One of the best things about January is that it’s the month when it’s the best time to see all the biggest awards season films, with the Oscars just around the corner. All the new cinema releases that have only been dropped in the US so far will be arriving in UK cinemas, meaning you’re spoilt for choice.
There are a few non-Oscary horror and rom-com films amongst the roster too, so if you’ve already seen Avatar twice and are looking for something new to see, then read on for the best new cinema releases of January.
January’s best new cinema releases
Kicking off the list is the master of cinema himself, Steven Spielberg, and his semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans. It’s all about what power films and filmmaking can have, with young aspiring filmmaker Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) using movie magic to help escape from his sometimes difficult home life. Paul Dano stars as his father Burt, while Michelle Williams plays his mother Mitzi in a role that’s been particularly praised by the critics. The cast also includes Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, Julia Butters, and Jeannie Berlin, with a score by John Williams. It may not have the pizazz of something like West Side Story, but it’s still one of the best Spielberg films in years,- and we called it one of the best films of 2022.
Watch The Fabelmans in cinemas now
A biopic focused on the aftermath of a dark chapter in US history, Till follows the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley searching for justice and change following the horrific lynching of her son Emmet Till in Mississippi in 1955. Insisting that her son’s funeral was an open casket to show the country the truth of what happened, her actions helped form one of the important phases of the civil rights movement. While dealing with a harrowing subject, the film is sensitive and thought-provoking in how it deals with the incident. It’s directed by Chinonye Chukwu, produced by Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, and features an excellent leading performance by Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie.
TILL WILL BE RELEASED IN UK CINEMAS ON 6TH JANUARY
Eschewing the awards season films for a moment- M3GAN is a creepy new horror film that could become something of a scary cult classic and a definite cinema crowd pleaser. Directed by Gerard Johnstone and produced by Saw and The Conjuring creator James Wan, the movie is set around a super-intelligent AI robot named M3GAN, which is designed to bring childhood dolls to the next level. Gemma, the toy’s creator, believes that the doll can be a perfect companion to kids and a relief for parents- but of course, life-like dolls are never not sinister for long. The doll develops self-awareness after she’s paired with Gemma’s orphaned young niece Cady, and things start to get out of hand. The film’s gotten positive reviews from critics, with praise going to the balance of both disturbing horror and entertaining campy humour.
M3gan drops in cinemas 13th of January
Some films come along with a performance that pretty much instantly starts to set off Oscar buzz, and one of these for 2022 is Cate Blanchett’s star turn in Tár. Directed by Todd Field, who’s gone over 15 years without a new film, Tár is about an acclaimed composer and conductor, Lydia Tarr, and the sequence of events that will seemingly imperil her prestigious public image. While she may have accolades, be a trailblazing conductor, and is on the verge of releasing an anticipated memoir, Tar is also arrogant and exasperating. Under the surface of her pristine facade, there are several scandals and accusations against her as being manipulative and difficult to work with. It’s a film about someone who worked their way to the top to great applause- but who also became ruthless in her power, and it’s definitely worth seeing for the lead performance alone.
Much like The Fabelmans, Babylon is distinctly about filmmaking and Hollywood, although, unlike that film, it goes about things in a considerably more outlandish and sex-filled way. The film takes place in an important moment in cinema history, at the transition point between the silent and sound eras of filmmaking. It follows several figures in 1920s Hollywood, and their respective rises and falls, including Margot Robbie as an aspiring actress, Brad Pitt as a popular silent film star, and Diego Calva as a rising film assistant. Babylon also stars Li Jun Li, Jean Smart, Tobey Maguire, Eric Roberts, Olivia Wilde and Spike Jonze, and is directed by Whiplash and La La Land director Damien Chazelle.
Babylon drops in cinemas on 20th January
A Man Called Otto
One of the more heartwarming cinema releases this month: superstar Tom Hanks is at the centre of this film by Marc Forster (Christopher Robin, Quantum of Solace), and uncharacteristically for him plays someone defined by his grumpiness. Otto Anderson is a widower, set in his ways, and seems generally gloomy about the world. However, a new young family moves into the neighbourhood and next door to Otto, and things look like they won’t go well, with Otto being dismissive of them. But underneath the prickly exterior, Otto is a compassionate person, who struggles to be understood by outsiders- and he begins to become drawn to the young family and their lives. It’s based on a book of the same name, and also stars Mariana Trevino, Rachel Keller and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.
Watch A Man Called Otto in cinemas now
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Rounding off this list is the new rom-com directed by Shekhar Kapur, best known for his 1998 film Elizabeth, and stars Lily James and Shazad Latif in the star roles. It’s a comedy in the vein of Richard Curtis films, with plenty of picturesque scenes set around London, and an unfolding love story at its core. Two childhood friends, Zoe (James) and (Latif) live only a few yards from each other but come from different cultural backgrounds. Zoe is a documentary maker, who’s finding it hard to get backing for new projects, and is inspired to create a new docu-film about close friend Kaz and his desire to have an arranged marriage. The film also features Emma Thompson as Zoe’s mother, along with Shabana Azmi, Oliver Chris, Sajal Aly, and Rob Brydon.
What’s Love Got To Do With It? drops 24th February