After all the Christmas lights have been properly stowed, and you’ve finally polished off what’s left of the fudge and sugar cookies (cue those New Year’s resolutions involving eating healthier), January can often feel like a bit of a letdown.
And the same typically holds true for what’s showing at a theater near you in this wintry first month of the year. Since the “best” flicks are usually reserved for when friends and family go to the movies together during the holidays, what’s often showing in January is about as exciting as leftover fruitcake.
But for some reason, this January seems to be an exception to the rule. While there are definitely fewer choices than in December, there are a handful of promising ones. So in the continued spirit of giving, we’re revealing the best of the bunch right here.
Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah, Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton, opening January 13
In the small, small town of Pacashau, Georgia, there’s not exactly much to get excited about, especially in the wake of major financial challenges. But if there’s one thing that could lift the spirits of its residents, it’s the national “Joyful Noise” competition. While the local Divinity Church choir manages to find a way to lose every single year, things get even more interesting (and promising) when the two choir directors (played by Latifah and Parton, naturally) can’t decide whether to play it safe or shake things up.
Beauty and the Beast 3D, starring the voices of Paige O’Hara, Angela Lansbury and Robby Benson, opening January 13
On the heels of The Lion King making its way back to the big screen, the tale as old as time also gets the 3D treatment. And while the visuals aren’t quite as eye-popping as one might expect, considering the upgrade in ticket price, it’s still fun seeing popular Disney fare on the big screen yet again (or for kiddos like my three-year-old niece Adelyn, for the first time).
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn, opening January 20
Originally offered in limited release over the holidays, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is now showing nationwide. Based on author Jonathan Safran Foer’s exceptional novel by the same name, it's the tear-jerking story of a one-of-a-kind nine-year-old boy and how he and his mother (played by Sandra Bullock) deal with the death of his beloved father, played by Tom Hanks, on 9/11.
Red Tails, starring Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Ne-Yo, opening January 20
In the same vein as Steven Spielberg’s epic War Horse this past December, Red Tails is another inspiring battle-centric story featuring a brave crew of African American pilots who are unexpectedly called to duty during World War II.
The Artist, starring fantastic French actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo (names you’ll likely hear many times on Oscar night) and John Goodman, in expanded release in select theaters nationwide
If you’re someone who likes to catch up on Oscar-nominated fare before the big night, then you’ll definitely want to find a theater that’s playing The Artist, one of the most delightful movies of 2011. Taking a page from Old Hollywood, it’s a silent film, but don’t worry, dialogue or not, these actors are so expressive you won’t even miss all the talk. Set in the late ‘20s when chatter was first making its way into movies, a silent movie star is left wondering if his career is doomed.
Coming to DVD
For anyone who may not have caught it while it was in the theater, the latest movie from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., Courageous, is making its way to DVD January 17.
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, Crosswalk.com (she review movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, PassAlong.com and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.
Gary Wheeler (pictured left with actor Matthew Modine) is an award-winning southern filmmaker with credits in both motion picture and television from around the world. He is the founder and president of Level Path Productions and makes his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. His most recent work,...
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