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“Glass” and “The Upside”: Films to see in January

I said it last year right around this time and I’ll say it again today. There’s no getting around it, this month is not one to get excited about at all, new release wise. January is usually a real dumping ground for films. That’s normally true, but if you try and look hard enough, you can find worthwhile titles hitting screens. This year is no exception, as 2019 has a couple of potentially decent movies hitting in its first month. I can personally vouch for a few that I’ve seen already, so there’s that. Your mileage may vary with these, but if you look hard enough, you’re sure to find a few things to enjoy. For sure, the still expanding 2018 titles are superior, but it’s not all about those. Without any further delay though, here are the first batch of 2018 titles that don’t appear to be wastes of time. Time will tell, at least…

Here now are ten January releases in particular to look forward to:

10. Replicas – This Keanu Reeves science fiction film premiered back at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and really hasn’t been seen since. Never a good sign. The first of the throwaway releases this month, it’s a curiosity and nothing more. In a better month, we wouldn’t even be discussing it. Alas.

9. State Like Sleep – I just reviewed this drama earlier today. While it’s not quite as good as it could have been, it’s far from terrible. Michael Shannon and especially Katherine Waterston turn in very solid work. Go check out my piece on the flick and make up your own mind. I’m not recommending it, but your mileage may vary…

8. Serenity – It seems like this Anne Hathaway / Matthew McConaughey thriller has been on the horizon for a while now. I suspect it won’t be especially good, but the star power has me curious. I see it next week, so if it’s any good, you’ll certainly know about it. Hell, if it’s not, you’ll find out just the same. Stay tuned!

7. The Kid Who Would Be King – What makes this family friendly adventure something to keep an eye on is because of who made it. None other than Joe Cornish is the writer and director here. The filmmaker behind Attack the Block has seen his subsequent project hotly anticipated, so while this is an odd choice, perhaps it’s more than meets the eye?

6. Escape Room – I’m actually seeing this thriller this afternoon, so look for a review before the week is out. It’ll be under embargo until then, but I’ve heard rumors that this is surprisingly interesting. If nothing else, I love to actually do escape games in real life, so I’m a bit of an escape the room aficionado. Sit tight and you’ll find out how it stacks up to the real thing…

5. Communion – One of the Oscar shortlisted documentaries, this Polish doc is a long shot for a nomination, but who knows? Stranger things have happened, so don’t fully sleep on this foreign flick as a surprise citation in Best Documentary Feature. It’s a new release Academy Award player in January, which is rare. So, appreciate it!

4. A Dog’s Way Home – I’m a sucker for dogs. In real life, in film, everywhere. I skipped A Dog’s Purpose due to how it basically centered around a canine companion repeatedly dying, but this follow up seems way safer for my tear ducts. The odds don’t favor it being anything special, but animal lovers could be in for a treat, no pun intended.

3. Adult Life Skills – This comedy is one I saw back in 2016 at the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s amusing stuff, with a really winning turn from Jodie Whittaker, formerly the young actress in Venus, and now the current Doctor Who. I’ll be revisiting it soon in advance of a review, but it’s a cute little flick. Keep it in mind and look out for my take soon!

2. The Upside – I’ll be seeing this remake next week. The original film, The Intouchables, is a real crowd pleaser, so we’ll find out if this one can do the same. Having Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart in the lead roles is a good start, not to mention Nicole Kidman in a supporting role. Festival reviews were lukewarm, but in a week month like this one, it’s something to at least mildly look forward to…

1. Glass – If there’s a January release to mark down on the calendar, it’s this movie. A sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s surprise hit Split, it brings back that film’s stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, in addition to Bruce Willis. Samuel L. Jackson returns to Shyamalan’s world, while Sarah Paulson is a newcomer. It could be setting us up for disappointing, but as the year’s first high profile releases, it will more than suffice.

Honorable Mention: Pledge and Rust Creek

Be sure to check these films out as the month of January rolls on!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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