“This is Happening” (January 5)
After expanding into VOD and distribution, crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark is pairing with Paladin, which recently released “What We Do in the Shadows,” to release “This is Happening.” The film was funded through Seed&Spark and marks the debut of writer-director Ryan Jaffe. Starring James Wolk, Mickey Sumner and Cloris Leachman, the madcap comedy revoves around two siblings tasked with delivering their unruly grandmother to an assisted living home. When she runs away, the film morphs into a classic road movie, complete with a stolen car, a hidden stash of five pounds of marijuana and the stuffed body of a dearly departed Shih Tzu named Ralph.
“Lamb” (January 12)
In the upcoming drama “Lamb,” writer-director Ross Partridge stars as down-on-his-luck David Lamb, who finds himself living in a motel when he meets a young girl named Tommie (Oona Laurence), who is harboring problems of her own. Together, they embark on a journey to escape their grim lives by exploring the world around them and their inner reserves. “Lamb” is a raw, soul searching and emotional experience that packs a handful of surprises you won’t see coming.
“Moonwalkers” (January 15)
Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint doesn’t necessarily sound like a dynamic duo on paper, but in this zany action-comedy from Antoine Bardou-Jacquet they join forces and prove to be quite adept at playing comic foils for one another. In the film, Perlman plays a CIA agent who teams up with Grint’s character — a rock band manager — to help Stanley Kubrick pull off the elaborate trick of convincing Americans NASA really did land on the moon. The synopsis alone makes the movie of interest to cinephiles, but its hilarious execution proves it’s an accessible actioner with enough conspiracies to spare.
“Band of Robbers” (January 15)
In 2016, Tom Sawyer is a parody of a police officer and Huckleberry Finn is a mysterious and weathered former convict. Welcome to the new world of small time crooks in “Band of Robbers,” directed by Aaron and Adam Nee, an updated comedic adaptation of Mark Twain’s most referenced works, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Starring Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee, Matthew Gray Gubler and Hannibal Buress, “Band of Robbers” takes the legendary story and sets it in modern times, proving the timelessness of the works’ themes and characters.
“A Perfect Day” (January 15)
The highly anticipated English-language debut of León de Aranoa premiered in the Director’s Fortnight program at Cannes, where its star-studded cast (Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, Mélanie Thierry and Fedja Stukan) and gritty aesthetic left an indelible impression on audiences. The movie centers around four aid workers trying to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone: Sophie (Thierry) is a newcomer who wants to help; Mambrú (Del Toro) has seen it all and wants to go home; Katya (Kurylenko) once wanted Mambrú; Damir (Stukan) wants the war to end; and B (Robbins) doesn’t know what he wants. Humor, drama, emotion, danger and hope all boil to the surface over a day no one will ever forget.
“Synchronicity” (January 22)
In the tradition of sci-fi noirs like “Blade Runner” and “Memento” before it, here comes Jacob Gentry’s “Synchronicity,” a mind-bending followup to his acclaimed 2007 horror film “The Signal.” Traversing the past, present and future, “Synchronicity” is a highly original and darkly moving sci-fi epic. Said to have been inspired by the cyberpunk stylings of ’70’s and ’80’s sci-fi, the film is an atmospheric immersion into the mysteries of the universe, following a daring physicist (Chad McKnight) who folds time to travel into the past, trying to stop a mysterious woman from stealing his invention.
“Rabid Dogs” (January 22)
After dazzling audiences at Cannes and Beyond Fest, this stylish Franco-Canadian crime thriller lands in domestic theaters, bringing with it a confident retooling of the classic 1974 Italian film of the same name. The movie follows three desperate criminals who take a young woman and a father and his child hostage after a bank heist goes sour. Their decision results in a violent road trip that yields surprising and brutal outcomes that not everyone will survive.