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The 2019 Film Release Calendar: January

New year, new movies.

I begin every new year by taking a look at what movies there are to come out. It helps me to be aware of stuff so I can actively track it throughout the year, and I think it’s helpful for most people who care about movies to at least be informed of what’s going on. Far too often do I talk to my friends who are casually into movies, and they have no idea what’s coming out or when the stuff they want to see is supposed to come out.

Of course, when I do something, I really do it, so instead of just a casual preview of the big 35 movies of the year, I go all out. You’re gonna get everything as it’s currently scheduled to come out, plus another 200 or so movies that are not dated but are finished and ready to come out, plus another 100 or so that I’ve been tracking from previous years. I dare to say that no one on the internet goes as deep into their coverage as I do.

So here we are, in 2019. Here are all the movies coming out this month:

January

State Like Sleep

A woman grapples with the consequences of her celebrity husband’s double life after he commits suicide.

Stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Shannon and Luke Evans.

I saw a trailer. Looks decent. The only question for me is whether I want to go 3 stars or 3.5 stars.

I’m thinking I go 3 stars, because it is January and it took a year to come out. That’s usually not a sign of a 3.5 star movie, but I will happily take 3.5 if that’s what it’s gonna be.

Escape Room

Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive.

Hmm.

This is a thriller coming out in January. So my gut immediately said “2.5 stars.” But I watched a trailer. I liked the premise. So I’m thinking I might go 3 on this. It looks inventive and non-horror, so I think I will go 3 stars. That way, if it ends up being 2.5 I have no one to blame but myself. Because, like the Snowman, it gave me all the clues. But I think I can get 3 stars out of this.

The Vanishing

Three lighthouse keepers on the remote Flannan Isles find a hidden trunk of gold, leading to their mysterious disappearance.

Oh good, a thriller about lighthouse keepers.

Peter Mullan and Gerard Butler starring is nice. And the trailer looked interesting enough.

Honestly, I see a Gerard Butler thriller in January, and I already know it’s gonna be 3 stars. I don’t even see an alternative. Unless it’s a really solid thriller and it goes 3.5 stars, but the catch-22 there is, if it were that solid, why is it coming out in January? I can’t see this being anything but 3 stars.

American Hangman

An unidentified man posts a live feed on social media showing that he has kidnapped two strangers and intends to kill one before the day is out. His intention is to hold a capital “trial” online. As the authorities recognize what’s happening, it becomes apparent that the online public is going to act as judge and jury.

Okay. Vincent Kartheiser and Donald Sutherland. Seems like a generic thriller. 2.5 stars, but only because it seems to be based around a viral video kind of idea. And because the trailer looked very badly cut, which usually means a step below a studio movie, and an increased likelihood of “ehh.”

A Dog’s Way Home

A dog travels 400 miles in search of her owner.

Oh dear god.

They’re creating a universe with these fucking dogs.

This could be okay if it didn’t look manufactured to appeal to the “Christian movie” audience.

2 stars.

I just fucking can’t with these.

The Upside

A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

Oh, yeah, the Intouchables remake.

Could have gone 3.5 stars with the cast, but it got pushed to January.

3 stars. Seems too schmaltzy to be more solid than that. I’m sure it’s fine, but it’s not the kind of sentimentality I go for. Plus it’s January. Hard to see this going higher than 3.

Ashes in the Snow

In 1941, a 16 year-old aspiring artist and her family are deported to Siberia amidst Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region. One girl’s passion for art and her never-ending hope will break the silence of history.

I like Bel Powley. This movie seems really generic. But it’s a period piece, and she’s good, so I figure I’ll get 3 stars out of this easily.

Also, holy shit, I watched trailers for all of these movies and basically saw all the movies already. It’s not even a challenge when you’re basically showing me what I’m gonna watch.

The Last Laugh

When retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, a comic who quit show business 50 years ago, he convinces Buddy to escape their retirement community and hit the road for a cross-country comedy tour.

It’s Richard Dreyfuss and Chevy Chase. I’m so in.

3 stars.

I don’t see how I don’t get 3 stars out of this automatically.

Against the Clock

After new CIA recruit, Kelley Chandler (Polish) is seriously injured during a mission, surviving only on life support, his wife Tess (Agron), a former CIA operative, becomes determined to find out what happened to her husband. As the details of Kelley’s last mission unravel, showing that his accident was an inside job, Tess puts everything on the line to keep Kelley out of harm’s way, even if that comes with dangerous consequences.

Oh shit, this movie’s finally coming out! It’s been like, four years!

Which means automatic 2.5 stars. You can’t keep something on the shelf for that long and have it be good. MAYBE it’s watchable enough that I get 3 out of it, but, with that synopsis, I doubt it.

Watch this not actually come out this month, too.

Glass

Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.

Oh boy. I’ve been dreading this one for a year.

Split was good. I liked it. And then they ruined it by turning it into this universe.

I don’t really care about Unbreakable. And I don’t really care about what he’s doing with this story.

So I have to guess 3 stars, even though there’s a distinct chance I could get 3.5 out of this. Doubt it, but it’s possible. My guess is I’m gonna hate good portions of this and that will keep it to 3 for me. The first one was a contained thriller and character piece. This is not. Therefore, I can’t expect I’ll like it all that much.

Io

Sam, a teenage girl, is one of the last people on a post-cataclysmic Earth. With the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet, she must decide whether to journey to the launch point and join the rest of humanity, or remain on Earth, a castaway in the only home she has ever known.

So they’re finally putting this out. Stars Margaret Qualley, who I like. And it’s got Anthony Mackie and Danny Huston. All good things.

I… I went 3.5 stars last year, but it coming out in January and it being a Netflix sci-fi movie give me pause. So I will say 3 stars, knowing I will certainly get at least that out of it, and see if this can get to 3.5. 3 stars seems like the easiest way to go on this, because the odds are overwhelmingly in that corner.

Polar

A master assassin comes out of retirement to contend with a group of young hit men.

Stars Madds Mikkelson and is directed by the guy who made that Norwegian black metal movie. Okay, I’m in. And it’s based on a graphic novel.

All of this sounds like an easy 3 star movie to me.

Kinda hoping I can get 3.5 stars out of this, but the tone is gonna be what dictates that. 3 stars seems safest, and then we’ll see if the movie can be better.

The Kid Who Would Be King

A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.

Oh yeah. I saw a trailer for this. Looks generic.

However… Joe Cornish wrote and directed it, his first movie since Attack the Block. Weird choice for a follow-up, but honestly, I saw Eli Roth make a kids movie last year, so anything is possible.

Still, having seen the trailer, 3 stars. Might even be 2.5. This should not be anything other than one of those two numbers.

Serenity

The mysterious past of a fishing boat captain comes back to haunt him, when his ex-wife tracks him down with a desperate plea for help, ensnaring his life in a new reality that may not be all that it seems.

This is an interesting one. I was really looking forward to this last year, and they bumped it out of October and into January. Which means they’re dumping it and think it’s bad. So I expect this to get terrible reviews and come and go with little fanfare.

However, it was written and directed by Steven Knight, who did Locke, and also wrote Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things, Allied, and created Peaky Blinders. And he’s got McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke and Djimon Hounsou in it. With that cast, I have to guess 3.5 stars. It looks like a neo-noir, too, which means I’ll be all for it. But the people involved in this should not create a movie less than 3.5 stars, which means I have to assume that much at the very least and let this be a visible disappointment if not.

All signs point to 3, but I think I’ll still get 3.5 out of this despite all that. The only thing that would really surprise me is if I got 4, but something tells me this should be an easy 3.5.

Rent Live

My first one of these. Mostly because I happened to catch that it was happening and figured I was gonna watch it anyway, so I might as well rate it.

These live musicals have always been worthwhile for me. And Fox is doing it, and they seem to make them better than everyone else. Grease Live was amazing.

This… I don’t like the show as much as I did Grease, but I know I’ll like it because it’s live. So I think I’ll go 3.5 stars. That seems pretty standard for one of these.

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