At the beginning of a new year, movie studios generally have three types of movies they release:
- Oscar Bait – these are the films (don’t call them movies, that would be insulting) that are squeezed into the first quarter just before the mystical “Oscar Committee” decides what the best movies, shit, films of 2017 were or at least what hipsters and old people believe to be the best.
- Crap in a Bag – movies that the studio has absolutely no faith in. They know that you’re busy watching College Football Bowls or the NFL Playoffs to go see something in the theater. By doing this, when the movie stinks like a rotten banana that’s uses week old hot dog flavored water as perfume, they can raise their hands in the air and say “Oh, people just don’t go see movies in January”. This is a huge cop-out for the film industry as no one expects a hit and no one blames anyone for the failure. Usually the crap that leaks through the digital projects in January are as forgettable as can be.
- Surprise Hits / Carry Overs – one of the things that the the film industry know is that you likely got some form of gift card or cash for Christmas. Either the card was for a movie theater (like mine) or for your favorite online shop (don’t kid yourself, no one buys gift cards to your local comic shops) which frees up funds for a theater visit. These movies are something new in January that was supposed to be Crap in a Bag but somehow caught an audience and have a chance to make a few bucks. Then of course there are the movies that are doing well by holding over from the Holidays. Something that you wanted to see in December but knew going to the Mall Movie Theater would be suicide.
With all that said, it’s safe to say that I don’t get out to the theater much during this time of year, let alone review films.
However, with the Streaming Services stepping up their game, and making their own movies (like the absolutely fun but WAY TOO ON THE NOSE film Bright from Netflix), there might be some changes to the early part of the year. I see a future of people who are cold as hell, turning the heater up, and watching the latest Hulu release on their discount HDTV they stabbed a a child for in order to get it on Black Friday (hot tip: the week before Christmas often has even better deals, so save the child stabbing for Memorial Day).
In absence of reviewing a Netflix film, I mean, you can just watch it or not, I’m not helping you decide if you want to press “Play” on your remote (although you should becaise Bright looks slick and Will Smith is as charismatic as ever), I’m going to talk about movies I’ve done my research on or have a good source that has said it’s good.
Let’s go over those three categories and see if we can rustle up some movies worth seeing.
These are movies that had limited releases in December and went wide in January to maybe crack a million or two at the box office. Most of the time they star Leonardo DiCaprio. However, it’s not always easy to find them as they may be in your local “Independent Theater” (the one that use to be the big theater, but got downgraded to the “Dollar Theater” when those still existed and now has a bunch of hipsters watching the latest Wes Anderson film and drinking terrible domestic beer). Hmmmm, where to begin:
- Wonder, Directed by Stephen Chbosky and staring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson – heartwarming story of how looking different is okay. Basically I hear they make a handsome kid ugly as possible to make everyone feel for him. It’s probably based on a real story or something.
- The Post, Directed by Steven Spielberg and staring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks (and a whole lot more talented people) – another “Based on a True Story” film with a very timely “Government vs. Journalists” theme. Pretty excited for this one.
- All the Money in the World, Directed by Ridley Scott and staring Michelle Williams, Christopher Plumber, and Mark Wahlberg – wow, that’s a “Duck, Duck, Goose” of casting. Anyway, the richest man ever, J. Paul Getty, basically negotiates his Grandson’s ransom. My grandfather wouldn’t have even negotiated, he would have just let them keep me. So if you want to see the incredible Christopher Plumber act up a storm, then this is a good one for you.
- Darkest Hour, Directed by Joe Wright and staring Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Ben Mendelson – giving Oldman a turn at being Winston Churchill and rallying Great Britain to fight the Nazis…like EVERYONE should do.
Speaking of Nazis, let’s go onto our next category:
Crap in a Bag
- Insidious: The Last Key, Directed by Adam Robitel and starring Lin Shaye – did you know they had made three of these? I didn’t. If you like the series, probably go see it.
- The Commuter, Jaume Collet-Serra and staring Liam Neeson – 65 year old action hero has to fight through random characters and intrigue to get to the bottom of a mystery that no one really cares about and is pretty convoluted. This reminds me of that movie Non-Stop with Liam Neeson as a 65 year old action hero has to fight through random characters and intrigue to get to the bottom of a mystery that no one really cares about and is pretty convoluted…but on a train!
Surprise Hits / Carry Overs
There are a few coming up in next few weeks that might be worth a look:
- Paddington 2, Directed by Paul King and staring the voice of Ben Whishaw and a whole bunch of delightful British actors – a harmless PG Rated Family Film about the adorable bear in the city. The reviews are incredible, just like the first one, and who doesn’t love a British bear using his bum to wash a sliding door?
- Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Directed by Wes Ball and staring a bunch of young adult actors – finally a Young Adult Book Trilogy that is adapted in only three movies! That alone gives it my vote of confidence.
- Den of Thieves, Directed by Christian Gudegast and staring Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber (doing his best Jon Bernthal impression) – this could be fun, I mean have you seen London Has Fallen? I haven’t, is it any good? It’s on Netflix, but not Olympus Has Fallen, and I don’t want to see the sequel before the original, I’m sure there is a lot of background material to keep up with. Umm, where was I?
That’s what January’s dumping ground looks like. If you want some other suggestions, just go back to 2017 Carry Overs that you might have missed: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Molly’s Game, Pitch Perfect 3, and if you’re one of those left on the planet who hasn’t, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Basically, feel free to jump start 2018’s Economy by going out to the theater. Or turn on your Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Switch, Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Connected TV, Cable Box, and more to watch Netflix’s and Bright, because how can you say no to bringing Orcs into 2018.