So, it’s January! New beginnings, all that. Think we’ll get a big snowstorm? No inauguration this year, so we won’t have to deal with that craziness. Yep. January. Slow, sleety, kind of boring January, when all the movies suck.
That might be unfair. “Lone Survivor,” out Jan. 10, looks pretty good, and I like Peter Berg as a director (he’s behind “Friday Night Lights,” both the film and the TV show). “August: Osage County,” which will also open here on the 10th, is gripping — the plot twists provoked audible gasps from the audience at my screening — and it has some killer performances. And January is always a good time to catch up on the December glut, the way it’s OK to keep eating the Christmas cookies even after your resolution because otherwise they’d go to waste. Other than that? Yeah … January.
The one genre you can kind of count on in January is foreign films. Since they’re not bound by the same Oscar rules that govern domestic movies, they don’t feel the same pressure to come out during the award-grabbing season. You shouldn’t miss next week’s “The Past,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, who won an Oscar two years ago for his incredible “A Separation”; just when you think the film can’t go any deeper into the lives of its characters, it finds a way to do just that. I haven’t seen “Gloria,” from Chile, but the trailer looks great.
I’m not saying that every foreign film that hits screens this month will be a winner, but I can say that your chances of seeing a success are much greater if you pick a film with subtitles.
Another strategy is holding out until Feb. 7, when “The Lego Movie” is released. Even speaking as someone who has sustained many Lego-related foot injuries (I’m reasonably sure the bottoms of my feet are forever imprinted with the pattern of six little dots), that movie looks really funny.