Movies Not to Miss: January 2016

Writer: Casey Lee

Which of these are you going to watch?

The year of movies always starts out dry. While Hollywood dumps its most unwanted titles from last year into January like unwanted Christmas leftovers, there is also the side benefit that we get to start seeing the serious contenders as Hollywood gears up for Oscar season. While there are certainly a few of those this January, we are also delighted to see a healthy mix of titles outside of Hollywood that are coming to our screens to fill the lack of genre fares from Hollywood.

So here are the movies to open the new year of 2016!

This biographical comedy-drama about a self-made millionaire Joy Mangano might just get Jennifer Lawrence another Oscar for Best Actress. Playing a divorced mother who invents the world's first self-wringing mop, Lawerence's character goes through a variety of family drama that's made even more interesting with actors like Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen and her long time collaborators, actor Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell. Considering that Russell got Lawrence her Oscar via his "Silver Linings Playbook", it's quite obvious the pair are aiming big with a movie and role seems to cater to Lawrence perfectly.

General Release Date: 7 January

Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence and a possible Best Actress win next year, Eddie Redmayne is a strong contender to win the Best Actor Oscar once again with his role in "The Danish Girl". Playing one of the first known recipients of a sex reassignment surgery, Lili Elbe, Redmayne dons a wig, make up and a whole new demeanour making him completely unrecognisable. Always picking the roles that are able to transform him completely and showcase his bestest ability as a versatile actor (except for the horrid "Jupiter Ascending"), a highly likely Oscar Best Picture contender"The Danish Girl" also features a stellar lineup made up of Alicia Vikander ("Ex Machina") and Ben Whishaw ("Perfume") among others.

General Release Date: 7 January

After growing tired of peddling ancient trinkets on the streets of New York, a team of grave robbers are hired by a mysterious woman to acquire an ancient stone that has the power of resurrection, secreted in a tomb in Inner Mongolia.

Adapted from the popular novel series by Tianxi Bachang centered on a trio of skilled grave robbers, akin to a team of Indiana Jones of China. Admittedly there may be very low expectations in the plot in this high adventure, but "Mojin: The Lost Legend" is made to be seen in the biggest screen you could find. Already the highest grossing 3D Chinese movie in its native China, this would make an interesting substitute if you can't find a ticket to your fifth viewing of "The Force Awakens", and you would see how close is China in making big CG spectacles with Hollywood. Besides, with a cast that has Shu Qi, Angelababy, Chen Kun and Huang Bo only just sweetens the deal.

General Release Date: 7 January

When an eccentric hedge fund manager calculates that the U.S. housing market is headed towards a free fall from subprime loans, he begins seeking building a fund to bet against the market.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis hasn't been a subject that has been explored enough in films since the bubble burst, as it still bears fascination as to how such an economical disaster could have systematically gone unnoticed. While J.C. Chandor's "Margin Call" highlighted the amoral decisions that corporations had to make to save their own skins during the impending days of economic collapse, "The Big Short" shows the immoral propensity for greed at the expense of someone else's financial doom, even when given foresight that could save lives.

Adapted from the non-fiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis, this is a major swing from the nonsensical comedy that we have come to associate with director Adam McKay, who has assembled a much more serious ensemble cast with Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, and Brad Pitt, ready to not sell us short on tough performances set during tougher times.

General Release Date: 21 January

Told around the launches of three major Apple products, the personal and innovation life of Steve Jobs is examined during the interim days leading up to each product that defined him.

After a lackluster and mostly harmless biopic of the Apple co-founder by Joshua Michael Stern, there was a need for a hard biting take on the radical life that Steve Jobs had led. Adapted from the 2011 biography written by Walter Issacson, written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, we already know this was going to be a powerful but difficult watch, without having to mention that Michael Fassbender will be putting on the turtleneck, and alienating a supporting cast with Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. "Steve Jobs" sure didn't mind ruffling its feathers with controversy since it premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, especially for not gaining the approvals of Jobs' immediate family and the questionable accuracy to Jobs characterisation, but "Steve Jobs" deserves to be watched as a fictional interpretation of a fascinating figure who could be any modern genius living among us today.

General Release Date: 21 January

An American nanny is hired to a remote mansion in England, where she finds her charge to be a porcelain doll of a boy. Feeling foolish in abiding by the strict rules that she to follow when taking care of him, the nanny carelessly breaks one of the rules; only to learn of the heavy consequences.

January has no shortage of horrors to choose from, whether you like them from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Hollywood. For our pick, we went for William Brent Ball's "The Boy" for the creep factor that at first had us thinking it was about the creepy old hats deluding themselves that the doll was their son, before we were proven to be very wrong. We appreciate the subtle scares over shocking screams but they are so much harder to do, and shows a competent director at work. Besides, we needed a new creepy doll to keep us awake at night after the disappointing "Annabelle".

General Release Date: 28 January

Cinema Online, 31 December 2015

Related Movies:
The Big Short (21 Jan 2016)
Mojin: The Lost Legend (Mandarin) (07 Jan 2016)
The Boy (28 Jan 2016)
Steve Jobs (Not Showing)
Joy (07 Jan 2016)
The Danish Girl (07 Jan 2016)

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