We’ve hit a point in the movie season where theaters aren’t serving six and seven course meals every weekend and movies aren’t being released en masse. Most of the award-nominated movies have already been served and carefully analyzed and compared by the critics. The year’s big blockbusters have already been devoured and left us in a movie coma that will tide most people over until the spring. While January may be a lighter month, there are still plenty of fine dishes available to anyone with an appetite left.
(Wide) Release Date: January 10, 2014
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson
Okay, we’re starting this list with a bit of a cheat. Technically Her was released in December but it’s wide release isn’t until January, 10th (as far as I know. The story about the release date has been a bit confusing). Plus, this movie is one of the most anticipated movies of 2013/14 so I had to add it (not to mention how dismal this list would look if I didn’t have one solid entry). Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are), has directed some interesting, almost surreal films in dealing with the human psyche and reality. Her promises to run in that same vein and stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with his operating system, played by Scarlett Johansson. (Apparently Johansson can make people fall for her even as a computer. Some people get all the luck). Phoenix delivered an amazing performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and if his new performance is anything like his work in that film, Her will be worth the wait.
(Wide) Release Date: January 10, 2014
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch
Marky Mark leads a solid cast (Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch) in a Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock, Battleship) film depicting the failed mission of a real-life SEAL team in Afghanistan. The movie’s plot is based in reality and I can only hope that the film does the mission and it’s soldiers justice. Whether or not that is misplaced hope remains to be seen.
Release Date: January 24, 2013
Director: Stuart Beattie (screenwriter for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, The Messengers for those paying attention that’s a pretty eclectic mix).
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney
This is another movie that may end up being utterly awful but the people involved may force us into the seats. The producers of Underworld, an FB/BS favorite, and the overall look of the film appears to be similar. In my Pacific Rim review, I confessed our love of bad movies with weird plots like I, Frankenstein. A movie like this is too irresistible for us to pass.
(Wide) Release Date: January 31, 2014
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire
This is another January wide release with a December limited release. Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Thank You For Smoking) is a phenomenal director and has been on many people’s up-and-coming directors list for a while now (long enough that the title may not apply anymore). The movie looks touching and emotional but may not pack the same power and wit of Reitman’s previous films. (Honestly, the movie looks pretty bad but the people involved have done enough good in the past to give this movie a look).
Least Anticipated: The Legend of Hercules, January 10, 2014
No thanks. The stone throwing and lighting whipping in the trailer look ridiculous. If that’s what they went with in the trailer I’m not too excited about what they didn’t show.We’d rather rewatch Gladiator or Troy (the trailer seems similar to these) or wait (not too intensely) for the twin film Hercules: The Thracian Wars coming out later this year and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. These two Hercules movies give us another addition to the Twin Films list.
That’s all folks. Let me know if I missed any movies!