For fans of: 'Eat, Pray, Love' (2010) and 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' (2001)
Reese Witherspoon stars as Cheryl Strayed, who walked 1,700km solo along the American Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 to reclaim her sense of self after hitting rock bottom in life. Thanks to director Jean-Marc Vallee ('Dallas Buyers Club'), with a script by novelist Nick Hornby and the real-life Cheryl Strayed, 'Wild' is more of an intelligent drama about a young woman forging ahead against all odds, rather than a hiking movie. Witherspoon gives a heartfelt performance, matched only by Laura Dern who plays her mother. Both Witherspoon and Dern are nominated for best actress and supporting actress Oscars respectively for their roles.
For fans of: 'The Fifth Element' (1997) and 'Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana, return to the science fiction genre with 'Jupiter Ascending', this time without the lofty ambitions of the time-spanning 'Cloud Atlas'. The film follows Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a housecleaner who learns that she is alien royalty and is in line to inherit Earth. The film also stars Channing Tatum as Caine, a human-wolf hybrid soldier who becomes her companion while travelling through space; while the Oscar-nominated Eddie Redmayne ('The Theory of Everything') play a spoilt alien prince. Sean Bean is also in this, though wih his cultish track record of dying in the shows he stars, we do not guarantee you will see him through to the last act. In 'Jupiter Ascending', the directors who made their name with 'The Matrix' go all out, giving us a distinctive science-fiction space opera complete with action and political undertones.
For fans of: 'The Theory of Everything' (2014) and 'My Sister's Keeper' (2009)
The movie follows a woman, Alice (Julianne Moore), who is slowly losing her mind to early Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not easy to give that premise much texture, but 'Still Alice' succeeds because the script focuses less on Alice’s relationships with family, and more on the ingenious ways she uses to keep her disease at bay. Moore gives a powerful performance that earned her a best actress Oscar nomination. The film also stars Alec Baldwin as her husband and Kristen Stewart as her daughter.
For fans of: 'Bridge on the River Kwai' (1957) and 'Chariots of Fire' (1981)
Directed by Angelina Jolie, 'Unbroken', chronicles the inspiring life of Louis Zamperini, the athlete turned World War II hero who survived a plane crash, spent 47 days stranded at sea, and another two years as a prisoner of war. As a director, Jolie has a knack for picking tough material. Her directorial feature debut 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' (2011), based in a prison camp during the Bosnian War, can attest to that. But unlike that film, 'Unbroken' is bigger in scope, trading larger set pieces for directorial personality. It also helps that the movie was shot by brilliant cinematographer and frequent Coen Brothers-collaborator, Roger Deakins. And not to mention the outstanding performance of young British actor Jack O'Connell. Despite this just being her second outing, 'Unbroken' is a well-crafted film. Jolie has announced that she will be retiring from acting to focus on writing and directing, following 'Cleopatra'. We hope to see more from her in this area.
For fans of: 'The Godfather' (1972), 'Dog Day Afternoon' (1975) and 'Margin Call' (2011)
The gripping and understated 'A Most Violent Year' is director-writer JC Chandor's follow-up to 2011's 'Margin Call'. The movie follows Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), an entrepreneur who spends a month in the winter of 1981 trying to put his heating-oil business on a solid financial footing. But there is one problem: someone keeps hijacking his trucks in broad daylight. Isaac gives another career-making performance chanelling early Al Pacino, while Jessica Chastain is excellent as his hot-headed wife. The film's sense of time and place recalls Sidney Lumet's 'Prince of the City' and 'Dog Day Afternoon'.
A Most Violent Year