Some of us may be going back to school and work, but some of us still have a couple of weeks off. And even if you don’t have time off, well it’s still pretty cold out so why not spend it inside a warm theater, picturing yourself in the world of a great film? Here are some of the movies coming out this January, what are the ones you are most excited to see?
A Monster Calls
Connor (Lewis MacDougall) lives with his mother (Felicity Jones) who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. As he struggles to deal with school bullies and the pitying glances from his teachers, he begins to be followed by a tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson), who only wants him to do one thing: Tell the Truth. Drama, Fantasy. Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images. My First Opinion: I read this book and absolutely loved it, so I am very excited to see how it will be played out onscreen. Totally on board.
Underworld: Blood Wars
The war between the Vampires and the Lycans is waging on, with the Lycans close to a victory. Vampire Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycans and the Vampires who betrayed her, and attempts to stop the eternal war as both clans turn their gaze to her hybrid daughter. Action, Horror. Rated R for strong bloody violence and some sexuality. My First Opinion: I’ve never watched the other titles in this series, but I do find it funny that they are promoting this movie so much that on Youtube the advertisement before the trailer is the trailer.
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man into outer space, NASA began utilizing the untapped talent of a group of African-American female mathematicians. Their task: to calculate the monumental launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return to Earth. Drama. Rated PG for thematic elements and some language. My First Opinion: I think this is a fascinating story to tell, so I’d love to see how it plays out.
The Lindel brothers, Mikey (Johnathon Schaech) and JP (Adrian Grenier), had only each other growing up. As adults, JP owns a successful construction company, and Mikey is a mobster, stuck in a life of crime. When Mikey is kidnapped by crime boss Eddie King (Nicholas Cage), JP turns to old friend Sal (John Cusack), an undercover detective, to rescue his brother. Thriller. Rated R for brutal bloody violence, language throughout, and drug use. My First Opinion: It’s very hard for me to take Nicholas Cage seriously as a mob boss, not going to lie.
A railroad worker in 1941 China leads a team of freedom fighters against the Japanese in order to get food to their poor countrymen. Action, Comedy, War. Not Yet Rated, includes violence/gore and frightening/intense scenes. My First Opinion: This has a very Kung-Fu Hustle vibe to it, looks kinda cute actually.
Reflecting the life of Martina “Tini” Stoessel, the soon-to-be star strikes out on her own from the world of Violetta. She journeys to the Italian countryside to embark on a summer adventure to define her as a person and an emerging artist. Adventure, Family, Music. Rated G. My First Opinion: I actually have no idea who this girl is, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a non-animated film be rated G.
In the seventeenth century, two Catholic missionaries (Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) must face the ultimate test of their faith as they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) and to spread their faith in a time when Catholicism is forbidden. Drama, History. Rated R for some disturbing content. My First Opinion: Well this won’t be the first time Adam Driver is a fanatic for his faith *coughcoughSITHLORDcoughcough*. But it does look interesting.
In 2013, the Boston Marathon was the target of a bombing that killed three and injured nearly three hundred. Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) must quickly determine how to calm the city and coordinate the manhunt for the terrorists who planted the bombs. Drama, History, Thriller. Rated R for violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout and some drug use. My First Opinion: I am interested in the story, but I’m not sure if I believe 2 hours and 13 minutes is actually necessary.
Live By Night
In 1920s Boston, Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) has turned his back on the proper upbringing of his youth and finds a career with the city’s most fearsome mobsters. While he enjoys the thrills of his crimes, they come at the heavy price of betrayal, constant battles for control, and the likely outcome of an early death. Crime, Drama. Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity. My First Opinion: I’m not usually a huge fan of the Roaring Twenties, but this movie does look interesting enough.
Tripp (Lucas Till) is looking for any way out of the small town life he was born into, so he builds a Monster Truck out of bits and pieces in the nearby scrapyard. A nearby accident at an oil drill lets loose a subterranean creature with a taste for speed, giving Tripp both an unlikely friend and a way out of town. Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi. Rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor. My First Opinion: I am definitely laughing, but I don’t think it’s for the reason they want me to be laughing.
The Bye Bye Man
Three college students move into an old house off campus and discover the supernatural entity known as the Bye Bye Man, who gains power as more people discover his name. Horror, Thriller. Rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language, and teen drinking. My First Opinion: The name sounds kinda stupid, but there is something scary about a being that gets more power the more people know about him.
Vincent Downs (Jaime Foxx), a cop with an undercover connection to the criminal underworld, must scour nightclubs and shady drug houses to find his kidnapped son. Action, Crime, Thriller. Rated R for strong violence and language throughout. My First Opinion: I’m usually not one for shoot-em-up cop thrillers, but this one does look kind of fun.
The Book of Love
Harry (Jason Sudeikis) is an introverted architect who sets out to fulfill a promise to his wife (Jessica Biel) to help a homeless girl in their neighborhood (Maisie Williams) who is set on building a raft to sail the Atlantic. Drama. Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language and drug material. My First Opinion: This actually looks really cute and I’d love to see it. Plus, you know, Arya Stark with an American accent.
Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies
A group of young snowboarders are stuck at a remote mountain ski lodge when an all-night party turns into a nightmare of zombie attacks and mayhem. Comedy, Horror. Not Yet Rated. My First Opinion: This looks both horrible and ridiculous. I love it.
Three separate story lines converge into a narrative of different generations that fall in love during a time of socioeconomic turmoil in Southern Europe. Drama, Romance. Not Yet Rated. My First Opinion: This definitely looks artsy enough for the Oscars, hopefully not so artsy that it doesn’t make it to Iowa.
Boyka (Scott Adkins) is shooting for the big leagues when an accidental death in the ring causes him to question his purpose. When he learns the wife of the man he fought is in danger, he offers to fight in a series of impossible trials to win her freedom. This is the fourth installment in the fighting film franchise. Action. Rated R for brutal violence and language throughout. My First Opinion: I have no idea what I just watched, but I am a little intrigued.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
After a long, self-imposed exile, extreme athlete turned government agent Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is given an assignment to take down a deadly team led by Xiang (Donnie Yen) and recover the sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Action, Adventure, Thriller. Rated for sex/nudity, violence/gore, profanity, and frightening/intense scenes. My First Opinion: Lots of explosions, guns and Vin Diesel kicking ass? I don’t think I’ve seen that before. Wait…
Three girls are kidnapped by a man (James McAvoy) with 24 dual personalities living inside his body. They must figure out if any of them would be willing to help them escape while avoiding the ones who want to cause them harm. Horror, Thriller. Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language. My First Opinion: This does look good, but I’ve been let down in a very big way by Shyamalan before…
Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) visits a small restaurant called McDonalds that has begun serving its customers in 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes, and gets an idea: make it a nation-wide franchise. Biography, Drama, History. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language. My First Opinion: As much as I appreciate Michael Keaton’s talent, I don’t know if I care enough about McDonalds to watch a whole movie about it.
The Red Turtle
A dialogue-free film that follows the life of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by nothing more than turtles, crabs and birds. Animation, Fantasy. Rated PG for some thematic elements and peril. My First Opinion: This is the most non-Studio Ghibli film that I think I’ve ever seen Studio Ghibli make. Maybe I’ll like it more than the others.
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
A washed-up former child star (Brett Dalton) is forced into community service at a local church where he pretends to be a Christian in order to land the part of Jesus in their annual play. Comedy, Family, Drama. Rated PG for thematic elements including crucifixion images. My First Opinion: I am 90% sure I can guess how this movie ends, but it would be nice to watch Brett Dalton in something where I don’t hate his guts.
Harper (Tye Sheridan), a struggling law student, is grieving for his dying mother and suspects that his stepfather is responsible for the car accident that put her in a coma. One night he meets Johnny Ray (Emory Cohen) who offers to ‘take care’ of his step-father for $20,000. After a night of drinking, Harper wakes up with a hangover and two different versions of events in his head. Thriller. Rated R for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language throughout. My First Opinion: The synopsis sounds a little dull. The trailer makes it look very different though and that might be interesting.
We Are the Flesh
Two siblings who wander a ruined city in search of food and shelter stumble onto a man in one of the last remaining buildings who offers them a chance to survive in the outside world. Drama, Fantasy, Horror. Unrated. My First Opinion: Just based on the trailer, I have absolutely no idea what this movie is.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Directly after the events of Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what turned out to be humanity’s last stand against the undead. Now she returns to the Hive in Raccoon City for one final strike in the apocalypse. Horror, Sci-Fi. Rated R for sequences of violence throughout. My First Opinion: Knowing next to nothing about Resident Evil, this looks like The Walking Dead had a love child with Mad Max and Fast and the Furious.
An unlikely pair of men who have lost everything venture into the Indonesian jungle in search of gold. Adventure, Drama, Thriller. Rated R for language, throughout and some sex/nudity. My First Opinion: I’m honestly not seeing enough of a story to want to invest two hours in it. Sorry McConaughey.
A Dog’s Purpose
A dog (Josh Gad) tries to discover his purpose over the course of several lifetimes and with several different owners. Adventure, Comedy, Drama. Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril. My First Opinion: While I am usually very annoyed with Josh Gad, the trailer alone is making me cry right now.
When they learn that their mother has been lying to them about their father’s death since they were children, two fraternal twin brothers (Owen Wilson and Ed Helms) set out to find him on a road trip. Comedy. Rated R for language and sexual references throughout. My First Opinion: This looks both cliched and like Sisters. Neither of which a movie should aspire to be.
After they are forced to leave their collapsing home, Ranaa (Taraneh Alidoosti) and Emad (Shahav Hosseini), an Iranian couple who are rehearsing for performance of “Death of a Salesman”, rent an apartment from one of their fellow performers, unaware that the previous tenant was a woman of questionable morals. When one of her former clients pays a visit on a night that Ranaa is home alone, their peaceful life is shattered around them. Drama, Thriller. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief bloody image. My First Opinion: This one looks really powerful and I’m hoping that it does make it to rural Iowa somehow.
And so, there’s your January in a nutshell! Which movies are you looking forward to most? Which do you want to see reviews for before you see them? (And is this new outline helpful to you guys at all?)
Happy New Year to you all!