January sees the award hopefuls hitting the UK screens in advance of The Golden Globes, The BAFTAs and the Oscars. So there are not many blockbuster films around except those left over from the holiday period and the multiplex has a glut of worthy and wordy films. Having previewed some of the January releases in our 2014 preview posts I have taken the opportunity to highlight some of the lesser touted movies coming out this month.
A slightly different role for Vince Vaughn in that he down plays the usual one-dimensional comedy antics that have informed the majority of his more recent roles. In Delivery Man he plays a man who is the father of over five hundred children as he was a regular depositor in a sperm bank for over a year in his youth. Some of his kids want to know who he is so he quietly seeks them out. Vaughn has recently been quoted as saying he is tired of comedy so this might mark a shift in direction for him. Delivery Man is out on the 10th of January.
The Railway Man
Does it fill you with dread when you see that a film is based on a true story? The film is usually an award baiting pile of nonsense. Hopefully bucking this trend is the story of an ex prisoner of war who travels back to Burma to confront those who traumatized him during the second world war. Colin Firth stars as the victim with support from Nicole Kidman as his wife. The trailer gives a flavour of what to expect. The Railway Man is out on the 10th of January.
Night Of The Hunter
The first of the high-profile re-releases of the month is the classic gothic drama, Night of the Hunter. For many, including myself, this is the career defining role for Robert Mitchum. The story centres around a sinister preacher who is trying to find the location of some stolen money which he believes that two young children have knowledge of. It is dark, beautifully shot and totally engrossing. The trailer gives a small flavour of what to expect. The film is released on the 17th of January.
Crystal Fairy And The Magical Cactus
This film seems to been around for a long time, having premiered at last year’s Sundance festival. The story concerns Jamie (Michael Cera) as he travels in Chile. He meets the eccentric Crystal and invites her on his trip as he seeks out a mythical hallucinogen from a rare cactus plant. A road trip which ends in a trip if you will. The movie is released on the 17th of January.
August: Osage County
Based on the play of the same name comes a drama where a dysfunctional family of strong-willed women are brought back together in the aftermath of a family crisis. Meryl Streep heads the embarrassingly star-studded cast in what is being considered as a major award contender for all involved. The film is released on the 24th of January.
In the era of silent cinema Buster Keaton was as highly regarded as Charlie Chaplin. Like Chaplin he had a hand in every aspect of the film production including stunt work. The General is widely regarded as his best work featuring a mixture of pathos, slapstick comedy and pretty astonishing action sequences given that the film was made in 1926. The film has been fully restored and will be available at selected cinemas across the country from the 24th of January.
Out of the Furnace
Christian Bale and Casey Affleck team up in a tale of two brothers. The older is forced to find out what became of his younger sibling after he disappeared without a trace. What he finds is a gritty and brutal world that few ever see. Director Scott Cooper has followed up the 2009 hit Crazy Heart with a much darker version of the American dream. Look out for the soundtrack provided by Pearl Jam. The movie is out on the 29th of January.
This looks really daft. The monster was not killed by the villagers with the pitchforks but managed to escape instead and wass doomed to wander the earth for two centuries until he is drawn into a battle between two supernatural forces. As I said, daft. This is one where you disengage your brain before viewing and just go for it. To be fair the film looks impressive and has the same themes and design as the Underworld series. Aaron Eckhart stars as the monster and the film is released on the 29th of January. You can view the trailer here.
The Armstrong Lie
Film maker Alex Gibney followed Lance Armstrong for four years as he recorded the cyclists return to the top-level of the sport after his battle with cancer. Gibney was there during the initial high points and during the subsequent drug allegations and admission of guilt. Initially titled The Road Back the title was later changed to its current title to reflect the events. It is a unique record of one of the biggest sport stories in the last few years and should make fascinating viewing for fans and non fans of the sport of professional cycling. The film is out on the 31st of January.
Based on real events, the film recalls the events surrounding a navy SEAL mission to capture or kill a high value Taliban target. Of course things go pear-shaped almost from the off and it turns into a fight for survival for the four man squad. The film features Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch in the lead roles. Expect it to be gritty and realistic drama. See if I am right when the film comes out on the 31st of January.