January Movie Magic
Top 3 Movie Picks For This Month
As the mountains of tamales, turkey, ham, or whatever else you guys have for Christmas and New Years begin to dwindle down to valleys of already ruined resolutions and regret. And, the post-apocalyptic world of wrapping paper, glass bottles, and the instantly forgotten gifts strewn across what was formerly known as your house is becoming too overwhelming and you just need to escape...Never fear, January 2018 seems to have some great films to help you abandon the rebuilding efforts for just a few hours, or at least until the toasters, blenders, and all other household items you’re planning to return to Target become sentient and take over the world. But, never mind all that, let’s take a look at some of the movies coming to a theater near you in January:
Insidious: The Last Key
January 5, 2017
As you guys might already know, I am a covert horror fan. I love horror movies, but those around me don’t really enjoy them as much as I do. So, I keep quiet, hide my little secret and sneak away in the misty shadows of my living room couch and indulge my blood curdling, cringe worthy, machete slashing pleasures on TV as my loved ones fall asleep. And with horror movies now having quite the resurgence with films such as IT, The Conjuring Franchise, Get Out, Paranormal Activity Franchise and of course, the Insidious franchise, it’s a great time to be a horror movie fan. So, for our first choice of movies to watch in January, I’ve chosen Insidious: The Last Key.
The Last Key is the fourth film in the Insidious movie franchise. These films follow the paranormal adventures of Elise Rainier as she continues to investigate the supernatural disturbances plaguing this world. In this film, she helps a family in the city of Five Keys, New Mexico. The film is directed by Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan and co-writer of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension) and produced by Jason Blum (of Blumhouse Productions: Get Out, Paranormal Activity Franchise, Split, The Purge Franchise, The Visit, Hush, etc…) and James Wan (previous director of the Insidious films).
One of the things I love most about horror films is the mythology behind them, and all of the Insidious films have done a great job of establishing layered and wholly terrifying worlds that feel lived in and real. One other thing I love is their creative use of the particular rules of their universe/environment. In this case, The Further, is a middle ground or a type of limbo or purgatory where many evil spirits have remained looking for an opportunity to come back to the living world by possessing a living host. But, one of the truly interesting things about this place is its use of time. Because the rules of time don’t apply as they do for us in the real world, they have managed to weave an intricate narrative web between the four films that answer questions and pay dividends in previous or later movies. Making one film just as important as the other and truly forming an enthralling movie watching experience. Aside from all that, the movie itself just looks bone-chillingly creepy and simply terrifying.
Now, if you haven’t seen the previous three films, I’ve added this video below that summarizes the basic gist of the previous films and also explains how they all connect.
Again, Insidious: The Last Key is in theaters today.
Den of Thieves
January 19, 2017
Everyone is trying to create the next Heat, the Michael Mann classic that thrust the Los Angeles crime thriller to prominence. While most films may fall short of that comparison or may shy away from admitting Heat’s influence on their own, Director Christian Gudegast embraces the challenge of creating the next great bank robbery classic in his upcoming L.A. crime saga, Den of Thieves. And, based on the trailer itself, it appears he might have touched on something similar to Mann’s masterpiece.
The film stars Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, 50 Cent, O’Shea Jackson, and others. This is the film’s synopsis: “Den of Thieves follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles.” Tagged as: “Thieves without fear. Cops without limits.” this pulse-pounding L.A. thriller may seem, on its face, as a run of the mill forgettable bank heist movie, and though it might be, I am intrigued by its seemingly transparent approach of the law enforcement unit as being even more ruthless and vicious than our supposed villains. The title, Den of Thieves, is then an obvious allusion to the blurred lines between our hypothetical heroes and villains. The now ambiguous title makes you ask who in fact this title is alluding to. And, given the present social climate present in 2018, this issue of optics and the dichotomy between our preconceived notions of good and bad, hero and villain, thieves and cops and the reality as exists today, might be as poignant a message to make as ever.
Another thing to watch is the chemistry between our leading men. It’s interesting to see both of these characters cast in the roles they’re in as both seem to be able to straddle the line between “good” and “evil”. Both seem capable of revving up their intensity to make difficult and perhaps irredeemable choices at a moment’s notice while at the same time oozing with charm and charisma, making them hard to hate. Though Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber may not have the same intense chemistry that Pacino and De Niro had in Heat, I like both of these actors, and I am sure they will turn in something great and memorable.
Den of Thieves is in theaters on January 19, 2017.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
January 26, 2017
Better than a lot of its teen-action-heart-throb-drama-book-movie-adaption counterparts, Maze Runner has actually been, great! It’s been a solid action/adventure romp that merits your hard earned money at the theater. And, much like another successful film in the teen action genre, the Hunger Games, its strength truly lies on its lead characters and the bevy of amazing supporting actors that truly makes this stand apart from the rest…Yes, I’m looking at you Divergent and Twilight. In this case, Dylan O’Brien as Thomas and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt are legitimate stars. O’Brien, who recently starred in American Assassin with Michael Keaton, is believable as the archetypical action hero. Then Sangster, who is particularly good as the gun-slinging baby faced sheriff in Godless on Netflix, with his quippy yet courageous persona is the perfect Steve McQueen-esque foil to O’Brien’s Yule Brenner lite de facto leader role. Sprinkle in the always great Aiden Gillen, Patricia Clarkson, and Giancarlo Esposito and the results exceed all expectations.
Here is the film’s synopsis: “In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.”
If you guys haven’t seen the last two, I would honestly recommend that you give them a chance. They’re more than serviceable and are actually great action films worthy of their franchise and worth your time.
If none of the ones above seem to tickle your fancy, January has a lot of other great offerings too. Check out the list of honorable mentions below. There's a great mix of drama, action, and something for the kids as well.
- Molly's Game (1/5/18)
- The Post (1/12/18)
- Proud Mary (1/12/18)
- Paddington 2 (1/12/18)
- 12 Strong (1/19/18)
Of those above, I think The Post has my money. Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, with Steven Spielberg directing seems like a sure fire Oscar hit. If you guys have any other suggestions that you'd like to make, please feel free to comment below and we'll make sure and mention them in our next episode.
Well, thanks for reading the first (of many I hope) blogs of 2018. I will be doing my best to bring you one (or more) a week. So, stay tuned.