Features

Movies Not to Miss: January 2017

Writer: Casey Lee


Which of these are you going to watch?

January is often considered the dumpster month for the titles that the studios want to get over and done with. That's not quite the case for 2017 though. Rather than being a dumping ground for the leftover movies just to fill in the quiet slots of the New Year, cinemagoers would be playing catch up to some noteworthy releases that have finally reached our screens.

Although not quite riddled with the award contenders we are expecting, these releases are still reminders of what a good year of movies we had in 2016, and are also priming us to have a good start for 2017.

If your new year's resolution isn't to watch more movies this year, may these movies not to miss for January 2017 change your mind!

Allied

After meeting during an assassination mission, French-Canadian spy Max Vatan and agent Marianne Beausejour fall in love. After the couple are married and are raising a family, Max is informed that his wife could be a double agent spy for the Nazis, as suspicion sets into the family. Based on a true story according to screenwriter Steven Knight, director Robert Zemeckis is one who is never shy about his theatrics, and he has taken his sweeping grandstanding to World War II with "Allied". Riddled with the blazing star power of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as the leads, "Allied" is going to be more than just your tense war spy thriller, but also carries the weight of melodrama and romance that will be romanticised by the leading couple.

General Release Date: 5 January

The Wasted Times

During the Sino-Chinese war, Lu is saved by his Japanese brother-in-law Watabe, but ends up losing his family instead. Years later as the war is ending, Lu learns from Mrs. Wang, the abandoned wife of Lu's former boss, that his family's murder may have been plotted ahead by Watabe, as the truth starts to peel itself. After a four year absence since 2012's "Lethal Hostage", director Cheng Er returns with another slow burning drama thriller of precise violence and unmasked wrath set in a web of deceit and loyalties. Enjoying a much glossier setting in romanticised Shanghai of the 1930s, and a cast of heavy hitters like You Ge, Zhang Ziyi and Tadanobu Asano, "The Wasted Times" would set off the race of potential contenders in the next Golden Horse ceremony this year.

General Release Date: 5 January

Patriots Day

Based on the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013 that killed 3 people and injuring hundreds, "Patriots Day" follows the events on that fateful day and the state-wide manhunt for the perpetrators. Blasting us off with the rigors of an oil rig disaster in 2016 with "Deepwater Horizon", the Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg combo are back with another impactful re-enactment of another man-made disaster that occurred recently. Made in almost record time before being premiered 8 months after the start of production, "Patriots Day" may lose out on the smaller scale of its locations, but with a cast that has Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, and Michelle Monaghan, it more than makes up with the gravity of a tragic day in attacks on American soil, not to mention the music that is provided by musical duo Trent Razor and Atticus Ross.

General Release Date: 12 January

Arrival

As mysterious curved alien crafts dot around the world, an elite team is assembled to come up with a response to the aliens and find out what they want. Linguist professor Louise Banks is sent to make first contact with the aliens inside their ship and try to communicate with them to ascertain if the aliens come in peace. Not resting his laurels since 2015's "Sicario", "Arrival" just made it to fill in a slot for 2016, but is only arriving to our screens a few months later in 2017. This would be director Denis Villeneuve's first foray into the sci-fi genre (and won't be his last as production for his "Blade Runner" sequel has already wrapped), but don't expect Villeneuve to be playing to the tunes and tropes of this conventional premise in making contact with aliens. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are called off from their superhero duties to bring out their meaty performance in the lead, and are supported by Forest Whitaker. Even though it's adapted from the short story by Ted Chiang, "Arrival" may have more things to teach us about humanity than trying to understand aliens.

General Release Date: 12 January

Live By Night

Joe Caughlin is the prodigal son of a Boston police captain who moves to Ybor City, in Tampa, Florida during the Prohibition. From a bootlegger, Joe slowly rises to the top of the criminal world to become one of the more notorious gangsters of Florida. With Ben Affleck in no hurry to make the solo Batman flick, he has been kept busy doing less costumed roles. After taking down corrupted officials with numerical accuracy as "The Accountant", Affleck is on to show his bad side in his adaptation of Dennis Lehane's "Live By Night". This is the second time that Affleck is adapting a work by Dehane, the first being "Gone Baby Gone" in 2007, and he has brought an admirable cast with Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, and Zoe Saldana to be in the first gangster flick you'll see in 2017.

General Release Date: 12 January

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Thought for dead, extreme athlete and wild government operative Xander Cage reveals himself after his self-imposed exile and is called back to perform another mission; to recover a dangerous weapon called the Pandora's Box from a man known as Xiang. After failing to sustain another franchise for himself since 2005's "xXx: State of the Union", the mass appeal of Vin Diesel has vastly been revved up with his continued and key presence in the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Now a bigger star than he has ever been, Diesel is now back to revisit his once headliner series, but injects it with the formula of being the center of a likable team, and recognisable villains. That villain would be Donnie Yen as Xiang, and Samuel L. Jackson as Xander's handler from the NSA, while Deepika Padukone, Nina Dobrev, Ruby Rose and Toni Collette make up the team of thrill seekers. If the trailer of "The Fate of the Furious" has you worried that Diesel has turned bad, let "The Return of Xander Cage" remind you that he is one of the good guys.

General Release Date: 19 January

Kung Fu Yoga

 

With the key to the lost treasures of Magadha stolen from them, it is up to Chinese archaeologist Jack to team up with professor Ashmita and her assistant Kyra to recover it from the rebel army leader before it is auctioned off in Dubai. Only a month ago and we are already greeted by a new Jackie Chan movie for 2017. Directed by Stanley Tong who was behind Jackie Chan's introduction to the world, they are both reuniting to take their escapades to India, Tibet and China in this Indian-Chinese production that also has Amyra Dastur and Disha Patani as his beautiful sidekicks.

General Release Date: 26 January

Cinema Online, 01 January 2017

Related Movies:
Allied (05 Jan 2017)
Patriots Day (12 Jan 2017)
Arrival (12 Jan 2017)
Live By Night (26 Jan 2017)
The Wasted Times (Mandarin) (05 Jan 2017)
xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (19 Jan 2017)
Kung Fu Yoga (Mandarin) (26 Jan 2017)
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