Play Hard

From Mean Girls to Priscilla – the films to watch this January

We’re spoilt for choice with these new releases.

Written by Chris Kingston
Published 17.01.2024
One Life film

One Life – out now 

This stirring drama tells the true story of British humanitarian Nicholas Winton, played by legendary actor Antony Hopkins.

The movie follows him as a young London broker who in the months leading up to World War II helped save hundreds of children from the Nazis. Nicky visited Prague in December 1938 and found families who had fled the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Austria living in desperate conditions. He immediately realised it was a race against time. How many children could he and the team rescue before the borders closed?

Fifty years later, it’s 1988 and Nicky lives haunted by the fate of the children he wasn’t able to bring to safety in England, always blaming himself for not doing more.

It’s not until a live BBC television show, ‘That’s Life!’, surprises him by introducing him to some surviving children – now adults – that he finally begins to come to terms with the guilt and grief he had carried for five decades. Helen Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce also star.

Priscilla film

Priscilla – out now 

If you loved Baz Luhrmann’s big, bold and flashy 2022 biopic about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll then prepare for a very different take on the Elvis story.

When teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi) at a party, the man who is already a meteoric rock-and-roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness and a vulnerable best friend.

Based on her memoir ‘Elvis and Me’, this drama charts their relationship from the pair’s first meeting, when Priscilla was a teenager, to their divorce in 1973.

Poor things film

Poor Things – out now

Poor Things is a reimagining of Frankenstein and tells the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, played by Emma Stone.

The young woman is brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter. Godwin makes Bella by taking the body of a young woman who is near death and implants the brain of a child in her head which turns her into a whole new being.

What follows is a story about the awkwardness in forging human connections as Bella endeavours to establish a sense of self in her new body.

This comedy fantasy looks set to be one of this year’s best films and we’ll be surprised if Emma Stone isn’t nominated for her second Best Actress Oscar.

The Boys in the Boat - out now

The Boys in the Boat - out now

George Clooney’s latest directorial effect is based on the non-fiction novel by Daniel James Brown that follows the 1936 University of Washington rowing team that competed for gold at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin.

This true story follows a group of underdogs at the height of the Great Depression as they’re thrust into the spotlight and take on elite international rivals.

The Beekeeper – out now

The Beekeeper – out now

If you fancy a fast-paced action thriller that’s steeped in the mythology of ‘beekeepers’ then look no further.

This movie follows a man’s personal journey of vengeance as Mr. Clay (Jason Statham) is a former operative of a clandestine organisation called ‘Beekeepers’.

After his friend and neighbour dies by suicide after falling for a scam, Mr. Clay sets out to exact revenge against the company responsible.

Mean Girls – out now

Mean Girls – out now

“Get in losers”. A new twist on the modern classic, two decades after the era-defining teen comedy.

We all know the story, but this version is an adaptation of the Broadway show and promises to be filled with nostalgia, musical adaptations and fun.

 

The Holdovers – released 19th January

The Holdovers – released 19th January

It may be a few weeks after the festive period but if you’re after a future Christmas classic then look no further.

This comedy sees Paul Giamatti as a grumpy boarding school teacher who finds himself having to babysit the ‘holdovers’ during the Christmas vacation.

Directed by Alexander Payne a director who is noted for his rather satirical look at American society.

The End We Start From – released 19th January

The End We Start From – released 19th January

A woman played by one of our favourite actresses Jodie Comer is trying to find her way home with her newborn baby when an environmental crisis submerges London in flood waters and sees her young family torn apart.

This survival thriller is based on the novel of the same name by Megan Hunter, with a cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Katherine Waterston and Mark Strong. A scary watch given our climate crisis.

All of Us Strangers – released 26th January

All of Us Strangers – released 26th January

One night in his near empty tower block in contemporary London, screenwriter Adam is drawn back to his childhood home and enters into a fledgling relationship with a mysterious neighbour Harry which punctures the rhythm of his life.

As a relationship develops between them, Adam soon discovers that his parents appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.

The Colour Purple - released 26th January

The Colour Purple - released 26th January

This is the second adaptation of the powerful 1985 novel by Alice Walker and has taken inspiration from the 2005 Broadway musical.

It comes 28 years after director Steven Spielberg first turned the novel into an Oscar-winning film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

We follow the extraordinary sisterhood of three women who share an unbreakable bond, telling the story of the lifelong struggles of African American women living in the South during the 1900s.

Christopher Kingston
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