February is almost upon is, and if you're a Hollywood star, that means one thing: It's time for the Academy Awards and a month of hype, celebrations and publicity extravaganzas. The parties, the glitz, the glamour of the red carpet! Yes, February is great time of the year.
If you're a Hollywood star, that is. If you're like the rest of us, though, February looks more like this: the snow, the gloom, the undending grey tedium of seasonal affective disorder. February may be the shortest month, but it feels like the longest. Just how is a film fan supposed to survive?
Well, here's how: by checking out our Movie Lover's Survival Guide to February, in which we review all the best options in theaters, on DVD, on television and on demand to help you lose your winter blues in the best way possible -- with a good movie.
The Best of February: Movies in Theaters
February may not exactly be May, if you know what we mean, but while there aren't a lot of big blockbusters on the horizon, there are still some interesting films hitting theaters this month. Here are your best bets for maximizing your entertainment dollar:
• Feb. 4 -- 'Sanctum' wasn't actually directed by executive producer James Cameron -- that honor went to Alister Grierson -- but the 'Avatar' mastermind's fingerprints are all over this new action thriller, from the plot about divers trapped in a flooded cave to the fact that it was filmed entirely in 3D. Just... don't see it if you're claustrophobic, okay? Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
• Feb. 11 -- 'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never' aims to do for YouTube superstar Justin Bieber what 'Love Me Tender' did for Elvis Presley: turn him into the undisputed king of pop culture. Okay, that might be a tall order, but anyone who is or knows a screaming teenage fangirl best be ready for the most anticipated concert film in years. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
• Feb. 11 -- 'Gnomeo and Juliet' goes where few Shakespeare adaptations have gone before -- onto your weird neighbor's lawn. That's because this animated comedy, which is based on the Bard's legendary play 'Romeo and Juliet,' is told using lawn gnomes instead of, you know, people. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt provide voices and best of all, Elton John provides the music. Watch the Trailer
• Feb. 18 -- 'I Am Number Four' has big expectations to live up to: Studios and the publishing market alike are hoping that this teenage sci-fi adventure, which is adapted from a book by James Frey, will kick off a new multi-platform franchise that can fill the void left by the end of 'Harry Potter.' We'll be happy with just seeing a cool movie. Watch the Trailer
• Feb. 18 -- 'Unknown' stars someone who knows a little bit about banishing those winter doldrums: three years ago, Liam Neeson's 'Taken' destroyed box office records for the month of February. This time around, he's playing a guy who wakes up with short term amnesia only to be told that everything he thinks he remembers is wrong too. A nice mind-bending thriller to take your own mind off the weather for awhile. Watch the Trailer
• Feb. 18 -- 'Hall Pass' is the first film from the Farrelly Brothers in way, way too long. Now they're back, though, and by the looks of things in top form with a perfectly twisted premise: Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis star as two bored husbands who are given a "hall pass" by their wives, allowing them to have extramarital adventures for a week without any consequences. And if you believe that, we've got a bridge to sell you. Should be fun to watch them learn the error of their ways. Watch the Trailer
The Best of February: Movies on DVD & Blu-ray
When it comes to DVDs and Blu-ray, February has got it going on. All those holiday season tent poles, documentaries and crowd-pleasing critical favorites -- they're all on their way to your home video collection, beginning with these selections:
• Feb. 1 -- 'Let Me In' got a bit lost in the shuffle when it came out last year, in part because it was an adaptation of a foreign film -- Sweden's 'Let the Right One In' -- that horror fans already considered a modern classic. But 'Let Me In' deserves a second look, because it not only stars current It Girl Chloe Moretz, but it also happens to be a darn good movie in its own right. Buy or Rent the DVD
• Feb. 1 -- 'Alice in Wonderland' may have been a ginormous success when the Johnny Depp version came out in 3D last year, but that success had a very strong foundation: Disney's original, animated adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic. Now the original is back for a 60th anniversary edition, available in fully restored, eye-popping digital Blu-ray. But be warned: If you go down this rabbit hole, you may never want to come back out. Buy the DVD
• Feb. 15 -- 'Waiting for 'Superman'' was arguably the most acclaimed and most popular documentary of the year, which, of course, means that it was passed over by the Academy Awards in the latest ridiculous snub from the cartel that runs the documentary category. Check it out now so you'll know exactly why everyone is banging their heads against their desks when the Oscars are handed out. Buy or Rent the DVD
• Feb. 25 -- 'Megamind' may have had the same basic plot as its fellow animated hit 'Despicable Me,' but it has charms and fun all its own -- not to mention an all-star cast that includes Will Farrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt. More proof that these days, animation may the best the best thing coming out of Hollywood. Buy or Rent the DVD
• Other top releases for the month include 'Paranormal Activity 2' (Feb. 8), 'All the President's Men' (Feb. 15), 'Get Low' (Feb. 22) and 'Due Date' (Feb. 22).
The Best of February: Movies on Television
Thanks to all the Oscar build-up, some of the greatest films of all time are being shown on television this month. And that's not even including, of course, the Oscar ceremony itself, which helps make February one of the best months of the year for movies on television:
• Feb. 1 -- 31 Days of Oscar is an annual tradition on Turner Classic Movies. That's right: the event is so awesome, not even the entire month of February can contain it. The premise is pretty simple: every day, the channel is running non-stop Oscar nominees, usually broken down into cool mini-marathons covering everything from films with great set design to movies featuring nominees who played hookers. It's a film lover's dream come true. Click here for TCM's Full 31 Days of Oscar Schedule.
• Feb. 4 -- 'The Pixar Story' is one of the more interesting -- and sadly overlooked -- documentaries of recent years. The 2007 film, which is full of exclusive interviews, behind the scenes footage and rare archival clips, tells the full story of how an unknown gang of computer programmers and animators ended up creating the most beloved, acclaimed and successful studio in Hollywood. A must see for all animation fans.
• Feb. 12 -- 'The Godfather' is arguably the greatest movie of all time and the only reason there's an argument is the fact that director Francis Ford Coppola decided to make 'The Godfather Part II.' So which is better? You can decide for yourself on Feb. 12 and 13, because AMC is running the films back to back on both days. Do yourself a favor and make it a 'Godfather' weekend.
• Feb. 27 -- The Academy Awards are, as every film buff knows, the Super Bowl of movies, complete with office pools, viewing parties and angry Internet rants. All of it comes to a head this Sunday night when all of Hollywood turns out to see whose career will be made, who will be unjustly snubbed and how long the ceremony will run over the time allotment. The one movie event of the year that you cannot afford to miss.
• Other top films on TV this month include 'Notting Hill' (Feb. 3, Lifetime, 9PM), 'Wanted' (Feb. 9, FX, 7:30PM), 'The Shawshank Redemption' (Feb. 16, AMC, 8PM) and 'Ben-Hur' (Feb. 24, TCM, 10PM).
For complete TV listings for the month of February, visit AOL Television.
The Best of February: Movies On Demand
Too tired to scrape off your windshield just for a trip to the theater -- but not turned on by anything on television? No worries: That's what On Demand is for, after all, and this month's crop of offerings doesn't disappoint:
• 'Crazy Heart' earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar last year, so what better way to celebrate his current nomination for 'True Grit' than by checking it out on HBO On Demand? Other highlights include Matt Damon's comedic turn in 'The Informant!,' Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the acclaimed drama 'Revolutionary Road,' and the Liam Neeson thriller 'Taken.'
• 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' was one of the biggest hits in Hollywood history, and now, Showtime has it On Demand just in time to get ready for this summer's follow-up, 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon.' Also available in February: Robert Downey Jr. in the animated sci-fi acid trip 'A Scanner Darkly,' Christian Bale in the high octane future epic 'Terminator: Salvation' and Vin Diesel driving cars in 'Fast & Furious.'
• 'Precious' came out of nowhere to become last the most talked about film at last year's Oscars; now if can be the most talked about film in your living room thanks to Instant Neflix. Other critical favorites available through Netflix include Stanley Kubrick's classic war movie 'Full Metal Jacket,' Martin Scorsese's classic mob movie 'GoodFellas' and David Fincher's classic backwards-aging movie 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.'