January, what is it good for? We’re broke, bored and failing at new year’s resolutions – already. There’s an easy fix for the boredom, though. As you abstain from alcohol, meat or whatever else you think might unleash a “new you” in 2022, streaming services, cinemas and good ol’ fashioned regular TV channels are on hand to keep you entertained through the slog.
And with bumper drops landing throughout the month, it’s almost as though the media giants knew we’d have nothing else to do but sit on our bums in front of screens this month. Funny that, eh? From hyped-up films like Licorice Pizza and Memoria to the long-awaited return of Euphoria, there’s plenty on hand to distract you from the frosty climes and even frostier mood. Sit back, relax and emerge refreshed in February.
Alana Haim makes her cinematic debut in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest feature film, Licorice Pizza, starring opposite another newcomer to the screen, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son, Cooper Hoffman. This film is a bildung-almost-romance and follows Hoffman’s teenage Gary as he falls for Haim’s twentysomething Alana, who’s assisting his school’s photographer. For obvious reasons, the pair can’t be betrothed as Gary wishes, but it turns out he’s a much more attractive proposition for Alana than the adult men around her. Also starring Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born, The Hangover) and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems, Good Time), Licorice Pizza has already racked up a slew of nominations for Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, with Oscar nominations still pending. Watch this space.
Out in UK cinemas now.
Euphoria season two
“Remember this feeling” teased HBO Max when they dropped the latest trailer for season two of Euphoria at the end of last year. Said feeling? A heady mixture of wistful teenage love, bathroom breakdowns and confused fear as we witness Zendaya’s Rue be violently yanked back by an unknown hand. We understand that it’s been two and half years since the last series, so you can find a more thorough catch up of what’s happened on the show so far here. But if you’ve already prepared by rewatching series one over Christmas (a great, uplifting and seasonal choice, by the way), then expect to see this unflinching, glitter-glazed depiction of teenage listlessness up the ante. After Zendaya became the youngest person to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series last year, it’s an unmissable watch.
On Sky Atlantic and NowTV from 10th January.
Your latest East Asian TV Netflix binge is arriving later this month and guess what? Unlike last year’s streaming phenomena Squid Game and Hellbound, there’s not a single brutal murder to be seen. Instead, The Journalist tackles corrupt politics, as acclaimed Japanese director Fujii Michihito adapts his award-winning 2019 film of the same name for TV. The plot follows Anna Matsuda, a journalist (surprise!) on a mission to expose the crimes of the Japanese government, despite their best efforts to silence her. The original film was acclaimed for confronting corruption in Japan, but we reckon this is a story we’ll all be able to relate to here in the UK.
Available on Netflix on 13th January.
Tilda Swinton teams up with Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul for Memoria, an eerie slow burner that sits on the intersection of horror, sci-fi and philosophical mysticism. Here’s the deal: Swinton plays Jessica, a Scottish ex-pat living in Medellín, Columbia who suddenly hears a loud bump in the night. She hears it again while having dinner with friends, but it soon becomes apparent that these strange new sounds are only audible to her. Is it all in her head, or is she privy to a supernatural occurrence that may or may not have something to do with ancient bones that were recently dug up in the city? Either way, Swinton and Weerasethakul’s thriller will have you on the edge of your seat.
Out in UK cinemas from 14th January.
The residents of Woodsboro can’t catch a break, can they? 25 years after the town was first terrorised by Ghostface’s vendetta against Sidney Prescott, another killer that shops at Halloween stores is on the loose. Don’t roll your eyes. One of the most legendary horror franchises of all time, the fifth iteration of Scream promises lots of silly slasher scares, with In The Heights’ Melissa Barrera now the object of the killer’s, er, frustrations. Don’t pick up the phone, Mel!
Out in UK cinemas from 14th January.
One house, three eras and a huge cast of impressive voice acting talent, including but not limited to Helena Bonham Carter, Downton Abbey’s Matthew Goode and East London’s finest, Bimini Bon Boulash. That’s the basic gist of Netflix’s new adult stop-motion three-part anthology series, but take one glimpse at the anthropomorphic worlds in The House’s trailer and you’ll realise it’s something quite special. With each episode helmed by different directors – Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Paloma Baeza – The House transports us to three different realities, but in each one, the action takes place in the same house. Offbeat and laced in dark humour, this anthology series is set to be yet another gem in the growing genre of adult animation.
Available on Netflix from 14th January.
Kenneth Branagh looks back to his childhood in Belfast, a tender coming-of-age story that follows nine-year-old Buddy as he navigates bickering parents, burgeoning teenagehood and a local community that’s being torn apart by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. But, filmed in black and white, this drama isn’t simply filled with tragedy and despair. In between moments of violence and fear are pockets of joy and peaceful mundanity, as Buddy learns that even when life seems to be at its worst, it keeps on going.
Out in UK cinemas from 21st January.
All of Us Are Dead
If the big knives in Scream aren’t scary enough for you, tuck into the gorefest that is All of Us Are Dead towards the end of the month instead, a deliciously gruesome zombie series from South Korea. A high school is the centre of action in this imagining of the apocalypse, where trapped students must fight their way out or become flesh-eating creatures whose limbs bend in all the wrong places. And you thought double maths on a Friday was the worst thing that could happen to you at school…
Available on Netflix from 28th January.
High school reunions are never a good idea, but even less so when the host is now an obnoxious popstar who everyone secretly hates. This is the setup in The Afterparty, which quickly goes awry when the obnoxious popstar, played by Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Now You See Me), dies from suspected murder. Everyone’s a suspect, which means all of your comedy favourites are subject to Tiffany Haddish’s interrogations in her role as a detective, as each episode recounts the events of their party through a different character’s eyes. Expect to see Stath Lets Flats’ Jamie Demetriou, Veep’s Sam Richardson, Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and more face Haddish’s wrath, as each one of them attempts to prove they’re not guilty while hungover.
Available on Apple TV+ from 28th January.
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window
We couldn’t possibly imagine which blockbuster thrillers Kristen Bell’s new film is poking fun at. Resuscitated from her dead funny turn in The Good Place, Bell is stepping into the shoes of Anna, a heartbroken alcoholic who, after guzzling wine with some pills, thinks she’s witnessed a murder in the house across the street. But, of course, she wakes up the next day to find that everything’s fine and dandy, apart from the fact that her neighbours are pissed off at her for calling the police. Maybe she’s just read too many mystery novels. Or maybe the friendly guy across the road is actually hiding something. There’s only one way to find out: a vigilante, booze-fuelled detective mission.
Available on Netflix from 28th January.