Monthly Preview: January 2015

calendar2With the all-you-can-eat buffet of 2014 coming to an end, it’s time for the bottomless glass of 2015 to step up to the plate! And 2015 is starting out strong indeed, with the most crowded January I can remember. The indie/arthouse scene is taking full advantage of this quiet period to bring us a very unique collection of films. While there’s a very good chance many of these films will put me way off, I’m more than game, and I hope you all are too.

Black Sea: Mashing up Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Das Boot just sounds like a great dramatic premise to me, and that’s exactly what Black Sea looks like. Under the direction of reliable Kevin Macdonald, and featuring a great cast including Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn, it seems like a solid little thriller to get the year going. It might not be anything groundbreaking or mindblowing but I expect it to be a tense bit of fun nevertheless.

Appropriate Behavior: One of two Middle-East-themed rom-coms coming out this month! I only saw the trailer for Appropriate Behavior a couple of weeks ago, and I was struck by the natural sense of humor present, particularly in the relationship between the two lead girls. It feels very much like Obvious Child, with the laughs coming from conversational rhythm more than absurd situations, which is something I find myself appreciating more and more. While this one could easily fall into Brooklyn-hipster vibes that might drive me nuts, from what I’ve seen it looks like something much more likable than that.

Duke of Burgundy: While next month sees the release of that big-name S&M-themed drama that I couldn’t care less about, this month gives us what seems to be a much more intriguing taste of the kinky in this film. Duke of Burgundy seems surehanded and confident in its sexual overtones, and I’m certain it will be a more involved exploration of the master-slave dynamic than in that overblown Twilight fanfic. What’s more, the film looks downright gorgeous, and more than a little intense… as any drama about sex should.

R100: And on the flip side of the kink spectrum is this balls-out crazy movie coming from (where else?) Japan, starring Ichi the Killer. It’s a really weird idea, and there’s a really good chance it’ll be too weird for me to fully enjoy as a story. But from what I’ve seen it looks really hysterical, and with a father-son dynamic at its core I’m sure the film will have some greater thematic depth. Plus it’s coming from Drafthouse Films, and those guys know their movies. If nothing else, it’ll be unique, and that counts for a lot.

Amira and Sam: With the indie world taking over the genre from the oblivious studios, we’re seeing a resurgence of rom-coms, and from much more diverse and interesting voices and perspectives than ever before. In the case of Amira and Sam, we’re getting a movie from a former soldier that’s taking the Green Card formula to new and raw places, and seems to be saying a lot here beyond just telling a love story. But above all this is clearly a love story, and one that seems very honest and sweet. Seeing Martin Starr as a strapping military man is a little weird, but there’s a lot of great chemistry here, and my hopes are high.

Everly: Last year saw a great resurgence of old-school, small-scale action movies, and Everly seems like a great, femme-flavored addition to the action renaissance. Joe Lynch looks like he’s rebounding nicely from the catastrophe behind Knights of Badassdom, and it’s great to see Salma Hayek get a big, fun starring role like this. Plus, the action looks wild and distinctive, and I’m sure there’s even more that we haven’t gotten a glimpse of yet. This one will be on VOD at the end of this month, and in theaters at the end of February, and however you watch it, you definitely should watch it.

Match seems like a great acting showcase for Patrick Stewart et al, even if the plot seems predictable in the trailer; being a Michael Mann fan, I really want to like Blackhat, but good God does it look like a dumb movie; I’ve heard good things about Killers, which is a Japanese/Indonesian serial killer movie, but I haven’t seen any footage from it yet so I’m reserving my excitement; and after a year-long delay I am still vaguely interested in Project Almanac (aka Welcome to Yesterday), but only a little.

How about that start to the year? And just you wait until February, which actually looks even better.

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