While January is often a slower month in movie theaters, it’s usually when major Oscar contenders start hitting streaming platforms. That’s definitely the case this year as 2024 kicks off with the long-awaited arrival of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” on Apple TV+. The $200 million Western crime failed to turn a profit in theaters ($156 million worldwide), but it’s a seven-time Golden Globe nominee and a 12-time Critic’s Choice Award nominee and will surely bring in a lot of eyeballs to Apple’s streaming platform this month. Anyone who stayed away from “Flower Moon” in theaters because of its hefty 206-minute runtime no longer has an excuse. Watch it from home and take all the bathroom breaks you need.
A second major Oscar contender new to streaming is Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” which technically debuted Dec. 29 on Peacock but is now getting its first full month of streaming availability. Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are near locks to land nominations for best actor and best supporting actress, respectively, and their chances of winning are surging for many Oscar pundits. Netflix also has the international contender “Society of the Snow” launching this month, while Hulu is debuting the riveting documentary contender “Beyond Utopia.”
Outside of the Oscar players, streaming highlights for January 2024 include “Schitt’s Creek” creator Daniel Levy making his film directorial debut with Netflix’s “Good Grief” and Saoirse Ronan teaming up with Paul Mescal for Prime Video’s sci-fi mystery “Foe.” Check out more buzzy new films to streaming this month below.
Killers of the Flower Moon (Jan. 12 on Apple TV+)
Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is finally arriving on Apple TV+ this month, which is just in time for Oscar voters to stream the $200 million crime epic from home. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro reunite with Scorsese and team up with breakthrough star Lily Gladstone for this true story tale of the Osage Nation murders, in which Indigenous members of the community were killed so that white men could take control of their oil rights and profit off them. “Flower Moon” was named the best film of 2023 by the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, and it has picked up seven Golden Globe nominations, including best picture, and 12 Critic’s Choice Award nominations. It’s expected to bring in many Oscar nominations as well.
The Holdovers (Peacock)
Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” is now streaming on Peacock after emerging as a box office hit this fall with nearly $20 million at the domestic box office. The film is eyeing several Oscar nominations, including best picture, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph is considered by many to be the frontrunner at this time for best supporting actress. Paul Giamatti leads the period drama as an ornery school teacher who is forced to chaperone students staying over at his prep school during the holiday break. From Variety’s review: “Peer beyond the perfectly satisfying Christmas-movie surface, and ‘The Holdovers’ is a film about class and race, grief and resentment, opportunity and entitlement. It’s that rare exception to the oft-heard complaint that ‘they don’t make ’em like they used to.’”
Good Grief (Jan. 5 on Netflix)
Dan Levy follows his Emmy-winning “Schitt’s Creek” run with his feature directorial debut, “Good Grief.” The Netflix-backed drama stars Levy as a man struggling to cope with the sudden death of his husband, Oliver (Luke Evans). Forced to face his grief head on, he flies to Paris with two of his closest friends, Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel). From Variety’s review: “The ‘Schitt’s Creek’ star writes, directs and headlines a three-dimensional portrait of the ‘gay best friend’ character who appears on the sidelines of studio movies… Levy’s debut sees him leveling up as a more serious storyteller than we’d given him credit for. It was easy to pigeonhole Levy as a comedic talent, given father Eugene’s improv chops, whereas he shows a more poignant and personal side here.”
Foe (Jan. 5 on Prime Video)
Garth Davis’ “Foe” stars Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal as a couple living on a secluded farm 40 years in the future. A stranger shows up on their property and makes an offer for Mescal’s Junior to go to space to work on a piloting program that might help find humanity a new home, but the offer comes with a twist: Junior will be replaced by a lookalike android to keep Ronan’s Henrietta company. From Variety’s review: “‘Foe’ isn’t a visual-effects-laden, box-office-fixated lollapalooza. The movie, the bulk of which takes place in the couple’s 200-year-old farmhouse, is small-scale and intimate, and it’s been designed to milk Ronan and Mescal for every inch of their raw actorly integrity.”
Society of the Snow (Jan. 4 on Netflix)
J.A. Bayona’s Netflix drama “Society of the Snow” recounts the tragic story of the 1972 Uruguayan airplane crash in the Andes, in which 29 of the original 45 passengers initially survived and were stranded on a glacier 4,000 meters above sea level aptly named the Valley of Tears. The film is Spain’s Oscar submission for 2024 and recently made the Oscar shortlist for best international feature. From Variety’s review: “With an unstarry, fully Spanish-speaking cast — ‘Society of the Snow’ is a brawnily effective tear-jerker that grips with alternating waves of dread, horror and heart-swelling relief.”
You Hurt My Feelings (Jan. 26 on Paramount+)
A year after its acclaimed debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Nicole Holofcener’s delightful “You Hurt My Feelings” arrives on streaming via Paramount+. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as an author who spirals after overhearing her husband disparage her work. The film was one of the highlights of Sundance 2023 and went on to gross $5.7 million worldwide during a summer theatrical release. From Variety’s review: “‘You Hurt My Feelings’ stays true to the droll casualness of its title. It’s not a major Holofcener movie; it’s closer to a lively and digressive short story. Yet it’s compelling to see Holofcener merge the fates of all her characters through a grand tweak of the piety of positivity…’You Hurt My Feelings’ is small-scale, but it may just have a lesson for us all.”
Lift (Jan. 12 on Netflix)
Kevin Hart is front and center as Netflix launches its 2024 original films slate with “Lift.” Hart plays the leader of an international heist crew whose mission is to lift $500 million in gold from a passenger plane at 40,000 feet. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray, returning to high action stakes after “The Fate of the Furious,” and co-stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Vincent D’Onofrio, Úrsula Corberó, Billy Magnussen, Viveik Kalra, Yun Jee Kim, Jacob Batalon, Jean Reno and Sam Worthington. With Hart as the headlining star, expect “Lift” to be the first streaming hit for Netflix in the new year.
Self Reliance (Jan. 12 on Hulu)
“New Girl” favorite Jake Johnson makes his feature directorial debut with “Self Reliance,” a black comedy he also wrote about a disillusioned man who agrees to take part in a dark web reality television game for the chance to win $1 million. The game is simple: He must stay alive for 30 days as hunters set out to kill him. The catch is that the hunters only attack when he’s alone, so he sets out to convince family and friends to stay with him at all times. It’s harder than it looks. The supporting cast includes Anna Kendrick, Andy Samberg, Natalie Morales, Mary Holland, Emily Hampshire, Christopher Lloyd and Wayne Brady. From Variety’s review: “Johnson delivers a silly and frequently surprising why-we-need-people parable that leans on laughs in lieu of peril.”
Beyond Utopia (Jan 9. on Hulu)
Madeleine Gavin’s remarkable “Beyond Utopia” is a frontrunner to land an Oscar nomination this year for best documentary feature. The film is an inside look at life in the totalitarian cult state of North Korea as well as at the treacherous journey that defectors must make. Variety named the film one of the year’s best documentaries: “The filmmaker got ahold of forbidden footage that was smuggled out of the country. She uses it to make the case that North Korea is a place of such relentless terror that the only country it’s comparable to is Nazi Germany. But the film also chronicles, with footage shot on a cell phone, the attempt by five members of a family to leave this bad dream of a nation, and their escape story has a scary, suck-in-your-breath suspense.”
The Good Mother (Jan. 26 on Hulu)
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank stars in “The Good Mother” as a journalist grieving the murder of her son. In order to track down his killers, she befriends his pregnant girlfriend (“House of the Dragon” star Olivia Cooke) and enters the criminal underworld. The drama thriller had a quiet theatrical release via Vertical Entertainment over the fall, but it should find a greater audience when it debuts on streaming this month courtesy of Hulu.
Gravity (Jan. 1 on Netflix)
“Alfonso Cuaron’s white-knuckle space odyssey restores a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the big screen,” reads Variety’s review of Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winner, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in space. “Cuaron is the rare virtuoso capable of steering us through vividly imagined worlds and into deep recesses of human feeling. Suspending viewers alongside Bullock for a taut, transporting 91 minutes, the director’s long-overdue follow-up to ‘Children of Men’ is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills.”
School of Rock (Jan. 1 on Netflix)
“School of Rock,” one of Jack Black’s best comedies, is back on Netflix this month. Black plays a wannabe rock star who reluctantly takes a job as a substitute teacher at a local prep school and discovers his elementary-grade students have what it takes to be the next great rock band. From Variety’s review: “The whole show is basically Black’s, and while he has done variations on this guy before (not least as one half of satirical outfit Tenacious D), ‘School of Rock’ is ideally suited to harness his shtick as its engine. He really can riff and shriek like every bedroom Led Zep fantasist dreams of doing.”
The Florida Project (Jan. 6 on Netflix)
Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” returns to Netflix this month at the perfect time, as Willem Dafoe is back in the Oscar race for his supporting performance in “Poor Things.” Dafoe was Oscar-nominated for playing a motel owner with a heart of gold in Baker’s heartbreaking story of a single mother and her daughter living in poverty on the outskirts of Disney World. From Variety’s review: “It’s a vibrant tale of the American lower depths, this one rooted in the magic and heartbreak of childhood… the spirit of tingly visual and moral adventure that animated ‘Tangerine’ is very much in play in ‘The Florida Project.’ It’s a worthy and accomplished follow-up, authentic and movingly told, and it should build on the audience that Baker found with ‘Tangerine.’”
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Jan 1. on Max)
With a new edition of the Sundance Film Festival taking place this month, it’s the perfect time to stream one of the best Sundance films of the last decade. Enter Joe Talbot’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” which won the directing award at Sundance 2019. Jimmie Fails plays a San Francisco native who confronts his changing neighborhood while trying to reclaim his grandfather’s home. From Variety’s review: “‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is a gorgeous and touchingly idealistic movie centered on a young man who refuses to give up on the dream of one day moving back into his childhood home — a stunning Victorian building that he still visits roughly every other week, sneaking onto the property to touch up the exterior paint or tend the garden, even though a white couple have been living there for years.”
Jodorowsky’s Dune (Jan 1. on Max)
Long before Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of “Dune” got off the ground, it was Alejandro Jodorowsky who tried and failed miserably to bring Frank Herbert’s iconic novel to life on the big screen. The documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune” dives deep into the director’s development, revealing one of the greatest movies never made. With Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” opening in March, now is the perfect time to get familiar with Jodorowsky’s failed vision. From Variety’s review: “Indulging one of film history’s more entertaining ‘what might have been’ stories, first-time director Frank Pavich delivers his own mind-blowing cult movie.”
X-Men (Jan 5. on Disney+)
The original “X-Men” film is finally coming to Disney+ just as Hugh Jackman readies his Wolverine return later this year in “Deadpool 3,” which will feature the most prominent use yet of former 20th Century Fox-owned superheroes in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. The original 2000 comic book tentpole made Jackman a bona fide movie star and co-starred the likes of Halle Berry, James Marsden and Anna Paquin. The movie divided critics (Variety wrote in its review: “It’s seldom ludicrous or laughable, no small achievement given the cartoonish material. Yet the somber tone does little good given that story, set pieces and production design never kick into an engrossing, exciting or stylish high gear), but its box office success paved the way for 2002’s “Spider-Man” and the dominant era of comic book movies.
R.M.N. (Jan. 28 on Hulu)
Cristian Mungiu’s powerful drama “R.M.N” was a favorite at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and opened in theaters last year to great acclaim. The film is set in Transylvania, Romania during the holiday season and takes a bracing look at xenophobia as it follows a man who returns to the town from Germany and reconnects with his ex-lover. From Variety’s review: “The Romanian director delivers a highly charged, deeply pessimistic allegory of intolerance in small-town, multi-ethnic Transylvania… This is a complex film, so replete with ideas that one might expect the aesthetics to be of lesser concern, but ‘R.M.N.’ is almost absurdly handsome.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Jan 5. on Prime Video)
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is finally coming to Prime Video this month at no extra cost to subscribers. The action franchise got revived last year with a 1990s set adventure featuring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback. From Variety’s review: “‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ isn’t as stylish as ‘Bumblebee,’ but it’s an example of how a ‘Transformers’ movie can serve up the escapist-junk-food amusement it promises without giving you a synthetic sugar headache… Set in a hip-hop-inflected 1994, it’s got a relatable human story that works, and thanks to a script that actually has sustained bursts of dialogue, the robots felt more real to me as characters than they usually do.”
Fast X (Jan. 16 on Prime Video)
“Fast X” has been streaming on Peacock since September, but it now races onto Amazon Prime Video at no extra cost to subscribers. The 10th installment in the long-running action franchise finds the “Fast” family facing off against Jason Momoa’s flamboyantly evil Dante, who just so happens to be seeking revenge for the bank heist in “Fast Five.” From Variety’s review: “Fans may forgive the giant leaps of logic, the way pointless scenes (like Pete Davidson’s cameo) devolve into fistfights for no good reason, since such conflict keeps things exciting.”
The ‘Ocean’s’ Franchise (Jan 1. on Peacock)
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the “Ocean’s” franchise. Not only are “Barbie” stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling teaming up for an “Ocean’s” prequel movie, but George Clooney revealed last month that a story idea for a fourth “Ocean’s” movie centered on his character exists. Now Clooney’s trilogy, plus the Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett-led prequel “Ocean’s 8,” is available to stream on Peacock.
The original “Ocean’s” trilogy, directed by Steven Soderbergh, featured Clooney opposite Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and more. The heist trilogy launched in 2001 with “Ocean’s Eleven,” a critical favorite and a commercial hit with just over $450 million at the worldwide box office, and continued with 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve” ($362 million) and 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen” ($311 million). A spinoff, 2018’s “Ocean’s 8,” starred Bullock as the sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean opposite Blanchett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling and Anne Hathaway. The movie hit the $297 million mark worldwide.
Nope (Jan. 18 on Peacock)
Jordan Peele’s new movie was supposed to open Christmas 2024, but strike-related development delays have taken it off the calendar for a likely 2025 release instead. It’s bad news for Peele fans. But here’s some good news: Peele’s most recent release, “Nope,” is back on Peacock this month. “Nope” stars Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya as siblings who set out to record a UFO that’s hovering over their remote horse farm. Nothing goes as planned, of course. Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman called the film “tantalizingly creepy” in his review, adding, “Watching the movie, you can just about taste the DNA of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’” The movie became Peele’s third straight $100 million grosser at the box office.