With all of the fun and excitement of the holidays set to wear you out in the most cheerful way possible, January is going to be a time of coffee and contemplation. Or, in some cases, tons of water and a lot of available TV time. And with great leisure comes great possibilities, especially when you take a look at Netflix's incoming line-up for the month of January. While December gave us some fantastic movies to watch for the first, or fortieth, time, January is bringing out some big guns. How big, you ask? Well, take a look at our field of 13 big hits being added to the line-up, and prepare to be amazed.
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is the holy grail of sequels. Full stop. Francis Ford Coppola somehow captured lightning in a bottle, in a film that not only split off material of its source material for a sequel, but also managed to deliver a sequel that ups the stakes of the plot and performances so high, it's hard to top. The Godfather Part III, even if it turned out to be the film everyone wanted, would never have topped a full tilt Al Pacino trying to keep his family, and his business, in one piece -- all the while still trying to go home a decent human being. If you've never seen these films, the whole trilogy will be available for your viewing. But if you're returning to the franchise, you know where your bread is buttered.
The Shawshank Redemption
In case you'd taken a sabbatical away from going to the movies in 2017, it was a year that mostly made Stephen King fans proud. But no matter which adaptation of the legendary horror writer's work you choose from this year's line up, it still doesn't hold a candle to The Shawshank Redemption. In fact, it's a pretty fair claim to state that Frank Darabont's classic is a perfect movie, period. We wish we could say that we'd dare you to prove us wrong. We wish we could say that there's a chance we're wrong on this one - but film criticism isn't a fairy tale world.
Sometimes, all of the careful planning in the world can be put on its head, surprising everyone involved. Caddyshack is a perfect example of this concept put to work, as what was supposed to be a run of the mill comedy focused on rambunctious youngsters, became a comedy that straddles the line between the drama of the caddies, and the war between rival country club members. Throw in Bill Murray's fight with the legendary gopher, and you've got three perfect conflicts that revolve around each other, in a mad dance of laughter.
Everyone has their hangover cure they swear by. Hot sauce laden Bloody Marys, black Coffee, an entire season of The Real Housewives of your choosing - many different methods exist. But here's a new one we suggest: cue up Batman Begins, right to the moment where he's interrogating Detective Gordon's dirty partner, and when he shouts "Swear to me!" Crank up the volume and shock yourself sober. Or, alternatively, watch Batman Begins again, because it's hard to find a superhero origin story this captivating, and this well made.
Historical dramas, if done wrong, tend to be dry and overwrought affairs. Yet if you do it right, injecting the right amount of action and spectacle into a story that's already pretty fantastic. you get a film like Ron Howard's Apollo 13. Based on the true story of the failed attempt to return to the surface of the moon, Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and the late Bill Paxton anchor a cast of equally impressive actors, as they portray a story of American ingenuity and scientific achievement. No matter how many times you watch it, it always manages to hit the right notes every time.
There's been some talk of actually making Lethal Weapon 5 floating around Hollywood in the past couple of months. While that's all well and good, when's the last time you revisited Richard Donner's original installment to the series? The only film that franchise creator Shane Black wrote in the entire run, it's arguably the best film in the franchise. Hell, depending who you talk to, the introduction of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover's dream team is the only one out of the lot worth any thought. The entire four movie series will be on Netflix as of the first of January; but if you're only familiar with the Fox TV show, or it's been a while since you've seen Riggs and Murtaugh, start here and let the magic wash over you.
Years from now, when we're listing the "Movie Sequels We're Still Patiently Waiting For," we're probably going to still have a spot open for National Treasure's second sequel. Could you really blame us? Somehow, Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicholas Cage ended up working with the right people to turn what would normally pass for a full season of conspiracy theories on The History Channel into an action adventure ride that entertains. There's good Nic Cage movies, and then there's bad Nic Cage movies. This movie fits squarely into the good column, and we'll meet you in front of the Declaration of Independence to fight about it any Fourth of July.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
If you were to go to any standard college campus, and take a look into someone's dorm room, there's a certain number of movie images so ingrained in the public consciousness. And one of those very images is bound to be the one you see above, of Audrey Hepburn looking elegant as ever through a storefront window in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Quite possibly the role she's best known for, Hepburn had some initial troubles with the part of Holly GoLightly because she was a naturally shy person playing an extremely vibrant party girl. Watching the finished product, you'll find it hard to believe, as her charms overcome any inhibitions, creating a character for the ages.
The Italian Job
Earlier this year, Mark Wahlberg expressed some worry about his film career and the potential ramifications it may have on his time in the afterlife. In particular, he was worried about how his participation in Boogie Nights would look to those in ethereal management. If we were in his shoes, we wouldn't be worrying too much, especially considering the man also has The Italian Job remake on his resume. A slick action caper that took a 60's cult classic and gave it a fresher, more exciting coat of paint, Wahlberg teams up with the likes of Jason Statham and Charlize Theron to take down an evil ex-partner. With a film this exhilarating and this funny, even Heaven and Hell can agree for a change.
The Truman Show
After debuting the impressive Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond last month, you could imagine that Netflix would start to carry more Carrey for folks to carry on about. And while we're not getting his transformative performance from Man on the Moon, we are indeed getting The Truman Show in our instant queues. This Peter Weir gem is the first role to really showcase Jim Carrey's range after he'd hit it big with the trifecta of Ace Ventura, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber, and it was a hell of a left turn. Even better, the film plays Carrey off of then already veteran actor Ed Harris, while throwing some work to impressive up and comers like Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. It predicted reality TV, but even better, it showed us that sometimes it's the clowns that make us feel the most.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
We can debate the merits of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory another day, as there's always time to question that film in the light of this semi-musical take on Roald Dahl's classic children's book. But even if you're a fan of Tim Burton's reinterpretation, you know damned well it'll never supplant the Mel Stuart directed original. Part kid friendly romp, part acidic satire, and all Gene Wilder's purely imaginative portrayal of Wonka himself, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is a film you never grow out of. Rather, you grow to enjoy some of the aspects you didn't pick up on as a kid. So prepare to see this one with fresh eyes, as you revisit the factory.
The disclaimers "Based on a true story" or "Inspired by actual events" are, at best, sensationalist, and at worst, full of it. But, as the saying goes, you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Historical truth or not, The Conjuring is a really good story, about Ed and Lorraine Warren - two self proclaimed paranormal investigators, who try to help a family solve their spectral woes in their new house. James Wan's direction is precise, and sharp, eschewing jump scares for more lingering frights. Not to mention, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are such a fantastic duo, it's a shame they don't make more movies together outside of the franchise.
Dallas Buyers Club
We end this incoming line-up with another tale from history, albeit a more personal one. Ron Woodroof's story of turning a 30 day life sentence into a seven year quest for better treatment of HIV/AIDS patients was brought to live in Dallas Buyers Club, the film that brought both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto their Best Actor and Supporting Actor trophies in 2014. You can see why as you watch the film, as McConaughey uses his usual happy go lucky Southern charm to tell Ron's story in the most human way possible, and Leto's fragility as client turned friend Rayon is affecting, without going into schmaltz. An uplifting story with an unlikely protagonist, this film shows that truth definitely beats fiction when you tell the right story.