Weekend Openings: Welcome to January

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This weekend, there’s actually a worthwhile January release to speak of hitting theaters. That in and of itself is cause for celebration. Granted, it’s really one and done in terms of quality, but still. We take what we can get in early January. 2017 will be off to a better than expected start, even if we’re low on the amount of new releases to cull from. Some weekends, the best bet is the bench of an at least solid bunch, while in others it’s the only worthwhile option. This is one of the latter situations, but the film in question is so good, that doesn’t matter. Time to dive in!

Best Bet This Week

Between Us” (IFC Films)

For once, a new year starts off with a really great little film. “Between Us” is a devastating relationship drama that feels completely out of place in early January. As we said in our Tribeca Film Festival review, this movie will absolutely break your heart. It appeared out of the blue at Tribeca and is finally coming out now. Ben Feldman and Olivia Thirlby are both excellent and hopefully will sustain to the next precursor season. If nothing else, fingers crossed that the Independent Spirit Awards eventually remember this one. This isn’t just the best option this weekend, it’s just a damn great film. Whether you find this one in theaters or on VOD, it’s a must see. You won’t regret it one bit.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – Not enough reviews yet
Oscar Hopes – Unlikely
Screen Count – Limited Release

Also Opening of Note

“Arsenal” (Lionsgate Premiere)

Another throwaway B-movie starring Nicolas Cage, this one also has John Cusack along for the ride. Both have struggled in recent years to escape this sort of thing, so it’s a shame to seem them in another one of these. Cage and Cusack have had mini comebacks in the last few years, with “Joe” and “Love & Mercy,” respectively, but they haven’t fully escaped these projects either. Cage has long been going down this road and seems to be having fun with it all. Cusack, however, appears to know he deserves better. Hopefully they’ll both get back to prestige fare soon enough. For now, it’s another tossed away January release.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – Not enough reviews yet
Oscar Hopes – No way
Screen Count – Limited Release

“The Bronx Bull” (Sunset Pictures)

Also known early on in its lifespan as “Raging Bull II,” this sort of sequel to the Martin Scorsese classic appears like a real dud, frankly. Robert De Niro is thankfully nowhere to be found here. This is the sort of indie attempt at a cash grab that is little seen and quickly forgotten about. Honestly, it’s shocking that this even got made. When the word first came out that it was being talked about, the response was so poor. And yet, here we are. Go figure. Money talks, though in all likelihood this won’t be a moneymaker. And so it goes.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – Not enough reviews yet
Oscar Hopes – Please
Screen Count – Limited Release

“Railroad Tigers” (Well Go USA)

Jackie Chan certainly isn’t the star that he used to be. This action comedy is barely getting released, which is a far cry from his blockbuster days. Here, he’s in a fairly anonymous film that purportedly relies too much on slapstick comedy and features unimpressive action sequences. That’s a shame too, as Chan once would have knocked something like this out of the park. Furthermore, back in the day this would have been a wide release, no doubt about that. Alas. Now, Chan just needs one good role to get back on top. Sadly, this almost certainly won’t be that role.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 36%
Oscar Hopes – Nope
Screen Count – Limited Release

“Underworld: Blood Wars” (Sony / Screen Gems)

The latest sequel in this long-running franchise, this feels perfectly situated in the first week of January. Kate Beckinsale again stars as a gun-toting vampire in a war against werewolves. At least, that’s probably what this one is about. At the very least, she’s a bloodsucker, so that part of the equation is here. They’re guilty pleasures, I suppose. Beckinsale is on to hopefully bigger and better things with the praise she received for “Love & Friendship,” so this might be her last installment in the franchise. If you like this series, perhaps you want to give her a proper send off? That ball is now in your court.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 10%
Oscar Hopes – You’re kidding, right?
Screen Count – 3,065 Screens

The Rest

“The Ardennes” (Film Movement)
“A Different American Dream” (First Run)
“Hickey” (Gravitas Ventures)

What will you be watching at the movies this weekend? Discuss it in the comments below!

  • Joey Magidson

    Between Us will likely really impress you.