Top Ten Best Movies Released In January

January is famous for being the month where movie studios unload onto us what is basically the cinematic equivalent of garbage. Those totally unfunny comedies, those horribly-animated kids movies, those brainless action movies, etc. Well, sometimes we're pleasantly surprised to see that an actual good movie has slipped through the cracks during this otherwise dreary month. This list compiles the best examples.

The Top TenXW


Another Sundance Film Festival baby, 2014's 'Whiplash stars Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons (in a role that won him the 2014 Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and is notable for starting out with a very limited theatrical release that built and built after the word of mouth reviews spread until it eventually made its way into over 500 screens. It lasted for a grand total of 24 weeks in theatres and was a critical and box office hit (receiving a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and making $49 million on a $3.3 million budget). The film ended up also being nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing (winning the latter two). - BKAllmighty

2Before Sunrise

This 1995 romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy only made $5.5 million at the box office by the time it was out of theatres, but it was critically acclaimed (receiving a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and became better known to viewers once released on home video. It became so popular, in fact, that two sequels (with both of the original stars returning) were made in 2004 and 2013. Each film received equally high praise. - BKAllmighty

3Beasts of the Southern Wild

Based on a one-act play, 2012's 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' tells the story of a courageous little girl's (Quvenzhané Wallis) struggle through her tough life in a Louisiana bayou. While, not a massive box office success (I don't think they ever intended it to be one), it was adored by critics and received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress (Wallis - who became the youngest Best Actress nominee in history, at age 9). - BKAllmighty

4From Dusk Till Dawn

Many are surprised to hear that such a famed Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino collaboration film actually received a January release once. Well, it's true. Before either names became etched in stone as top Hollywood filmmakers, this classic little picture starring George Clooney and Tarantino, himself, received a January 19th, 1996 release date (wow, that's over 20 years ago - I'm old). It ended up not making a huge box office profit, but it didn't matter. 'From Dusk till Dawn' is now beloved as a modern cult classic. - BKAllmighty


2015's 'Brooklyn' premiered at the 2015 Sundance Festival (which occurred in January), and stars Saoirse Ronan (pronounced "Sursha" to those who didn't know) as Eilis Lacey (pronounced Ay-lish to those who didn't know) and has made quite a name for itself in recent months. It is currently (as of mid-February, 2016) nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress. Seeing as I only saw it for the first time this year, it ranks as one of my favourite films of 2016, so far. - BKAllmighty

6The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Starring Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business), Annabella Sciorra (What Dreams May Come), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters I & II), this 1992 psychological thriller was released on January 10th and, while of course critically well-received, was actually a decent box office success. It earned $88 million on a $11.7 million budget. It remains as one of my favourite movies of the genre. - BKAllmighty

Oh... this is what the 4th episode of Gravity Falls is referencing! - keycha1n


While not exactly golden in the minds of critics, 2008's 'Taken' was, and remains, a smash hit with audiences and led to star Liam Neeson's resurrection as an A-list actor. It also made a hefty $225+ million at the box office. As you probably knew, the film received two lesser-liked sequels in 2012 and 2015. I don't expect any more are in store for us. - BKAllmighty


Who doesn't love a western/monster movie? Well, sadly, audiences didn't seem to interested back when 'Tremors' was released into theatres in January of 1990. Sure, the reviews were great, but it only ended up making just under $50 million. Thankfully, it earned a hefty profit once released on home video. The popularity kept growing thanks to televised airings and internet viewings, also, leading to four direct-to-video sequels. - BKAllmighty

9Shaun the Sheep Movie

Yet another Sundance Film Festival film, 2015's 'Shaun the Sheep Movie' is presently nominated for Best Animated Picture at the 88th Academy Awards, and is definitely deserving. Coming from the brilliant minds at Aardman Animations (the studio behind 'Chicken Run', Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' and 'Arthur Christmas'), this stop-motion animation film is based off of the British 'Shaun the Sheep' television show (which consists of 130+ episodes, I'll have you know). A sequel is currently in development. - BKAllmighty

This movie was so cute! A simple message about not taking for granted the little things in life. - eventer51314


This 1981 Canadian horror classic, directed by David Cronenberg, was released in mid-January and earned positive reviews, but, as you may have guessed, did not make a substantial amount of money at the box office (less than $15 million). No matter, people loved it and it got two sequels and two spin-off films released between 1991-1995. A remake and a television series based off of the film are currently being planned. - BKAllmighty

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