Start your year with these 10 January movies

  • Movies
  • Monday, 02 Jan 2017

XXX: Return of Xander Cage will have Vin Diesel fighting Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. YEAH

Happy New Year! 2016’s movies may have been a patchy lot, but 2017 promises to be much better. January may be a typically slow month in terms of blockbusters, but there are still some cracking movies to look forward to.

You’ve got great action franchises like xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (Jan 26) and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Jan 26); fun family fare like Monster Trucks (Jan 12). For the romantics, there’s Allied (Jan 5) and rom-com La La Land (Jan 5), while fans of mystery and thrillers can catch Arrival (Jan 12) or Split (Jan 19).

Oh, and don’t worry, we didn’t forget that Chinese New Year is at the end of the month. Happily, there’s going to be a couple of familiar CNY staples in the cinemas – Jackie Chan stars in Kungfu Yoga (Jan 26), and Stephen Chow produced Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons 2. Happy Chinese New Year in advance!

La La Land (Jan 5)

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, Finn Wittrock, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

Director: Damien Chazelle

A jazz pianist and an aspiring actress meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, but differences in their career paths threaten to derail their relationship.

Why you should watch it:The movie has been getting rave reviews from critics, and snagged Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Gosling, Best Actress for Stone, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Besides, a romantic comedy starring Ryan Gosling AND Emma Stone? We’re so there.

Allied (Jan 5)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode, Jared Harris

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Set in 1942 during World War II, a French-Canadian spy falls in love with a beautiful French agent, and they eventually get married. However, his superiors later inform him that she could be a Nazi spy...

Why you should watch it:

The trailer looks absolutely gorgeous, teasing an intriguing story and mystery, and the two leads look fabulous together. To tell the truth, we’re most curious to see just how good Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are together, since it was rumoured that their chemistry on the set of this film led to an affair that was the reason for Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce (though Cotillard has denied those rumours).

Master (Jan 12)

Cast: Lee Byung-Hun, Kang Dong-won, Kim Woo-Bin

Director: Cho Ui-Seok

The leader of a white collar crime team investigates a massive fraud case involving a company called Won Network, led by its president, Jin (played by Lee Byung-Hun), and has to contend with the real brains behind the company, Park Jang-Goon (Kim Woo-Bin), the company’s Section Chief.

Why you should watch it:

A Korean crime drama starring Lee Byung-Hun, and directed by Cho Ui-Seok, who made the thrilling Cold Eyes? If you’re a fan of Korean movies, this is one movie that should be at the top of your list this month.

Arrival (Jan 12)

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Mysterious alien crafts land across the planet, and language expert Louise Banks joins an elite team to investigate whether or not the aliens come in peace.

Why you should watch it:

After waiting several months for this, we’re really excited that Arrival has finally arrived. Critics have praised it for being an intelligent science fiction movie that is atmospheric and thrilling, as well as Amy Adams’ performance in it. One thing is for sure, this won’t be a movie that is dead on arrival.

Monster Trucks (Jan 12)

Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Barry Pepper, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover

Director: Chris Wedge

A small town boy builds a monster truck out of scrap parts, and then meets an actual monster that decides to live in his monster truck, making it literally a monster truck.

Why you should watch it:

It sound like a silly premise, but the trailer sells it as a fun, rip-roaring adventure comedy with lots of fun monster truck stunt action. Besides, it’s a movie about a monster in a monster truck. Which monster movie fan wouldn’t want to watch that?

Split (Jan 19)

Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Kevin has at least 23 split personalities inside his mind. He kidnaps three teenage girls and brings them to his home, where they discover that he has one final personality called The Beast, that could be the most terrifying one yet.

Why you should watch it:

Is this the movie in which M. Night Shyamalan finally redeems himself after his last few terriblefilms? (Yes, we’re talking about The Last Airbender). James McAvoy’s chilling performance in the trailer alone is enough to convince us that this will be one scary movie.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage will have Vin Diesel fighting Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. YEAH
XXX: Return of Xander Cage will have Vin Diesel fighting Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. YEAH

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (Jan 26)

Cast: Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Jaa, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone

Director: D.J. Caruso

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage is back. This time around, he has to go after a deadly fighter called Xiang and his team, who are after a dangerous weapon called the Pandora’s Box.

Why you should watch it:

A movie with Vin Diesel going up against Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa? Do you even need another reason to watch this?

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Jan 26)

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, William Levy, Ruby Rose, Iain Glen

Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Her name is Alice, and this is her final story. Together with classic franchise characters like Jill, Claire, Chris, Leon, Ada and Wesker, she makes a final push to destroy The Hive, where The Red Queen plots total destruction for the human race.

Why you should watch it:

This is it, the final chapter of the Resident Evil franchise. Supposedly. The trailer looks absolutely bat***t crazy, with action sequences that look as awesomely cool as some of the best in the franchise. And it doesn’t matter if the movie is good or not – we’d still watch it just to see Milla Jovovich in full blown action mode.

Kung Fu Yoga (Jan 26)

Cast: Jackie Chan, Aarif Rahman, Lay, Shang Yuxian, Sonu Sood, Amyra Dastur

Director: Stanley Tong

No, this is not a movie about a kungfu-fighting yoga master. A Chinese archaeologist professor, Jack, teams up with two professors from India to find a lost Magadha treasure in Tibet. Along the way, they find out that there is more to the treasure than they initially thought. They also run afoul of a rebel army leader, Randall, who is also after the treasure.

Why you should watch it:

Face it, it’s not Chinese New Year without a Jackie Chan movie. The quality of his output may have dwindled in recent times (Skiptrace, anyone?), but there’s just something about watching one of his movies during the festive season that puts a smile on your face. He and director Stanley Tong have produced some great movies together in the past, but let’s hope that this one will be closer to Police Story 3: Super Cop than say, The Myth.

Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons 2

Cast: Kris Wu, Lin Gengxin, Yao Chen, Mengke Bateer

Director: Tsui Hark

A sequel to the 2013 Stephen Chow-directed Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, acclaimed director Tsui Hark takes over the reins this time around, with Chow writing and producing instead. It continues where the last movie left off, with the monk Sanzang leading his three disciples – Sha Wujing, Zhu Bajie and Sun Wukong – on a journey to the West.

Why you should watch it:

Stephen Chow’s trademark comedies also used to be regular staples during Chinese New Year, so we’re also pretty happy that he makes a return this year, albeit in a producing and writing role. The first film in this series was actually a decent if slightly incredulous interpretation of the classic Journey To The West story. It should be interesting to see how Tsui Hark handles Chow’s script; hopefully he will retain some of Chow’s signature humour in the movie.

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