ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Sometimes it's hard to keep track of which movies are coming soon to theaters, the movies playing in theaters already, and which upcoming movie releases are actually worth seeing. With that in mind, we've put together a simple guide of the biggest and best movies out now and new releases hitting theaters in January 2017.

1. 'A Monster Calls'

It's hard to place A Monster Calls in one specific genre — J.A. Bayona's movie is a kind of dark fantasy movie with fairytale elements, but also a drama dealing with themes of death and grief. Lizzie (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill, and her son Conor (Lewis MacDougall), struggling to cope, strikes up a sort-of friendship with a monster who resembles a giant humanoid tree, like Groot except way more verbal.

It's definitely not just for kids, and if anything adults might find as much if not more to enjoy here. It also looks a bit grim for Christmas, but hey ho.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, starring Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and Lewis MacDougall.

A Monster Calls goes wide on January 6.

2. 'Live By Night'

When not busy sulking as Bruce Wayne or murdering everyone in sight as Batman over at DC, Ben Affleck has been putting the finishing touches on his passion project, Live By Night, an adaptation of the period gangster-noir novel by Dennis Lehane. Clearly in the mould of movies like L.A. Confidential, this ambitious, visually-dazzling crime flick follows Joe Coughlin (Affleck), a police captain's son trying to keep hold of his humanity as he becomes one of Florida's most powerful mobsters.

Anyone who saw the Best Picture-winning Argo knows that Affleck is a hugely talented director, and although critics haven't seen Live By Night yet, the trailer looks very promising indeed. Expect this one to be a big Oscar contender in the new year.

Directed by Ben Affleck, starring himself, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Miguel and Scott Eastwood.

Live By Night expands wide in theaters on January 13.

3. 'Hidden Figures'

Behind every great man is a great woman, so they say, but Hidden Figures brings to life the three great women who made John Glenn the first American astronaut to orbit Earth back in 1962. Glenn died aged 95 this year, making now the perfect moment to explore the lesser-known story of the three female, African-American mathematicians whose groundbreaking work for NASA sent Glenn into orbit.

Directed by Theodore Melfi, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Kevin Costner.

Hidden Figures expands wide on January 6.

4. '20th Century Women'

Fans of laid-back, slightly eccentric family comedy-dramas like The Kids Are All Right might want to check out 20th Century Women, which takes us back to the California of '79 where women of three generations come to terms with life, its romances and its disappointments. An Oscar contender, Women looks like the perfect summery tonic to a cold, miserable winter.

Directed by Mike Mills, starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig.

20th Century Women expands wide on January 20.

5. 'Underworld: Blood Wars'

The apparently endless adventures of the world's favorite vampiric "death dealer" march on in the fifth instalment in the Underworld saga, Blood Wars, as Selena attempts to put a stop to the war between the Lycans and the Vampires. It's all completely absurd, but you know the drill by now — you pay your money and you get to see Kate Beckinsale kicking ass.

Directed by Anna Foerster, starring Kate Beckinsale, Theo James and Charles Dance.

Underworld: Blood Wars hits theaters January 6.

6. 'Monster Trucks'

Is Monster Trucks exactly what it sounds like? Yes. Is this $125m starring precisely zero Hollywood names and a bunch of tentacled pick-up trucks likely to be a huge hit, or even good? Don't bet your house on it. At the very least, though, there'll be laughs (intentional or otherwise) to be gained from the ridiculous premise. Hey, it's a low bar.

Directed by Chris Wedge, starring Lucas Till, Rob Lowe and Jane Levy.

Monster Trucks (car)crashes into a theater near you January 13.

7. 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'

You may not have spent the past decade on the edge of your seat awaiting the return of Xander Cage, one of the current century's lesser action heroes, but the 100m views gained by the first trailer in record time suggests that somebody out there is still sold on the xXx films' hybrid of hip-hop soundtrack and absurd Vin Diesel spy antics. Ruby Rose, Donnie Yen, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette and Nina Dobrev co-star.

Directed by D. J. Caruso, starring Vin Diesel, Ruby Rose and Samuel L. Jackson.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage arrives in theaters January 20.

8. 'Split'

Hit-and-miss horror legend M. Night Shyamalan takes the idea of Jekyll and Hyde to new extremes with Split, in which Kevin (James McAvoy) battles with 23 personalities while the three teenage girls he's holding captive plot ways to manipulate their captor and make their escape. It could be good, it could be bad, it will be weird.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy.

Split shimmies into theaters on January 20.

Which new movie are you most stoked to see in January 2017?

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