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From ‘Mean Girls’ to ‘Dune’


What do we want from our midwinter movies after the rainy, frost-free holiday season? Is there anything blizzardy? (Yes!) A big sequel breakout explosion? (Well, maybe.) A new movie from the evil director behind “Parasite”? The fourth entry in the “Spider-Man” cinematic universe?

Reliable quality predictions about moviegoing over the next three months are the stuff of dreams, made by uptight, well-paid industry executives. My role in this annual list of 10 is simplicity itself. Based on a time-tested combination of hope, prediction and trailer, it’s time to roll the dice and hope for a few surprises – a few new tricks, if not original, in execution and in the spirit of teaching old brand names.

Release dates are subject to change.

“Mean Girls” (January 12): The 2004 film, written by Tina Fey, was inspired in part by the nonfiction book “Queen Bees and Wannabes.” Fey’s script tackled bullying, cliques, insecurity, and bad high school dynamics with a pop mix of humor and emotion. Then came the 2018 Broadway musical version. And now, again with Fey’s creative and on-screen power, the musical version of “Mean Girls” directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. is coming to theaters.

“Elevator” (January 12): The mission of this Netflix-exclusive premiere: Steal half a billion gold coins in mid-flight at 40,000 feet. Kevin Hart leads a team that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw and master of disguise Vincent D’Onofrio. With that actor and that nonsense, “Lift” instantly becomes a must-see movie. It’s robbery time!

“Point of Interest” (January 12): A Tribune The best movie of 2023Auschwitz camp commander Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Falling”). The film reaches even wider audiences after its limited release in 2023. Directed and written by Jonathan Glazer, written by Martin Amis he had preferred the densely plotted romantic triangle novel and then wisely discarded it.

“Teachers’ Hall” (January 19): Sony Pictures Classics is distributing this acclaimed German drama about a sixth-grade teacher’s painful education in racial hostility, parental interference, surveillance culture, and the fault lines of society at large. Consider this an antidote to all the inspirational, tough-loving heartwarmers in the world.

“Madame Web” (February 14): A spinoff of the “Spider-Man” trilogy under the Sony banner (web joke, inevitable), the film is co-written and directed by SJ Clarkson and stars Dakota Johnson as Cassie Webb, a New York City paramedic whose psychic abilities reveal future events in Spidey. -The verse that needs to be stopped. Otherwise there is no hope for a sequel! In Spider-Women, Sydney Sweeney and Celeste O’Connor play opposite roles.

“Bob Marley: One Love” (February 14): A biographical portrait of the reggae legend and Rastafarian royalty, featuring Kingsley Ben-Adir as Marley. Lashana Lynch portrays Rita Marley; directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, who gave us the Will Smith vehicle “King Richard.”

Timothée Chalamet "Dune: Part Two."

“Dune: Chapter Two” (March 1): Postponement to 2023 – blamed on players’ strike; studios certainly are — coming up with a sequel to the Denis Villeneuve-helmed space epic. first “Dune” He imbued Frank Herbert’s words (and words and words) with truly fascinating imagery. Timothée Chalamet returns as spice hunter Paul Atreides.

“American Magical Negro Association” (March 22): highly controversial and a potentially backfiring trailer for the satirical comedy was released, with excitement coming from white people who were both offended and defensive. And from potential Black audiences. Premise: Aren (Justice Smith) is recruited into a “magical black” community whose mission is to fix and improve the lives of white people. Hollywood recycled this trope for a century; It’s time to do some work. Isn’t it?

“Mickey 17” (March 29): South Korean master Bong Joon-ho “Interference” made Oscar history just before the pandemic; Now, the writer-director is turning his sights to an adaptation of Edward Ashton’s science fiction novel about an interstellar expedition to colonize an ice world. We are waiting for the clones and Robert Pattinson, Steven Yeun, Toni Collette and Mark Ruffalo.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” (March 29): This is one of the “Ghostbusters” remakes, they’re going to get a comeuppance. huge got hit with gum! This movie picks up where 2021’s “Ghostbusters: The Afterlife” left off, with Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd and McKenna Grace (ah, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd) threatening a second ice age; That’s the last thing Manhattan needs short of another ice age. Street artist in Times Square.

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.


excitement @phillipstribune


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