So you think Bridge of Spies was the best movie of 2015? Here’s your chance to make your voice heard! Our online polls are now open — and awaiting your votes for this year’s Movies for Grownups Readers’ Choice Award.
We’ll tot up the results in January, then present the trophy to the winner you choose at the Movies for Grownups Awards in Beverly Hills on Feb. 8. VOTE HERE »
The Hateful Eight Eight armed, murderous characters. One snowbound mountain cabin. What could go wrong? Let writer-director Quentin Tarantino and his all-star cast (including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bruce Dern) film the ways. If you can, see this in one of the 100 theaters showing it in old-school Ultra Panavision 70.
The Revenant (Limited Release) Mauled by a really angry bear and left for dead by his Wild West pardners, a grizzled frontiersman (Leonardo DiCaprio) survives against the odds to wreak vengeance on those who abandoned him. Grizzly Adams this ain’t.
Was Chimes at Midnight even better than Citizen Kane? Its creator, Orson Welles, thought so — an opinion shared by the countless film buffs who judge this nearly lost 1965 masterpiece not just his best movie but the greatest Shakespeare film ever made. For the first time in decades, Chimes returns to screens in New York and L.A. this week, with a wider release to follow. Can’t wait!
The Intern Robert DeNiro is perfect as a 70-year-old retiree who cures his boredom by becoming a “senior intern” at a hip online-fashion company. The experienced newcomer has a lot to teach the young whippersnappers — especially company founder Anne Hathaway. Writer-director Nancy Meyers ( It’ s Complicated) has a keen ear for each generation’s angst — and for how we can help each other cope in a world of nonstop change.
A Walk in the Woods Robert Redford and Nick Nolte make endearingly quirky hiking companions in this comedy based on Bill Bryson’s 1998 account of his failed quest to walk the Appalachian Trail. (The script and direction, by contrast, feel aimless.) Emma Thompson is so darling as Bryson’s wife you wonder why he left home without her.
Still Out There
45 Years Intimate to the point of near voyeurism, this portrait of a long-married couple ( Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) finally facing up to a conflict that has been brewing for more than four decades is one of the finest depictions 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 Loanageddon.
Carol Cate Blanchett is heartbreaking as a 1950s wife and mother who finds herself 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 — lift the story clear of its sudsy premise.
Creed 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. The upstart happens to be the son of Rocky’s old pal/nemesis, Apollo Creed. FULL REVIEW
In the Heart of the Sea Ron Howard’s epic vision of an 1820s whaling ship under attack by its target is spectacular as long as the fins are flying. Once the sailors find themselves bobbing about in lifeboats thousands of miles from shore, however, our interest starts to drift. FULL REVIEW
Joy A snappy script and energetic performances by a fine ensemble (including Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rossellini) keep things popping in this fact-based story of the woman who became a QVC sensation by inventing the Miracle Mop.
The Lady in the Van Everyone benefits from the company of elders. But what happens when one of them parks her van in your driveway and lives there for 15 years? In this fact-based dramedy, Maggie Smith stars as Mary Shepherd, the lady in the film’s title; Alex Jennings is her gobsmacked host, playwright Alan Bennett.
The Night Before The Hangover meets Bad Santa in Seth Rogen’s latest dirty-mouthed-druggie-discovers-his-sensitive-side comedy.
Room Bring a hanky. Better yet, a box of them. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are extraordinary as a mother and her five-year-old son who escape after being held captive in a single small room for the child’s entire life. With Joan Allen and William H. Macy. FULL REVIEW
Sisters Best buds Amy Poehler and Tina Fey return as siblings who learn their parents are selling the family home — and decide to throw one last high school-style blast.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Okay, Star Wars fans, it’s time to exhale: Writer-director J. J. Abrams has created a sequel worthy of George Lucas’s original. The shiny new cast members (including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac) are immensely appealing, and you’ll treasure the return of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and, briefly, Mark Hamill. FULL REVIEW
Trumbo Bryan Cranston is compelling as Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter jailed and blacklisted during the Red Scare of the 1940s. Instead of demonizing Hollywood commie-hunters, the film shows how demagoguery can force good people to make devastating choices. A tale for our times? FULL REVIEW
Youth As crumbling old friends who meet up at a crumbling Swiss health spa for their annual get-together, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are pitch-perfect in this dreamlike meditation on age, friendship and memory. FULL REVIEW