January Movie Releases That Didn’t Suck

best january movie releases

There’s no month quite like January on the movie release calendar. It’s the worst. January is a month to catch up on the awards contenders released in the weeks prior and for studios to drop all their wide releases they have no idea what to do with. The reasoning is simple. There are no major vacations for one. And two, if a movie is really good, the studio would’ve either released it earlier over the holidays, or will hold it until the summer.

Basically, if a movie comes out in January, most of the time you know it’s going to stink. Over the past few years, however, the early calendar-dump months have been getting slightly more competitive. In the near future, we’re going to start getting legitimate blockbusters in March. But that’s a new practice. For the past several decades, January has been a horrible month to release movies.

With that knowledge, we decided to go back through history. Were there any really good movies released in January? The answer is “Yes,” but it’s not as many as you’d think. In fact, in the past 35 years, I found only about 30 films most people would consider “good.” We’ll mention them all below, then dive a bit deeper on the better ones. Below, read about the 15 best January movie releases of the past 35 years. Read More »

Smokin’ Aces Prequel Greenlit… Again?

We initially reported back in May 2007 that Joe Carnahan was working on a direct-to-DVD prequel for Smokin’ Aces, but little was heard about that project since then. I assume something fell through with that initial offer, because it seems that the prequel is go again. Carnahan writes on his blog:

Finally, some actual ‘Smokin Aces’ news. Universal has officially greenlit the
prequel and we are underway. Cameos will abound. Trust me.

Carnahan originally wanted to base this prequel on the Tremor Brothers, a group of sociopaths who wreaked havoc throughout the original film. From our earlier article:

“Universal wants to move ahead with a direct-to-video prequel of ‘Smokin’ and asked me if I wanted to Godfather the thing and make sure we did a really cool story,” Carnahan reveals. “The DVD numbers ‘Smokin’ Aces’ has done are astounding and they want to strike while the iron is hot. Whatever reluctance I have is alleviated by the fact that we can really do this balls out, hardcore prequel and not be constrained by ratings or any other puritanical MPAA bullsh*t. That I love.”

I’m still unsure if this project remains a DVD prequel, and my excitement for it is definitely tempered if it still is. Carnahan raises a good point about MPAA ratings however—he’ll certainly have less headache this time around when it comes his love of brutal violence if it’s just a DVD release. Historically, direct-to-DVD releases haven’t really been that successful in terms of quality or financial success, but maybe Carnahan can crack this code.

I love Joe Carnahan, primarily for his kick ass BMW film, Ticker, but I had some serious issues with Smokin’ Aces. While the film had one excellent shootout, it was otherwise extraordinarily uneven—with some seriously cheesy dramatic elements and a surprisingly slow pace. I’m not sure about you folks, but judging from the film’s trailer I was expecting something with a vibe more along the lines of Snatch. But despite my feelings towards the original film, I’ll gladly watch a prequel hoping it lives up to my initial expectations.

Discuss: How do you feel about a Smokin’ Aces prequel, especially one going straight to DVD?

Smokin Aces PosterClint Mansell has undoubtedly created the best music score in Hollywood history. And I’m talking Requiem For a Dream. You might have not seen the movie, but you sure as hell have heard the music, which has been ripped off for commercials and many movie trailers (including one of the Lord of the Rings films if I remember correctly). Anyway, Clint most recently scored Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces, and fans have been upset that the studio didn’t include the full composition on the Smokin’ soundtrack. Good news direct from Carnahan:

“The folks at Lakeshore have decided to release a separate album containing JUST THAT.”

And here is a note from Clint on the project:

“I’ve worked the entire score into a 55 minute symphony. Its broken down into 8 movements so each theme gets to play out in full. Estrago’s music comes across great–an entire suite for Buddy, the FBI and the explosive shoot-out stuff…I’m very happy…..'”

So there you have it. Another product to look forward to buy, download and consume.

Smokin Aces Prequel Announced

Tremor Brothers

When we talked to Joe Carnahan back in January, he expressed interest in making a Smoking Aces prequel: “I’ve had an idea to do a Tremor brothers prequel, do this, do that. You could explore these characters endlessly.” But the movie came and went, becoming modestly successful ($53 million worldwide) before doing huge numbers on DVD. Now the idea has gotten a greenlight.

“Universal wants to move ahead with a direct-to-video prequel of ‘Smokin’ and asked me if I wanted to Godfather the thing and make sure we did a really cool story,” Caranhan reveals. “The DVD numbers ‘Smokin’ Aces’ has done are astounding and they want to strike while the iron is hot. Whatever reluctance I have is alleviated by the fact that we can really do this balls out, hardcore prequel and not be constrained by ratings or any other puritanical MPAA bullsh*t. That I love.”

In the original film, the Tremor brothers were played by Chris Pine, Kevin Durand and Maury Sterling. The three brothers are Neo-Nazi rednecks/assassins.

Now this is a direct-to-dvd sequel/prequel/spin-off that I actually want to see. And with Carnahan at the typewriter (err computer) I cant go horribly wrong, or can it?

Ray Liotta Arrested after Car Crash

Ray LiottaGoodfellas star Ray Liotta was arrested on Saturday for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Liotta’s SUV hit two parked cars near his home in the Los Angeles, California “upscale coastal suburb” of Pacific Palisades. The actor was booked of a misdemeanor and posted bail.

Ray Liotta recently starred in Smokin’ Aces, which was released in mid-January. He can be seen in Touchstone Pictures’ Wild Hogs out next month.

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