7 Films you can't miss this January
Master of fast-paced dialogue Aaron Sorkin strikes again with this wry crime drama about Molly Bloom—a real-life Olympic-class skier who, following a career-ending accident, got involved in the seedy world of illegal gambling and became an FBI target. Starring Jessica Chastain as the titular Molly, Kevin Costner as her demanding father and Idris Elba as a lawyer with a heart of gold.
As human beings, we spend a lot of our time preoccupied with ourselves—and Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) is no exception. Sure, he loves his wife Melanie, wants only the best for his gifted son Troy and his non-profit business is flourishing. Yet…something keeps Brad up at night. Should he have sold out to become rich? Are his more successful friends phasing him out? Is he a failure?
As he’s touring prospective colleges with Troy, he seeks the answers to these questions. Brad’s Status is a self-contained slice of life, brimming with kindness and humour that work like a soothing balm for the restless mind. It’s also Stiller’s best performance to date, complemented by an equally strong supporting cast. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Out on January 5
On the heels of the recent Churchill biopic starring Brian Cox, comes Darkest Hour—a drama detailing the Prime Minister’s first tumultuous month in office as he decides the fate of Western Europe in the early days of the Second World War. Gary Oldman—who’s unrecognisable as Churchill—delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, supported by Kristin Scott Thomas as his loyal, dignified wife Clementine.
Out on January 12
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
A treasure trove of fascinating archive footage and ridiculously good music, this extensive doc covers just about every aspect of Clapton’s five-decade career. More than anything, it’s “Slowhand’s” love letter to blues music, that occasionally dips into personal aspects of his life, such as his substance abuse issues and his turbulent love story with Pattie Boyd (the inspiration for “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”). Though a tad too long, it’s an exhilarating treat for any music fan.
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars will be broadcast live in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on 10 January followed by a Q&A with Eric Clapton and director Lili Fini Zanuck hosted by Jools Holland. The film releases in cinemas nationwide on 12 January
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Oscar winner Francis McDormand stars as a grieving mother who, following her daughter’s unsolved murder, decides to demand justice from the local authorities in a rather unconventional way—and all hell breaks loose. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the man behind In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, it’s a deliciously obnoxious nail-biter.
Out on January 12
The Final Year
A fascinating and surprisingly revealing look at the inner workings of Barack Obama’s foreign policy team during their last year in office. Though not unbiased by any stretch, it’s a documentary that nevertheless inspires kindness and good will, doing its best to remind us that it’s never too late to try and make the world a better place, whatever the circumstances. Though it’s cool, composed and infectiously stoic, you’ll always feel the warm blood running through it.
Out on January 19
Last Flag Flying
Three former Marines who served in Vietnam are reunited by a tragic event 30 years later. With incredible performances from Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne at the forefront, the film covers myriad complex issues—from politics to friendship—and provokes a similar number of emotional responses. It’s morally ambiguous, but full of heart; poignant, but absurdly hilarious. Director Richard Linklater aims high and hits the mark with near perfection.
Out on January 26