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January is a tradition It’s a slow month for movies and television, but this time it’s January that’s it a bit sleepy compared to December’s rush, there are still plenty of promising prospects in the coming month.
For starters, the usual flood of horror movies including the new killer movie looks like a lot of fun; HBO has a great new series that adapts a classic video game; and Netflix is experimenting with a series that invites viewers to create the order of the story they’re watching. In the spirit of the show we will choose that as our starting point.
Kaleidoscope (Netflix, January 1)
A few years ago Netflix released a few projects, like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. Reverend, designed for viewers to connect and direct the story themselves through a Choose Your Own Event-style branching narrative. Now Kaleidoscope offers a different kind of interaction through a heist story with Giancarlo Esposito and Rufus Sewell whose episodes can be watched in (almost) any order. One episode is designed as an ending but the ending can be reached by any combination of episodes that come together to tell a story spanning decades. Watch it on Netflix here.
Paul T. Goldman (Peacock, January 1)
This takes a little set-up: a few years back director Jason Woliner (Borat Next Moviefilm) was approached by a man named Paul T. Goldman about a show that Goldman had written about his failed marriage and his efforts to fight the crime of his ex-wife. Picked up by Goldman, Woliner decided to turn his life into a series that combines scripted dramas with Goldman’s screenplays featuring appearances from Rosanna Arquette, Dennis Haysbert, and others. (Three episodes premiere today and the show starts airing every week.) Watch it on Peacock here.
The Fake Life of Adults (Netflix, January 4)
After completing his quartet of Neapolitan novels, Elena Ferrante was published The Fake Life of Adults, a 2019 documentary about Giovanna, a 12-year-old girl who searches for her aunt Vittoria and uncovers some family secrets in the process. Ferrante’s books have already been fodder for rich adaptations – the quartet is currently being adapted into an HBO series. My Best Friend and Maggie Gylenhaal-led The Lost Girl was one of the best movies of 2021– and this Italian miniseries, which includes Valeria Golino (Rain Man, Image of the Woman on Fire) like Vittoria, seems to be continuing the trend. Watch on Netflix here.
Will Trent (ABC, January 3)
Adapted from the popular series by Karin Slaughter, this new crime series stars Ramón Rodríguez as Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who is a top investigator despite struggling with childhood and dyslexia. Erika Christensen stars as Angie, Will’s lover and a woman with a troubled past. Watch ABC online with Vidgo.
Copenhagen Cowboy (Netflix, January 5)
Director Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive) extends his journey in television after the completion of Too Young to Die and back to his home in Denmark. Will this new movie show a softer side of Refn? Don’t count on it: Angela Bundalovic stars as Miu, a woman who infiltrates Denmark’s capital city on a mission of revenge. Watch on Netflix here.
M3GAN (Wires, January 6)
What could go wrong when Gemma (Allison Williams) creates a life-like doll for a luxury toy company and decides to beta test it with her recently orphaned granddaughter Cady (Violet McGraw)? Considering that this is a new horror movie from Blumhouse directed by Akela Cooper, the co-writer of Malignantwe will predict more.
Koala Man (Hulu, January 9)
Of course, the big name heroes take care of big cities like Gotham and Metropolis. But who will protect the streets of Dapto, the seemingly dreamy place of Australia? In this new series these duties fall to middle-aged Kevin (Michael Cusack), aka Koala Man. The first season of the show lined up an amazing series of guest stars, including Hugh Jackman (as the third Australian actor on the popular show) and Jemaine Clement. Watch with a free trial at Hulu here.
The Makanai: Maiko House Cooking (Netflix, January 12)
Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (They shoplift) has a new film titled Broker which will be released in North American theaters a little later this year after a major December release. Fans of his work (and curious newcomers) won’t have to wait long, however, to catch Kore-eda’s new TV show, which follows two young people with different paths after they enter a difficult school for aspiring geishas. Watch on Netflix here.
Velma (HBO Max, January 12)
A Scooby-less series focusing on the adorable Velma, this new Mindy Ealing-created animated series explores the origins of Mystery Inc. Before Scoob joined the team. Kaling portrays Velma, a teenager caught in a web of complicated relationships with Fred (Glenn Howerton), Daphne (Constance Wu), and Shaggy (Sam Richardson). Expect secrets, irreverence, and hijinks (but no Great Danes). Watch on HBO Max here.
The Drop (Hulu, January 13)
In the new dark comedy directed by Sarah Adina Smith, Anna Konkle (Pen15) and Jermaine Fowler (Coming 2 America) to play a couple about to start a family. But when they drop their friend’s baby at the wedding, they are forced to face their own decisions and resolve the conflict takes a long time. Aparna Nancherla, Joshua Leonard, and Jillian Bell round out the cast. Watch with a free trial at Hulu here.
House Party (Wires, January 13)
The 1990 game featured rapper Kid ‘n Play, House Party used a simple premise to create comic chaos: What if a couple of the youth party went out of power? Does the remake work? Music video warrior Calmatic and Atlanta writers Jamal Lori and Stephen Glover seem to think so. This new version casts Tosin Cole (Doctor Who) and Jacob Latimore (The Chi) as teenagers in the film with many cameos from music and country sports including an appearance by producer LeBron James.
Skinamarink (Wires, January 13)
From Canada comes this very high-low-budget horror film from first-time director Kyle Edward Bell with a terrifying premise: two boys wake up alone in their house to find that all the windows and doors have disappeared. If that seems scary, there’s a reason: Ball based the film a little in part on the usual dreams posted to the YouTube channel where he repeated the horrors of others.
The last of us (HBO, January 15)
One of the most respected names in the history of sports gets an adaptation through this new post-apocalyptic sequel starring Pedro Pascal as Joel, a tough survivor, and Bella Rasmey (Game of Thrones) as Ellie, a teenage girl who may hold the secret to defeating the plague of zombie-like creatures on Earth. The adaptation of the video game does not have a great track record, but the origin of a strong story, a strong cast that includes Anna Torv and Nick Offerman, and the presence of the original writer Neil Druckerman, who works as a producer along with Craig Mazin (Chernobyl), both suggest that this may not be the case. Watch on HBO Max here.
Night Court (Peacock, January 17)
The classic Eighties sitcom returns through a series that brings in a new generation of characters alongside the old pile. Melissa Rauch (How I met your mother) stars as Abby Stone, the daughter of Harry Stone (originally played by the late Harry Anderson) who takes up her old job as a judge in an after-hours courthouse filled with criminal eccentrics. John Larroquette reprises the role that won him multiple Emmys in the original series, Assistant DA Dan Fielding. Check it out at Peacock here.
The 1619 Project (Hulu, January 26)
Launched in 2019 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans to arrive in what is now the United States, the 1619 project has evolved into an attempt to examine American history with a renewed emphasis on the establishment of slavery, its lasting impact. the world, and the untold gifts of black Americans. Organized by historian Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project has now been adapted into a six-part series focusing on everything from the political system to American music. Watch with a free trial at Hulu here.
Poker face (Peacock, January 26)
Acting dissatisfied with reviving whodunnit na Knives Outdirector Rian Johnson is now looking to breathe new life into the eccentric-sleuth-solves-a-new-case-every-week TV series made popular in the past decades by similar shows. Columbus. Natasha Lyonne stars as Charlie Cale, a cross-country woman with the gift of being able to tell when someone is lying that accidentally made her a detective. Check it out at Peacock here.
Shotgun Wedding (Prime Video, January 27)
Coming a few months after its theatrical release last summer, this action/rom-com hybrid stars Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel as newlyweds who decide to call it quits before their families are kidnapped. Check out the 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime here.
Infinity Pool (Theatre and VOD, January 27)
It’s been hard to sniff out too many plot twists about the latest film from Brandon Cronenberg (Owner), which will hit theaters soon after premiering at Sundance. But we do know that it stars Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård as a couple whose trip to an all-inclusive resort goes awry and, based on Cronenberg’s previous work, will go memorably wrong.
You People (Netflix, January 27)
Black–ish creator Kenya Barris makes his directorial debut with the comedy starring Jonah Hill (who wrote the film with Barris) as Ezra, a Jewish Los Angeleno who wants to marry a woman named Amira (Lauren London). Perhaps getting in the way: their parents, played by Eddie Murphy, Nia Long, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and David Duchovny. Watch on Netflix here.
Decreasing (Apple TV+, January 27)
In a new comedy created by Bill Lawrence, Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel, Segel plays a therapist whose sadness causes him to stop talking to his patients. The talent behind the scenes, which includes director James Ponsoldt (The End of the Journey) is fun, and so is the cast, which includes Harrison Ford and Jessica Williams. Check out a free trial of Apple TV+ here.