February already? Just as the awards season rush dies down from December and January, we hit what is widely considered to be a dead month for movie releases. There may be a few surprises (last year's Lego Movie turned out to be one of the biggest February hits of all time), but that doesn't mean there aren't a few great reasons to head to the theater. Check out these five options.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Is this going to be the best movie of the year? Not likely. The books ain't exactly Shakespeare, if you know what we mean. However, it's one of these movies that could make for a great girls' night, especially after a couple of drinks. Ever heard the saying that it's impossible to look away from a train wreck? Seems pretty appropriate here.
The film had casting issues from the start with every big-name actor bloggers had pegged to play the millionaire bad boy showing no interest from the get go. Jaime Dornan and Dakota Johnson were tapped and have limited chemistry in the trailers, so this can really only work as a guilty pleasure. The film is rated R, as many of the NC-17-inducing scenes from the book have been cut. Will the story work without the shock factor that carried the books to the best-seller lists?
Oscar Nominated Shorts
Outside of these screenings at Harkins Camelview this month, it's nearly impossible to see everything nominated for Academy Awards in the Live Action and Animated Short categories. Besides making it harder to fill out a ballot for any Oscar parties you may be attending, it's also a shame, as there are some truly great short films nominated each year. Many of the creators of these shorts will go on to make a name for themselves in Hollywood, but even if they don't, their work is worthy of a larger audience than they are typically granted.
In the animated category, the films are: The Bigger Picture, The Dam Keeper, Feast, Me and My Moulton, and A Single Life. In the live action category, the films are: Aya, Boogaloo and Graham, Butter Lamp, Parvenah, and The Phone Call. Screening times vary each day, but alternate with one screening around 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, 6:40pm and 9:00pm to allow viewers to see all the movies in each category back to back. Screenings are currently scheduled every day through Thursday, February 12, but check the Harkins Camelview website for current times and to purchase tickets.
The Princess Bride
One of the most beloved and quotable movies of all time will be playing on the big screen again over 25 years after its original theatrical release. If you didn't see it then (which is likely, seeing as it didn't do well in theaters the first time around) you've got a few chances this month. B&B Theatres are hosting a screening on Thursday, February 5, Cult Classics will show the movie at Pollack Tempe Cinemas on Saturday, February 14, and Harkins Theatres will be hosting screenings on Tuesday, February 24, as part of its Tuesday Night Classics series.
The classic tale of true love, giants, miracles, grandfathers, and more has something for everyone. For an extra bit of fun, read As You Wish by Cary Elwes (who played Westley in the film) and have fun spotting all his behind-the-scenes secrets.
The Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts hosts Talk Cinema events each month and they are always a good time. Because they are meant to be a surprise, your best bet is to follow them on social media if you can't commit without a sneak peak, or you can just trust their judgment and show up. It may be an insightful documentary, a foreign film without a local release, or something from recent festivals that is worth a look. With a moderator in attendance for a post-movie chat, it's a great way to learn more about how and why the film du jour was made. Check out Talk Cinema on Tuesday, February 10 to see White God, a prize-winner from the Cannes Film Festival. Tickets are $19 and screenings start at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the SCPA website.
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Some Kind of Wonderful
When it comes to movies, John Hughes owned the 1980s and a small portion of the '90s. A full-scale tribute to the man behind such classics as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, Home Alone, etc., would take more than a month, so FilmBar is doing the next best thing by highlighting four of Hughes' hits, including one of his lesser known films. If you've already seen Uncle Buck (screening Friday, February 6, through Monday, February 9), Pretty in Pink (Friday, February 13, through Monday, February 16), and The Breakfast Club (Friday, February 20, through Monday, February 23), see them again anyway because they are awesome. Then, make plans for the last weekend of the month to see Some Kind of Wonderful. Starring Lea Thompson, Eric Stoltz, and Mary Stuart Masterson, it will close out the month-long tribute the weekend of Friday, February 27, through Monday, March 2.