January UK movie releases not to miss in 2017

As always the year kicks off with some brilliant films heading into cinemas, it is Awards season after all. So here is the key January UK movie releases not to miss in 2017.

Assassin’s Creed

Movies based on video games are given a warranted bad reputation. All too often they’re a transparent cash grab, but with nine instalments behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise and a rampant fan base, it seems like Ubisoft is working hard to do right by its customers, and that starts with an incredible cast.

How does Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and Michael Kenneth Williams work for you? And directed by Justin Kurzel, director of the fascinating, and gory, Macbeth adaptation? This has the opportunity to feature some very smart people using a big recognisable property to make a big, very weird movie in a very different way.

We had to wait longer than expected for this film, it was first set for release in mid-December, but hopefully it will have been worth the wait.

In cinemas January 1

A Monster Calls

This film will no doubt have you crying for the first time in 2017. Felicity Jones, just off the back of the success of Rogue One: A Star Wars story stars in this visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona, who also directed The Impossible, and is based on the award-winning fantasy novel.

12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) attempts to deal with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith. Also featuring Liam Neeson who will star in performance-capture and voiceover as the nocturnally visiting monster of the title, and Sigourney Weaver as the maternal grandmother.

In cinemas January 1

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Silence

Directed by Academy Award-winner Martin Scorsese, Silence is a religious epic that boasts an all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield.

Dealing with themes of the endurance of faith and the human spirit, it follows two 17th century missionaries (Garfield and Driver) as they face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan to find their missing mentor (Neeson).

In cinemas January 1

La La Land

The film has been receiving rave reviews for a few weeks now, and we can’t wait for it to hit cinemas in the New Year. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling once again star together again.

It’s the story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet whilst pursuing their dreams in LA. The musical is about everyday life and explores what is more important – a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight.

In cinemas January 13

Live By Night

Ben Affleck writes, produces, and stars in this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s sprawling crime novel centering on the prodigal son of a prominent police chief, and his gradual descent into the criminal underworld.

Affleck stars with Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning also star.

Affleck also adapted the screenplay and produced the movie along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Jennifer Todd.

The film is a contender for the Oscar Best Costume nominations, thanks to Jackie West’s incredible work on the film.

In cinemas January 13

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Manchester by the Sea

The film has already garnered a number of awards at the US National Board of Review’s awards, including best film, best screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan, best actor for Affleck and best supporting actor for Lucas Hedges. And it certainly looks like it’s not going to be the last of them.

Casey Affleck stars as Lee, a man whose sparse existence is suddenly ruptured when the death of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) forces him to return to the hometown he abandoned years before. Rocked by contact with his estranged ex-wife (Michelle Williams) and the revelation that Joe has made him guardian of his teenage son (Lucas Hedges), Lee is forced to face up to painful memories and new-found levels of responsibility as he reconnects with his family.

In cinemas January 13

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Vin Diesel is back as Xander Cage in the third film from the franchise. After coming out of self-imposed exile, daredevil operative Cage must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. Recruiting a new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of government.

Now this film isn’t going to be nominated for any awards, but it’s certainly going to bring plenty of enjoyment through the dreary month that is January.

In cinemas January 17

Jackie

Natalie Portman stars as Jackie Kennedy, as she reels from the assassination of her husband. Traumatised and reeling with grief, over the course of the next week she must confront the unimaginable: consoling their two young children, vacating the home she painstakingly restored and planning her husband’s funeral. Jackie quickly realises that the next seven days will determine how history will define her husband’s legacy – and how she herself will be remembered.

In cinemas January 20

Lion

The remarkably touching Lion follows the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel), who at five years old while begging at the Khandwa train station in Burhanpur, India, falls asleep in a train car and finds himself in Calcutta, 930 miles from his hometown. After surviving as a street kid and eventually being adopted by a couple in Australia, 25 years later, Brierley goes on a search to find his birth mother with the help of Google Earth.

In cinemas January 20

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Split

When we started to watch the trailer for this film it was not what we were expecting, James McAvoy plays Barry, who kidnaps three teenagers from a parking lot. McAvoy’s character suffers from dissociative identity disorder and, thanks to some of the more troubled personalities within him, he’s concocted a plan to kidnap the two popular girls for some sort of ritual. Casey, one of three girls kidnapped, wasn’t actually supposed to be there.

The storyline in Split is split in three ways. There’s the fairly typical (but tense) struggle of the young women trying to escape their captor, then there are Casey’s flashbacks, in which her father and uncle teach her buck hunting, which teases out the origins of her steely demeanour. Then there’s McAvoy, in multiple guises, interacting with his therapist Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who is slowly realising her normally contained patient is heading towards a breakdown.

In cinemas January 20

Rules Don’t Apply

Written and directed by Warren Beatty, the film focuses 1950s Hollywood. Lily Collins plays aspiring young actress, Marla Mabrey when she arrives at the airport she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies the boss’ Howard Hughes (Beatty) number one rule – no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress.

Hughes’ behaviour intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.

In cinemas January 27

Sing

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johansson are among the many stars lending their vocal cords to Sing, an animated musical from the people who brought us Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets.

Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theatre that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a bit of a scoundrel, he loves his theatre above all and will do anything to preserve it. Facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he takes one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Five contestants emerge: a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.

In cinemas January 27

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