Friday, January 3, 2020

Into the Dark: New Year, New You (2018)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Into the Dark: New Year, New You (2018)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Hulu, Horrify, Space, Action Background / Tower Casting, SNK Studios, Stutz Law, The Dub Stage
Director: Sophia Takal
Writer: Sophia Takal, Adam Gaines
Actors: Suki Waterhouse, Carly Chaikin, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Melissa Bergland, Isabella Acres, Michelle Haro, Bianca Lopez, Mia Ella Clyburn

Blurb from IMDb: A group of old friends gather for a girl's night on New Years Eve. But as they begin to rehash old memories, many of the gripes they've been harboring manifest in murderous ways.

Selina’s Point of View:
The cold opening of New Year, New You instantly reminded me of Black Mirror. It set me up to expect something immersive and thrilling. Unfortunately, that’s not really what I got.

In actuality, the movie felt more like the Simulacra games. Anyone who’s played them can tell you that the concept is amazing… the acting/script, however, not so much.

New Year, New You, like Simulacra, has a slow build up. Now, in a video game, that’s fine. When you’re playing a game and it takes a while to get to the core of the plot, you can rely on the game-play to keep you interested. In Simulacra, that involves getting interested in the characters by snooping through their e-mails and pictures. It takes advantage of the natural voyeurism of people. It works.

A movie needs to take a different path. The audience is just a fly on a wall for a film, there’s no interaction. That puts the burden on the creators to keep us interested.

Unfortunately, that’s not something they’re really able to do in this flick.

Only one of the characters is even remotely likable, and she’s a supporting character. Caring about the others is actually kind of a chore. They’re obnoxious. That would be fine if we got into the thrills right away, but the plot doesn’t even make itself known until close to an hour in. The film is only an hour and 20-minutes. That’s insane. Until then it barely even kept me interested, forget intrigued.

Once the action started; it was fine. The ending was phenomenal – I wouldn’t have believed any other ending. But that’s not really enough for me to call it a good movie.

Not a great step into Hulu films for me.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 73%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 67%
Metascore – 53/100
Metacritic User Score – 5/10
IMDB Score – 5.7/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 2/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In January (2020)

According to Cat

20 - Extracurricular (1/17)

Production/Distribution: September17Studio, Eagle Films, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Signature Entertainment
Director: Ray Xue
Writers: Matthew Abrams, Padgett Arango
Actors: Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond, Spencer Macpherson, Brittany Teo, Stephen Bogaert, Emmanuel Kabongo, Luke Goss, Joshua Joel Bailey, Richard Clarkin, Suzanne Cyr, Madeleine Claude
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Miriam, Derek, Ian, and Jenny are overachieving high school students doing everything by the book. Straight A's, sports, yearbook, band, and - when coursework allows - planning and executing elaborate murders.

I’m not entirely sure why this wasn’t released as a Halloween movie, considering the holiday is featured in the film (according to the trailer). I’m not terribly familiar with the cast, but the choices seem to mesh well with the story.

Extracurricular promises to be a solid recipe horror film of youth in masks getting jollies from slasher sprees.

This month is generally stocked with long-shot movies, so it’s not terribly surprising that this one has landed here after missing its target window. It seems worth giving a shot, though.

19 - Feedback (1/17)

Production/Distribution: Ombra Films, Vaca Films, Xunta de Galicia, Radio Televisión Española, Movistar+, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte , Creative Europe Media, Particular Crowd, Blue Fox Entertainment, Signature Entertainment, Entertainment One, Pandastorm Pictures
Director: Pedro C. Alonso          
Writers: Pedro C. Alonso, Alberto Marini
Actors: Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson, Ivana Baquero, Richard Brake, Oliver Coopersmith, Alexis Rodney, Anthony Head, Alana Boden, Nacho Aldeguer, Stephen Hughes
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: TV-14
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A radio star experiences the worst night of his life when stalkers assault the radio station where he's working.

Everyone has a nightmare day at work once in a while. This film takes that to the next level.

Feedback made the cut for this list for two reasons.  I’m familiar with some of the cast, and the trailer piqued my curiosity enough to wonder why the events of the movie unfold as they do. What happened to set this in motion, and does the on-air personality have anything to do with it or is he simply a means to an end?

Of course, the only way to find out is to watch!

18 - Weathering with You (1/17)

Production/Distribution: "Weathering With You" Film Partners, Kadokawa, Lawson Entertainment, Story inc., Toho, Beijing Enlight Pictures, Huaxia Film Distribution, Bac Films, CJ CGV Viet Nam, China Film Group Corporation, Cineplex Entertainment, Digi-Optic Films, Edko Films, Encore Films, Fathom Events, Golden Village Pictures, Megabox Plus M, National Amusements, Periscoop Film, Pioneer Films, Universum Film, Volga, Waterhole Company, @Anime, Anime Limited, GKIDS, Media Castle, Selecta Visión, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Makoto Shinkai           
Writer: Makoto Shinkai
Actors: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Sei Hiraizumi, Yûki Kaji, Kentaro Araki, Chieko Baishô, Kana Hanazawa, Tsubasa Honda, Kana Ichinose, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryohei Kimura, Sakura Kiryu, Ryô Narita, Masako Nozawa, Shun Oguri, Ayane Sakura, Hidekatsu Shibata, Sumi Shimamoto, Kanon Tani, Aoi Yûki
Genre: Animation, Drama, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 114 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A high-school boy who has run away to Tokyo befriends a girl who appears to be able to manipulate the weather.

The only reason this movie is so ‘low’ on my list is that it’s a limited engagement feature in a foreign language. Generally, these don’t garner high box office numbers. Even so, that has nothing to do with the quality of the film, itself.

I love this animation style. It gives a classic anime feel, following in the footsteps of greats such as Studio Ghibli. When you pair that with a good story, it’s pure magic. I found the trailer for this film touching, and the teased story endearing. It’s one you’ll probably want to have tissues on hand for – I know I will.

17 - Three Christs (1/3)

Production/Distribution: Brooklyn Films, Highland Film Group, Narrative Capital, IFC Films
Director: Jon Avnet
Writers: Milton Rokeach, Eric Nazarian, Jon Avnet
Actors: Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, Bradley Whitford, Charlotte Hope, Julianna Margulies, Kevin Pollak, James Monroe, Stephen Root, Jane Alexander, Julian Acosta, Danny Deferrari, Chris Bannow, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Christina Scherer, Nancy Robinette, Ripley Sobo
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 117 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Three Christs follows Dr. Alan Stone who is treating three paranoid schizophrenic patients at the Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, each of whom believed they were Jesus Christ. What transpires is both comic and deeply moving.

I find the premise of this movie rather fascinating. It’s even more interesting when you take into account that it’s based on an actual psychiatric case study from the 1960s.

Another point in this film’s favor is the combination of director Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes, Up Close & Personal, Sneaky Pete) and the stellar primary cast of Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral, Game of Thrones, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn), Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, Justified, Them That Follow), Richard Gere (Chicago, Movie 43, The Dinner), and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, CBGB, The Handmaid's Tale).

Avnet’s direction behind this quartet should spotlight what likely will be a master class on performance.

While there may be some comedic aspects to this drama, it appears that the film takes a respectful and insightful approach depicting the mental illness which afflicts the titular characters.

16 - Like a Boss (1/10)

Production/Distribution: Artists First, Paramount Pictures, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Miguel Arteta
Writers: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Adam Cole-Kelly, Sam Pitman
Actors: Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Jessica St. Clair, Karan Soni, Billy Porter, Jimmy O. Yang, Melissa Saint-Amand, Vanessa Merrell, Caroline Arapoglou, Colby Lopez, Lana Young, Veronica Merrell, Catherine Carlen, Mackenzie Messick, Aaron Dominguez, India Batson, Brittany Guess
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 83 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Two friends with very different ideals start a beauty company together. One is more practical while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle.

What can I say? This movie just looks like a lot of fun wrapped up in a comedic take on seller’s remorse. With the proven track record of the top-billed cast and the smattering of fashion industry cameos, it should be very interesting, to say the least. With so many intense movies coming out this month, this one would be great to just turn off your brain and take a breather – in between laughing.

15 - The Assistant (1/31)

Production/Distribution: Cinereach, Forensic Films, Bleecker Street Media, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: Kitty Green
Writer: Kitty Green
Actors: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini, Noah Robbins, Stéphanye Dussud, Juliana Canfield, Alexander Chaplin, Dagmara Dominczyk, Bregje Heinen, Liz Wisan, Clara Wong
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 85 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A searing look at a day in the life of an assistant to a powerful executive. As Jane (Julia Garner) follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position.

I couldn’t help but feel a connection with this movie. The life of an assistant to a mover and shaker isn’t easy. I’ve spent the last year or so as a part-time assistant to an executive assistant. It sounds silly, but the assistant I’m helping does the work of ten people. The days are never dull, let me tell you! Thankfully, the job and environment are far different than the scenario in this film.

While experience working in an office setting shouldn’t be required to appreciate this movie, it certainly would help to get more nuance out of it. At the same time, I’m curious in that can’t-look-away-from-the-wreck sort of way as to what the scandal in the background might be.

The trailer also leads me to believe that this one’s a bit of a slow burn. If you need something faster-paced, there’s plenty in that genre coming out this month. This one might need a little patience, but it looks to be well worth it.

14 - Color Out of Space (1/24)

Production/Distribution: SpectreVision, ACE Pictures Entertainment, BRO Cinema, XYZ Films, RLJE Films, Umbrella Entertainment, VVS Films
Director: Richard Stanley
Writers: Scarlett Amaris, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Stanley
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Q'orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Julian Hilliard, Brendan Meyer
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated
Length: 111 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A town is struck by a meteorite and the fallout is catastrophic.

Honestly, this movie had me sold at the mention of Lovecraft. I really enjoy the otherworldly insanity that his work is comprised of.

When you add living legend Tommy Chong (That '70s Show, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Zootopia) and wacky wild-card Nicolas Cage (Snowden, The Humanity Bureau, Primal) into the mix; you’re sure to either have something amazing or at the very least surreal.

I’m hoping for something both insane and amazing.

13 - Intrigo: Death of an Author (1/17)

Production/Distribution: Enderby Entertainment, The Amazing Film Company, Umedia, Seine Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Daniel Alfredson, Birgitta Bongenhielm, Håkan Nesser
Actors: Tuva Novotny, Ben Kingsley, Michael Byrne, Veronica Ferres, Benno Fürmann, Sandra Dickinson, Daniela Lavender, Elizabeth Counsell, Ed Cooper Clarke, Erik Johansson
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rated: R
Length: 106 minutes

Rottentomatoes Blurb: Based on the global best-seller by Hakan Nesser and starring Academy Award (R) winner Ben Kingsley (Ghandi), this tense, riveting thriller will keep you guessing. After an author named David plots the seemingly accidental murder of his wife, her body is never recovered, and he's convinced that she's still alive. Meanwhile, as David translates the final novel by a writer who also died mysteriously, he finds himself attracted to the man's sultry widow. Fact or fiction, life or death... in this tale, nothing is certain.

Just as the title of the movie suggests, the trailer has me intrigued with this story.

January seems to be a good month for mysteries. There are quite a few to choose from. This one, however, does have the added benefit of the incomparable Sir Ben Kingsley (Collide, The Ottoman Lieutenant, Night Hunter).

Director Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, Blackway) has helmed the Intrigo trilogy based on the novellas of Swedish author Håkan Nesser. Death of an Author is the first of these movies. It’s said that the three films have a similar structure and thematic elements. I’m curious when the following two will be available in the States, but whether I’ll be up for watching them does rely on how this film turns out. I’m fairly optimistic!

12 - The Grudge (1/3)

Production/Distribution: Ghost House Pictures, Good Universe, Columbia Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Writers: Jeff Buhler, Nicolas Pesce, Takashi Shimizu
Actors: John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Lin Shaye, Demián Bichir, Zoe Fish, Tara Westwood, Junko Bailey, David Lawrence Brown, Joel Marsh Garland, Betty Gilpin
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.

I was on the fence about this movie for a while, thinking it was another remake/reboot. When I learned that wasn’t the case at all, but merely an expansion of the overall story I landed on the side of giving this one a try.

Officially, this film is said to be an interquel. I hadn’t really heard of that before, but it’s apparently where something new is released that fits within the timeline between two previously released works. So this movie is taking place somewhere during the events of The Grudge (2004) and The Grudge 2 (2006). Color me curious – I want to see how that works out.

As a bonus, John Cho (Get A Job, Star Trek Beyond, The Oath) and Lin Shaye (Big Ass Spider!, Ouija, The Final Wish) are involved with this production. Cho seems to be a primary character, as the trailer has led me to believe. Whether silly or serious, I’ve generally enjoyed his work. I’m not sure where Shaye fits into the picture, but she is definitely a prominent figure in modern horror.

That all adds up to giving this movie a chance, in my book.

11 - Inherit the Viper (1/10)

Production/Distribution: Barry Films, Tycor International Film Company, Lionsgate, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Teleview International
Director: Anthony Jerjen            
Writer: Andrew Crabtree           
Actors: Josh Hartnett, Bruce Dern, Margarita Levieva, Owen Teague, Valorie Curry, Dash Mihok, Chandler Riggs, Brad William Henke, Tara Buck, Blaine Kern III, Jared Bankens, Gabriel 'G-Rod' Rodriguez, Garrett Kruithof
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Crime thriller about three siblings in Appalachia getting by as local opioid dealers, trying not to get caught in the spiral of violence that comes with the territory.

Ok, I’ve got to get this out of my system. Don’t do drugs, Carrrrlll. (Or should that be Coral?) Just picture one of the bazillion Walking Dead (2010-) memes floating around the internet. I digress…

This movie looks to be rather intense – though quite a few releasing this month seem to follow in that similar vein. I have to say that the trailer sold me rather quickly. I’m already rooting for the siblings, even though they’re into things that they shouldn’t be. The cast is outstanding, and I have a feeling they’ll keep me at the edge of my seat.

10 - Gretel & Hansel (1/31)

Production/Distribution: Bron Creative, Orion Pictures, Automatik, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Wild Atlantic Pictures, United Artists Releasing, GEM Entertainment, Dutch FilmWorks, Encore Films, Imagem Filmes, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group
Director: Osgood Perkins
Writer: Rob Hayes
Actors: Alice Krige, Sophia Lillis, Sammy Leakey, Jessica De Gouw, Charles Babalola
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: minutes

IMDb Blurb: A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

I love fairy tales. Of course, the original stories are a lot darker than the ones more commonly told today. More often than not, the Disney-esque sanitized versions are what circulate. I enjoy it when stories get stripped down to their origins, cutting out the fluff. Don’t get me wrong – I love the newer versions, too. I just also have an appreciation for the more gritty ones.

Many fairy stories started out as a cautionary tale meant to scare the young away from dangerous situations. The current versions aren’t quite scary enough to be real deterrents, honestly. I’d say that ‘stranger danger’ is one of the lessons to be learned here.

With or without the moral of the story, this fresh retelling of the woodland siblings’ harrowing adventures promises to be quite the horror fan’s treat.

9 - The Turning (1/24)

Production/Distribution: Amblin Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Entertainment One, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures, WW Entertainment
Director: Floria Sigismondi
Writers: Carey W. Hayes, Chad Hayes, Henry James
Actors: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, Mark Huberman, Karen Egan, Niall Greig Fulton, Barbara Marten, Kim Adis, Denna Thomsen
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Rated: PG-13
Length: 94 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. A modern take on Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw".

I’ll admit that I haven’t read the novella this movie is based on, so I couldn’t comment as to where fans’ expectations should lie. I can, however, say that this one looks absolutely creepy as hell.

Between the freaky disembodied hands and the ill-behaved children, I was rather unsettled by the trailer. I can only imagine that a whole movie of the like would only multiply that feeling. It looks like a winner for the horror genre.

8 - The Rhythm Section  (1/31)

Production/Distribution: Eon Productions, IM Global, Babieka, Paramount Pictures, Central Partnership, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Batrax Entertainment
Director: Reed Morano
Writer: Mark Burnell
Actors: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Max Casella, Daniel Mays, Sterling K. Brown, Richard Brake, Geoff Bell, Nasser Memarzia, Jade Anouka, Jack McEvoy, Degnan Geraghty, Amira Ghazalla, Tawfeek Barhom, Ivana Basic, Ibrahim Renno, Maceo Oliver, Hugh Scully
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Rated: Unrated
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A woman seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family.

This is a role that we don’t usually see Blake Lively (Savages, The Age of Adeline, A Simple Favor) in. I think it’s a refreshing change of pace for her. I have faith that she can pull off this action/revenge movie and make it look easy – that is, as much as a grieving and tormented person can, since that’s her character’s perspective.

I almost didn’t recognize her in the trailer, and I’m ok with that. She’s not afraid to go the distance for her role, and that should reflect in her performance.

When you consider the talented supporting cast as well, this film promises to be quite the intense roller-coaster.  One ticket to ride for me, please.

7 - The Last Full Measure (1/24)

Production/Distribution: Foresight Unlimited, BCL Finance Group, Boss Collaboration, Lightbox Pictures, Provocator, SC Films Thailand Co, SSS Entertainment, Roadside Attractions, Parkland Entertainment, ACE Entertainment, Lionsgate
Director: Todd Robinson
Writer: Todd Robinson
Actors:  Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Ladd, Michael Imperioli, Sebastian Stan, Amy Madigan, Jeremy Irvine, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Bradley Whitford, Peter Fonda, Alison Sudol, Amy Madigan, Robert Pine, Zach Roerig, Travis Aaron Wade
Genre: Drama, War
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. ("Pits") is awarded the nation's highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield.

It’s both sad and tragic when a service member doesn’t get the recognition deserved for valor in the heat of combat – or even extraordinary non-combat scenarios – due to red tape or politics. War movies don’t generally top my list, but I was particularly moved by this one.

You certainly can’t go wrong with this star-studded cast. The film is packed with Oscar winners and nominees, along with the late, great, Peter Fonda (Easy Rider, Wild Hogs, The Harvest) in one of his last roles.

6 - Troop Zero (1/17)

Production/Distribution: Amazon Studios, Big Indie Pictures, Escape Artists, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Bert & Bertie  
Writer: Lucy Alibar
Actors: Mckenna Grace, Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney, Charlie Shotwell, Milan Ray, Johanna Colón, Bella Higginbotham, Mike Epps, Ashley Brooke, Ash Thapliyal, Kai N. Ture, Kenneth Wayne Bradley, Edi Patterson, Maureen Brennan, Gwendolyn Mulamba, Jecobi Swain, Lucy Alibar
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 94 minutes

IMDb Blurb: In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.

I am really looking forward to this movie. I am hoping I get a chance to watch it with my teenager. She’s had a hard time fitting in with school, social groups, clubs, and the like. This comedic tale of misfits banding together to thumb their nose at the status quo looks both hilarious and heartwarming.

The best part? I don’t have to wait in line anywhere to watch this one. It’s included with Amazon Prime with its release.

5 - Bad Boys for Life (1/17)

Production/Distribution: 2.0 Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Writers: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan, George Gallo
Actors: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Joe Pantoliano, Charles Melton, Paola Nuñez, Kate del Castillo, Happy Anderson, Jennifer Badger, Melissa Kennemore
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: Unrated
Length: 113 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Marcus Burnett is now a police inspector and Mike Lowery is in a midlife crisis. They unite again when an Albanian mercenary, whose brother they killed, promises them an important bonus.

There has certainly been an extensive period since the first Bad Boys (1995) movie until now. From what I’ve seen of the trailer, it looks like the wait will have been worth it.

These movies are hilarious and are packed with enough action to make genre fans giddy. I look forward to the banter amid flying bullets just about as much as the chases and explosions – maybe more.

While we haven’t seen a lot of Martin Lawrence (Black Knight, Open Season, Death at a Funeral) in recent years, hopefully his screen presence will have another uptick with this film and the next in the franchise already in pre-production.  On the other hand, Will Smith (Focus, Collateral Beauty, Gemini Man) continues to be a force to be reckoned with. While his last film didn’t set any box office records by any means, he’s still producing solid work. If the trailer’s any indication, he hasn’t lost any of his edge or chemistry with his on-screen partner. I’m really looking forward to this one.

4 - Just Mercy (1/10)

Production/Distribution: Endeavor Content, MACRO, Netter Productions, One Community, Outlier Society, Participant, Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham, Bryan Stevenson
Actors: Brie Larson, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rafe Spall, Tim Blake Nelson, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Rob Morgan, Rhoda Griffis, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Claire Bronson, Tonea Stewart, Drew Scheid, Karan Kendrick, Lindsay Ayliffe, John Lacy, Steve Coulter, Denitra Isler,
Ron Clinton Smith, Dominic Bogart
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 136 minutes

IMDb Blurb: World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

If I sit and think on it a while, I can’t come up with a single performance by Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, Baby Driver, Robin Hood) that I haven’t enjoyed. (This goes all the way back to his sketch comedy days, too.) My family and I always love watching Beat Shazam (2017-) together for Foxx’s antics and showmanship just as much as having our own little home competition of music guessing.

This film is definitely not a comedy, however. Foxx’s character as a prisoner on death row is just about as serious as you can get. Even so, the trailer seems to indicate that some levity is snuck in subtly here and there. Overall, I expect a lot of intensity from this film inspired by real events.

3 - Underwater (1/10)

Production/Distribution: Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, 20th Century Fox Argentina, Forum Hungary, Hispano Fox films S.A.E., Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: William Eubank
Writers: Brian Duffield, Adam Cozad
Actors: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, Jessica Henwick, Gunner Wright
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror
Rated: PG-13
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear.

I keep saying intense in regards to this month’s movies. For this one, I’d have to say take that and then ramp it up to over 9,000.

Claustrophobes beware! But seriously – what happens when something goes wrong and you’re far below in the deep, dark, and murky waters of the ocean? What happens when you hit bottom where creatures that we’ve yet to discover dwell?

This film looks to answer that question – at least from a Sci-Fi point of view. I’m looking forward to this one with both fascination and trepidation. I’m excited to see what will transpire within the mysterious fathoms below…and whether or not anyone survives this harrowing adventure.

2 - The Gentlemen (1/24)

Production/Distribution: Miramax, STX Films, Belga Films, BF Distribution, Entertainment Film Distributors, Independent Films, Roadshow Films, SND Films, Tele München Group, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Eagle Films, VVS Films
Director: Guy Ritchie     
Writers: Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies
Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant, Jason Wong, Christopher Evangelou, Eliot Sumner, Chloe Arrowsmith, Brittany Ashworth, Russell Balogh, Simon. R. Barker, Steve Barnett
Genre: Action, Crime
Rated: R
Length: 113 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.

I am crazy excited about this movie. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s fairly tied for my number one spot this month – but only edged out ever so slightly by that placeholder on this list.

It would be entirely possible for me to babble for a year about the cast, but I’ll spare your eyes from my fangirling. I will, however, express my hope that this film does follow form with previous movies from Guy Ritchie (Aladdin, Sherlock Holmes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) such as Snatch (2000) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). The trailer gave that impression, at least, and I was fairly giddy at the thought. I love a good edgy action movie full of wit as much as fights and explosions. The banter is one of the best features of such.

I plan on doing my utmost to see this one in the theater.

1 - Dolittle (1/17)

Production/Distribution: Perfect World Pictures, Universal Pictures, Team Downey, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writers: Stephen Gaghan, Hugh Lofting, Thomas Shepherd
Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Jim Broadbent, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Tom Holland, Marion Cotillard, Jessie Buckley, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, Carmel Laniado, Frances de la Tour, Craig Robinson
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 100 minutes

Rottentomatoes Blurb: After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria's England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures...

I will shamelessly admit that a large part of why this movie tops my list is Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, The Soloist, Chef). Aside from his charisma and on-screen panache, I adore how he’s tried to make a difference off-screen by taking his role as a superhero on-screen seriously. (Such as how kids look up to him, etc.)

Another aspect of my list-topping reasons would be the phenomenal supporting cast with the talking animal voices. I’ve always been a sucker for a talking critter – and even more so with today’s technology with special effects. The trailers had me both in awe of the spectacle of the adventure and giggling at the comic relief brought by Dolittle’s animal companions.

The bonus? This is a movie you can take the whole family to. I know I’m hoping to take mine as soon as I can.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

The Grudge - 20
Extracurricular - 19
Intrigo: Death of an Author - 18
Like a Boss - 17
Weathering with You - 16
Gretel & Hansel - 15
Feedback - 14
Inherit the Viper - 13
Three Christs - 12
Zombi Child - 11
Troop Zero - 10
The Rhythm Section - 9
Color Out of Space - 8
The Turning - 7
The Last Full Measure - 6
Underwater - 5
The Gentlemen - 4
Bad Boys for Life - 3
Just Mercy - 2
Dolittle - 1