month.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, dir. by Mike Mitchell

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Release Date: 8th February

Back in 2014, The LEGO Movie became quite the phenomenon. Everything about the Chris Pratt led animation was truly awesome, and the impact it had was unprecedented, not only signalling the rebirth of the LEGO brand, but also sparking numerous sequels and iterations that were equally as wonderful. But whilst LEGO Batman and LEGO Ninjago have kept fans happy, it’s this month’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part that audiences have really been waiting for. Set five years after the original and starring all our favourite plastic people, The Second Part is set to explore a world invaded and slowly destroyed by the scariest toys of all: LEGO Duplo. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, and you’d certainly be forgiven for turning your nose up at such a plot synopsis if you’re unfamiliar with this universe of films, but it is this ridiculousness that made The LEGO Movie such a startling surprise hit and, most importantly, is what made it such a rewarding watch when directors Christoper Miller and Phil Lord somehow managed to pull it off. Expect fun, colour and mayhem; if there’s one thing The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is certain to be, it’s awesome.

EDITOR’S PICK: If Beale Street Could Talk, dir. by Barry Jenkins

Starring: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
Release Date: 8th February

Although February as a whole is a month where we start to move away from awards-worthy films, there was no way I could overlook If Beale Street Could Talk. Few directors have managed to make an impact quite like Barry Jenkins did back in 2016, beating La La Land to win Best Picture with Moonlight in *that* Oscars controversy. Moonlight was a triumph in so many senses of the word, reaching an audience too-often overlooked and showing that independent cinema is really thriving. This brings us to Jenkins’ latest, then, a film that has unfortunately been snubbed by basically all the major awards ceremonies, much to the surprise of pretty much everyone who has been lucky enough to already see it across the pond. Based upon James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is centred around Tish (KiKi Layne), a recently engaged and pregnant woman from Harlem on a mission to prove the innocence of future husband Fonny (Stephan James) after false accusations of rape. As Jenkins proved with Moonlight, he’s the perfect man to tackle such a difficult and tender story, and judging by the trailer, the performances and cinematography in this emotion-stirring film look as equally spectacular.

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The Edge's Film Editor and resident karaoke master. Sometimes does other things including studying for an actual degree, listening to too much disco music, and complaining about how stressful life is on twitter @aliceohare_.

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