Movie fans know that the month of January is consistently not great for new release films. While the big, award-baity films pick up steam and expand for audiences across the world to see, studios release the films they’re most concerned about performance for this month, as counter programming to said flashy awards titles. With some jumpy studio horror (The Grudge, The Turning), the Canadian release for a few Oscar shortlisted films (Les Miserables, Cunningham) and star-studded awards counter programming (The Gentleman, The Last Full Measure) – it may not be a great month in quality, but there’s certainly some range. Welcome to our January 2020 movie preview, where we let you know about the noteworthy releases of the month and follow them up with 5 top picks. Hope to see you at the movies!
In addition to the films releasing in January, a film that had its theatrical release highlighted in our December preview releases on Netflix Canada this month:
- Uncut Gems on January 31st
The Grudge – January 3rd (Theatrical)
A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. (IMDb)
Written and directed by Nicolas Pesce.
Starring Andrea Riseborough, Jon Cho, Demián Bichir and Jacki Weaver.
Like a Boss – January 10th (Theatrical)
Two female friends with very different ideals decide to start a beauty company together. One is more practical, while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle. (IMDb)
Directed by Miguel Arteta. Written by Adam Cole-Kelly and Sam Pitman.
Starring Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Karan Soni, Jacob Latimore and Salma Hayek.
Underwater – January 10th (Theatrical)
A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear. (IMDb)
Directed by William Eubank. Written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad.
Starring Kristen Stewart, T.J Miller, Vincent Cassel and John Gallagher Jr.
Weathering With You – January 10th (Theatrical)
A high-school boy who has run away to Tokyo befriends a girl who appears to be able to manipulate the weather. (IMDb)
Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai.
Bad Boys For Life – January 17th (Theatrical)
Marcus Burnett is now a police inspector and Mike Lowery is in a midlife crisis. They unite again when an Albanian mercenary, whose brother they killed, promises them an important bonus. (IMDb)
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Written by Joe Carnahan, Chris Bremner and Peter Craig.
Starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, DJ Khaled and Alexander Ludwig.
Dolittle – January 17th (Theatrical)
A physician discovers that he can talk to animals. (IMDb)
Written and directed by Steve Gaghan.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Sheen, Marion Cottilard, Selena Gomez, Jessie Buckley, Antonio Banderas, Octavia Spencer, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani and Craig Robinson.
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael – January 17th (Theatrical)
A portrait of the work and life of controversial film critic Pauline Kael, and her battle to achieve success and influence in the 20th century movie business.
Directed by Rob Garver.
Featuring Alec Baldwin, Peter Bogdonavich, Dick Cavvet, Johnny Carson, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell and Woody Allen (yuck).
The Last Full Measure – January 24th (Theatrical)
Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. (“Pits”) is awarded the nation’s highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield. (IMDb)
Written and directed by Todd Robinson.
Starring Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Ladd, Bradley Whitford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Peter Fonda and Michael Imperioli.
The Turning – January 24th (Theatrical)
A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw”. (IMDb)
Directed by Floria Sigismondi. Written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes.
Starring Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard and Brooklyn Prince.
Close Enemies – January 29th (Netflix)
Driss and Manuel are two childhood friends who end up taking opposite paths: Manuel chose to embrace the thug life, while Driss becomes a cop. When Manuel’s biggest deal goes terribly wrong, the two men meet again and come to realize they both need each other to survive in their worlds. (IMDb)
Directed by David Oelhoffen. Written by Oelhoffen and Jeanne Aptekman.
Starring Matthias Schoenarts, Reda Kateb, and Adel Bencherif.
Dan’s Top Picks of the Month
5. The Gentlemen – January 24th (Theatrical)
A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. (IMDb)
Written and directed by Guy Ritchie.
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding and Hugh Grant.
Why You Should See It: With mildly strong buzz coming out of early screenings in the U.K., and an excellent cast, it’s easy to at least be interested in Guy Ritchie’s return to his crime film roots. This is especially intriguing after a series of films that seemed somewhat out of his wheelhouse, including the recent Aladdin. Hopefully Ritchie is able to deliver what he has on some of his most critically acclaimed crime capers on this one.
4. Troop Zero – January 17th (Amazon Prime Video)
In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime. (IMDb)
Directed by Bert & Bertie. Written by Lucy Alibar.
Starring Alison Janney, Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps and McKenna Grace.
Why You Should See It: Exactly a year after it’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this decently-cute looking film is getting a release among the first wave of Amazon Prime original films (with titles like The Report and The Aeronauts). The delay of it’s release might be a bad sign, but considering it’s an Amazon Studios title fronted by the brilliant leading ladies Alison Janney and Viola Davis, there’s surely something we’ll be able to get out of this one.
3. Les Miserables – January 10th (Theatrical)
A cop of provinces moves Paris to join the Anti-Crime Brigade of Montfermeil, discovering an underworld where the tensions between the different groups mark the rhythm. (IMDb)
Directed by Ladj Ly. Written by Ly with Giordano Genderlini and Alexis Manenti.
Stars Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djibril Zonga.
Why You Should See It: A title in competition at this year’s past Cannes Film Festival which was also France’s Oscar submission for 2020, subject matter aside, this is an exciting theatrical release – especially considering Amazon is it’s distributor and it’s selection for submission over Portrait of a Lady on Fire. However, this modern twist on the original musical/story covering political violence in France does sound quite intriguing.
2. Cunningham – January 10th (Theatrical)
The iconic Merce Cunningham and the last generation of his dance company is stunningly profiled in Alla Kovgan’s 3D documentary, through recreations of his landmark works and archival footage of Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg. (IMDb)
Directed by Alla Kovgan.
Featuring the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Why You Should See It: It’s quite rare to see documentaries get proper theatrical releases these days, and it’s always exciting to get a fairly flashy one in theaters. However, the true reason for this film being so high in my picks (besides it being a lousy month) is the fact that it’s getting a 3D release. It’s also rare for specialty releases like this to be put in 3D, which has this writer hoping it means that with Cunningham, we’re in for an immersive and visually stunning ride.
1. Come to Daddy – January 31st (Theatrical)
A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father. (IMDb)
Directed by Ant Timpson. Written by Toby Harvard.
Starring Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan and Michael Smiley.
Why You Should See It: One of our favorite films out of last year’s Fantasia Fest, Come to Daddy is an endlessly twisted horror comedy that is sure to entertain fans of the genre. Besides the fact that it’s hysterically funny and endlessly enthralling, the amount of twists, turns, and surprises in this story makes it absolutely the most worthy film to experience in a theater this month. See it with the biggest crowd you can!