I love watching movies in the theater. I’m totally that person that will attend a film by myself just so I can experience the joy of watching a movie on the big screen. My family knows my love of moviegoing, and each year for Christmas I get a gift card good enough for a few matinees. Here’s what I’m dropping those gift dollars down on this year:
1. Robocop – U.S. release February 12
Yes, the original Robocop seems cheesy and dated now. But, I’ll fight anyone who dismisses it as a silly ’80s action flick. The commercials in the film alone satirizing conspicuous consumption, the medical industrial complex, and the ways we talk about war still sting as much as they did then. That’s before we discuss the frightening look into what happens when we privatize public services and their critiques of the militarization of the police.
Of course, when I was a kid, I didn’t catch any of that. My brothers and I just liked to act out the action scenes and practice our bad acting on each other. Because of my fond memories, initially the Robocop remake put me off. But, the more I’ve seen of the trailers, the more I believe that the filmmakers are at least attempting to stick to the spirit of the original film in terms of political commentary. I’m still super pressed about the changes they made to Louis that further reduce the presence of women in the film. But, I think it might be worth my seven bucks.[sws_divider_line]
2. César Chávez: An American Hero – U.S. release March 28
If you don’t know who César Chávez is and why he’s important, I’ll wait while you immediately head to the Googles to rectify that. I’m not thrilled about the title of the film and the claiming of Chávez as an “American” hero, and I worry about the softening of his legacy as an ardent, radical labor activist. But, I also would like to support any biopic about such an important figure and a wide release film starting Chicano people who are horrendously underrepresented in such films. I hope the movie will inspire new interest in Chávez, his work, and his ideas and also motivate people to look into current labor and immigration issues.[sws_divider_line]
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – U.S. release April 4
I never thought that my most anticipated film of any year would be one starring Steve Rogers. I confess that I found Cap totally uninteresting until he graced the big screen. But, ever since The Avengers I’ve taken a shine to him in an “oh, you” kind of way, and this second solo film looks like it’s going to leave me awash in feels. I mean, can we talk about the Winter Soldier arc played out on screen? Can we talk about Sam the motherfucking Falcon and having, woah, two superheroes of color in the Marvel cinematic universe? Can we talk about the film being a political thriller with Cap questioning the function and actions of SHIELD and the federal government? Can we talk about Chris Evans’ ass in that costume? I’ll be there.[sws_divider_line]
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past – U.S. release May 23
Okay, okay, so I already have a lot of critiques about this film. I’m annoyed that Wolverine stars when Kitty Pryde starred in the comic book arc. I’m still and forever annoyed about the flop casting of my queen, Storm. I’m still not entirely sure how the powers that be will pull off such a beloved and iconic story arc in a two hour film. And, I have an entire post stashed away about the appropriation of the struggles of marginalized peoples without actually featuring those peoples in the X-Men canon. I’m so good on “allegorical” marginalized peoples and treating straight, white bodies as if you can transplant anyone’s histories onto them. But, the X-Men remain my favorite Marvel team, and I’m a huge fan of Magneto. (Gotta love those bad boys.) So, I’m going to check it out. If nothing else, I’ll get to see everyone in atrocious ’70s stylings with some bonus Peter Dinklage.[sws_divider_line]
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – U.S. release July 11
My family loves the Planet of the Apes film, and when I say loves, I mean loves. When my dad passed away in 2007, we buried him with a DVD set of all of the original Planet of the Apes films. You can’t be more of a hardcore fan than that. While he was around for Tim Burton’s disappointing reboot of the franchise, none of us thought it lived up to the first film. So, I regarded this latest reboot with a healthy amount of wariness. But, after seeing the first film and the way the creators framed Caesar’s ascendance as a leader, I look forward to this next film. Now, if I can talk to somebody about the problem with putting “tribal” makeup on apes, that would be fantastic.[sws_divider_line]
Readers, what films are you most anticipating this year?