2018 is almost upon us and with that comes January’s entertainment offerings on both the large and small screen. Though 2017 saw a bounty of cinematic hits, the first month of 2018 seems somewhat underwhelming, with a lack of A-list work hitting the multiplexes. However, there are a handful of movies viewers may want to check out from the upcoming psychological thriller The Commuter starring Liam Neeson to the slight Hayao Miyazaki-infused Mary and the Witch’s Flower.
Over on the small screen, FX hit American Crime Story returns, this time focussing on the assassination of Gianni Versace, while Starz’s original hit Counterpart looks to a parallel dimension. Check out the list below for some of the must-see releases to the more under the radar films and TV shows to look forward to in January.
Insidious: The Last Key – January 5
The fourth chapter in the supernatural Insidious franchise will follow paranormal expert Elise Rainier (played by Lin Shaye) as she investigates unholy events at her New Mexico childhood home. Insidious: The Last Key takes place before the first initial film and is brought to you by the producers of Get Out and The Purge.
The Commuter – January 12
The Commuter is the upcoming psychological thriller starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, and Sam Neill. Taking place on a commuter train, Liam Neeson is just an average salesman who finds his regular daily commute shaken up when an unknown lady (Vera Farmiga) asks him to start participating on a series of life-or-death tasks.
12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers – January 12
Based on Doug Stanton’s non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is the upcoming war drama which tells the story of the CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. Special Forces sent to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 to battle Taliban forces — on horseback. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, 12 Strong stars Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, William Fichtner, Taylor Sheridan, and Rob Riggle.
Den of Thieves – January 19
Taking inspiration from the 1995 crime-drama Heat, Den of Thieves follows the intersecting and personal lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. (played by Gerard Butler) and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew (played by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Pablo Schreiber, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.). The outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles but someone else has plans to put a halt to their schemes.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower – January 19
Studio Ponoc, formed by ex-Studio Ghibli employees Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura, are set to release an all-new animated motion picture titled Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Based on acclaimed novelist Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, the movie spotlights a young girl who undertakes a supernatural journey after being banished from her great aunt’s house. With hints of Hayao Miyazaki abound in the film, it will sure be a hit to anime fans around the world.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure – January 26
The final installment of Maze Runner lands in the first month of 2018. Based on the American sci-fi book trilogy of the same name, The Death Cure deals with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) as he risks his life to lead a group of escaped Gladers to find a cure to the world of death, a deadly disease called the “Flare.” The film also stars Kaya Scodelario and Nathalie Emmanuel.
The Chi – January 7
Created by Emmy Award-winning writer Lena Waithe and executively produced by Academy Award winner Common, The Chi is a coming-of-age story that explores the humanity of one of the nation’s most talked about but least understood communities: the South Side of Chicago. The show features performances by Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Jacob Latimore (Sleight), Yolanda Ross (The Get Down), Sonya Sohn (The Wire) and Alex R. Hibbert, known for his performance in last year’s Best Picture winner Moonlight. The Chi‘s first episode debuts on Showtime on January 7.
Black Lightning – January 16
This January The CW will present its fifth live-action superhero series centering around retired vigilante Jefferson Pierce as Black Lightning (played by Cress Williams). Just like Marvel’s Luke Cage, Black Lightning will touch upon the issues of racism and police brutality. Black Lightning will also mark the network’s first ever “leading” African-American superhero. Black Lightning airs on The CW on January 16.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – January 17
After focussing on the trials of O.J. Simpson, the second intallment of American Crime Story will center around the real-life events leading up to the death of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace. Based on a book by Maureen Orth, the limited series will also touch upon the murder of Lee Miglin in Chicago and the arrival of his killer Andrew Cunanan in Los Angeles. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will premiere on FX on January 17 and five days earlier on January 12 for FX+ subscribers.
Counterpart – January 21
Set in Berlin, Germany, Counterpart is a new sci-fi thriller starring Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons. Simmons, who plays the part of a lowly cog at a UN agency, soon discovers his company is hiding a big secret: a crossing into a parallel dimension. Full of clones, assassins and government coverups, Counterpart will also navigate the themes of identity, idealism and what ifs. The first episode aired on December 10, with the rest of the series making a return on January 21 on Starz.