5 upcoming watchlist-worthy films this January. Critically acclaimed must-watch movies featuring the likes of Adam Sandler, Alexa Demie, and Finn Wolfhard coming soon for your enjoyment.
It’s awards season, and some of you may know what that means: more good movies stacking up on your to-watch list, heated Twitter arguments, and keeping up with which films are getting nominated — whether you think they deserve it or not. We can’t deny that 2019 has been an amazing year for cinema, though, so regardless of your tastes, here are five must-watch upcoming releases this January.
1. 1917 (Dir. Sam Mendes, 10 January)
This award-winning film is known for its long take cinematic approach; its entirety was made to appear as if the movie was taken in a single shot, a technique similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope and Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman. Prior to the Golden Globes, not much was known about 1917, but audiences and film lovers were swept away after the piece won awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. Sam Mendes, who debuted with American Beauty and directed Skyfall, got to take home the latter prize, producing co-writing the film with Scottish screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
The cinematographer who worked on 1917 is Roger Deakins, whose work is very well recognized as he’s won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the visually stunning Blade Runner 2049 and the BAFTA Award for that same category for his work in No Country for Old Men.
There aren’t that many movies about World War 1, so the buzz 1917 has been making as an epic war film might be well worth it. The plot revolves around two young infantrymen sent to war fronts to deliver a warning of an ambush after the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line during Operation Alberich, a German military operation in France, in the year 1917. Joining the cast is George MacKay, who portrayed notorious outlaw Ned Kelly in True History of the Kelly Gang, West End’s Billy Elliot the Musical’s Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
2. Uncut Gems (Dir. Josh and Benny Safdie, 10 January)
Following the life of diamond merchant and gambling addict Howard Ratner, whose life consists of his own family, enemies, and a mistress, this crime thriller directed by the Safdie brothers features Adam Sandler, Laketih Stanfield, Idina Menzel, and non-actors like the Weeknd, Julia Fox, and Kevin Garnett. Set in New York City’s Diamond District, one of the world’s primary centers for the diamond industry, Ratner must sell an expensive gem he bought to pay off his debts for loan sharks to leave him alone.
Premiering at the Telluride Film Festival last August and theatrically released last December by A24, the film made it into a top ten films of 2019 list by the National Board of Review and has become one of A24’s highest-grossing releases.
3. The Lighthouse (Dir. Robert Eggers, 31 January)
Shot on the Leif Erickson Trail at the Cape Forchu lighthouse property in Yarmouth County in spring 2018, the Academy Award nominee for Best Cinematography stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in a film for which a temporary lighthouse was specifically built. The psychological horror is set in the 1890s and takes place on an island, following two lighthouse keepers on the verge of insanity as they are isolated at their post after a rough storm. Shot completely in black-and-white, the film began as an attempt by Robert Eggers’ brother, Max, to do a contemporary take on Edgar Allan Poe’s last piece of work entitled “The Light-House”.
The film premiered at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival last May and was theatrically released by A24 on October 2019.
4. The Turning (Dir. Floria Sigismandi, 24 January)
From a director who’s done music videos for the likes of Rihanna and David Bowie and a few episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, you wouldn’t really expect a supernatural horror film to be one of the many works in Italian filmmaker Floria Sigismondi has created, but here it is: featuring Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard in the main role, a young boy named Miles, joined by Brooklynn Prince as his little sister Flora, the film centers around an old manor in Maine that is home to unknown terrors and surprises.
Sigismondi’s affiliation with music may have influenced the film’s utterly miraculous original soundtrack, with songs by Courtney Love, Kali Uchis, and MUNA.
5. Waves (Dir. Trey Edward Shults, 17 January)
Narrating the lives of a black family settled in the suburbs of radiant South Florida, this drama chronicles their journey through love, tragedy, hurting, and healing. Also theatrically released by A24, the cast consists of Kelvin Harrison Jr. from It Comes at Night, Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Euphoria’s Alexa Demie, Hamilton original cast member Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sterling K. Brown.
Many viewers, especially young folk, will love the featured music, with the likes of Frank Ocean, Amy Winehouse, and Tyler, the Creator. (Text Jordinna Joaquin)