After a fairly slow end to 2013, it is somewhat surprising that January is fairly well stacked for movie fans. With a couple of Oscar contenders and some more action orientated blockbusters out this month, the usually slow start to the year seems to have been put on hold for now.
Read on to see which four films I believe are worthy of your time this month.
12 Years A Slave, January 10th
Director: Steve McQueen Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams & Michael Fassbender
12 Years A Slave is the true story of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a free negro who was kidnapped and sold as a slave and forced to work on plantations in Louisiana. With an IMDb rating of 8.6/10 and a Metacritic score of 97/100, 12 Years A Slave has already proved popular with both fans & critics and is likely to feature highly during the upcoming awards season. With powerful direction from Steve McQueen, along with a strong performance from Ejiofor I expect this film to pack a strong emotional punch & with its sensitive subject matter, one that could cause some controversy along the way too.
The Wolf Of Wall Street, January 17th
Director: Martin Scorsese Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill & Margot Robbie
The Wolf Of Wall Street should be a work of complete fiction, with its mix of greed, excess, hookers & midget’s it’s an incredible tale of one man’s rise to power as a New York stockbroker. The fact that this is a true story is even more incredible. Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) is the epitome of the American dream, and the story of how he got there would be more suited to the next GTA video game. At 3 hours long, it’s no date night film, but it is a story that deserves to be told on the big screen, and with DiCaprio & Scorsese hitting top form this could end up on many people’s top 10 lists by the end of the year.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, January 24th
Director: Kenneth Branagh Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner & Keira Knightley
The Jack Ryan film franchise has so far been hit and miss. The likes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have all attempted to bring the Tom Clancy created spy series to the big screen, the last of those coming in 2002 with The Sum Of All Fears. Now, it is up to Chris Pine & director Kenneth Branagh (Thor) to bring the character up to date. The story may sound fairly run of the mill, involving Russian terrorists in an attempt to bring down the US economy, but with Branagh’s ability to craft a story & direct some great action scenes, this rebooted franchise could be off to a great start.
Lone Survivor, January 31st
Director: Peter Berg Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch & Emile Hirsch
Yes Peter Berg has directed some duds in his time, namely Battleship & Hancock, but he does have the superb Friday Night Lights & The Kingdom to his name. Understandably then, it is with a little trepidation then that I put Lone Survivor in my pick of the films for January, but the true story of the US Navy Seals and their Operation Red Wings during the war in Afghanistan has been drawing favourable reviews for its intense action scenes & powerful performances from all of its leads, and is set to surprise a few more people yet.