Unless you can make it out to Sundance, January is pretty hard time for movie lovers. The studios are spending all their time and money hyping last year's Oscar contenders, so they're using the multiplex as a dumping ground for every wannabe genre blockbuster, found-footage horror movie (three of them this year), and ugly sex comedy that couldn't possibly make money in any other month. So this, dear readers, is going to suck.
Don't worry, we've got the rundown on every movie you should avoid, every movie that might be worth a shot, a few important dates and all the biggest events in this, CraveOnline's January 2014 Movie Calendar.
Jan. 3 - Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
The Paranormal Activity sat 2013 out, but it's back with a vengeance this year with two new sequels. The first, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, is a proper spin-off that relocates the action from bourgeois caucasian suburbia into the Latino community, and brings a new body horror twist into the mix. Most of the other sequels are at least pretty good. No reason to suspect The Marked Ones won't follow suit.
Jan. 7 - Nicolas Cage Turns 50
Everyone's favorite overactor Nicolas Cage turns half-a-century old on January 7, and we can't decide whether to celebrate by watching his best movies (Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, Wild at Heart, Face/Off) or his glorious worst (The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Trespass, Season of the Witch). Whatever you choose, you're in for a treat. Nicolas Cage is, forgive us, a national treasure who gives his all in every movie, no matter how stupid or amazing it is.
Jan. 7 - Big Ass Spider! (Blu-ray)
The new year's first crop of Blu-ray releases includes classy catalogue classics like Throne of Blood (Criterion) and The Killing Fields: 30th Anniversary Edition, but we're more excited about Big Ass Spider! It's an unexpectedly witty low-budget sci-fi action/horror/comedy hybrid starring Greg Grunberg ("Heroes") as a mild-mannered exterminator who saves Los Angeles from a spider the size of an office building, and it's ten times better than that sounds.
Jan. 10 - The Legend of Hercules
The first of 2014's two Hercules movies hits theaters on January 10, and it looks just... just awful. Kellan Lutz (Twilight) stars as the hunky demigod who fights his evil father Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2) and brother Liam Garrigan ("Strike Back") for the hand of a princess. Dumping a potential blockbuster in the middle of January with little-to-no fanfare doesn't sound very legendary to us.
Jan. 12 - The Golden Globe Awards
The winners of the Golden Globe Awards will be announced on January 12. We don't care and neither should you, but you'll be forgiven if you just want to watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler goof around with drunk celebrities.
Jan. 14 - Lee Daniels' Lee Daniels' The Butler (Blu-ray)
Lee Daniels' The Butler (directed by Lee Daniels) hits home video just two days before the Oscar nominees are announced, along with other awards hopefuls The Spectacular Now, Fruitvale Station and Enough Said. Throw in the acclaimed horror thriller You're Next and you've got a pretty big day for home video premieres.
Jan. 16 - The Oscar Nominations
Get up first thing in the morning to watch the newest crop of Oscar nominees announced live, or just sleep in because they'll be the same nominees a few hours later. We expect 12 Years a Slave to dominate the year's proceedings, but there are so many contenders this year that the big story is bound to be who gets snubbed, not who actually gets nominated.
Jan. 16-26 - The Sundance Film Festival
The year's biggest independent movie blowout begins in Park City, UT and CraveOnline will be there to review all the most promising films and interview the talent involved. Keep checking back throughout the second half of January for constant updates.
Jan. 16-18 - AVN Adult Expo 2014
All the most popular porn stars in the world will be in Las Vegas, and yes, CraveOnline will be there to bring you celebrity interviews with candid questions. The only downside is that our 12 Days of Killmas co-stars Vicki Chase and Jayden Lee are both competing for "Best Oral Sex Scene" this year, and we have NO idea who to root for.
Jan. 17 - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
While we're living it up in Las Vegas and Utah (sigh...), you'll be free to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the latest attempt to jumpstart the late Tom Clancy's American espionage series, with Star Trek's Chris Pine stepping in for Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin this time out. Thor's Kenneth Branagh directs, so it might actually be pretty good, despite the foreboding release date.
Jan. 17 - Ride Along
Kevin Hart wants to marry hardboiled cop Ice Cube's sister, so he agrees to ride along with his future brother-in-law for a night that promises to be comedic and, probably, less corrupt (and far less good) than Training Day. You know if this is the kind of movie for you or not.
Jan. 17 - Devil's Due
The second found-footage horror movie of the year (and it just started!) looks so bad we thought the trailer was a joke. Seriously, we kept waiting for someone to fart and reveal that Devil's Due was really Scary Movie 6 all along. But nope, it's real, and we don't hold out much hope for this Antichrist A/V Club outing.
Jan. 17 - The Nut Job
It sounds like porn. Sadly, it's a Fantastic Mr. Fox knock-off starring Will Arnett as a squirrel who needs to rob a nut store to feed his clan over the winter. It looks generic as fuck.
Jan. 21 - Knights of Badassdom
A theatrical release on a Tuesday in January? Okay, let's try this for a change. Knights of Badassdom stars Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones"), Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood"), Summer Glau ("Firefly") and Steve Zahn ("Treme") as hardcore LARPers who accidentally summon a real demon into their latest tourney. Surprisingly, it actually looks pretty funny. Check it out this Tuesday for some reason.
Jan. 21 - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Blu-ray)
One of the biggest, silliest comedies of all time finally gets the recognition it deserves with a special edition Blu-ray release from Criterion. Also out on home video this week: Woody Allen's acclaimed new drama Blue Jasmine, Lake Bell's also-acclaimed directorial debut In a World... and the dismal Robert Rodriguez sequel Machete Kills.
Jan. 23 - Rutger Hauer Turns 70
The beloved star of Blade Runner, Ladyhawke, The Hitcher and Hobo with a Shotgun turns seven decades old on January 23, and we want to wish him a very happy birthday, secure in the knowledge that we'll never lose our memories of those awesome genre classics like tears in the proverbial rain.
Jan. 24 - I, Frankenstein
From the producers of Underworld comes a movie that looks just like Underworld, but with a Frankenstein in it. (We assume that the monster took his dad's last name.) Aaron Eckhart has to save the world from Bill Nighy and gargoyles or something. It looks pretty stupid, but could it be AWESOMELY stupid?
Eh. Maybe. You can find out for yourselves on Jan. 24.
Jan. 24 - Gimme Shelter
Spring Breakers and The Frozen Ground star Vanessa Hudgens once again finds herself in a serious drama about troubled teens, but this one looks more sanctimonious than the rest, with messages about foster families, teen pregnancy, homelessness, the 1% and god knows what else. Someone call The Lifetime Channel. It looks like one of their babies ran away from home.
Jan. 24 - Gunga Din Turns 75
One of the most influential action movies ever made turns three quarters of a century old this month. Cary Grant, Victor McClaglen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. star as merry adventurers fighting an evil cult called The Thuggee (the same cult from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). The politics are backward, but the spirit of adventure remains.
Jan. 28 - Rush (Blu-ray)
Ron Howard's best film in over a decade comes to Blu-ray on January 28, dramatizing the famous rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) with style. Also on Blu-ray this week: Metallica Through the Never, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Dracula 3D and The Fifth Estate. Trust us... stick with Rush.
Jan. 29 - Dr. Strangelove Turns 50
One of the greatest satires ever made turns 50 this year, as if you needed an excuse to revisit Stanley Kubrick's acidic and hilarious ode to Cold War macho posturing. Peter Sellers plays three fascinating characters, but Slim Pickens is the one who gets to ride a nuclear bomb like a bucking bronco.
Jan. 30 - Christian Bale Turns 40
It seems like only yesterday that li'l Christian Bale was running around yelling at bombers in Empire of the Sun. Nowawadays he's one of the world's most respected actors, and a possible Oscar contender for his schlubby turn in David O. Russell's American Hustle, which will probably still be in theaters for his 40th birthday. Many happy returns, Christian!
Jan. 31 - Labor Day
Acclaimed director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) returns with a drama that seemed poised for Oscar consideration, but got bumped to late January with a blink-and-you-missed-it qualifying run in late December. Kate Winslet plays a woman who falls in love with an escaped convict played by Josh Brolin. It looks like we're in Nicholas Sparks territory, with a little Mud thrown in its eyes.
Jan. 31 - That Awkward Moment
Zac Efron tries to save his career while Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan try to destroy theirs with The Awkward Moment, a sex comedy about guys who like sex who wind up in real relationships that change everything. EVERYTHING?! Wow, that sounds... um... sigh... Maybe it'll be funnier than the trailer. Maybe.
Jan. 31 - Best Night Ever
January's THIRD found-footage horror movie comes in the form of a "comedy" by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the makers of Meet the Spartans and The Starving Games. It's a wild night in Vegas filled with nudity, girls behaving badly and, if the trailer is any indication, not a single laugh throughout the entire running time. Maybe That Awkward Moment doesn't look so bad after all.