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10 Films to See In January

Written by on January 3, 2014 

With 2013 in the rearview (read our complete year-end coverage, including top 50 films here), it’s time to turn to 2014. Before we deliver our most-anticipated films of the year, we’re focusing solely on January. As with every year, the month looks to be a dumping ground for studio releases, but when it comes to limited releases, it might be the best slate I’ve ever seen. While much of our focus will be on Sundance 2014 coverage as the month proceeds (follow that here), January will also feature the wide releases of Spike Jonze‘s Her and Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor, along with expansions for others, so without further ado, check out the list below.

Matinees to See: Open Grave (1/3), The Best Offer (1/3), In Bloom (1/10), The Rocket (1/10), The Truth about Emanuel (1/10), Cold Comes the Night (1/10), Big Bad Wolves (1/17) Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (1/17)

10. Beyond Outrage (Takeshi Kitano; Jan. 3rd)

Synopsis: As the police launch a full-scale crackdown on organized crime, it ignites a national yakuza struggle between the Sanno of the East and Hanabishi of the West.


Why You Should See It:  If you like your imported thrillers of the violent, crazy variety, then you’ve probably already taken a liking to Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano. After debuting Outrage back in 2010, he’s returned for the follow-up, Beyond Outrage. The trailer features a mix of inventive killings, bloodshed, gunshots and a few laughs, and hints at a fun start to 2014.

9. Charlie Victor Romeo (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, Karlyn Michelson; Jan. 31st)

Synopsis: Derived entirely from the “black box” transcripts of six major airline emergencies, Charlie Victor Romeo puts the audience inside the tension-filled cockpits of actual flights in distress, offering a fascinating portrait of the psychology of crisis and a person’s will to live to the last second.


Why You Should See It:  After premiering at Sundance Film Festival last year, Charlie Victor Romeo brings to life six black box recordings of real emergencies. Adapted from a stage play by directors Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels and Karlyn Michelson, the film also uses stereoscopic 3D to capture the events, adding another layer of immersion. With teasers hinting at one-of-a-kind visceral experience, your theatrical options will be limited, but seek it out if you can.

8. 12 O’Clock Boys (Lotfy Nathan; Jan 31st)

Synopsis: Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a group of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O’Clock Boys.


Why You Should See It:  For those that have already experienced the extraordinary series that is The Wire, this new documentary adds in a missing element in David Simon‘s exploration of Baltimore crime: dirt bikes. With the comparison already floating around after the film’s SXSW premiere last year, Lotfy Nathan‘s exhilarating look into this dangerous way of life will now arrive in theaters in a limited capacity this month.

7. Run & Jump (Steph Green; Jan. 24th)

Synopsis: Run and Jump is an unconventional love story and authentic portrait of a happy-go-lucky Irish family.


Why You Should See It: While this past fall saw the release of Nebraska, a dramatic effort from Saturday Night Live‘s Will Forte, it wasn’t his first. Earlier in 2013, Tribeca Film Festival hosted the premiere of Run and Jump, which features the actor in a supporting role. As we said in our review, it’s a film that will grow on you, slowly and subtly absorbing you into its world. With an observant structure, we are the third wheel in a tested marriage, following an American therapist, Ted (Forte) who arrives to a Ireland to document the recovery of Conor (Edward Macliam), a family man whose suffered a stroke. “

6. Labor Day (Jason Reitman; Jan. 31st)

Synopsis: Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.


Why You Should See It: While Jason Reitman‘s latest drama had a one-week qualifying run at the end of the month, it’ll officially be released in a few weeks. Although the reaction has been tepid overall, we were major fans out of Toronto International Film Festival, saying in our full review, that “Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin warmed my heart and devastated it in equal measure, the pair of characters showing that passion and forgiveness in both one’s self and others, despite preconceptions, is always possible. You just have to be willing to open your eyes and accept it, no matter the cost.”

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