This weekend, all of the snide remarks you normally hear about the movies in January are given credence. Nationwide expansions of “Live by Night,” “Patriots Day,” and “Silence” will help some, but if you’ve seen those, you’re in a bit of a pickle. With that in mind, let’s check out what else this weekend has to offer:
Best Bet This Week
“The Book of Love” (Freestyle Releasing)
When in doubt, go with the indie dramedy. Jason Sudeikis stars in this tale that debuted last year at the Tribeca Film Festival. The results there left something to be desired. Sudeikis received solid praise, though the story wasn’t as lucky. This represents a definite curiosity, though, with Sudeikis attempting to expand his range and Justin Timberlake contributing the score. The talent is there, so it’s just a question of execution. If you’re looking to go out on a limb for a new January release this weekend, consider making it this one.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – Not enough reviews yet
Oscar Hopes – No
Screen Count – Limited Release
Also Opening of Note
“The Bye Bye Man” (STX Entertainment)
After a long delay, this horror film finally hits theaters in the dumping ground of January. Fright flicks occasionally can take advantage of soft schedules to develop a following. In this case, the lengthy time it sat on the shelf suggests that won’t be the case, but anything is possible. Genre fans will turn out, though that could be out of obligation more so than interest. “Split” is coming later this month and could quickly steal this audience away.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 17%
Oscar Hopes – Not a chance
Screen Count – 2,300+ Screens
“Monster Trucks” (Paramount Pictures)
When the studio takes a loss before a film even releases, it’s a clear sign that it’s a rough January release. Given the incredible lack of faith on the part of Paramount, even having a quarter of the reviews so far not being pans is a bit of a victory. It’s a pyrrhic victory at best, but one suspects the studio will take what it can get here.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 23%
Oscar Hopes – Don’t even start
Screen Count – 2,800 Screens
“Sleepless” (Open Road Films)
This looks like a disposable crime drama in the mold of “Taken.” Jamie Foxx looks to save the day, with no bonus points being given out for guessing if he’s able to or not. Foxx in action hero mode could be worse a smile or two. Frankly, this just seems like the sort of thing Liam Neeson passed on. It will have a future on cable, probably on TNT or USA, so don’t feel the need to rush out and see it.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – No reviews yet
Oscar Hopes – Almost certainly not
Screen Count – 1,800 Screens
“The Crash” (Independent)
“Ok Jaanu” (FIP)
“Saving Banksy” (Parade Deck Films)