If it is possible to have a favourite bill, then my favourite to pay for is my Odeon Limitless subscription. I take joy in the relatively low cost for unlimited cinema visits across what I believe to be the superior UK cinema chain and I relish excitedly explaining to people that “you only need to go twice to cover the cost of the payment.” This is by no means an #ad, I am simply providing context for how I am going to effectively live in the cinema, come the first month of the year.
That’s the how. The why: it’s not often I say this about the film industry, but we are being spoilt. There is not a week that will go by this month, where there isn’t a film being released that hasn’t been met with critical acclaim by the likes of Cannes, or filmgoers across the pond that have enjoyed early releases. With all the talk in the New Year of resolutions and diets and Q1 goals, it’s easy to forget to prioritise the fun. So, to help you out, here is something of a timetable with key releases to watch out for in January.
12th January– Poor Things
Following the film’s premiere at Venice International Film Festival last year, ‘Poor Things,’ has been met with nothing but praise and acclaim, with many singling out Emma Stone’s Golden Globe-winning lead performance as the standout. The film, a dark comedy directed by Yorgos Lanthimos ('The Killing of a Sacred Deer,' 'The Favourite'), follows Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), a young woman in the Victorian era, resurrected by a scientist following her suicide. It’s come over to the UK a little late (it was released stateside last month) but with a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Jerrod Carmichael and more, it’s never too late to get involved.
17th January– Mean Girls: The Musical
As someone who regards the original Mean Girls as a personal favourite, I'm anxious about the movie musical, which is out later this month. For a remake of both a film and a Broadway version, they’ve remained pretty tight-lipped about the musical aspect of this film, with reviews clearly under embargo and the US only getting it a few days earlier than us over in the UK, which is rare! But I think (read: pray) it will be a fun watch.
19th January– The Holdovers
Sometimes the delayed releases in the UK are negligible, like with Mean Girls – but The Holdovers, the award-winning comedy-drama starring Paul Giamatti (Billions) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Only Murders In The Building), was released in October in America, and is set at Christmas time… Nevertheless, both Giamatti and Randolph both just won Golden Globes for their performances, and the plot line gives a crossover between The Breakfast Club, School of Rock and It’s a Wonderful Life – and I don’t think that can be a bad thing.
19th January– The Book of Clarence
A film that actually had its premiere last year at the BFI London Film Festival, is produced by Jay-Z and is directed by Jeymes Samuel, who directed 2021’s ‘The Harder They Fall’ – and is also Seal’s brother. But enough fun facts for you! The Book of Clarence is a self-described “biblical comedy-drama epic,” and features an ensemble cast including LaKeith Stanfield, Michael Ward, Teyana Taylor and James McAvoy. The premise? A man called Clarence (Stanfield), living in A.D 33 Jerusalem, who claims to be a new Messiah in an attempt at glory. I know right? I’ll see you there.
26th January– All of Us Strangers
Based on the 1987 novel ‘Strangers’ by Taichi Yamada, ‘All of Us Strangers’ is a British romantic fantasy film that follows two of Hollywood’s favourite Irishmen, Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. The film is a love-story, a ghost-story and a coming-of-age drama that zooms in on trauma, loneliness and the overwhelming desire for human connection in all forms. It’s been lighting up the earlier awards shows, and also features British stars Claire Foy and Jamie Bell.
26th January– The Color Purple
Blitz Bazawule is a Ghanaian filmmaker who co-directed the Grammy Award-nominated musical film, ‘Black is King’, alongside Beyonce. He is also the director for the film adaptation of the musical, ‘The Color Purple’, releasing in the UK towards the end of the month. Given the snippets that have been released, this unique perspective, as well as the talents of the likes of Taraji P Henson & Fantasia Barrino, has allowed Bazawule to bring an ironically modern approach to a film set in 1909 in the Deep South.
A Tribe Called Judah
Ok, ok. You got me – this film was released in December. But it’s still available in cinemas and I implore you not to miss it. Nigerian powerhouse Funke Akindele has made something special with this film, which delves into the intricacies of a seemingly regular Nigerian family that plan to rob a small mall to change their economic situation. It’s a comedy at its heart, but it’s combined with a captivating storyline and talented cast – and is currently breaking box office records in Nigeria.
That’s all I have for you, guys. So, get your calendars out and start making plans. My advice would be to switch them up – grab your partner for a couple of them, friends for others, and make sure to accommodate solo dates. Of course, there will be some that say it's “too much cinema”. To them I say– you’re so direly incorrect.