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The New Movies of January 2018, In Order of Anticipation

Keep reading for a look at our ten most anticipated movies hitting screens this month!
Before I Wake
By  · Published on January 2nd, 2018

Keep reading for a look at our ten most anticipated movies hitting screens this month!

On the one hand it’s a brand new year, so hooray! But on the other? It’s time for the January doldrums at the movies. Or… is it?

That’s honestly for you to decide as some of us find movies to look forward to every week and month of the year. Movies are magic dammit! This month sees a mix of movies from action to horror to, well, a lot more action and horror. And we’re excited for all of them!

10. Den of Thieves

Release date: 1/19

“A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.”

Pros: It looks like a big, bloody, messy romp, and sometimes you’re in the mood for another movie like Sabotage. O’Shea Jackson’s worth keeping an eye on, especially after his scene-stealing turn in last year’s Ingrid Goes West.

Cons: Director/co-writer Christian Gudegast earned this feature debut on the back of London Has Fallen‘s success, but while I’d argue that’s a fun action picture his script isn’t exactly the main reason why.

9. Mary and The Witch’s Flower

Release date: 1/19

“Based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, a strange flower grants a girl magic powers.”

Pros: Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi previously gifted movie-lovers with The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There.

Cons: I know literally nothing else about this one, have heard even less, and am very slow to actually bring myself to watch animated films.

8. 12 Strong

Release date: 1/19

12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.”

Pros: Movies built on pure jingoism are rarely good — just look at the last few years of Clint Eastwood-directed films — but sometimes a tale of American heroes translates into a solid action picture along the lines of Michael Bay’s 13 Hours. I’m hoping this is the latter, and the addition of a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, William Fichtner, and Michael Peña can only help.

Cons: Maybe it’s more like American Sniper.

7. Proud Mary

Release date: 1/12

“Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston. Mary’s life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes awry.”

Pros: I’m always up for movies about assassins, and pairing that with a riff on John Cassavetes’ Gloria makes it even more promising. Add Taraji P. Henson into the title role, and I’ll be there opening night.

Cons: Director Babak Najafi’s last film was the fun but messy in a Cannon Films from the 80s kind of way London Has Fallen, and that approach won’t work with this type of story.

6. A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Release date: 1/26 on Netflix

“In the 1970s and ’80s, National Lampoon’s success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Doug Kenney.”

Pros: This is director David Wain’s sixth film, and four of the previous five are funny to very funny pictures. His first stab at a “true” story leaves him on familiar ground as the film explores the early years of a very funny magazine, The National Lampoon, and he’s joined by a stellar cast including Will Forte, Paul Scheer, Emmy Rossum, Domhnall Gleeson, Joe Lo Truglio, and more.

Cons: Wain also directed The Ten which is a misfire from beginning to end despite the presence of very funny people.

5. Insidious: The Last Key

Release date: 1/5

“Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet – in her own family home.”

Pros: James Wan’s original Insidious is a terrific chiller (until its final seconds) that succeeds in crafting scares and an original mythology, and it’s a world with more to offer. This fourth film in the series comes from director Adam Robitel whose last film, his feature debut, was the creepy as hell The Taking of Deborah Logan. So I’m in for whatever new terrors these two have cooked up for audiences.

Cons: As strong as Wan’s initial film is the two sequels are a series of diminishing returns — still okay in their own right, but a definite drop in quality — so it’s unclear where a third sequel will land, especially with a new voice behind it.

4. The Commuter

Release date: 1/12

“A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.”

Pros: Director Jaume Collet-Serra delivers consistently good, sometimes great, genre films starting with House of Wax and ending most recently with The Shallows. In between those two he also delivered three thrillers with Liam Neeson in Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night, and now the pair have re-teamed for a fourth alongside Vera Farmiga, Sam Neill, and Patrick Wilson.

Cons: Their three previous collaborations range in quality with the only other common thread being their varying degrees of ridiculousness.

3. Paddington 2

Release date: 1/12

“Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.”

Pros: 2014’s Paddington is a perfectly delightful family film pairing a cg bear with live-action surroundings, and this follow-up looks to bring back all of the same players.

Cons: I mean, if you didn’t give a shite about this goofy bear the first time then you won’t care now.

2. Before I Wake

Release date: 1/5 on Netflix

“A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.”

Pros: Mike Flanagan burst — eventually — onto the horror scene with his fourth feature, Absentia, and since then he’s remained a strong talent with films like Hush and Gerald’s Game. His last five features have been good to great making him a filmmaker whose every effort is one worth getting excited by.

Cons: There might be a reason it’s taken two years for this film to make its debut in the U.S.

1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Release date: 1/26

“Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the ‘Flare.'”

Pros: I’m not typically a big fan of YA adventures, but one of the few that stands apart from the herd is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The action is fantastic, the set-pieces are creative fun, and the story turns are exciting, and I’m excited to see the same creative team, both in front of and behind the camera, deliver more of the same with this follow-up.

Cons: The first film in the franchise is an absolute bore, so technically the series as a whole only has a fifty percent success rate heading into the third film.

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.