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January Doldrums Hit the Box Office

January Doldrums Hit the Box Office

Articles - Directing

Since the early 1990s, as the late season award contenders still linger in most cinemas, awaiting a surge in audiences as their prizes accumulate, a mid-winter onslaught of goofy genre fare begins to appear in cinemas the weekend after New Year’s Day. The next couple of months generally become a veritable dumping ground for all sorts of sub-par studio projects, from would-be prestige films that just don’t fit in the award season paradigm to other assorted misfits within the corporate conglomerates’ tight-fisted slates. Even as serious films from small distributors find audiences during this time of year, the studios’ steady stream of second-rate horror films, action-driven spectacles that didn’t quite have tentpole aspirations, stoner comedies and ill conceived biopics (who can forget Fox’s dubious Biggie biopic Notorious) that lack the middlebrow luster to enter the awards season race. With that in mind, here’s a list of our five most anticipated plausible January stinkers in the new year:

Contraband
directed by Baltasar Kormákur
opening January 13th

Giovanni Ribisi is still alive? And playing bad guys at that? Mark Wahlberg churns out yet another tough guy actioner to complement his burgeoning serious side, this time with an Icelandic helmer named Baltasar whose previous eight directorial credits seem to have all been small Nordic thrillers. 

Joyful Noise
directed by Todd Graff
opening January 13th

The movie Twittering classes always bring up Tyler Perry when black people in church appear in movies, anywhere, anytime these days. But in this tale of racial and generational tussling for control of a championship caliber church choir, Dolly Parton makes the return to mainstream movies, which is probably worth the price of admission for camp completists alone.

Underworld: Awakening
directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
opening January 20th

This action franchise has never really been built for the summer, but Kate Beckinsale nonetheless saddles back up to the trough for another installment. She does look good in black.

The Grey
directed by Joe Carnahan
opening January 27th

One of these days Liam Neeson is going to be too old to do stuff like this (oh, how I miss Sean Connery. Please Sean, de-age and regain your faculties!). We’ll be lesser for it.

One for the Money
directed by Julie Anne Robinson
opening January 27th

One of these days, Kat Heigl is going to star in a shot-for-shot remake of Jeanne Dielman by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, if only in our dreams. Until then, we’ll feast on her most recent foray in to forgettable rom-comland, this time with the barest of noir shadings.

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