January gets the movie calendar for 2018 off with a bang, bringing some high-octane action flicks, a tense thriller, and one of the most anticipated films of the year, coming from the mind of Guillermo del Toro.
Release date: 12th January 2018
Liam Neeson’s action-thriller outings have seemed to become more and more frequent since the success of the Taken series, and his newest film, The Commuter, seems to be a similar narrative. Liam Neeson plays an insurance salesman who is approached on his morning commute by a stranger that offers him $100,000 if he is able to identify a mystery passenger successfully before their last stop. What starts out as a potentially quirky game quickly escalates as he realises there’s a potentially deadly conspiracy at the heart of the stranger’s request, and it’s up to him to work against the clock to protect not only himself, but every other passenger on the train. Neeson has proven to be a practiced hand at these kinds of filma, and he’s joined by a strong cast including Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, so anyone looking for a tense nail-biter to endure will likely not be disappointed.
Release date: 12th January 2018
Very often truth is stranger than fiction, which appears to be the case in this biopic drama that documents the true story of how a professional Olympic skier, Molly Bloom, orchestrated the world’s most high-profile poker game for all manner of celebrities, business pioneers, royalty, and even gangsters. While the world saw her as just a pretty face and impressive athlete, there was a lot more to Molly than met the eye as she rubbed shoulders with a seedy gambling underbelly that would eventually make her the target of an FBI investigation. The main draws for this film will be that it’s Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, the screenwriter for many Oscar-quality films, as well as featuring Jessica Chastain in the lead, currently one of Hollywood’s most impressive actresses. For fans of documentaries and biographies, this will be an intriguing look into what the world’s rich and powerful sometimes get involved with.
The Shape of Water
Release date: 19 January 2018
Most viewers will be familiar with director Guillermo Del Toro’s science fiction projects Pacfic Rim or the Hellboy franchise, but his claim to fame initially was the dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water is more in line with his tone and character-driven approach that was present in Pan’s Labyrinth, rather than the more effects-driven and action packed romps he may be better known for now. The Shape of Water is a more dramatic period piece that explores the relationship developed between a cleaner of a secret government facility and a mysterious being she discovers is being held captive within it, and who she attempts to free. Del Toro’s capacity to weave resonant character arcs into quirky, fantastical settings is well established but his artistic and idiosyncratic stories can sometimes be an acquired taste. This is definitely a more thoughtful movie that could be better suited to those looking for something a little unconventional, but the fantasy and thriller elements should mean it’ll be an engaging story for most viewers to enjoy.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Release date: 26 January 2018
The final instalment in the Maze Runner franchise is about to hit theatres and the stakes for the Gladers have reached their peak. Throughout the series, a group of youngsters who have been unwillingly subjected to bizarre experiments by an organisation known as WCKD are reaching the last stretch in their search for answers about the mysterious predicament. Going in blind into this third entry isn’t the best idea, so if you’re intrigued by dystopian science-fiction thrillers, it might be a good idea to have a movie evening catching up on the previous two instalments; but established fans are likely waiting with bated breath for the conclusion of this series to unfold.
Release date: 26th January 2018
From the unusual and fantastic to the solemn and serious, Steven Spielberg joins up with acting heavyweights Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep to tell a story of political deceit and intrigue. In a day and age where political leaks are commonplace and generating significant repercussions on a weekly basis, this film tells the story of a governmental cover-up that famous American newspaper The Washington Post uncovered and fought to expose. For the politically and historically-interested, this will be an intriguing exploration of a seminal point in journalistic history, as well as drawing interesting parallels with the USA’s current political climate. Considering the talent involved, it’s also likely going to be a contender for several Academy Awards, so anyone interested in getting to grips with best film aspirants should probably get a ticket for this one.