Horror is in the spotlight in this selection, but it’s not just about bloodshed and 50-year-old franchises. Sometimes, behind the forced smiles, hides an unfailing determination and behind the scenes, the women watch.
The Woman King
Released February 1
Inspired by real facts, The Woman King traces with greatness a feminist revolution, that of the Agojie, in the kingdom of Dahomey (current Benin) in the 1800s. Viola Davis proves to us once again the full extent of her talent, as General Nanisca, a convinced and resolute war chief. She has never been so powerful and convincing, as she prepares her recruits for an inevitable battle for the survival of her people. Perhaps the only way out in this era where men strut their stuff and where white slavers reign in power. A period film yet very current with just enough action, energy, emotion, a little forced on certain aspects which we could have done without, but which does not detract from the poignant story of an arbitrary policy. Gina Prince Bythewood who had recently made The Oldguard (2020) for Netflix has found its way into African, humanist and resolutely feminist politics. At a time when superhero films make the majority of audiences, it is good to find more authenticity on the 1er february.
Released February 8
After North ferry (2020), Cedric Jimenez returns with a new film, just as visceral, November, behind the scenes of November 13, 2015. A way of filming, of framing, of rendering an innocuous scene realistic, and we know that it is difficult for a French film to go beyond the simple stage of observation. As Olivier Marchal also knows how to do it in a similar register, but in a more fictional context, Jimenez’s cinema is frank, lively and nervous at will. A battery that we can’t stop and that’s what we can wish for this whole anti-terrorism team led by Jean Dujardin, which we follow in the days following the attacks. A difficult subject to adapt when you know that it will inevitably touch the hearts of the French, but the advantage is on its side since we look at what we have not necessarily followed in the news and information. Behind the scenes well documented, well paced, there is no politics in this November, but action, which allows us to keep something else in memory of this terrible night. A punchy film to be found on February 8.
Released February 8
Contrary to what the title might suggest, Smile does not give a smile, far from it. But rather a very palpable discomfort throughout. A film that pulls off with a few tricks and yet is self-sufficient. Far from the usual opportune scare jumps, this horror film plays on the psychology of the characters, among others, that of Rose Cotter (Bacon lookalikewho is none other than the daughter of Kevin Bacon) who knows a lot about it since she is a psychiatrist by profession. What to ask good existential questions when the noose tightens around his own person. With a very intimate staging, we feel the trauma and the mental manipulation she undergoes. A film that changes the way we consume horror films and which, despite some flaws, will have had the merit of trying to offer us something else. Maybe that’s also the magic of a horror movie when it’s orchestrated by a complete stranger like the director Parker Finnit usually works quite well the first time, remains to be seen if the test will be transformed, a second installment being planned for 2024.
Simone, the trip of the century
Released February 15
Olivier Dahan like the portraits of women, after The kid Edith Piaf (2007), Grace of Monaco (2014), it’s about Simone Veil, with Simone the trip of the century, that his camera leaned. It is Elsa Zylberstein and Rebecca Marder who share the title role, and the weight of all the women weighs on their shoulders. The journey of an extraordinary woman, who has devoted everything to advancing the role of women in society, the freedoms to which they aspire, and more. The chronology could lose some, but it is also the hallmark of the director, who with great mastery manages to captivate us at every moment of his life. From her youth in the concentration camps which will bring her a mind of steel, with multiple personal commitments and for all the women she will establish.
A film that pays a very fine tribute, nothing less was needed for this exceptional woman who knew how to overturn the codes of an entire era. A powerful biopic whose simple name resonates with unparalleled conviction, resilience and strength of character to discover on February 15.
Released February 16
To the poster of Xa vintage horror film, there are two actresses of horror and fantasy. Jenna Ortega who, after Scream (2022) soon Scream VI and Wednesday on Netflix, is the indisputable star of the moment, but also mia goth (A cure for life, Suspiria, The Secret of the Marrowbones) who already has a well-filled horror filmography.
X is the first of a horror trilogy, with Pearl (2022) a prequel and Maxxine coming soon. The pitch is simple, a group of young filmmakers is shooting an X movie, but the shooting is not going to go exactly as planned. We can’t stop thinking about Chainsaw Massacre (1974), where the ghosts of Texas horror still reside. Far from falling into parody or nanar, X pays a fine homage to horror films and burlesque films of yesteryear. An old school film that returns to the origins of horror with just the right amount of blood and sex to discover on February 16.
Released February 22
First DC comics superhero incarnation for Dwayne Johnsonin black adam. Evil alter ego of Shazam (with the same powers), very sympathetic anti-hero that we will find very soon on the big screen for a second part. We find there Jaume Collet-Serra to the realization, in a register very different from his previous films, which also finds his actor of Jungle Cruise (2021). Originally known as Teth Adam, he served Prince Khufu until his death. An event that will profoundly change him and affect his powers, diverting him from good to evil, making him the Black Adam of today. Awakened from the dead by a team of mercenaries, Black Adam will resume his duties as a killer and sow discord. But Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), leader of The Agency, always has a watchful eye on the superhero collectives plaguing the city. In this specific case, the Justice Society is ready to send Black Adam straight to his grave, if he does not put an end to his actions. A gang war to discover on February 22.
Released February 22
‘Cause all good things come to an end Halloween Ends final part of the trilogy David GordonGreen started in 2018, successfully concluded, a 40-year-old hunt. We find there the community of Haddonfield, deprived, frightened, and angry against the authorities, but especially against Laurie Strode whom they now consider responsible. Jamie Lee Curtiswho was pale in the excellent second part Halloween Kills (2021), is resolutely forced to face her fears and take on new responsibilities vis-à-vis her family. Less action and more psychology in this last part, focused on the inner demons of the small town, and on the origins of evil, which everyone is the judge to control, stifle or release. An evil that never dies, but just changes shape. Undoubtedly, horror franchises are on the rise and few manage to preserve the essence of the 1978 original and this is definitely one of them. Much more visceral and violent, this trilogy plays on reinterpretations of the original, while circumventing the myth of the boogeyman. A last breath on February 22, for Michael Myers, who has terrorized the web for more than 40 years and a trilogy to discover as soon as possible.
The edition of the month
scream 2 (1998)
After the release of Scream5e part of the saga Screamand the recent release of the first opus in Steelbook 4k, it is quite legitimate that this scream 2released in 1998, also reappears in the same 4k Steelbook collection, and it is hoped that opus 3 and 4 will also follow. Wes Craven, still at the controls of this slasher saga which no longer needs to be presented, is once again tracking Sidney Prescott, survival who is struggling to recover from the latest carnage in Woodsboro. If this second is considered the least good of the franchise, rightly so, it offers us, however, very good scenes of murders and chases within the confines of the university campus.
Top DVD & Blu-ray releases in February 2023 – L’Éclaireur Fnac