Michael Douglas: “I’m proud to be a grownup!”
In an interview with USA TODAY, the winner of this year’s Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award says he has always tried to make movies that make a difference.
“I've always gone for the script, the story,” Douglas told entertainment critic Elysa Gardner. “My biggest responsibility is to try to do films that provide a little food for thought. I’m proud to be a grownup — and as a grownup, I’m proud to say that Ant-Man is planning a sequel!”
Look for coverage of our February 8 Movies for Grownups Awards at AARP.org.
The Grammys Play Catch-Up
Thanks to the weird eligibility calendar the Grammy Awards insist on using, this year’s Best Film Soundtrack nominees were all released way back in 2014: Birdman, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash. We’re pulling for the pulse-pounding score of Birdman by drummer Antonio Sanchez, which was denied Oscar consideration last year by a silly technicality.
This Weekend at the Movies
Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice
New in Theaters
Joel and Ethan Coen ( Fargo) plunge us into a fantasized version of 1950s Hollywood with this delightful ensemble piece about a studio head (Josh Brolin) whose biggest star ( George Clooney) gets kidnapped. There are high-wattage cameos from every corner of the film empire — Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Wayne Knight among them.
Though this tale of young lovers (Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer) began life as a Nicholas Sparks novel, it is redeemed by delightful Tom Wilkinson as a small-town veterinarian.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Jane Austen meets George Romero as the Bennet girls and Mr. Darcy battle an army of the Undead.
Bridge of Spies
In this true-life Cold War tale, Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks as a modest lawyer thrown into negotiating the swap of a Soviet agent for captured U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. FULL REVIEW
Our Brand Is Crisis
This Sandra Bullock vehicle about American political strategists helping a Bolivian presidential candidate rebrand himself could have been a funny film that made a serious statement about politics. So why does Crisis mope along instead, giving us only the rare wacky scene that feels airlifted in from another movie? See it to learn why Billy Bob Thornton was born to play political hired gun James Carville.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, a New Jersey police lieutenant ( Julianne Moore) battles her bosses to gain pension benefits for her young domestic partner (Ellen Page). Steve Carell plays her champion, a civil-rights activist. Based on a true story.
Rock the Kasbah
Bill Murray is front and center in this shaggy-dog tale about a shady music promoter who discovers a beautiful teen singing in...wait for it...an Afghan cave. Logic is mere window dressing as director Barry Levinson unleashes his star to do whatever he wishes. With fun appearances by Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson.
Still Out There
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Action master Michael Bay ( Armageddon, Transformers) directs this politically charged war drama about the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. John Krasinski ( The Office) stars.
With an intimacy that’s nearly voyeuristic, this portrait of a long-married couple ( Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) confronting an issue they thought was buried in the past is one of the most finely realized visions of marriage ever put on screen.
The Big Short
Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt star in this account of the investors who saw the 2007 financial crash coming — and cashed in while everyone else lost their shirts. Director Adam McCary literally stops the action to put the likes of chef Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez before the camera to explain the mechanics of ARMageddon.
Bridge of Spies
In this true-life Cold War-era story, Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks as a modest lawyer thrown into negotiating the swap of a Soviet agent for captured U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. FULL REVIEW
Cate Blanchett will break your heart as a 1950s wife and mother falling in love with a young shopgirl (Rooney Mara). The actresses’ total commitment to their roles — along with Kyle Chandler’s sensitive turn as Carol’s husband — lifts the story blessedly clear of its sudsy premise.
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: As you’d expect from a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, the new romance The Choice features young, pretty people played by Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker. But there’s also a lovely storyline involving Tom Wilkinson as a local veterinarian. The movie opens February 4, and the folks at Lionsgate kindly passed along this sneak peek at a scene featuring the delightful Mr. Wilkinson.
Are you ready for some football? Maybe not, as Will Smith transforms himself before our eyes into the Pittsburgh medical examiner who discovered pigskin players are susceptible to brain injury from repeated blows to the head. Albert Brooks is a delight as his seen-it-all boss. FULL REVIEW
And the seventh ( Rocky film, that is) shall be the best: Creator Sylvester Stallone turned the writing and directing duties over to Ryan Coogler ( Fruitvale Station), who cast the wonderful Michael B. Jordan as a young boxer who asks Rocky to mentor him. A Golden Globe and Oscar nomination ensued for Sly. FULL REVIEW
The Finest Hours
A good old-fashioned adventure flick about the crew of a crippled oil tanker and the Coast Guard officer (Chris Pine) who sails to their rescue through a raging nor’easter. Director Craig Gillespie spews neither red blood nor blue language to tell his thrilling true story, and they’re not missed a bit. FULL REVIEW
The Hateful Eight
Eight armed, murderous characters are trapped together in a snowbound mountain cabin. What could go wrong? Let Quentin Tarantino and his all-stars (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, et al.) count the very deadly ways.
Jane Got a Gun
Natalie Portman is Jane; she needs that gun because she and her wounded husband (Noah Emmerich) are being hunted down by an outlaw gang. Its desperado-in-chief, the ruthless Ewan McGregor, is mean, alright — but kinda purty, too.
A snappy script and energetic performances by Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rossellini keep things popping in this fact-based story of the woman whose Miracle Mop became a QVC sensation.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are extraordinary as a mother and her 5-year-old son who escape after being held captive in a single small room for the youngster’s entire life. Bring a box of tissues! With Joan Allen and William H. Macy. FULL REVIEW
In one of the year’s best films, Michael Keaton stars as the Boston Globe editor who coached his ace reporters ( Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are two) through their outing of pedophile priests. FULL REVIEW
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Warriors, exhale: Writer-director J.J. Abrams has created a sequel worthy of the revered original. The new cast members (notably Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac) are immensely appealing, but the true draw is the return of the original Force field: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and, fleetingly, Mark Hamill. FULL REVIEW
Bryan Cranston is galvanizing as Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter jailed and blacklisted during the Red Scare of the 1940s. The film shows how demagoguery can force good people to make devastating choices, making it the perfect tale for These Strange Times. FULL REVIEW
Also of Interest
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