NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Sonic The Hedgehog, The Photograph, Fantasy Island, Downhill

Week #7 of 2020 (2/13-2/16) sees four very different films: a videogame movie about a supersonic blue alien, a romance involving a couple researching her mother who just died, a remake of a 70s TV show and a dramedy involving a family of four not enjoying a skiing trip.

Only one is sticking out and recommended, racing ahead of the others ….

… #1 …

Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I somewhat expected Jim Carrey to steal the show in this videogame adaptation, but he’s actually one of the underwhelming features.

This Hedgehog will definitely bring back SEGA Genesis memories — gamers unite!

The speedy little alien has sort of an E.T type storyline that works. It’s a faithful recreation from the SE-GA! game to big screen. The animation is good and it’s an entertaining film that deserves to do good numbers at the box office. Oh, and bonus: check out the super cool 8-bit gaming end credits.

The Photograph ⭐️⭐️½

#2 pick of the Valentine’s Day weekend is the sole wide release romance. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for based on the trailer.

I expected more intrigue and mystery around the photograph, but there is some decent chemistry between the two leads. Not quite a recommendation, but close.

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island ⭐️⭐️ (2020)

Not the Fantasy Island I was looking very forward to seeing and very much deserving of Blumhouse in front of the title, but this might appeal to viewers who like every single little thing explained ad nauseum.

Downhill⭐️½

It’s all downhill from here, pun intended.

Open to debate who had a worse time: the family portrayed on the skiing vacation or the viewers slogging through this unfunny, mostly cold, dry movie. Julia Louise-Dreyfuss and Will Ferrell have some of the worst ever chemistry of any married couple portrayed on screen that I’ve seen. Sure, they are having marital problems in the film, but I can’t really see how they ever had any happy times. What a great example of when to seek a divorce.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theaters recently and liked (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that the film was that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films rated as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Parasite⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (this weekend)
  9. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Dolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

Opening 2-13-2020 in Theaters: Sonic The Hedgehog, Fantasy Island, The Photograph, Downhill

Wednesday! Week #7 (2/13-2/16/2020) which includes perhaps the biggest date night for couples of the year.

Dinner and a movie, or maybe just a movie. We have date night every Thursday and there are several movies to choose from. A romance, two comedies and a horror film based on an iconic 70s TV show.

First up, that speedy little guy in blue that goes by the name of …

Sonic The Hedgehog
[FIRST LOOK]

SE-GA!

Mario from Nintendo has always had competition from platform game Sonic. It was always about speed in the Sonic game as the blue hedgehog would run through the zones collecting rings. Don’t ask me to tell you what the point of the rings were, but I’m sure the movie will re-educate me. Dr. Robotnik is played by Jim Carrey.

Videogame movies have a brutally bad track record. Not just in my opinion, but among many. Am hoping this one is good and looking as much as or more forward to watching this than any other videogame movie I’ve seen in the past.

Anticipation: 7/10

Fantasy Island
[FIRST LOOK]

Travel in the elevator down to the lower level and begin your fantasy
Fantasy Island final trailer

I have mixed emotions going into this one. Definitely interested in seeing, but feel like it’s probably not going to capture the primary essence and soul of the 70s TV show which sort of bordered on irony involving the fantasies. Sometimes it was dark, but it never was a horror anthology series. Sort of like a cross between Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories with Mr. Roarke and Tattoo keeping it grounded. I think without Tattoo we’re not going to have the comedic elements, which were crucial to grounding the series.

Also, I remain curious why the need for Blumhouse to brand their own name to this (see: Why is Blumhouse adding their name in FRONT of Fantasy Island?) Does this have any real impact on anticipation for the movie? Not really. I already knew Blumhouse was involved and they have an above average record with making profitable movies on small budgets. I’m a fan of returning to smaller budget filmmaking and applaud what Blumhouse is doing. I may not enjoy all of their films, but they are building a studio name and brand.

When I first heard about this movie, it was one of the most anticipated movies of 2020 for me. That interest has waned somewhat, but it’s the film I’m most looking forward to watching this weekend.

Anticipation: 8/10

The Photograph
[FIRST LOOK]

This has the distinction of being the featured new romance movie. It doesn’t seem to be a rom-com, more like a dramatic love story. Am interested, but am not sure we’ll be watching this first. I’m letting Kara decide which one we see first, so maybe she’ll pick this one, who knows?

Anticipation: 3/10

Downhill
[FIRST LOOK]

Will Ferrell has been very hit and miss in movies with me. He’s a funny guy, but a bit formulaic at times. I like that Julia Louise-Dreyfus is starring opposite Ferrell. She was great in Seinfeld and I haven’t seen in her awhile. I hope this has many LOL moments. We’ll see.

Anticipation: 5/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #7: 2/13/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 2-13-2020 movies?

  1. Fantasy Island – 8/10
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog – 7/10
  3. Downhill – 5/10
  4. The Photograph – 3/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

All four movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area with screenings available starting on 2/13/20. All will be watched, rated and reviewed.

FIRST LOOK: The Photograph

Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story?

Our January 2020 viewing challenge is seeing 21+ new/unseen movies, but now seems like a good time to tease what February’s challenge will be. With Valentine’s Day it will be all about romance movies like … this. Rom-coms, too, basically any romance.

This movie that opens on Valentine’s Day is a bullseye.

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (Stanfield).

Movie Insider Plot/Story

The movie description reminds me almost of an Twilight Zone episode. I doubt there will be any fantasy or supernatural elements to the story based on the trailer:

You bet it’s time to kiss her!

Seems like the guy has some good lines he’s using on Mae — and they’re working. A reporter doing a story on her mother who passed away, I am intrigued by the trailer.

The Photograph opens wide on February 14, 2020.

15 Movies COMING TO THEATERS in February 2020

Many of the new movies opening wide in theaters in February 2020 pictured above

The following are movie trailers and my early thoughts for all films tentatively scheduled coming to theaters in February 2020.

If you’d like to see a list of all movies released in 2020 click here (that post will be updated throughout the year).

February 2020 Movies

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn)
[FIRST LOOK]

Birds of Prey official trailer – opening in theaters in February 7, 2020

I didn’t know anything about Harley Quinn until seeing the trailer for this movie in the theater. Didn’t know she was Joker’s girlfriend. Didn’t even know she was a comic book villain. Since that time a couple months ago, I subscribed to DC Universe, started following — and liking very much — her animated TV show and am reviewing all season one episodes as they’re released every Friday. I’m also starting to read her comic books.

Also learned that there was a single season (13 episodes) Birds of Prey TV series — and Harley Quinn was in it — that’s also available on DC Universe. Plan to watch at least some of that, too. Maybe the entire series if it’s really good. This movie, bearing the title, could be more about that group than just Harley Quinn, as it shares the title. I would have been just fine with a Harley Quinn movie by itself, but OK.

Anyway, my anticipation for this movie has increased exponentially. I haven’t seen the movie Suicide Squad, which is the first feature film to include Harley Quinn, but the reviews I’ve come across were unfavorable. Am sure I’ll see that at some point, but probably not before this opens wide in theaters Feb 7, 2020.

Anticipation for Birds of Prey : 9/10

Peter Rabbit 2
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Feb 7, 2020 to April 3, 2020

Peter Rabbit 2 official trailer – opening in theaters April 3, 2020

Haven’t seen the first Peter Rabbit film, but this seems like it’s in that middleworld between children-friendly and adults. Trailer isn’t making me super excited for the movie. Was surprised to see it grossed over $350 million, which explains the presence of this sequel less than two years later.

Anticipation for Peter Rabbit 2 is: 2/10

Fantasy Island
[FIRST LOOK]

Fantasy Island official trailer – opening in theaters February 14, 2020

After seeing what Blumhouse did with Black Christmas⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’m less excited about what they will do here. Also, as lamented (several times), Fantasy Island without Tattoo is missing something important. This is still a movie I’m looking forward to watching. Just hope they don’t make it some cheesy, jumpscare-laden horror comedy. I would like something darker and scarier, feeding into the macabre and yet moral tales of the original TV series. If they lean that direction and execute, I could end up a huge fan.

Anticipation for Fantasy Island: 7/10

The King’s Man
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Feb 14 to September 18, 2020

The King’s Man official trailer #1 – opening in theaters September 18, 2020
The King’s Man official trailer #2 – opening in theaters September 18, 2020

Am getting a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vibe from these trailers. I know it’s not the same thing, but that movie left me feeling cold to films like these. This one could pull me out of this funk … if it doesn’t suck.

Anticipation for The King’s Man: 3/10

The Photograph
[FIRST LOOK]

The Photograph official trailer – opening in theaters February 14, 2020

Trailer makes this seem as mostly a romance which is fitting for Valentine’s Day release, but other than the woman trying to explore her mother through the photographs left behind doesn’t seem to have an otherwise compelling story. It could surprise me though.Timing is good.

Anticipation for The Photograph: 3/10

Sonic The Hedgehog
[FIRST LOOK]

Sonic The Hedgehog official trailer – opening in theaters February 14, 2020

This was my most anticipated movie of February, up there with Fantasy Island, but now Harley Quinn edges them both out. I’m still excited about seeing how the speedy videogame character tears through the film, also Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik looks like a fun bad guy.

Anticipation for Sonic The Hedgehog: 8/10

What About Love
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Feb 14 to September 25, 2020

Sharon Stone in a supporting role it appears. No official trailer yet as of 1/1/2020, so nothing more to go on except for the Wikipedia page. I’m leery of digging too deep into that page before seeing the movie.

No trailer, no anticipation.

Bloodshot
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Feb 21 to March 13, 2020

Bloodshot official trailer – opening in theaters March 13, 2020

Have been a fan of Vin Diesel in action, notably the Fast & Furious franchise, so curious how he works this one through.

Anticipation for Bloodshot 4/10

The Call of the Wild
[FIRST LOOK]

The Call of the Wild official trailer – opening in theaters February 21, 2020

Sad to see Harrison Ford – Han freaking Solo – so weathered and old. I know, I know, happens to all of us, but Harrison Ford in a dog movie? Yeah, it’s based on an awesome novel but I’m not sure about the casting here.

Anticipation for The Call of the Wild: 4/10

Emma
[FIRST LOOK]

Emma official trailer – opening in theaters February 21, 2020

Based on the Jane Austen novel and very little interest in seeing. Less than I did going into Little Women, but then that movie was a delightful surprise. Maybe this one will be too.

Anticipation for Emma: 1/10

Las Pildoras de Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds)
[FIRST LOOK]

Las Pildoras de Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds) official trailer – opening in theaters February 21, 2020

LOL! The boyfriend forgot his meds?! Trailer is pretty funny. I don’t know if it’s all subtitled, but don’t really care, it’s got me curious what exactly happens when this guy is fully off his meds?

Anticipation for Las Pildoras de Mi Novio 5/10

Bad Trip
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Feb 28 to April 24, 2020

Bad Trip official trailer – opening in theaters February 24, 2020

Looks like reality TV gone wild. Sign me up! Will admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of reality TV, but there have been some shows (I liked Cops,The Osbournes and Gene Simmons Family Jewels and some others). The whole catch the audience real reactions to crazy scenes is often too gimmicky to hold my interest through a TV series, but in a movie maybe it will work. This one looks like it could be very funny, I just hope the trailer isn’t showing the best parts.

Anticipation for Bad Trip: 6/10

Burden
[FIRST LOOK]

Burden official trailer – opening in theaters February 28, 2020

Fighting the KKK based on a true story and more modern times (1996, not 1969!), seems like this has potential to be a powerful story. Forest Whitaker!

Anticipation for Burden: 5/10

The Invisible Man
[FIRST LOOK]

The Invisible Man official trailer – opening in theaters February 28, 2020

Boy, this is going to be a tough reboot sell for me. I consider the original Universal monster movies virtually untouchable. That includes the amazing Claude Rains as The Invisible Man. Here, it’s another Blumhouse production, which on the positive side means it won’t be filled with a bunch of crazy expensive CGI, but will this be a fresh take or bad reboot? Curious, but cautious.

Anticipation for The Invisible Man: 5/10

The Whistlers

The Whistlers official trailer

Has great blurbs. If a movie trailer relies on blurbs, I’m almost instantly suspicious. Show me how good it is in the trailer, not with a bunch of quotes in the trailer telling me how great it is. Don’t know about this one.

Anticipation for The Whistlers: 2/10

Ranking the February 2020 movies by anticipation (as of this writing)

  1. Birds of Pray – 9 / 10
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog – 8 / 10
  3. Fantasy Island – 8 / 10
  4. Bad Trip – 6 / 10 (release date changed to April 24, 2020)
  5. Burden – 5 / 10 — LIMITED
  6. Las Pildoras de Mi Novio – 5 / 10 — LIMITED
  7. The Invisible Man – 5 / 10
  8. The Call of the Wild – 4 / 10
  9. Bloodshot – 4 / 10 (release date changed to March 13, 2020)
  10. The Photograph – 3 / 10
  11. The King’s Man – 3 / 10 (release date changed to September 18, 2020)
  12. Peter Rabbit 2 – 2 / 10 (release date changed to April 3, 2020)
  13. The Whistlers – 2 / 10 — LIMITED
  14. Emma – 1 / 10
  15. What About Love – (release date changed to September 25, 2020)

What movies in February 2020 are you looking forward to seeing?