The calendar has officially switched from 2014 to 2015, and while a lot of movies that got limited releases in December finally get full theatrical runs in January and beyond I will be focusing on films that are new to theatres. January and February is just after the studios release their Oscar-bait films and is a normal dumping ground. The studios know the films released now won’t win any awards and probably had poor test screenings as well, but that said it doesn’t mean there won’t be a few hidden gems coming out. Plus all the great films from the fall come out on Blu-Ray so there’s always something you can watch! Once again like my December list, these are films that I want to see and have not seen, which is why some higher profile Blu-Ray releases aren’t included as I may have already seen them!
New Theatrical Releases
Release Date: January 9th
Directed By: Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow)
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkonson and Martin Sheen
IMDb Summary: A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Why I Am So Excited: After last year’s disappointing Lee Daniels’ The Butler I was hesitant to get on board with another civil rights film so quickly especially since Oprah is involved with both of them. But after seeing the trailer and with a really strong character actor like Oyelowo as the lead I was curious to say the least. After the great reviews starting coming in I must say I want to see it. Also anything with The Bunk will have some redeeming qualities no matter how it turns out.
Release Date: January 16th
Directed By: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (The Last of Robin Hood and The Fliffer)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth
IMDb Summary: Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.
Why I Am So Excited: Moore is already considered the front-runner for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, which enough reason alone to go and see this film, but add in Alec Baldwin someone who is always interesting and you have something worthwhile to watch. While Kristen Stewart hasn’t fully shaken the bad Twilight actress rapt, if this movie does well it will be a step in the right direction to helping people forget her previous jobs. If only she would lighten up a bit like Daniel Radcliffe who now has a brand new career that’s to his sense of humor.
Release Date: January 23rd
Directed By: Gabe Polsky (The Motel Life)
IMDb Summary: Red Army is a feature documentary about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. From the USSR to Russia, the film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union.
Why I Am So Excited: The Soviets were always the bad guys, maybe they are only the bad guys because we don’t really know them. Maybe only the people at the top were the bad guys and some just liked playing hockey. Life behind the Iron Curtain has always fascinated people and since former Red Army players are able to talk freely without fear of retribution this documentary should make people think twice about the glorious game, especially in hockey mad Canada.
New On Blu-Ray
Release Date: January 20th
Directed By: Graham Annable (no prior film directing credits) and Anthony Stacchi (Open Season)
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Jarred Harris, Elle Fanning, Tracy Morgan and Richard Ayoade
IMDb Summary: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.
Why I Am So Excited: From the same studio that also produced the amazing Coraline and the extremely underrated ParaNorman comes the third film they have made. While this film appears to be the most kid friendly of the bunch it doesn’t matter when the subject matter is still adult accessible and shot with gorgeous stop motion. Laika studios are getting ready to overtake Pixar as the pre-eminent animation studio and I for one welcome our new cartoon overlords.
Release Date: January 20th
Directed By: Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead)
Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace
IMDb Summary: Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.
Why I Am So Excited: While this is a Tom Hardy film and he has been on quite the roll the last few years, especially with this year’s Locke, frankly none of that matters. This is James Gandolfini’s last film role, and his death hit me harder than most people’s because for him it was all about the craft. He never wanted fame or awards, just to go to work, do the best of his ability and go home. The film wasn’t overly well received but saying goodbye to Tony Soprano one more time is worth it.
Release Date: January 27th
Directed By: David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage and Street Kings)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Pena, Shia Labeouf and Logan Lerman
Why I Am So Excited: Last year’s End Of Watch was surprisingly great and Ayer making a moody WW2 tank film starring a tired Brad Pitt sounds interesting to me. It is going to end up with one of the ten Best Picture slots at this years Oscar’s so it will have some level of prestige attached to it. Plus Shia apparently got put in his place on set for being a little too much of a method actor (he didn’t shower, pulled his own tooth out, cut his face up for battle scars).