9 Movies to See This January in Theatres, From 'Selma' to 'Cake'

I don't celebrate any of the winter Judeo-Christian holidays, and I've mostly gotten over feeling left out of all the merriment. Especially because my birthday is the first week of January and the best birthday gift I could ever ask for is the deluge of great movies that comes at the end of December and throughout January. Even though I'm just your average, pretty broke twenty-something, I will always, always drop dollars on a movie ticket.

A lot of people are of the opinion that January is the worst month of the year, and though there's no hard evidence proving otherwise, you can escape the new year blues with the MAGIC OF MOVIES! There are a lot of options this January, some late contenders to the Oscars race, some that look so bad they're good, and a few independent films that are already getting some buzz. In an ideal world you'd be able to see them all, but if you can't afford to spend endless amounts of money on a movie ticket, at least choose a few of these eleven worth watching.

Image: Paramount Pictures

'Into the Woods,' December 25

Into the Woods came out at the tail end of December, but if you missed it in 2014, January’s the time to see the musical. A film version of James Lapin and Stephen Sondheim’s 1987 musical, diehard fans will be relieved to know that the film is an excellent adaptation. And how could it not be with the illustrious Meryl Streep as The Witch and Anna Kendrick as a feminist Cinderella?

Image: Disney.

'Inherent Vice,' January 9

I could not think of a more magical combination of excess and sensory overload than director Paul Thomas Anderson and author Thomas Pynchon. Inherent Vice is, in fact, the first film adaptation ever of a Pynchon novel, and from early reviews, it seems like Anderson paid homage to the whirlwind of sex, drugs and rock and roll of the 1960s. Joaquin Phoenix, a favorite of Anderson’s, plays the main dude Doc Sportello, who by chance, finds himself investigating a conspiracy. Colorful, confusing and all around great.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures.

'Selma,' January 9

Perhaps the most important movie this January, Selma tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., played brilliantly by David Oyelowo, leading the march from Selma to Montgomery. As with any historical film, there’s already been controversy surrounding its accuracy, but it is still being hailed as exceptionally moving and provocative.

Image: Paramount Pictures.

'Paddington,' January 16

If you want to see the most adorable movie possible this January, just go see Paddington. You’ll squeal a lot because look how cute.

Image: The Weinstein Company.

'Still Alice,' January 16

Julianne Moore is dazzling as usual as the title character in this heartbreaking drama about a linguistics professor that starts losing her cognitive memory and develops Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not exactly a feel-good movie, but it’s worth a watch for Moore’s riveting performance.

Image: Sony Pictures Classics.

'American Sniper,' January 23

American Sniper is a film with a history as complicated as the story it tells—the Clint Eastwood directed picture starring Bradley Cooper as NAVY Seal Chris Kyle was complicated when Kyle, who was involved in the filmmaking, was shot to death in 2013 by a fellow Marine. Cooper plays Kyle, the deadliest sniper in US military history struggling with family and war during his tours in Iraq.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures.

'Cake,' January 23

Cake has already been super-hyped for Jennifer Aniston’s performance as a woman with chronic pain (both physically and mentally). Aniston has already garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Claire Simmons.

Image: After Dark Pictures.

'Mortdecai,' January 23

Disclaimer: this movie looks cuckoo bananas. BUT! I feel like Mortdecai is worth seeing just for the set design, costumes and Johnny Depp’s mustache alone. Even if it’s terrible (it might be), it’s always fun to watch Depp play his absurd, almost animated characters. Depp plays Mortdecai, a kooky British art dealer who must find a stolen painting.

Image: Lionsgate.

'Strange Magic,' January 23

I might be geeking out, but this movie really does look strange and magical. Strange Magic George Lucas’ first animated feature, about a bunch of hapless magical creatures that are just looking for love and friendship. The tagline is literally “Everyone deserves to be loved.” I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Image: Disney.