Now Playing! February 2022

Now Playing!
February’s films are perfect for 2022. They’re bold and fresh and encourage their audiences to grapple with some complex questions. They might not appear similar at a first glance, but each features characters that are faced with difficult decisions with no easy answers. What allows them to push forward is ultimately their courage and determination to forge a better future. As we face the new year, the characters of the latest batch of films serve as fantastic inspiration to strive for a brighter tomorrow.

Spiderman: No Way Home

2021, Dir. Jon Watts – In Theaters – PG-13

The latest installment of Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe is here, and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough. After Peter Parker’s identity is revealed to the masses, he’s forced to reckon with his past, his future, and how his identity as a crime-fighting superhero affects everyone around him. There’s of course a slew of surprises in store, but those you will have to see to believe. Tom Holland makes a fantastic Peter Parker in the film, and Zendaya gives a wonderful performance as the sharp and quick-witted MJ. The film’s storyline is remarkably inventive, and it manages to pay respect to earlier iterations of Spiderman while remaining vibrant and fresh. 

Licorice Pizza

2021, Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson – In Theaters – R

Great films make you get so lost in their world that it takes a few minutes after they end to really leave. Walking out of the theater as the credits for Licorice Pizza rolled behind me, the lights outside seemed a little brighter and I still felt the film’s buzzy excitement. The movie follows an unlikely (and admittedly strange) friendship between Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) that begins in the San Fernando Valley in 1973. What follows is a film about love, stardom, and childhood dreams, and how your perception of all those things changes as you get closer to what you want.

Don’t Look Up

2021, Dir. Adam McKay – Netflix – R

Adam McKay’s latest is a pretty heavy-handed satire, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. The movie boasts a star-studded cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, and many, many more. The story begins with two astronomers discovering that an asteroid is going to hit earth in about 6 months. As the pair talk to news outlets, politicians, and civilians about the impending demise of human civilization, they soon realize that no one has any clue what to do (and some would rather pretend like it’s not happening at all). 

The Matrix Resurrections

2021, Dir. Lana Wachowski – In Theaters – R

None of the films in the Matrix franchise have managed to capture the same vitality as the original, but each sequel has been fun, thought-provoking, and joyfully over-the-top. Lana Wachowski seems to take that approach for the fourth film, with a storyline that’s very current (and pretty meta). The film begins with Neo back in what he believes to be the only reality that exists, haunted by memories that he can’t believe are real. When he stumbles upon his lost love Trinity (Tiffany, in this universe), and an invitation to return to the Matrix, he must face the truth of his past once and for all.