February 2020 Movies, Ranked
This February offered many interesting and delightful films, each bringing to light both a story that needs to be told and a story that fails spectacularly on all levels. Being as how January was a pretty bad and experimental month for film, February showed us why 2020 has a bright future on the big screen, and also why it doesn’t. Here is a ranking of all movies theatrically released in cinemas and home video/streaming during the month of February.
23. Brahms: The Boy II, STX Entertainment
Look, Hollywood has it all wrong at this point with horror in general these days. Only one horror film on this film list is remotely good, and that film is in my top 10. But Brahms: The Boy II is just really hard to watch. The first installment in the series did below average and didn’t really please moviegoers, so Hollywood and STX bring us this film. This film is the physical manifestation of the offensive, predictable, jump-scare-fueled horror we have today. And the worst part is, they actually got Katie Holmes to sign on. Katie Holmes is actual talent, and even SHE couldn’t get this film to stand on both legs.
22. The Jesus Rolls, Screen Media Films
The Jesus Rolls is so bad it’s bad. John Turturro, who played Jesus Quintana in the comedy classic The Big Lebowski, reprises his role as Jesus Quintana for a “wild ride.” The whole film is just Jesus and his friend, played by talent Bobby Cannavale, going on a spree throughout the United States while bumping into random people that are played by Pete Davidson, Susan Sarandon and J.B. Smoove. The entire film feels misguided and misplaced in its attempts to bring the viewer comedy, and I was left emotionless. It is so unfortunate that this film has even the slightest connection to a classic.
21. Fantasy Island, Sony Pictures
Talk about underwhelming. This film is marketed as a prequel to the events of the fantastic T.V. series of the same name. However, horrible character arcs, dumb horror movie cliches, and the fact that this passes off as a comedy while originally intending to be a horror movie makes this film one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far.
20. The Call of the Wild, 20th Century Studios
How did 20th Century Studios manage to mess up this source material? I’m baffled, considering The Call of the Wild is one of the best novels in recent memory, and this movie didn’t translate at all, much to my dismay. Let’s start off with the good. Harrison Ford gave a modestly well-acted performance as John Thornton, and he matches John in the book pretty well. That’s all the good. Now let’s get to the bad. The big bad in the film is a horribly-written character who has no real drive or strategic intelligence, and the CGI is some of the absolute worst I’ve seen this year. This movie cost $150,000,000 to make, and not once did the visual effects/CGI artists look at the final product and go, “This looks bad.” This made it through a press conference and into a theater. This was painfully disappointing and an obvious attempt to lure small children into the theater.
19. Goldie, Vice Films
Now, we’re diving into uncharted territory with this one. Goldie has a weird storytelling style that most people including myself wouldn’t vouch for, and for that reason, I couldn’t invest myself clearly in the film and its messages, and I’m not saying the film itself is horrible. Every film from here on out is definitely watchable, but this one is a long watch. Check it out on streaming when you get a chance, as it is a very interesting watch.
18. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, Disney+
Disney+’s attempts at feature length films so far haven’t been successful, with the failure of Lady and the Trump in late 2019. This was their one shot at redemption, and it missed by a nickel. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a hearty film, no doubt, but it mostly suffers from not targeting all audiences. The original Timmy Failure source material is directed at young children and tweens, and it’s not a surprise that the movie would try to do the same. It failed.
17. The Last Thing He Wanted, Netflix
Oh, Netflix. This was one that I hoped would be at my number one spot at the time of writing, but boy, did it fail badly. This film stars Willem Dafoe, Ben Affleck, and Anne Hathaway. All three of these actors are capable of pulling their own weight, and it’s been proven before. Ben Affleck was amazing in The Accountant. Anne Hathaway was fantastic in Interstellar. And Willem Dafoe shocked audiences with his mesmerizing portrayal of Thomas Wake in The Lighthouse. So how is it that the writing is choppy and Ben Affleck looks asleep for the better half of the film? These actors pulled through though, delivering what they could to save the ship from sinking. The story was told, but it definitely could’ve been told better.
16. Impractical Jokers: The Movie, WarnerMedia
Like them or hate them, the Impractical Jokers are one of America’s best comedy groups. However, I always balked at the idea of a feature length film involving the four jokesters because their show is made for the silver screen. But, a movie was actually made, and the result was just ok. It simply felt like I was watching different episodes of Impractical Jokers that were smashed together to create a movie. Sure, I laughed and I did have fun, but I’d prefer any future movies involving the four jokesters to remain on television.
15. The Night Clerk, Saban Films
This is an example of a film that gets monumentally worse with time after your initial watch. I greatly admire Tye Sheridan and Ana De Armas is one of my favorite actresses in the field today, but their performances aren’t enough to save this film from taking the generic crime scene investigation film route. Ana De Armas is spectacular, however, and she saves this film from falling into below average territory.
14. Horse Girl, Netflix
This is the Color out of Space of the month. I still don’t remember what exactly transpired during the events of the film, but that’s its intent. Horse Girl is a psychological thriller aimed at experiencing the brain of a mentally-ill played spectacularly by Allison Brie. She is the reason that this film is where it is and is 100 percent believable in the role. Check this mind-bender out when you get the chance to.
13. Guns Akimbo, Lionsgate
Guns Akimbo is the most engaging, fun ride of the month. Starring former wizard Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving, who continues to rise the ranks in the film industry, Guns Akimbo takes a video game approach to The Purge in a highly comedic way. Radcliffe is undeniably hilarious, and the action sequences are wonderfully filmed. It is easily one of the best surprises of February and a big win for Lionsgate.
12. Emma, Universal Pictures
Emma is Little Women done wrong. I may be a bit biased here considering the fact that I don’t like period pieces that much when it doesn’t involve a historic, engaging war. I only liked Greta Gerwig’s Little Women because of her unrelenting motivation to direct such a fantastic film from such fantastic source material. That isn’t the case here. While Little Women can be done again, Emma simply doesn’t have the same charm. Anya Taylor-Joy is truly one of my favorites, and is the only bright spot this film has to offer. She carries the film on her back and makes it as interesting as it could be for a literal translation from the original. Point is, this film could’ve been a lot better if it took more risks like Gerwig did for Little Women. However, that’s not to say this film was bad, because it was as enjoyable as a period piece could possibly be.
11. Standing Up, Falling Down, IFC Films
I admire Billy Crystal. I admire Ben Schwartz. I love this movie. Comedic, self-aware, and emotional, Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz both deliver on the funny side, and never hesitate to show their emotional side. IFC has been on a tear this month, releasing good film after good film that never ceases to please me. You won’t regret checking this one out.
10. Buffaloed, Magnolia Pictures
How is it that I’ve never heard of Magnolia Pictures? Because at this point, they really need to keep making films. Buffaloed is a comedy that takes a look at capitalism as a whole, and is helped by an electric Zoey Deutch performance, while standing on its feet and delivering a fun time at the movies.
9. Olympic Dreams, IFC Films
Remember how I said IFC is on a tear? This is why. Olympic Dreams is actually filmed on set at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Long distance athlete Alexi Pappas and Big Mouth voice actor Nick Kroll star as an Olympian and a dentist who meet and spend time with each other after Pappas’ character loses. They find love, but Kroll’s character is struggling with an estranged marriage. This was overall a really well put together plot that streamed very smoothly and was complimented by great lead performances and memorable cinematography involving real-life events.
8. Superman: Red Son, Warner Bros. Pictures
I love DC Comics, and when it comes to the Red Son storyline, I lose my mind. The idea of a what if scenario involving Superman crash landing in Russia instead of Kansas is eye opening and exciting to watch on screen with the great animation provided. Overall, it’s good animation, translating to a good, enjoyable film on the other end.
7. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, Warner Bros. Pictures
The DCEU has been in disarray for a vast majority of years now since its official assembly in 2013 with the release of Man of Steel, and honestly, I think it’s improving. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman were both fantastic, but that’s when DC threw a major curveball. Suicide Squad and the infamous Justice League followed those two works of art, and the DCEU was attacked by its large fan base. So in retaliation, DC released Aquaman in 2018 which was a MAJOR improvement over the two previous mistakes they had made. Then, they hit rock bottom again in 2019 with the release of Shazam!. Now, with the release of Birds of Prey, and me having seen it, I can comfortably say that we’ve settled in the middle. Birds of Prey is a colorful and vivid film that explores the cunning and deceptive mind of Harley Quinn as she assembles a team of female fatales to defeat the villainous Black Mask. It was a large improvement over Shazam!, but that’s not saying much when it comes to the DCEU.
6. All the Bright Places, Netflix
Netflix finally cracked the young adult formula. We don’t want Twilight. We don’t want After. We don’t want To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And we especially don’t want The Kissing Booth. We want this. All the Bright Places is realistic, gritty, scary, and not afraid to portray real life in the eyes of a teenager. Great job, Netflix.
5. Ordinary Love, Focus Features
Liam Neeson is fantastic in anything he does (not including Taken 3) and he always finds a way to unleash our emotions or just spice a flick up. Ordinary Love is about the character of Tom (Neeson) who learns that his wife, Joan (Leslie Manville) is suffering from breast cancer. You can imagine the emotion that went through the audience’s head’s as they saw Liam Neeson consoling his wife, holding her as if they’re the only two in the world that matter. Focus Features put out a gem with this one, and I hope they keep it up.
4. VFW, RLJE Films
I had never heard of grindhouse horror before watching VFW. Now I’m big fan. Stephen Lang, Fred Williamson, and William Sadler are old men in a VFW celebrating a birthday when all of a sudden, gangsters break in looking for stolen drugs and things go AWOL really quickly, as carnage immediately follows. The entire film is chock full of memorable kills, bloody fun, and dark comedy that will keep any horror fan entertained.
3. The Photograph, Univeral Pictures
So far, The Photograph is the best romantic film I’ve seen so far this year. Director Stella Meghie balances two love stories by using flashbacks and flashforwards really well, and having these stories inflict emotion on the viewer. Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae are magnificent in their roles and they bring the romance to the screen perfectly. I look forward to seeing more from Stella Meghie in the future.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog, Paramount Pictures
Sonic the Hedgehog is the funniest film to grace the big screen this year. I found myself laughing out loud when I didn’t think I was going to, and that was the best part. Ben Schwartz perfectly voices Sonic, who tells funny, relevant jokes that never feel inopportune or cringeworthy. Jim Carrey is excellent as Doctor Robotnik, bringing his mojo that he still miraculously has to the already hillarious film. Sonic the Hedgehog is no doubt the best video game adaptation we’ve ever gotten, and for very good reason.
1. The Invisible Man, Universal Pictures
Horror is officially back in the building. Elisabeth Moss absolutely kills it with her performance in this amazing horror flick which should kickstart Blumhouse’s Monster Series. The horror is very well done, relying not on jumpscares, but on true psychological horror that is sure to scare the viewer. The film also focuses on themes related to relationship abuse and domestic violence, while still focusing on the horror elements previously mentioned. The Invisible Man may have recently disappeared from theaters, but it could reappear in your movie library soon enough. Check this one out as soon as you can.