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New in Theaters January 05: Insidious: The Last Key, Molly's Game

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By Chris Kavan - 01/04/18 at 06:45 AM CT

With Star Wars: The Last Jedi and an impressive Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle leading the charge, December went out with a bang (even if it couldn't quite stem the bleeding set by a rather lackluster summer). Now we reach 2018 and... things look to remain much the same. Sure, I'm guessing the latest Insidious chapter will scare up decent business, it's a franchise that tends to do well enough. Molly's Game, on the other hand, is entering a market filled to the brim with adult-targeting dramas and, as such, I don't see it having much impact despite it's good reviews. It will be interesting to see where the blockbusters wind up and whether a franchise horror film can truly make that big of impact.

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY When it comes to horror franchises, I'm pretty open. I have really liked The Conjuring films but I also like to check out more indie horror (It Follows, It Comes at Night) but am not immune to high profile films, either (It ). That being said, I never really got into the Insidious franchise. Much like Saw or Final Destination before it, I never got the appeal and I found the first to be adequate, but nothing in the sequel grabbed me and I have never gotten around to the third film. Thus, Last Key holds little promise. I will say the previews make this one look pretty good - Insidious seems to live an die by jump scares, and it looks like Last Key will have it in spades. This time the film focuses on parapsychologist Elise Rainier (the great Lin Shaye), who has been a part of the previous films, but this time finds the horror hits home when evil decides to follow her and targets her own family. Spencer Locke, Tessa Ferrer, Caitlin Gerard and Josh Stewart play the kids while Bruce Davison plays her husband. Javier Botet is fast becoming a new horror icon - having played Crooked Man (soon to have his own spinoff) in The Conjuring 2, now plays KeyFace here - and is also set to play Slender Man later this year as well. Talk about getting around! Insidious is coming out at a time where audiences have been deprived of horror since, well, It - and that could work well in its favor. Horror fans tend to support franchises, and January has become like a new October of sorts - even bad horror tends to do well in January, so a solid franchise film should be golden.

MOLLY'S GAME Having already opened in limited release, Molly's Game looks to join a large group of films targeting a pre-awards season adult audience. Despite it's high rating (81% on Rotten Tomatoes), it is facing an uphill battle as it has Ladybird, The Shape of Water and All the Money in the World to contend with - not mentioning the family films and blockbusters it also faces. At least the premise is solid. Based on a true story, the film follows Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) a one-time Olympic-pedigree skier who finds herself in control of the most prestigious, and high stakes, poker game in the world. Politicians, sports stars, celebrities and the infamous are all drawn to this game, but when the mob becomes involved, Bloom becomes a target for the FBI. With tabloids and media painting a crude picture about her, Bloom finds she can really rely on only one person, her defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to set the record straight. Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O'Dowd, Brian d'Arcy James, Graham Greene and J.C. MacKenzie round out an excellent cast. Both Chastain and Elba have a pedigree when it comes to these kind of films and should elevate the already-compelling story. Elba really needs a win, so I hope that Molly's Game can truly stand out among the crowd and deliver a decent wide opening.

It's going to be an interesting weekend as we'll find out if Star Wars can hold off a strong Jumanji and whether Insidious can crash the party and Molly's Game can just hold its own in a crowded market. I'll have the details on Sunday.


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