Ranking January's Wide Releases

Oh January. What a month for movies. At least the genres are reliable - bad versions of horror, romantic comedies and action flicks are staples. January 2012, while failing to offer us a bad romantic comedy I will STILL see in theaters, as 2010 (Leap Year) and 2011 (No Strings Attached) did, is actually offering a few not terrible movies in its stead. Surprised? I know I am. So, ranging from "I would never see that if you paid me" to "I will be seeing it opening weekend", here are January's wide releases, ranked.

9. One for the Money (Friday, Jan 27)

No. Nonononononnoo. Have you SEEN the trailer? Katherine Heigl does an awful accent and drags Jason O'Mara down with her in the process. Everything about this movie makes me sad. MAKE IT STOP. It takes a lot to stop me from seeing a romantic comedy opening weekend and I've realized her name is Katherine Heigl. (Unless she is paired with James Marsden and the name of the movie is 27 Dresses. Obviously.)

8. Joyful Noise (Friday Jan 13)

A movie that looks so assured in its awfulness, I can't tell whether I'm supposed to dismiss it or ironically be excited for it. In any event, this flick about a gospel choir switching to contemporary tunes in order to win a singing competition feels like it should have been made about five years ago. And for all I know, it was. It looks and sounds extremely dated. Doesn't Queen Latifah know she is talented enough to avoid shlock like this? Also staring a Dolly Parton robot.

7. The Devil Inside (Friday, Jan 6th)

I first heard about The Devil Inside at a party last month when a group of folks were talking about how terrifying the trailer was. After checking it out for myself, I thought, hey, that could be decent! But after one of the most hilarious outpourings of reaction via Twitter in the history of Twitter, movies, and everything in between, it has become clear that The Devil Inside is epic levels of awful. So why is it so high on the list? The ending made people so angry, this movie was a trending topic late Thursday night after the midnight showings and may actually end up making a lot of money during its opening weekend. It's certainly getting people talking.

6. Contraband (Friday, Jan 13)

omg DRUGS omg SPLOSIONS omg MARK WAHLBERG. Is what I think of when I see the posters for Contraband eating the intersection of Franklin and Highland in Los Angeles. None of these things interest me. But this marks the first of TWO Kate Beckinsale films in the month of January. So, you know, there's that.

5. Man on a Ledge (Friday, Jan 27)

This film with the greatest title ever is apparently not the horrible-fest its January release date might suggest! Word on the street is it's fun and silly enough to sustain its 102 minute running time and might even be worth going to see in theaters if you need to see something lighter than the Oscar fare you might be catching up on. The cast isn't half bad either, featuring Sam Worthington as the titular man on the titular ledge, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, and so on. Apparently there is a heist element too, so, hey, why not?

4. Underworld: Awakening (Friday, Jan 20)

If you like Underworld, the fourth Underworld movie is a big deal. And if the crowd reaction at conventions plus box office numbers mean anything, there are a lot of Underworld fans out there. I've never seen one myself, but this installment, shot with the RED EPIC 3-D camera, certainly looks promising, with an interesting premise, incorporating humans in to the mix, as they finally discover the vampires and lycans and decide to wage war on both clans. Either you're excited for this or you aren't. But count on it to make a hefty bit of cash opening weekend.

3. Haywire (Friday, Jan 20)

One of two movies on this list I've seen, Haywire, the latest from Steven Soderbergh getting across the board solid reviews, is exactly what you might expect. Fun, but not in a cheesy way, maintaining a slow burn, difficult to follow at times, but ultimately worth it, with fantastic action scenes, it's like Tinker Tailor meets Mission Impossible, though not quite as good as either one. But no matter what you think of the film, Gina Carano is a vision to behold. She's incredibly sexy and capable and the best part? She is built like an actual woman who can beat people up because she IS an actual woman who can beat people up. Very refreshing in this day and age of rail thin women pretending they have muscle. Absolutely worth seeing, if only for her. Oh and Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum and Antonio Bandares all make appearances.

2. The Grey (Friday, Jan 27)

This "survivors of a plane crash fighting deadly wolves in the snow" movie walked away with fantastic buzz from this years Butt-Numb-A-Thon and may be the only movie listed here I will actually go see, other than our number one, which hardly counts since I've already seen it roughly 40 times in my lifetime. The "Liam Neesom is a badass" genre yields generally great results, so the raves come as no surprise.

1. Beauty and the Beast 3-D (Friday, Jan 13)

Obviously this is #1. And obviously it's going to be amazing. And obviously I'm going to cry. And obviously it's going to make a bajillion dollars.

In conclusion, while this January might be offering better fare than is typical, do yourself a favor. Go see the top 3-5 if you must, then spend the rest of your time checking out the limited releases of Miss Bala, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Coriolanus, and even the expanded release of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Or go see movies that opened months ago garnering Oscar buzz. Or take to Instant Netflix and catch up on some of the films that have been a little too overlooked this year. Because there's only so much awfulness one brain can handle in the span of one month and as Matt Patches so eloquently stated in his recent article, "Why January is actually a great month for movies," we might as well use the time to play catch up on the awesome stuff instead.