Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is poised to kickstart Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in style, transporting us to the populated, urban megacity of Quantum Realm. In what feels like a redemption arc for the often ridiculed and not-so-popular Avenger that is Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the film sets the first faceoff for the perils to come in the form of the hostile Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors) — in the larger Multiverse Saga. Marking the longest runtime in the shapeshifter trilogy, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases February 17 in theatres worldwide. While you wait for that superhero affair, why not treat yourself to a taste of Old Hollywood with Damien Chazelle’s latest epic Babylon? It’s a wild ride, tracking the outsized ambition of eccentric characters, as they bask in the fame before eventually falling off. The film waltzes into cinemas on February 3.
Coming to local fare, we’ve got two Hindi-language remakes of South Indian movies. First up, Kartik Aaryan kicks things off with Shehzada, an action-drama that explores a young man’s struggle under his scornful father’s eyes, as he discovers that his real parents are millionaires. Drawing plot beats from the Allu Arjun-led Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, the movie releases February 10 in theatres nationwide. Towards the end of the month, we’ve got the Selfiee, in which a superfan and a star collide in a feud, stemming from a misunderstanding with regard to obtaining a driver’s license (sounds like an everyday argument at any Indian government office — if I’m being honest). A remake of the Malayalam film Driving Licence, the film stars Akshay Kumar and Emraan Hashmi as leads, and is slated to release February 24 in theatres.
The month of February is a little dry on the OTT front, with theatrical releases coming back to form after a long time. That said, you can still check out our Entertainment hub to keep track of new releases that might be suited to your taste. On the streaming side, Apple TV+ leads the pack with Sharper, A24’s latest, in which a small, wealthy family gets torn apart by secrets and lies. Also, let’s not forget that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives on Disney+ Hotstar on February 1 — 82 days after its theatrical release in November.
For your convenience, we have curated the biggest February 2023 releases coming to theatres and Apple TV+, which you can check out below:
When: February 3
Writer-director Damien Chazelle doubles down on his love for jazz music in this loud and boisterous take on golden-age Hollywood. Boasting a heavy runtime of 3 hours and 9 minutes, this Oscar nominee plays like a montage, charting the lives of several offbeat characters in Tinseltown as they make it in the film business, struggling to keep up with changing times, and ultimately succumb to the depravity that comes with overindulgence of fame. Babylon plays host to a drug addict played by Margot Robbie and a pompous silent-film star played by Brad Pitt, who reunite since 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Driving the story forward is Diego Calva’s Manuel Torres — the one who manages to smoothly adapt and transition into the soundtrack-loaded talkies era, growing from a meagre film assistant taking cocaine breaks with love interest Nellie (Robbie), to attaining directorial jobs. It shines a light on the fetid exploitative aspect of the industry, whilst being a chaos-fuelled love letter to the art, adorned with dramatic dance set pieces with luxurious amber lighting.
Babylon’s ensemble lineup also stars Tobey Maguire as mob boss James McKay, aimed at making Nellie’s life hell, although she brings it upon herself with reckless gambling habits. Jean Smart plays sensational journalist Elinor St. John, Jovan Adepo as jazz trumpeter Sidney Palmer, Olivia Wilde as Jack Conrad’s ex-wife Ina, and Li Jun Li as cabaret singer Lady Fay Zhu.
When: February 10
Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is another Oscar contender heading to Indian theatres in February. In what’s billed as a semi-autobiographical film, loosely drawn from the celebrated director’s childhood, exploring the coming-of-age tale of a young Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) growing up in a post-war Arizona and aspiring to become a filmmaker. However, when a family-shattering secret about infidelity alters plans, he is forced to consider his love for the craft and how the power of movies can help him see the truth.
The Fabelmans sees Spielberg reuniting with scribe Tony Kushner, after collaborating in critical darlings such as the musical West Side Story and the biopic Lincoln. While initially nervous about spewing personal details in a film of his, the director confessed last year that his parents had actually been ‘nagging‘ him to reinterpret that story before their deaths. Paul Dano (The Batman) as Burt Fabelman signifies the on-screen representation of the father, while Michelle Williams (Synecdoche, New York) plays the mother Mitzi Schildkraut-Fabelman.
Seth Rogen is also enlisted in the lineup as Bennie Lowey, a co-worker of Burt’s, who later becomes a surrogate uncle to Sammy. Meanwhile, Julia Butters (The Gray Man) plays Sammy’s bitter sister Regina Fabelman, whereas Chloe East (The Wolf of Snow Hollow) plays his love interest. Surrealistic filmmaker David Lynch also stars as the famous filmmaker John Ford, whose work heavily influences Sammy’s.
When: February 10
Kartik Aaryan steps into the shoes of Allu Arjun in this Hindi-language rendition of the Tamil film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. In it, he plays Bantu Jindal, a young man constantly criticised by his father since childhood, whose life takes an unexpected turn upon discovering that he is, in fact, the rightful heir to a millionaire’s empire. Going back in time to the emergency room where he was born, his foster father Valmiki Upadhyay (Paresh Rawal) swapped his actual son with rich colleague Randeep Jindal’s (Ronit Roy) baby, so the former could live a lavish life. This explains his contempt and disgust for Bantu, who isn’t his actual child.
Bantu then sets out on a mission to reunite with his real parents, explaining his situation to the well-spoken Raj (Ankur Rathee), who was in the dark about the incident as well. Adding some excitement to Shehzada are the action sequences, which see Bantu vowing to protect his true family from the external threats they face — all the while hoping to carve a place for himself.
Kriti Sanon and Aaryan’s on-screen chemistry is rekindled with them playing lovers yet again, following 2019’s Luka Chuppi. Manisha Koirala plays Bantu’s biological mother, while comedic legend Rajpal Yadav portrays Inspector Satish Yadav, who gets tangled in the familial affair.
A Man Called Otto
When: February 10
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a grumpy old man forms an unlikely friendship with a lively new neighbour, resulting in tumultuous, positive changes to his outlook and a new lease on life itself. That’s because this plot device has been used numerous times, albeit with varying results. Having given up on his life after his wife’s death, a suicidal, cantankerous, and elderly Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks) runs into a very pregnant Marisol’s (Mariana Treviño) family. With not much ‘fun’ stuff happening in his day-to-day affair, he is roped in to form new alliances with her nitwit husband, give her driving lessons, and babysit her jovial kids, acting as a grandparent of sorts.
A Man Called Otto frequently goes into flashback territory, examining his relationship with his deceased wife Sonya (Rachel Keller), and giving some insight into his own heart condition, which he internally grapples with. In what feels like a heartwarming course of events, Otto is seen transforming from a male Karen of sorts, to becoming a healthy, inclusive member of the community — going from a gruff voice tone to a softspoken one. In time, he even lets a stray cat in, though he’s unsure of letting the feline take up bed space.
The cast also includes Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Lincoln Lawyer) and Mindhunter breakout star Cameron Britton in supporting roles. Marc Forster, best known for the chaotic zombie thriller World War Z, directs from a script penned by David Magee (Finding Neverland).
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
When: February 17
Inadvertently warped into the Quantum Realm, due to an oversight by Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), our Ant-Family now finds themselves surrounded by exotic wildlife and a hugely populated megacity, ruled by the multiversal overlord Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). Scott Lang/ Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who was always treated as a side character of the Avengers’ group, receives a warm welcome from the ruler, in addition to the promise of lost time — the five years lost during the infamous Blip event.
Coaxed by the idea of a second chance at connecting with his estranged daughter, our shapeshifting hero agrees to help him accomplish an undisclosed, sinister task. Somewhere along the line, the deal falls through, putting him at odds with Kang, who serves as a formidable opponent. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also has the added responsibility of introducing the mechanical guns-wielding MODOK, who is canonically known for undergoing mutagenic medical experimentation, causing him to develop a freakishly large head.
Corey Stoll, who previously appeared as Darren Cross/ Yellowjacket in the first Ant-Man film returns to voice MODOK. Michelle Pfeiffer reprises her role as matriarch Janet Van Dyne, who is suspicious of Kang’s larger goals, whereas Evangeline Lilly returns as daughter Hope/ Wasp. As per a Fandango listing, Ant-Man 3 clocks in at 2 hours and 5 minutes.
When: February 17
Where: Apple TV+
In Shaper, Julianne Moore (Magnolia) and Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) play an estranged mother and son, who target a wealthy family for A24’s latest. The former has managed to seduce and enter into a relationship with billionaire Richard Hobbes (John Lithgow), while the con-man son Max uses skills of deception to seek out massive pay. Like most stories that deal with rich peoples’ problems — by way of HBO’s Succession — Sharper adds a young heir into the mix. Justice Smith (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu) plays Tom, the biological successor to Hobbes’ fortune, who is described as ‘weak’ by his father.
Taking note of this, Max teams up with Sandra (Brianna Middleton), in a master plan to pull Tom into a romantic trap and pretend to be in love with him — presumably to extract money. What follows next is a web of secrets and lies, where characters start competing for riches and power, promising to keep audiences guessing till the end.
When: February 24
RTO Inspector Om Prakash Aggarwal (Emraan Hashmi) is a diehard fan of Bollywood superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar), with the ultimate dream of getting a selfie with his idol. Opportunity comes knocking at his door when the actor needs to obtain a new driver’s license, with the officer promising to go to the utmost lengths to get the task done in time. However, a misunderstanding stemming from external forces at play causes Kumar to believe that the cop has been taking unfair advantage of him, resulting in a feud that immediately gets media coverage.
It’s a battle of egos essentially, serving as a fun-filled experiment of what could happen when the biggest fan becomes the biggest hurdle in an actor’s life. Selfiee also stars Nushrratt Bharuccha (Ram Setu) as Om’s wife Minty Aggarwal and Diana Penty as Kumar’s girlfriend in supporting roles. Raj Mehta, best known for 2019’s Good Newwz directs the film.