The Top Movies to See in January 2008

CloverfieldOK, as of writing this post it’s late on January 11th. The month is almost halfway over, and only now am I writing my The Top Movies to See in January 2008 article. Thankfully, it is January, and very few new movies come out in the beginning of the year – and the ones that do, you don’t want to see.

Keep in mind that this list is for movies officially released in January 2008, and does not include limited releases that came out in December 2007 or earlier and are only now opening wide. For those, see this December 2007 movies list.

Unfortunately, there are only two movies being released in January, 2008 that I actually want to see, and those are:

  1. Cloverfield
    All I can say here is: Duh. Probably one of the most hyped films featuring no big name stars or based on an established franchise, the marketing team for Cloverfield has to be praised for creating more Internet buzz than even Snakes on a Plane. Of course, that film never lived up to its buzz in terms of box office success, but Cloverfield has a few things going for it that Snakes on a Plane didn’t:

    • It looks good.
    • It is a monster movie, but no one knows what the monster looks like. Ooh… mystery. Suspense. Excitement!
    • It isn’t called Snakes on a Plane, which means it will attract normal audiences.
    • There will have been no major theatrical releases, except for expansions, for nearly a month.
    • It looks good. Did I say that already?
  2. Rambo
    People are utterly divided on this one. There is the camp that laugh and mock the fact that Sylvestor Stallone is trying to resurrect his other successful franchise to reclaim a career he once had; and then there’s the camp that has seen the previews for Rambo and are uber-excited for an ultra-bloody and non-stop action movie. I am, needless to say, in the latter group, and am excited to see Stallone kick ass once more in the role that made him an action hero. Oh, and Rocky Balboa wasn’t half bad, either.
  3. Cassandra’s Dream
    While Woody Allen continues to have a lot of hits and misses, one of my favorite films in recent memory is Allen’s Match Point, and Cassandra’s Dream has a similar feel to it. A crime drama about two ordinary men who agree to murder someone for cash they desperately need, the movie could be 2008’s In the Bedroom, though no one expects it to be that good. Still, this one looks interesting.
  4. Untraceable
    The techno-thriller genre is not my favorite, especially ones that feature killer websites. Hollywood’s attempts to make thrillers based on Internet-themed stories have historically failed badly, and so I’m hesitant about Diane Lane’s new movie Untraceable. That being said, the movie trailer is well constructed and has an interesting concept, though it will be interesting to see how the ultra-hacker/killer is played out. So this one could go either way, but it looks like a fun ride.
  5. Teeth
    Wow. Have you watched the movie trailer for this film? This one looks weird – whether it’s any good remains to be seen. It appears to be about a girl who has deadly teeth in her… female region. That’s only a guess, but there’s “something not right down there”, and the movie’s title is Teeth, and this gives me enough info that tells me I want to see more, though I am guessing a penis or two gets bitten off in the process. Um, yeah.
  6. First Sunday
    I’ve grown to never underestimate Ice Cube; not only does he generally make pretty good movies, but his movies make a lot of money, too. However, First Sunday doesn’t look like a winner. He doesn’t have the family thing going for this movie, and on the flip side, there doesn’t be much edge to this flick – at least compared to Friday. And since this movie is clearly aimed at the exact same audience, the previews for First Sunday make me want to just head on over to Blockbuster and rent another Ice Cube movie instead. Furthermore, Tracy Morgan co-stars; while Morgan is funny, he’s only tolerable in small doses – I can’t imagine sitting through an hour and a half movie with him.
  7. Mad Money
    This movie doesn’t look terrible, but it doesn’t look all that good, either. Starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes, Mad Money is about three ordinary women who steal a lot of money. Unfortunately, while the concept is decent enough, the previews just aren’t that funny and look more like the “women-defying-their-own-characters” genre, which is not surprising since it’s from the people behind Thelma and Louise. Mad Money may serve as good counter programming for the more male-oriented movies of January, but it’s not going to pull in many men… at least by choice.
  8. 27 Dresses
    One of the film most likely to make some money this month, 27 Dresses has everything one needs to make a successful chick flick: a good-looking, popular cast, a storyline that every single woman dreads (attending 26 weddings that aren’t yours) and your standard romantic fluff. There are some funny moments in the movie trailer, but overall you can tell exactly what’s going to happen from the previews. From a guy’s perspective, that’s enough to not see the movie unless I’m on a date.
  9. One Missed Call
    This forgettable horror movie somehow made $12+ million last weekend, probably because there was nothing else new to see (come on, people, what about all the award contenders out in theaters right now?). One Missed Call looks like a lame Japanese techno-horror movie without the Japanese influence; J-horror remakes are bad enough, let alone ones that American writers came up with independently. There’s nothing even remotely interesting about this movie other than the very catchy movie poster.
  10. How She Move
    Your typical dance move for the winter of 2008, How She Move looks about as unique as a grilled cheese sandwich. I am really getting sick of these dance movies, yet they continue to make money. Why? I don’t know. Are these films really filling a gap for a demand that can’t be filled by higher quality films?
  11. VeggieTales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything
    This movie is about a bunch of vegetables. Christian-themed vegetables. Need I say more? Still, I’d rather see this one than any of the Uwe Boll movies.
  12. Meet the Spartans
    2008’s first stupid spoof comedy, Meet the Spartans has all the intelligent makings of classics that came before it. Really, this genre grew old long ago, and this spoof on 300 looks no different. Watch this one come and go quickly.
  13. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
    God, I just know some people are going to be tricked into going to see this movie. With enhanced production values and an almost-decent cast (Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ray Liotta and more), In the Name of the King looks like your typical, B-grade fantasy action picture. Don’t be fooled! The movie is directed by Uwe Boll, and will suck as always. Don’t even think about it. Don’t. Please, please don’t.
  14. Seed
    This film is still slated for January 25th, but I have to imagine it’s going to get pushed back or sent direct to DVD. The world can’t handle two Uwe Boll movies in one month, and the studio hasn’t even released a movie trailer for it yet. Is it that bad that marketing refuses to make a trailer?

As you can see, there aren’t a lot of great new films to choose from. Beyond Cloverfield and Rambo, there’s nothing with much weight, and those two are canceled out by two different Uwe Boll movies. Again, I haven’t listed here movies that are expanding wide, such as The Bucket List, Atonement (excellent movie!), The Orphanage and so on and so forth.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists
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