Beat The Jan Blues

A selection of cultural highlights to get you through the month…

Masters Of The Air
On Apple TV from 26 January

A new epic military drama series joins the ranks of Band Of Brothers and The Pacific. This story brings the action to the air, telling the story of a WWII bombing squadron known as the ‘Bloody Hundredth’. Starring an infantry of huge names including Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Barry Keoghan and Ncuti Gatwa and episode directors including Cary Joji Fukunaga (No Time To Die) and Dee Rees (Mudbound). With all that talent, let’s hope the only bombs are the ones on screen. 

The Boys In The Boat
In cinemas 12 January

Based on the non-fiction novel of the same name, the film follows the University of Washington rowing team that represented the US in the 1936 Olympics. Directed and produced by George Clooney, it gives Callum Turner a star turn as rower Joe Rantz who, after being abandoned by his family was left to fend for himself from a young age. But it’s about rowing. So we’ll leave that up to you if it floats your boat… we promise all of these aren’t going to end with a terrible pun…

Poor Things
In cinemas 12 January

Emma Stone plays Bella Baxter, a woman reanimated by a strange doctor (Willem Dafoe). Reborn with an insatiable appetite for life, she embarks on a journey overseas with a lawyer (Mark Ruffalo). A bizarre, raucous and uplifting cinematic experience from Yorgos Lanthimos, adapted from the novel by Alasdair Gray.

The Beekeeper
In cinemas 12 January

Jason Statham stars as Adam Clay, a retired intelligence agent who spends his days keeping bees. When the one person who’s ever cared for him is killed, he’ll stop at nothing to avenge her. Directed by David Ayer, the man behind Fury and Suicide Squad, it’s set to combine action, humour and an all star cast for an action epic that is well and truly explosive. 

Mean Girls
In cinemas 17 January

An iconic teen franchise returns with a fresh twist, as Tina Fey takes her 2004 smash hit and packs it with songs, dance numbers and jokes set to entice Gen Z to cinemas. Based on the broadway musical and featuring a cast of some of Hollywood’s biggest up and comers, Mean Girls is ready to introduce the plastics to a whole new generation. Leading the charge is actress and singer Renee Rapp, who’s run as Regina George in the original broadway show was cut short by the start of the pandemic.

The Holdovers
In cinemas 19 January

Don’t let your calendar – or this wonderful film’s release date – fool you, the Christmas season is still knocking around in all its joyous, melancholic spirit thanks to The Holdovers. The latest from Alexander Payne, director of the excellent Sideways and Nebraska (and the less excellent Downsizing), it follows a prickly student left at his 70s private school over Christmas, and the even pricklier teacher tasked with staying with him. Paul Giamatti is superb as Mr Hunham, the repressed and bitter educator, a character who feels like an American Mark Corrigan from Peep Show: lonely, awkward and snobbishly inclined to use classical literature quotes as a crutch, whilst hiding myriad anxieties. Dominic Sessa is the film’s great discovery though, in his first role, he goes toe-to-toe with Giamatti, capturing the rattling, vaulting, emotions of a teenager with astounding authenticity. Doused in heartbreak and warmth, on a cold January night it’s the perfect festive chaser.

All Of Us Strangers
In cinemas 26 January

Adapted from a Japanese ghost novel by Taichi Yamada, All Of Us Strangers follows Adam, a lonely writer who, upon returning to his childhood home for inspiration, finds the ghosts of his parents living there at the age they were when they died. A deeply tender and personal script from director Andrew Haigh, with stunning performances all round from Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy and Jamie Bell.

The Colour Purple
In cinemas 26 January

It’s the second musical movie that was previously just a regular movie of the month! Of course the original source is Alice Walker’s novel, which was then turned into the 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg, but now, adapted from a successful stage show, the story of The Colour Purple returns to the big screen in a new form (and has already bagged some Golden Globe nominations for performances).

On Disney+ from 10 January

After making her first appearance in Hawkeye, Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) strikes out in an adults only, ultra violent MCU entry. With both Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio reprising their roles from Netflix’s beloved Daredevil adaptation, it seems like Marvel Studios are ready to commit to more intimate and graphic projects with their newly unveiled Marvel Spotlight banner. The series pairs Maya’s reconnection with her Native American heritage with some good old fashioned mafia business, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out.

True Detective: Night Country
On Sky Atlantic from 15 January

There’s lots to be excited about here. Not only are many saying this is the best season of True Detective since the first, but it’s got Jodie Foster leading the show – alongside boxer turned actress Kali Reis – acclaimed Mexican writer and director Issa López as showrunner and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins as executive producer. The action follows the case of eight men who disappear from a research station and is set in an area of the arctic circle where the sun doesn’t rise. Talk about a cold case. 

Sexy Beast
On Paramount+ from 25 January

When we first heard about this prequel to Jonathan Glazer’s seminal film, the mantra of Ben Kingsley’s iconic Don Logan ran through our head: “No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!”. Is this going to be a run of the mill gangster tale that’s been glued to some recognisable IP? Likely. Is there a chance that a glimmer of the artistry of the original shines through, and we get a rare, thoughtful, expansive and complimentary prequel? We know what Don Logan would say, but we’re still hoping. 

Stephen Moyer as Teddy Bass in Sexy Beast

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Releases on Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series, and PC on 18 January

The Prince Of Persia franchise is back! The precursor to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown brings the franchise to the 2.5D world. Promising a metroid-vania-style action adventure with the usual side-scroller sliding, jumping, and special abilities, we’re excited to return to what once made Ubisoft great. Let’s just not mention the awful Jake Gyllhenhaal film spin-off.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered
Releases on PlayStation 5 on 19 January

No matter what you think of The Last of Us Part II, it’s hard to deny that it’s an incredible feat they managed to get it running on hardware from 2013. With the remaster though, Naughty Dog can push the game even further with the PlayStation 5. Including additional extras, new game mods, improved graphics, and higher framerates, we’re so excited to replay one of gaming’s greatest stories.