The holidays are over, the new year has arrived, and all your Christmas candy has been eaten. The holiday movie marathons on TV are long gone, and you're running out of excuses to drink hot chocolate for every meal. The only thing that's keeping you warm during the winter months ahead is an oversized sweater from Grandma you refuse to wear out of the house. So what's a cold-weather-hating citizen to do? It's off to the movies, of course!
Winter is notoriously a terrible season for movie releases, with much of the bigger blockbusters saved for summer and the serious pictures reserved for fall. But this isn't always the case. While many releases worth seeing have already been rolled out (just in time for award season eligibility), winter 2015 has a surprising number of features worth the price of a movie ticket (and an excuse to stay warm in a heated theatre). From sequels to prequels and action flicks to horror movies, whatever your flavor, the local AMC or indie film house probably has something to distract you from the increasingly cold temps. From the third Liam Neeson Taken film to more serious fare like Still Alice, Here are 21 of our favorites to keep you toasty indoors all winter long.
Selma (Jan. 9)
Surrounding the true story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign for equal voting rights by means of an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, this tear-jerker is sure to have legs past its initial Oscar-qualifying release.
Taken 3 (Jan. 9)
If you're like me, you'll indulge in any Liam Neeson action movie, without exception. Lucky for those with more refined taste, the Taken franchise is one of Neeson's better-received chunk of action flicks. Also, any excuse to hear the middle-aged star reiterate his now infamous "I will find you" monologue is good by me.
Inherent Vice (Jan. 9)
Inherent Vice may be the funniest movie of 2015 so far. While we're less than a month into 2015, I mean it as a sincere compliment. While you won't be able to follow the completely ridiculous plot lines of Paul Thomas Anderson's latest offering, you will laugh your butt off to the likes of Josh Brolin's banana-munching cop, and other surprise cameos.
American Sniper (Jan. 16)
If there's one thing Clint Eastwood is a scholar at, it's patriotism. And with 2015's American Sniper, Eastwood tackles one man's ethical (or not so ethical) journey as a sniper for the American military during the Iraq war. Too soon? Maybe.
Still Alice (Jan. 16)
A movie with a lot of buzz surrounding the brilliant performance by Julianne Moore, Still Alice follows a linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis for early onset Alzeheimer's, her relationships with family and her professional life are tested.
The Boy Next Door (Jan. 23)
While likely on the short list of Razzie nominees for 2015, The Boy Next Door looks so bad-good it's probably worth the $10 entry ticket. Featuring Jennifer Lopez (who proved her acting prowess way back when with The Cell) as a teacher tormented by a romantic-turned-dangerous relationship with a neighbor her son's age, every single line of dialogue is beautifully laughable. My personal favorite has Jennifer Lopez screaming, "Stay away from me!" To which the Boy in question responds: "I can't... I live next door." Golden.
Mortdecai (Jan. 23)
To be honest, you can probably skip this one. From the less than laughable trailer to the mustache-laden advertisements, Mortdecai attempts to harken back to a time when we actually cared about Johnny Depp character comedies. Still, the outlandish plot and slapstick sensibilities have us curious, so see it — if it's really too cold to painful to see Inherent Vice for the nth time.
Black or White (Jan. 30)
Kevin Costner spent $9 million of his own buckeroos on this movie, so perhaps we can shell out a few to see why he was so adamant about it being made. IMDB says the film is about: "A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life."
Jupiter Ascending (Feb. 6)
If you want to see Channing Tatum in leather shorts, see Magic Mike. If you'd prefer to see him with elven ears and a blonde goatee, hold out for Jupiter Ascending out Feb. 6. Oh, and Mila Kunis plays a badass lady queen. So do it for feminism, and blonde chin pubes.
Fifty Shades of Grey (Feb. 13)
You know you want to. If for no other reason than to indulge in the hype, and see what's really inside the red room of pain (shudders), you'll want to catch up with this porny adaptation, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (Feb. 13)
"A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing" is the synopsis for this spy thriller. Also, it stars Mark Hamill, who hasn't been in anything since... wait, what was he famous for again?
The Last 5 Years (Feb. 13)
If you had any doubt about Anna Kendrick's singing abilities, here's another in-your-face musical to prove that she's got the pipes to croon for an entire 90 minutes. Based on the Broadway play, The Last 5 Years is a sometimes-fun-sometimes-depressing look at a relationship's deterioration over five years.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Feb. 20)
If you liked the first one, you'll probably spare a few giggles for the sequel. Starring the original cast, even more ridiculous cameos and silicone implants, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is further proof that the men who can't grow up motif is Hollywood's favorite hero.
The DUFF (Feb. 20)
On the surface, The DUFF looks like your typical high school comedy schmuck, but with Robbie Amell's abs and Mae Whitman's ability to make any scene into a tissue-soaked tear-jerker, The DUFF has more legs than most in it's genre.
Jane Got a Gun (Feb. 20)
We know very little about this film, but what we do know is that it stars Natalie Portman and centers around: "A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him." I'm in!
The Lazarus Effect (Feb. 27)
The premise is pretty gross: a group of medical students try to concoct a way to make dead patients come back to life. Yucky? I'd say so. But it's killer (heh...) cast — Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters and Mark Duplass — has us second guessing skipping this one.
Unfinished Business (March 6)
What do you get when you combine Sienna Miller, Dave Franco, James Marsden and Vince Vaughn? 2015's next gut-busting comedy. The plot is basically EuroTrip, but with even more (I imagine) drugs, sex and un-PC laughs.
Chappie (March 6)
Chappie is just like any other kid: likes to play, learn, and sometimes feels like an outcast. Perhaps that's because he's a robot. Starring Dev Patel as Chappie's adoptive father, this film appears to have enough heart to temper it's kookiness.
Cinderella (March 13)
Disney's live action reboot of their classic animated film Cinderella appears to be a bit stiff, that is, it doesn't unearth any new ground when it comes to the fairytale. But perhaps we've been spoiled with Into the Woods, as not all fairytales can be turned on their heads and reimagined. See this version for Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, some cool CGI mice, and at the very least, fantastical costumes.
In the Heart of the Sea (March 13)
It's a giant whale vs. Thor in this Chris Hemsworth-led tale that seems to be ripping off Moby Dick tenfold. Nevertheless, we wouldn't turn down a chance to see a high-seas adventure with Marvel's favorite hammer-slinger.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent (March 20)
The second in what will be four installments, Insurgent continues the journey of Tris and her hottie Mctottie Four, as they continue to battle evil (Kate Winslet) and restore uniqueness and freedom to the citizens of Panem — er — post-apocalyptic Chicago.
Images: Focus Features; Getty