(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)
The New Year brings new beginnings, and does this ring true in the world of movies?
Well, don’t expect much different from Hollywood – they’re sticking to their arsenal of sequels (“The Dark Knight Rises”), prequels (“The Hobbit”), superheroes (“Avengers”), reboots (“Amazing Spiderman”), and re-imaginings (“Mirror, Mirror”).
But before we dive straight into the coming blockbusters, the first part of the year is dedicated to the film art form with the release of Oscar contenders among others. In January alone, movie buffs will get to see the Marilyn Monroe biopic, “My Week With Marilyn” and “The Descendants”. You can also still catch Spielberg’s awesome “War Horse”, “The Artist” and another possible contender “We Bought A Zoo” which are still running in theatres.
So let’s take a look at our favourite picks for January!
Week of January 5
The Stars: Dominic Cooper, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Williams
The Buzz: Directed by Brit director Simon Curtis, My Week With Marilyn is based on the diaries of the late film documentarian and writer Colin Clark, which offer a gentle, offbeat picture of Marilyn Monroe who is played here by Michelle Williams. The movie recently clinched 3 Golden Globe nominations-- Best Comedy/Musical Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress.
inSing.com says: Curtis’s movie is an honest recounting of the brief liaison between Monroe and Clark. The film centers on Clark and Monroe’s week together during the making of 1957’s “The Prince and the Showgirl” which starred Laurence Olivier and Monroe. Clark, then an assistant on the film’s set, showed Monroe around Britain for a week when Monroe’s then newlywed husband playwright Arthur Miller left the country. Williams carries off her portrayal of the Fifties iconic film icon with aplomb—from her moves, gait and speech. Heck, she even eerily looks like Monroe in some camera angles.
Also opening: “Special Forces”, an Afghanistan-set kidnap drama which will be shot with the help of the French army in the vein of “Black Hawk Down”. Director Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”, “Monster’s Ball”, “Finding Neverland” and “The Kite Runner”) teams up with Gerard Butler in "Machine Gun Preacher" to tell the phenomenal real-life story of a former Pennsylvanian drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God, transformed his aggression into a force for good, opening an orphanage for the war-ravaged children of Sudan.
Week of January 12
The stars: Ben Foster, Caleb Landry Jones, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Wahlberg
The buzz: A remake of the acclaimed 2008 Icelandic thriller “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”, “Contraband” is directed by the original movie’s star and producer Baltasar Kormakur
inSing.com says: Mark Wahlberg leads the cast of this fast-paced thriller about a man trying to stay out of a world he worked so hard to leave behind and the family he’ll do anything to protect. Wahlberg reprises his tough-guy-with-a-heart-of -gold role in this movie, while Kate Beckinsale looks kinda underused as Wahlberg’s hapless wife. Judging from the trailer, “Contraband” looks like your typical heist thriller with all the familiar trimmings—action set pieces, plot twists and stereotypical characters. If Kormakur doesn’t make a mess of things, “Contraband” might just be a entertaining ride.
Also opening: In cinemas this week is “I Spit on Your Grave,” an unrated remake based on Meir Zarchi’s controversial 1978 cult horror film “Day of the Woman.” There’s also “5 Days of War”, a Renny Harlin flick which covers people trying to cover the war that broke out between Russia and Georgia in 2008.
Week of January 19
The Stars: Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender
The Buzz: It’s Steven Soderberg’s first stab at action movies. If that isn’t buzz-worthy, we don’t know what else is.
inSing.com says: Hot on the heels of the stunning “Contagion” is this actioner. Soderbergh brings the mixed martial artist beauty Gina Carano to the big screen with this thriller pitting Carano, a CIA-trained assassin against her handlers who turn their backs on her (things go haywire after an op, hence the movie title). We’re not really sure how this film will pan out—thrusting a MMA fighter on to the big screen is quite a risky move for Soderberg but Carano is surrounded by a wealth of talent that might just help her stay afloat. Nevertheless, what Carano lacks in acting skills, she more than makes up for it in her ability to kick butt à la Jason Bourne. This could be Soderberg’s most ferocious film yet.
Also opening: Funnyman Adam Sandler returns to mischievous form in “Jack and Jill”,where he plays both boy-and-girl twins. If you love Sandler’s wicked brand of humour, don’t miss this. Our very own Jack Neo is back with “We Not Naughty”. Starring Daniel Chan, the movie is a poignant story which examines the problems faced by parents with their rebellious children in Singapore’s current society.
Week of January 26
The Stars: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Shailene Woodley
The Buzz: This movie is directed by Alexander Payne, creator of the Oscar-winning film “Sideways”. “The Descendants” is touted as an Oscar frontrunner and has racked up a slew of nominations from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice, among others.
inSing.com says: Director Alexander Payne visits Hawaii for this comedy drama about grief and inheritance. George Clooney which doesn’t look very handsome here with his five o’clock shadow and bad Hawaiian shirts plays Matt King, a down-and-out lawyer who is coping with a cheating wife and two daughters. It turns out that King is a descendant of Hawaiian royalty and that he holds the deciding vote in the family trust that holds the land. He’s torn over whether to go along with other members of his family who just want a piece of the fortune by selling off the land. The story, based in a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings is rooted in history and law. Similar dilemmas have been faced by a number of Hawaiian families in recent years. Charming and at times heart-wrenching, Payne’s moving story with its themes of isolation, betrayal, and forgiveness, coupled with Clooney’s stellar performance is one to watch.
Also opening: Using the same ‘low-budget’ first-person handheld-camera style, Chronicle looks at three high school teenagers (Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan and Alex Russell) who mysteriously gain superpowers. Kate Beckinsale returns in Underworld: Awakening. The story this time around acts as both a sequel and perhaps a mini-reboot—Selene (Beckinsale) awakens 12 years in the future after being held captive in stasis, only to find that the tables have turned on the world stage. Now, it is humans who are the hunters, while vampires and their enemies Lycans (werewolves) are the prey.