February 2018 — Four new things I’m excited about! (And one big question mark…)

Welcome to February! While all the lovebird couples usually have the entire month locked down, there is still plenty to love in the entertainment area. This is one of the times of year where TV networks usually bring out the best storylines in their shows, whereas on the film side, the movie schedule is usually light, with not too many heavy-hitters. But that didn’t stop me from finding a few things to be excited about this month. From a couple of new series, to a hotly anticipated new movie, February will bring plenty of heat. So what goodness will I be checking out–and what new item has me feeling largely turned off?! Read on to find out!

I’m Excited About…

Altered Carbon
Streaming on Netflix beginning February 2ndaltered-carbon-main.jpg

Based on the 2002 science fiction crime novel by Richard K. Morgan, this cyberpunk series takes place in the distant future, where human consciousness can be digitally transferred from old bodies to new ones. The series stars Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad, Robocop) as Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-soldier and private eye brought back to life after 250 years by the wealthiest man in the world, Laurens Bancroft. In order for Kovacs to continue living, he must solve Bancroft’s murder.

Netflix’s promotion for this series has been pretty heavy; it seems that they’re looking for this series to be one of their biggest hits. The production value looks incredible–at first, I thought it was a movie–and I’ve been a fan of Kinnaman ever since his work on The Killing, so I am automatically all in on this show.

Black Panther
In theaters February 16thblack-panther-trailer.jpg

The latest–and arguably most anticipated–in the Marvel Studios canon, the titular hero gets his own chance to shine after first stealing scenes in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Chadwick Boseman returns as T’Challa, who looks to return to his African home of Wakanda and begin his rule as the new king. But as a new threat emerges, his ascent to the throne is challenged. As T’Challa rises to combat this danger to not only his own people but the world as a whole, he learns what it truly means to be king.

Words cannot fully express how pumped up I am for this movie! Since the early stages of development, every step of production was met with loud praise by fans around the world: From behind-the-scenes hirings (co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler of Creed fame); to the casting of renowned black actors (Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and freshly minted Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya, just to name a few); to the tonally perfect trailers; all the way to the soundtrack, produced and curated by Kendrick Lamar. Throughout the entire process, this film has been not only unafraid but completely proud of its blackness, and I for one can’t wait to see it.

The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale
Premiering on Netflix February 18thJoel_McHale.jpg

It’s been two years since one of my favorite shows, The Soup, went off the air. And admittedly, my weekends have lack a certain lightness without host Joel McHale to update me on all the funniest and bizarre moments in television and entertainment. But lo and behold, Netflix has read my mind and answered my subliminal prayers with the announcement of this new weekly half-hour series that “takes a sharp, absurdist look at pop culture and news from across the globe.” Yup, that sounds just about right. If it manages to retain the same lovable quality of the former series, then give me all the green screen you have.

Game Night
In theaters February 23rdGame_Night_trailer.jpg

Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Kyle Chandler, this action comedy features a group of friends who get together for what begins as an average friendly game night. The host then tells his friends they will be involved in a very realistic murder mystery, shortly before masked men break in and kidnap him. As the night goes on, the gang doesn’t know what’s fake or what’s really going on, leading to the promise of hijinks and hilarity.

As a lover of game nights myself, I’m already hooked by the unique concept. On top of that, this film features a supporting cast of some of my favorite actors, like Lamorne Morris (New Girl), Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad), and Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The trailer looks pretty great, and realistically I’m not going to pass up a chance to see McAdams, so count me in on this.

But I don’t know how to feel about…

Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods
Available February 2ndJustin-Timberlake.jpg

Ever since he went solo in 2002, Justin Timberlake has been a beloved mainstay in music. All of his albums went on to become multi-platinum sellers, and each produced a multitudes of singles that are still played on radio to this day. Timberlake became the de facto king of Pop-R&B, and news of a new album instantly garnered everyone’s attention. When Man of the Woods was announced in early February, Timberlake evoked images of rugged nature, accompanied by descriptions of an “earthy” sound and an album inspired by “where [he’s] from.” This led many, including, to believe that the album would capture a folksy or country-leaning sound.

However the singles that followed were far from anything that could be described as “earthy.” The first single, “Filthy,” utilized heavy, futuristic electronic sounds with warping synths throughout, and while the music is ambitious and smooth, the lyrics and melody were ultimately forgettable. This was shortly followed up by “Supplies,” a Neptunes-produced track that leans heavily into the popular trap sub-genre of today’s hip-hop music. It’s too out of place for Timberlake’s tone and makes him feel less genuine and more like a wannabe. This was simply not the one-two punch I was looking for.

Fortunately, a third single has managed to turn things around a little. Last week, Timberlake released a one-take video performance of the song “Say Something” which features country star Chris Stapleton. With its uplifting chorus and acoustic background, this delivers on his earlier promise more so than the first two singles do. (It’s also telling that this song has already surpassed the view count of “Supplies,” which has been out on YouTube for twice as long.) So while I’m hoping there are more gems like “Say Something” on this album, I’m more likely to believe that it will be a grab-bag collection of hits and misses. Time will tell.

Do you agree or disagree with this list? Are you jamming to Justin? What else are you looking forward to this month that isn’t listed? Let me know in the comments below!

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