January is a vital month for those movies looking to win big at the Academy Award ceremony in late February, and thus many tend to be released around this time. Along with the usual Oscar-bait there is a return by a Hollywood legend and a long-awaited sequel.
Let’s dive in…
The Magical Musical
La La Land
After the success of his directorial debut, Whiplash, Damien Chazelle takes on the impossible: making a hit musical for the big screen. It has been done before sure, but not for a while, and musicals have been at the bottom of the genre list in recent years, slightly below westerns. Nobody is making musicals today. Well except now they are. And if La La Land is as big a hit as it is projected to be (sweeping up at the Oscars would do no harm), then we could be getting a revival of the genre. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this love story to the City of Angels, and they have enough chemistry alone to make this movie a hit (see: Crazy, Stupid Love).
In Cinemas January 12th
The Heart Wrencher
Manchester By the Sea
My original title for the section about this Kenneth Lonergan movie was “The Oscar Favourite”, but after La La Land cleaned up at the Golden Globes and looks set to do so again next month at the BAFTA’s, I can’t help but feel that would have come across somewhat sarcastic. Still, Casey Affleck in particular has been picking up plaudits left right and centre for his role as Lee Chandler, a man who returns to his hometown to look after his newly orphaned sixteen year old nephew. May be it’s time he isn’t left in the wings watching big brother Ben pick up the little golden statue on awards night eh?
In Cinemas January 13th
Need any other reason to see this movie than the one given above? It’s Scorsese, get in the cinema. You need more convincing? Really? Well Silence is a historical drama focusing on Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield as two Christian missionaries who travel to Japan to find their lost mentor (Liam Neeson). It is the seventeenth century and so their presence in Japan is banned. Expect: powerful performances and incredible cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto.
Now get in the cinema.
The Sequel to a Classic
Long-awaited sequels are rarely great. Most tend to fall somewhere between fair and disappointing. However, if there is one man who can pull it off, surely (surely?!) it is Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Sunshine etc. etc. Bringing back together the original cast of the cult classic, the story picks up twenty years later. Not much is known except the general premise that Renton returns to Scotland to see Sick Boy and Spud. Begbie is no doubt not too far away.
The only worry with this movie, is that they will pull an Anchorman 2 and replay the same jokes from the original.
Surely Boyle knows better I tell myself. Just have faith. Choose T2.
In Cinemas January 27th
The Great Return
Mel Gibson might be one of the most polarising men in Hollywood, but with Hacksaw Ridge he shows once again just how great he can be at times. It focuses on Andrew Garfield’s Desmond T. Doss, who was a famous conscientious objector during the Second World War. He was the only American soldier during the war to fight on the front line without a weapon. Quite the story right? A great actor, a great director and a great director. See it.
In Cinemas January 27th