Chatter around the Oscars continues to grow, although most of the debates focus with off-screen politics involving the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Still, there’s plenty of time to prep for Best Picture Marathons occurring at multiplexes near you. Step One. Go watch a 2016 Oscars Nominated Shorts program at your favorite art house.
Until Oscar Weekend arrives, you can take a trip with director Travis Zariwny via his update of Eli Roth’s modern horror classic Cabin Fever for IFC Midnight. While Roth’s core story remains the same, a group of teens battling a strange, flesh-eating virus during a weekend retreat at a rural cabin, Zariwny promises new characters and deaths. With the Zika virus grabbing headlines, a disease thriller like Cabin Fever returns in cinemas and VOD with perfect timing and extra built-in awareness.
Every weekend promises a different film festival but few can match the sustainability or creativity of the 44th edition of the Dance on Camera Festival, celebrating movement from ballet to jazz and contemporary dance captured in the moving image. Dance on Camera Festival runs through February 16 at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Jia Zhangke’s epic drama Mountains May Depart also opens this weekend at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Jia’s latest release, from Kino Lorber, is an immersive look at a contemporary Chinese family as well as the political and business changes of China itself, told over 30 years. At a time when foreign language cinema seems to be losing its grip on American moviegoers, it’s important to keep the spotlight bright on World Masters like Jia Zhangke.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Michael Moore returns with his latest political feature, Where to Invade Next, part European travelogue, part proposal for improving America when it comes to healthcare, education and equality. Arguably the most famous documentary filmmaker working today, Moore may not match the controversy or box office of past hits like Fahrenheit 9/11 or Bowling for Columbine, but he’ll solidify and sharpen his brand as America’s great political commentator.
Cold temperatures in much of the United States may keep movie fans bundled on their couches. A good streaming choice includes Glassland, from Kaleidoscope Film Distribution. Winner of a Sundance Jury Prize for Best Acting, Glassland tells the story of a poor family struggling to overcome addictions and their paycheck-to-paycheck lives. Gerard Barrett writes and directs with Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and Toni Collette in the leads.
Interested in blockbusters? Fox’s Deadpool, already setting Thursday night box office record for an R-rated film, is an adaptation of Marvel’s sarcastic mercenary. The Warner Bros. romantic comedy, How to Be Single, claims a cast of killer comic women including Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann.
After 15 years, Paramount dusts off Ben Stiller’s bumbling, high-fashion model, Derek Zoolander, for Zoolander 2. Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell return with Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig adding new characters to the comedy sequel.