Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2022, where film appears to be taking the slow road in with only a trickle of offerings to get us through our post-holiday slump. That said, there’s a nice variety on hand, and since most of us are only getting used to the idea that it’s not 2021 anymore, in a few months January might feel as if it was a mirage – full of things we’re not even sure we saw. Sound crazy? Then answer me this: what movies did you see last January (2021)?
Now that I’ve completely lost you (and possibly myself), here’s what’s headed our way.
January 7, 2022 (Theaters, VoD)
Directed by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix); written by Kinberg and Theresa Rebeck (Hand of God, Canterbury’s Law, Seducing Charlie Barker), and Bek Smith (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil); starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, Sebastian Stan, Édgar Ramírez, Jason Wong, and Leo Staar. Based on Chastain’s idea to do a women-led spy movie, a group of international agents teams up to track down a weapon. Despite that excessively expositional trailer, this fabulous cast means we’re all in on a worldwide race to kick ass and save us all. And it won’t hurt one bit to feast our eyes on a Winter Solder or Gianni Versace, will it?
January 7, (Theaters), January 21, 2022 (Prime Video)
Directed and written by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, Everybody Knows, The Salesman); starring Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaee, and Alireza Jahandideh. Cannes regular and Academy, Cesare, and Golden Globe award-winner Farhadi returned to the circuit with this Grand Prix winning story about a man, a bag of gold, and the ramifications of a single noble deed. With twists galore and moral dilemmas to ponder, A Hero may stay on your mind for days.
January 14, 2022 (Theaters, VoD)
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not, V/H/S); written by James Vanderbilt (Murder Mystery, The Amazing Spider-Man) and Guy Busick (Urge, Castle Rock); starring David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and Roger L. Jackson, Marley Shelton, Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, and Jack Quaid. This sequel to Scream 4 brings back Sidney Prescott and a few old friends to help out the latest about-to-be-victims of a Ghostface copycat and with the whole Ready or Not (if you haven’t seen it, fix that now!) crew behind the wheel, this is guaranteed to be a… well, you know.
January 21, 2022 (Theaters, VoD)
Directed by Joe Wright (Hanna, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement); written by Erica Schmidt; based on the Edmond Rostand play; starring Peter Dinklage, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Haley Bennett, Ben Mendelsohn, Bashir Salahuddin, and Richard McCabe. We all know the story well and yet, with Wright at the helm and one of the world’s best (and most underrated) actors in the titular role, this version of the lovelorn poet is one to watch. Both Dinklage and the film have been Golden Globe-nominated, so just watch already!
January 21, 2022 (Theaters, Netflix)
Directed and written by Christian Schwochow (The Crown, Bad Banks, The German Lesson); written by Ben Power (The Hollow Crown, I Hate Suzie); starring Jeremy Irons, George MacKay, Jannis Niewöhner, Sandra Hüller, Liv Lisa Fries, August Diehl, Jessica Brown Findlay, Anjli Mohindra, and Ulrich Matthes. Based on the Robert Harris novel (Munich) full of spies and intrigue at the outset of WWII, this is an alternate history of the Munich Agreement (aka the Munich Betrayal). Hitler somehow convinced western powers — most importantly, British PM Neville Chamberlain — to hand over part of Czechoslovakia despite previously existing agreements. MacKay and Niewöhner play British and German officials who were former best friends during their university days, lost touch, and in their positions now could affect the meeting’s outcome. If political thrillers are your jam, check out what might have been with this fabulous cast.
January 28, 2022 (Theaters, VoD)
Directed and written by Le-Van Kiet (Furie, The Ancestral),; starring Alicia Silverstone and James Tupper. This one’s for my fellow Jaws aficionados who’ve been waiting for a similarly cheesy horror/disaster at sea. Silverstone and Tupper play a couple whose dreamy vacation takes a turn for the worse when a raging storm floats their over-water villa far from land and where the great whites gather until their next meal rolls in. Trade in winter’s chill for shivers down your spine as our heroine attempts to keep her injured husband from becoming a surf and turf special and here’s hoping we hear another round of “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”
January 28, 2022 (Theaters, VoD)
Directed and written by Michel Franco (After Lucia, New Order); starring Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Samuel Bottomley, Mónica Del Carmen, Henry Goodman, and James Tarpey. The always excellent Roth stars as Neil, a wealthy man on vacation with his family when tragedy strikes back home, and somehow, he’s lost his passport so he can’t return with the group. Or has he? A provocative character study with a slow-burn unwinding mystery, this Venice Film Festival entry left audiences pondering its true intent.