January has historically been a month where movie studios dump their worst films, and after a quick glance at this year’s release schedule it seems that trend is set to continue. While January’s new releases are unlikely to make waves, this is also the month where several awards contenders will expand their theater counts from limited to wide, providing some respite from the drought of quality films. Here are the three wide releases this week:
Underworld: Blood Wars
The fifth entry in the long-running Underworld franchise hits screens this weekend. The franchise has never been a favourite of critics, but has acquired a significant fan following as shown in its consistent box office results. Kate Beckinsale returns as lead character Selene, as she and her allies attempt to finally put an end to the war between the Lycans and the Vampires. The movie is directed by Anna Foerster making her feature film debut, and co-stars Theo James and Charles Dance.
If Blood Wars can continue Underworld’s healthy box office performance, producer Len Wiseman has said that plans for a sixth installment will move ahead. An opening somewhere between $23-$26 million would be a good domestic start for the movie, which has already brought in $42 million from foreign territories on a production budget of just $35 million.
Should you see it? If you’re a fan of the Underworld franchise, it seems like a safe bet that this movie will offer more of the same. Those of you who aren’t keen on the idea of ridiculous action-oriented stories probably shouldn’t bother. Here at Movies & Cool Stuff, we’re holding out until the end of the month to get a fix of insane action-horror, when the Resident Evil series comes to a close with its sixth entry. It’s a very guilty pleasure of ours.
Hidden Figures has had a limited release in a handful of movie theaters for the last two weeks, but this weekend opens in over two thousand. The film tells the story of Katherine Johnson (Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (The Help‘s Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe): three African-American woman who played integral parts in the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. Theodore Melfi (2014’s St. Vincent) takes on directing duties.
The film has had a positive reception from critics and has garnered some awards buzz, however isn’t looking to be one of this year’s strongest contenders. At the Golden Globes, the movie received just two nominations: Octavia Spencer in the Best Supporting Actress category, and a nod for Best Original Score. The film has been recognised at other less prominent ceremonies, but its questionable just how large a presence it will have at the Academy Awards in March.
Should you see it? While Hidden Figures isn’t the biggest awards contender of the year, it is still a very well regarded film. Although these three women played such a huge part in keeping the USA in the space race, their work is only now coming to the forefront. Therefore, anyone interested in seeing a part of American history swept under the rug long ago, should make time to see Hidden Figures.
Staff Pick: A Monster Calls
Just three weeks after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made waves at the box office, Felicity Jones returns to screens in A Monster Calls. The film is directed by J.A. Bayona, known for his work on The Orphanage and The Impossible, and tells the story of a young boy named Conor. Struggling to cope with his terminally ill mother and school bullies, Conor encounters a huge monster who helps him find happiness once again. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Ness. Jones plays Conor’s mother, while the film also stars Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and relative newcomer Lewis MacDougall in the lead role.
Should you see it? The film is another to have a warm reception from critics, only to receive little recognition from major awards ceremonies. After being shut out completely by the Golden Globes, hopes at achieving Oscar gold are dwindling for A Monster Calls. Still, the film is our pick for what to see this weekend; a fantasy twist on the coming-of-age story which is said to be deeply moving, this is a movie we’re quite excited about.
What do you plan to see this weekend? Be sure to let us know in the comments section, and find us on Facebook and Twitter for more content.