Monthly Preview: January 2016Posted: January 3, 2016
2015 is dead. Long live 2016! And let us celebrate the reign of the new calendarial overlord with… January, I guess? Because nothing rings in the New Year like another disappointingly slim selection of no-man’s-land movies and long-delayed write-offs. Thanks Hollywood! But honestly, cinematically-speaking this is still looking like a better January than most. Let’s see why.
13 Hours: Look, we all know Michael Bay and what he’s about. His films are loud, brash, unnuanced and often stupid as dirt. However, when used correctly Bay can put out a certain kind of entertainingly over-the-top action film, and 13 Hours certainly could fit that bill. While I remain nervous that the film will delve too eagerly into the crazy Benghazi conspiracy bullshit, I mostly can’t believe that Bay would ever consciously make a film whose political perspective extends beyond “Amer-i-ca, FUCK YEAH!!!” To me, 13 Hours seems like a solid men-on-a-mission movie with some solid action and an intriguingly out-of-place John Krasinski, and in January that is more than enough to warrant consideration.
Jane Got A Gun: Man, is this REALLY coming out? Is it actually getting released? The road to release for Jane Got A Gun has been astoundingly unlucky, from a director bailing on the film on the first day of shooting to several casting shuffles to the studio behind it going bankrupt. But now it looks like this (presumably) feminist Western will finally see the light of day, and fingers crossed it will be worth the effort and wait. Having Gavin O’Connor as the director is reassuring, especially coming off the powerhouse Warrior, and the cast looks uniformly engaging. But of course, the real selling point is seeing Natalie Portman playing a badass frontier woman, and you’d certainly think this film wouldn’t be lacking for that. I really hope this one was able to come together, or it’d feel like a real waste.
Kung Fu Panda 3: The overarching narrative of Dreamworks Animation is that it is the loud, boorish, dated cousin to the artistic, emotional, timelessness of Pixar. That narrative, of course, ignores the best two of DWA’s franchises: How To Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda. Of the two, the high quality of the Kung Fu Panda films are perhaps more surprising, but after two of them it would be foolish to not to have higher expectations for this third installment. Adding greats like Bryan Cranston and JK Simmons to an already-killer voice cast, and certainly not lacking for gorgeous imagery, Kung Fu Panda 3 should hopefully live up to the success of its predecessors and offer a goofy, earnest adventure to brighten up the gloom of winter.
I’ve heard good things about indie horror film The Boy, so that could be a nice little sleeper; and William Monahan’s Mojave is finally coming out, and while I don’t know what to make of it I do know it features Oscar Isaac so I have no choice but to keep it in mind.
So that’s all there is to January. Thankfully February looks to have more than enough to pick up the slack. Enjoy the cold weather folks (if there is any)!