I don’t often have the time to dwell over new movie releases and the excitement that often comes with it. The new Star Wars franchise is probably the only exception to that rule. That said, I find myself with a lot of time on my hands this week and I can’t think of a better way to truly kick off the year ahead than taking a brief look at some of the most exciting films in store for January 2019. By the way, please let me know if I have missed a really good obscure film or even one of your favourites (this month) in the comment section below.
Some people say director M.Night Shyamalan lost his way as a filmmaker following the success of Unbreakable (2000). I am not of that school of thought. In fact, I believe his films like Signs (2002) and The Village (2004) are respectively both underrated masterpieces in their own right. Both have this disquieting unease about them that brings me to watch them from time to time. More recently, in 2016, Shyamalan blew us away with Split his psychological horror thriller about a guy called Kevin Wendell Crumb (james McAvoy) who suffers from multiple personality disorder and ends up kidnapping three girls. In a real plot-twister, after Kevin is almost caught by the authorities, Shyamalan stitched onto the film’s ending a big reveal in a diner (click HERE to view the scene) that sets up the long anticipated sequel to Unbreakable starring Bruce Willis and Samual L. Jackson. This brilliant movie tie-will see the characters from Split and Unbreakable in upcoming superhero film Glass. The exciting premise of the film will undoubtedly see good guy David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in pursued of Kevin’s (James McAvoy) superhuman persona known as The Beast with Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) menacing presence foreshadowing the whole film.
Release date: January 17th, 2019 (Australia), January 18th, 2019 (United States).
Mary Queen of Scots.
This January is going to be an exciting period for moviegoers. Coming on the heels of Glass is the historical drama film Mary Queen of Scots based on John Guy’s biography My Heartt Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots. In his book he calls Mary the “unluckiest ruler in British history’ and to be honest with you, I wonder how she will be portrayed on screen in this new film adaption. Hollywood is famous for ruining historical dramas but indications (in the United States where the film was released late last year) are that screenwriter Beau Willimon and director Josie Rourke have struck a good balance here reimagined an entertaining drama while also that exploring the dangerous and complicated relationship between Mary and her counterpart Queen Elizabeth I of England. I’m in particular looking forward to seeing the interplay between Saoirse Ronan, who starred in 2017’s coming-of-age comedy-drama Lady Bird, in the title role as Mary and Margot Robbie, the most versatile actress going around these days, as Queen Elizabeth.
Release date: January 17th, 2019 (Australia), January 18th, 2019 (United Kingdom).
My American friends have seen Green Book and have nothing but praise for it. I wondered what is it about road movies that generally makes us feel good about them. In Green Book’s case the idea of two strangers, the complete opposite of each other, sharing the road in the confine space of a vehicle and unwittingly become friends over the course of time is arguably something to smile about. Of course, the ingredient to any good road movie is always its premise, setting and its protagonists. Set in the 1960’s, actor Viggo Mortensen, as a slightly beefy Tony Lip, finds himself temporarily out of work as a bouncer and takes on a new gig as chauffer and bodyguard to renowned Africian-American pianist, “Doc” Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, who is about to embark on a concert tour of the Deep South. It’s not long before this odd couple, particular Tony, start to learn some profound life lessons on the road about friendship, race and their own prejudices. Inspired by a true story this a film you shouldn’t miss.
Release dates: January 24th, 2019 (Australia), February 1st, 2019 (United Kingdom).
While the title for ‘America’s greatest living director’ might often be associated with Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood is often a sentiment favourite amongst his peers. In fact, I think he does a fine job of both directing and acting, often at the same time in many of his pictures. His films of late explore touchy subjects like innate racism and stereotypes of being a grumpy old man, but you cannot deny his films, like Gran Torino and The Mule (maybe his last), certainly touch a nerve with audiences.
I’m a big Clint Eastwood fan and I will see almost anything he does, even in his latest role as a senior citizen-type, who is broke, alone and facing the imminent threat of foreclosure on his horticultural business. In short, the film follows a desperately cash stricken, Earl Stone (Eastwood), as he becomes a drug mule transporting drugs in his pick up, to make quick cash for his own means and others. Though hot on his heels is the DEA, represented by Eastwood’s co-stars, Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena and Laurence Fishbone, as they circle in on his activities and his bosses, a Mexican drug cartel. Incredibly, this all-star cast is also rounded out by Diane Wiest and Andy Garcia.
Release dates: January 24th, 2019 (Australia), January 25th, 2019 (United Kingdom).
The Front Runner.
When I heard actor Hugh Jackman was to play Colarado Senator Gary Hart, the charismatic reform-minded Democrat, it piqued my curiosity. That said, with my history on US politics of the 1980s somewhat rusty, a little investigative reading was in order. So what did I discover? Well, Senator Hart was considered in almost every respect the front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination until the sordid details of an extramarital affair with Hart’s girlfriend Donna Rice sidelined his campaign. In some respects Harts public humiliation was also the beginning of the tabloidisation of news media and politics. That said, the film follows almost every important detail of Senator Hart’s rise and fall.
Release date: Out now in the United Kingdom, January 31st, 2019 (Australia).