Note: Due to space issues, this feature was left out of the January print edition
By John Lyle Belden
There are two kinds of movies that come out in January: (1) the Oscar contenders that had limited release in late December (thus qualifying for 2015 awards) which go nationwide against easier competition, and (2) the films that did not test well or are otherwise obviously flawed, yet the studios by some reason or obligation throw them at the big screen (rather that go straight to video or download) to see what sticks.
This latter category has given us such flawed gems as “The Mothman Prophesies” (2002) and “The Green Hornet” (2011), however “The Butterfly Effect” (2004) managed to eke out a sequel, so perhaps the annual pile of “No. 2” is not completely hopeless.
Opening this month (ratings given if known; check with theaters for availability):
WEEKEND OF JAN. 8
The Abandoned; Jason Patric, Louisa Krause, Mark Margolis; woman takes security job at abandoned apartment complex.
Anesthesia; Sam Waterston, Kristen Stewart, Tim Blake Nelson, Glenn Close, Gretchen Moll; the connections between seemingly disparate individuals lead to attack on university professor.
Diablo, R; Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins, Camilla Belle, Danny Glover; Civil War veteran finds wife kidnapped by bandits.
The Forest, PG-13; Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken; an unexplained horror occurs in a Japanese forest.
The Masked Saint; Brett Granstaff, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Diahann Carroll; pro wrestler becomes pastor, then masked vigilante.
The Revanant, R; Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter; man sets out for vengeance against those who left him for dead.
Yosemite, R; James Franco, Henry Lee Hopper, Everett Meckler; intertwining tales of three fifth-grade friends unfold in Palo Alto, California.
WEEKEND OF JAN. 15
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi; John Krasinski, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, David Giuntoli, directed by Michael Bay; an American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.
Band of Robbers; Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee, Matthew Gray Gubler, Hannibal Buress; modern retelling of adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as adults.
Moonwalkers, R; Ron Perlman, Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan, Stephen Campbell Moore; CIA agent teams with rock band manager to fake the moon landing.
Norm of the North, PG; (animated) voices of Bill Nighy, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Rob Schneider; polar bear travels to New York to stop tourist development in his home.
The Nut Job 2; (animated) voices of Jeff Dunham, Joe Pingue, Rob Tinkler; the continuation of Surly’s adventures.
A Perfect Day; Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, Melanie Thierry; a humanitarian mission in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Ride Along 2, PG-13; Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Olivia Munn, Glen Powell; Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer.
WEEKEND OF JAN. 22
The Boy, PG-13; Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Ben Robson, Jim Norton; nanny finds her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll; then disturbing events make her believe it is really alive.
Dirty Grandpa, R; Robert De Niro, Julianne Hough, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza; an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general, to Florida.
The Fifth Wave, PG-15; Chloë Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber, Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe; four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated.
Risen, PG-13; Tom Felton, Cliff Curtis, Joseph Fiennes, Stephen Hagan; Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer.
WEEKEND OF JAN. 29
Fifty Shades of Black, R; Marlon Wayans, Jane Seymour, Kali Hawk, Mike Epps, Fred Willard; parody of the Fifty Shades books and films.
The Finest Hours, PG-13; Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger; 1952 Coast Guard rescue attempt off Cape Cod when oil tankers wreck during a blizzard.
Kung Fu Panda 3, PG; (animated) voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan; Po must face two threats: one supernatural, one closer to home.