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February movie guide

Your monthly collection of cinematic selections ...


February is traditionally known in the film industry as a dump month, the time in which studios take a steamy, hot, collective crap on the proverbial chest of theatergoers around the world.

With Oscar season in full swing and winter weather keeping people indoors, studios put out unmemorable dreck and the movies they secretly hope nobody will see with only a handful of exceptions.

Lay down the Seran wrap and avert your eyes, because this month is already prairie dogging.

“The Cloverfield Paradox”

Feb. 4

Netflix released the third film in the loosely-connected “Cloverfield” franchise just after this year’s Super Bowl with an ad announcing its arrival.

J.J. Abrams, the producer behind all three “Cloverfield” films, adapted a spec script by Oren Uziel entitled “God Particle” to serve as the third film in the franchise, coming after 2016’s “10 Cloverfield Lane,” a near perfect thriller.

“The Cloverfield Paradox” follows a group of scientists aboard a space station who are working with a particle accelerator in order to solve Earth's energy crisis. An accident with the accelerator transports the crew to an alternate dimension where they must find a way home.

“Fifty Shades Freed”

Feb. 9

Buckle up, buttercups; you’re in for the rideof your lives. The climaxof the “Fifty Shades” trilogy finds newlyweds Anastasia Steele and the titular Christian Grey trying to put their pasts behindthem when Anastasia’s former boss begins stalking her. The couple quickly find themselves in over their heads.

Dakota Johnsonand Jamie Dornan return as Steele and Grey respectively, as well as Marcia Gay Harden as Christian’s mother, Dr. Grace Trevelyan.

This threequel comes a good three years after everyone stopped caring about this franchise and is sure to feature such BDSM staples as mild spanking and terse words exchanged between cinema’s least sexually-charged couple. I swear, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl had more chemistry.

“Black Panther”

Feb. 16

In June, we had the first major superhero film starring a female hero with “Wonder Woman.” The film was a welcome break from the typical DC cinematic sludge we had become accustomed to since 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Marvel has a better track record with their cinematic universe, but “Black Panther” still looks to be a welcome break from the formula.

For one, it is the first major superhero film to feature a black hero. No, “Spawn” and “Steel” don’t count — sorry Shaq. “Blade” would be the closest we’ve seen in 1998, but the titular hero has always been a less than D-list character and the film was such a departure from the comic source material as to be unrecognizable.

“Black Panther” looks to bring the fictional country of Wakanda to life, along with its king and sworn protector T’Challa the Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, who finds his seat on the throne challenged by a rival played by the atomic cloud of charisma that is Michael B. Jordan.

Director Ryan Coogler — who also worked on the script — is the first black man to helm a Marvel movie after proving himself with his feature debut “Fruitvale Station” in 2013 and the “Rocky” spin-off “Creed” in 2015, both starring Jordan.


Feb. 23

When a soldier played by Oscar Isaac returns mortally wounded from an environmental disaster zone, his wife, a biologist played by Natalie Portman, volunteers for an expedition to the area in an effort to save his life.

Portman is accompanied by Jennifer Jason Leigh, the leader of the mission; Gina Rodriguez, an anthropologist; Tuva Novotny, a linguist; and Tessa Thompson, a surveyor and the reason for this entry in the movie guide.

Portman leading a sci-fi action film sounds pretty cool and Isaac elevates any material he comes across. But Tessa, this is for you. I know I didn't appreciate you back in “Veronica Mars.” I’m sorry for that. But I took notice of you in “Westworld” and fell in love in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Below you will find my petition and official marriage proposal for Tessa:

David Tunis-Garcia is the managing editor and can be reached at

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