Unfortunately the first month of every year is January. January is the shithole season of the film calendar, when the leftovers of the explosive month of December and high-minded Oscarbait choke out Hollywood's usual garbage. Movies that get released in this month do so only because there is virtually no serious competition. This means that you are paying money to watch things that are just barely above "straight-to-Redbox" fair. We will just have to hold each other through this dark period and hope for the best, while knowing that everything is going to suck.
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (January 2nd) - It is the height of the London blitz in WWII, so small easily-scared children must be evacuated to a haunted house in the middle of a godforsaken swamp. The original "the Woman in Black" was an average horror film starring Daniel Radcliff of whose existence I completely forgot. I guess some people remembered it because it is getting a sequel.
--Chances to be Good: 0%. It's a January horror release. I'm a realist about these things.
Taken 3 (January 9th) - Liam Neeson's long-running cinematic rampage continues as the Taken franchise becomes a trilogy. This time Neeson's character's wife is murdered and Detective Forrest Whitaker thinks Neeson did it. (These are not the kind of movies where you bother to learn the characters' names.) The most exciting part of the trailer, and probably the movie as well, is Neeson saying "Good Luck" to the cops trying to stop him. Then he hurts people for your pleasure.
--Chances to be Good: 10%. "Taken 2" sucked. Most Liam Neeson action movies are not very good. Also January.
Inherent Vice (January 9th) - I actually saw this adaptation of an insane Thomas Pynchon novel (oxymoron, I know) back at the New York Film Festival last year. Wow, we're already calling 2014 "last year"! Thankfully for my workload, I already reviewed this one. Though really, reviews do not work on a movie like "Inherent Vice". Nothing I could say could ever prepare you for this movie.
--Chances to be Good 1,000%. It was one of the best movies of 2014, now it has a wide release. Go see it.
|The Lords of Selma|
--Chances to be Good: 100%. Same as its Rotten Tomatoes score.
Predestination (January 9th) - This is the coolest looking movie of January by far. "Predestination" is a time travel action SciFi film starring Ethan Hawke based on a Robert A. Heinlein short story. I was not sure which short story until Hawke's character, who in the trailer is some kind of Time Cop, says the line "I know where I come from, but where do all you zombies come from?" If you know Heinlein, that should link to a very particular short story, which might already be spoiling the twist here. I am expecting something extremely fucked-up and wonderful. Heinlein is an author who once seriously wrote a whole novel about why incest is not a bad thing, anything coming out of his mind is going to be freaky. Hopefully this will get a decently wide release.
--Chances to be Good: 70%. Time travel is an explosive plot device. Be careful or it will blow up your movie.
Paddington (January 16th) - Actually this one might not suck either. It is a British children's movie starring a computer-generated talking bear coming to London, and destroying a bathroom, apparently. Presumably there is more story beyond that, but the trailers have been really focused on the bathroom destruction.
--Chances to be Good: 60%. The buzz isn't bad in England. "Paddington" looks like a sweet movie for younger children.
|None of these people are actually in the same room.|
--Chances to be Good: 0%. I do not get Kevin Hart's appeal. Also January.
Blackhat (January 16th) - Chris Hemsworth plays a genius coder who...
--Chances to be Good: 30%. ...Sorry Michael Mann, you already lost me. No way Chris Hemsworth is a hacker, let alone a "master". The action looks decent in this trailer. On the other hand: January.
Mortdecai (January 23rd) - Johnny Depp has a British accent, bad teeth, and a mustache. He does spy stuff.
--Chances to be Good: 0%. If Depp wants to still have a career by February, he should buy every print of "Mortdecai" that is floating around and burn them.
|January movies often give me this reaction.|
--Chances to be Good: 0%. Lucas's race to irrelevance may finally create a bigger bomb than "Red Tails".
Project Almanac (January 30th) - I actually first discussed "Project Almanac" eleven months ago back in February 2014's Look-Ahead, when it was going under the name of "Welcome to Yesterday". This Platinum Dunes found-footage time travel movie looked like worthless shovelware last year, and it looks like worthless shovelware this year.
--Chances to be Good: 0%. Here's a hint, Space Monkeys: if a movie is pulled from release last minute and then delayed for a year, it is not a good sign.
The Loft (January 30th) - James Marsden and pals rent an apartment to secretly have sex without their wives knowing. Then one of their prostitute pals gets murdered and it turns into some kind of thriller. Blah blah blah, sex relations.
--Chances to be Good: 0%. This is actually a movie from 2011 that has sat on the shelves since just now. The studio could have released it in August. Instead they decided "As Above, So Below" had more potential. How bad can your movie be that "As Above, So Below" looked like a better option??
Black or White (January 30th) - Kevin Costner has a Black granddaughter. Blah blah blah, race relations.
--Chances to be Good: 0%. Costner sounds like he has a really bad cold.
So really, most of January is going to be spent focused on 2014. When the first crop of 2015 movies look like... this, I think you can understand why I would do that.