One of our features that we will be running on the new Spooool.ie is called “What’s Worth Watching” where we will look ahead to the month’s new releases as we try to work out what’s worth 90-odd minutes of your eyeball attention.
While we love watching movies at home, our hearts really do belong to the big screen. So everything featured in this series will be showing in Irish cinemas – some of them will be in every multiplex across the land while some other may only show up for a few days in Dublin’s IFI or Lighthouse cinema, but either way they are accessible to all.
Here are the releases for the month of January (along with IMDB links) with my five picks for the must-sees included below. With it being awards season, it’s no surprise that there’s no shortage of big heavy-hitters this month.
#1 – Zero Dark Thirty (25th January)
A relative late-comer to the Best Picture race, Zero Dark Thirty is now many people’s favourite for the Oscar. What’s likely to work against Kathryn Bigelow’s latest is the fact that her last film The Hurt Locker took home most of the top prizes in 2010. But let’s put all that awards talk aside for a moment and reflect on what looks to be 157 minutes of unmissable cinema. The decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden may be the defining saga of our time and by all accounts Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have put together a pseudo-documentary-drama that is as much about one woman’s obsession with a man as it is the war on terror.
#2 – Django Unchained (18th January)
Nothing gets film fans talking more than a new Quentin Tarantino film. This has been the case for over a decade now ever since the six year gap between 1997’s Jackie Brown and the first part of his Kill Bill saga that debuted in 2003. For my money he’s probably in need of someone to reign in his scripts a little these days with scenes of incomparable intensity being stitched together to create slightly disjointed films. OK so I’m just talking about Death Proof and Inglorious Basterds but if stateside reviews are to believed, Django may be ticking a lot of those boxes again. But hey it’s Tarantino and he was one of the defining directors in both Páraic and my film education so we say bring it on!
#3 – Lincoln (25th January)
It’s annoying that two months will have passed between this film’s theatrical release in the United States and its release in Ireland. During this time Irish and UK film fans will have had to try to steer clear of reviews and features from North American media and avoid the temptation of leaked academy DVD screeners. But Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln is undoubtedly a film worth waiting for which deserves to be seen on the big screen. Here in Ireland we probably don’t give Daniel Day-Lewis enough credit as our greatest ever thespian, but if (and at this stage I’d wager “when”), he wins the Oscar next February he will be he first man in Academy history to take home three Best Actor statuettes. Not bad going DDL!
#4 – V/H/S (18th January)
2012 was a bit of a mixed bag for horror with the enjoyable but ultimately a little too meta and daft Cabin in the Woods being the biggest release of the year. We can hope for better things in 2013 with the arrival of two films that have a little fun with the genre – V/H/S and The ABCs of Death. Both open up the floor to a range of horror directors (10 for V/H/S and 26 for ABCs) who each contribute short segments to the final films. I was lucky enough to see both of them playing in festivals last summer and while results are mixed, V/H/S is the better of the two as it gives a little bit more running time to each director. My favourite was definitely David Bruckner’s Amateur Night (pictured above) which deals with three guys who rent a motel room and plan to coerce girls into coming back there to make an amateur porn movie. One of the girls turns out to be a bit of a handful though…
#5 – Gangster Squad (11th January)
Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad was originally scheduled to be released in early September but scenes involving shoot-outs in a movie theatre forced Warner Bros Pictures to delay its release for fear of upsetting audiences still reeling from the Aurora shootings in Colorado which saw 12 people die when a gun-man opened fire at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. But here we are five months later and the powers that be have decided we can now handle the film. So far our winter has been sadly bereft of any Ryan Gosling activity with this film and Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines both getting early 2013 releases (TPBTP shows up in April). Add in Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte and it’s sure to be very watchable fare from the director of the excellent Zombieland and the disappointing 30 Minutes or Less.
So there you have it. No room for Midnight’s Children, Les Miserables, The Sessions or Arnie’s return in The Last Stand but you can’t fit in everything!