A cinema swap-meet: 12 holiday movies matched to every taste

This weekand’s arrival of and”Spectreand” — the new James Bond film — signals the opening of holiday movie season, that time of year when studios release what they hope will be their biggest blockbusters.
Itand’s also the start of awards season, when youand’ll find 007and’s type of action thriller rubbing shoulders with art-house fare meant to woo members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Occasionally, a movie straddles both categories. and”Skyfalland” — the previous Bond film by and”Spectreand” director Sam Mendes — was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two (for best song and sound editing). Whether Mendes can repeat that trick this year, winning at the box office and the ballot box, remains to be seen.
Between now and early January, when the Academy announces its Oscar nominations, thereand’s plenty to appeal to a broad swath of moviegoers. This is an especially good year for fans of the kind of mainstream movie that sometimes gets swamped by all the prestige, so-good-for-you-it-hurts cinema that floods the market in the last months of the year.
Thereand’s a movie on the horizon for almost every taste, from weepy drama to farce to thriller. In order to help you navigate the field, we looked at what you may have liked last year and came up with a dozen recommendations, based on genre, theme, style, subject, actor and director.
If you liked and”Still Alice,and” then check out and”Miss You Alreadyand”: Echoes of Julianne Mooreand’s heroine from and”Still Aliceand” — a woman deteriorating from early-onset Alzheimerand’s — can be found in and”Miss You Already,and” another unabashed tear-jerker featuring a strong central female performance. Make that two strong performances: Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette play best friends who must cope with terminal illness.
If you liked and”Boyhood,and” then check out and”Victoriaand”: Do you like your movies formally audacious? Richard Linklaterand’s masterpiece and”Boyhoodand” rewrote the moviemaking rule book by filming the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) over a span of 12 years. and”Victoria,and” shot in one nearly 2-and-a-half-hour take — without digital trickery — by German director Sebastian Schipper, has been generating lots of great buzz, with Variety calling the new film a and”heart-in-mouth heist thriller.and”
If you liked and”Kill the Messenger,and” then check out and”Spotlightand”: Aficionados of last yearand’s fact-based drama about muckraking reporter Gary Webb — who drew connections between the CIA and Nicaraguaand’s Contras — may find a thematic cousin in and”Spotlight,and” which portrays the real-life Boston Globe journalists who won a Pulitzer Prize for their exposandeacute of sex abuse in the Catholic Church. (Former Globe editor Marty Baron, played by Liev Schreiber, now runs The Washington Postand’s newsroom.)
If you liked and”Gone Girl,and” then check out and”Secret in Their Eyesand”: This yearand’s entry in the category of darkly twisted psychological thriller features ingredients we saw in the 2014 adaptation of Gillian Flynnand’s novel: a morally flawed hero (Julia Roberts, as a cop seeking vengeance for the death of her daughter) and an overarching theme of the uncertainty of guilt.
If you liked and”The Interview,and” then check out and”The Night Beforeand”: This holiday seasonand’s bro-centric yuk-fest isnand’t likely to provoke the screening cancellations that last yearand’s most controversial buddy comedy did (before opening Christmas Eve via video on demand). But both movies co-star Seth Rogen and feature drug use, raunchy humor and foul language. Fans of that winning formula should belly up to the box office as Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie play old friends out for a debauched night on the town. Bonus Pop-Tart parallel: In lieu of Katy Perry (whose song and”Fireworkand” played under and”The Interviewand’sand” Kim Jong-Un death scene), and”The Night Beforeand” breaks out a cameo with Miley Cyrus.
If you liked and”The Theory of Everything,and” then check out and”The Danish Girland”: After his Oscar-winning turn as Stephen Hawking, the British physicist whose mind remains active even as his body wastes away from Lou Gehrigand’s disease, Eddie Redmayne returns as another character trapped inside his body. As Lili Elbe (1882-1931), a transgender woman who was born male as Einar Wegener, Redmayne is almost certain to be shortlisted for another Academy Award.
If you liked and”Selma,and” then check out and”Concussionand”: Great roles for black actors are still too few in Hollywood. But in and”Concussion,and” when Will Smith steps into the role of Bennet Omalu — the real-life pathologist who pushed for the NFL to acknowledge a link between head injuries and a degenerative brain disease common among pro football players — it may remind some of what many consider last yearand’s standout performance. As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in and”Selma,and” David Oyelowo made an indelible impression as another crusader.
If you liked and”Top Five,and” then check out and”Daddyand’s Homeand”: One of the best-reviewed comedies last year was writer-director Chris Rockand’s sharp satire of race and celebrity. Will Ferrell, another and”Saturday Night Liveand” alum who has moved on to become a movie powerhouse, returns to the silver screen in and”Daddyand’s Home,and” a comedy about a nebbishy second husband (Ferrell) who gets caught up in a rivalry with his stepchildrenand’s much cooler biological father (Mark Wahlberg). Can the magic of Ferrell and Wahlbergand’s odd coupling in and”The Other Guysand” be re-created here?
If you liked and”The Grand Budapest Hotel,and” then check out and”The Hateful Eightand”: At first glance, these two movies are nothing alike. Wes Andersonand’s and”Budapestand” was a twee caper film set in Old Europe Quentin Tarantinoand’s latest is a sure-to-be-hyperviolent Western about an outlaw (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) who get tangled up with a half-dozen men of questionable character (including one played by Samuel L. Jackson). But think about it: Each of these auteurs is known for his highly idiosyncratic style — as well as a tendency to cast favorite actors over and over. In addition to Jackson and Russell, and”Hatefuland” features performances by Tarantino veterans Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth.
If you liked and”Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,and” then check out and”The Revenantand”: Alejandro Gonzandaacutelez Iandntildeandaacuterrituand’s follow-up to his multi-Oscar-winning and”Birdmanand” features a stark change of setting: from the backstage warren of a contemporary Broadway theater to the 19th-century American West. Both films center on something of a comeback. and”Birdmanand” was the story of a washed-up movie actor (Michael Keaton) and his attempt at artistic redemption. and”Revenantand” is inspired by the true story of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a frontiersman who in 1823 — after being mauled by a bear and left for dead — travels 200 miles to exact revenge on the man who abandoned him (Tom Hardy).
If you liked and”Ida,and” then check out and”Son of Sauland”: Hungaryand’s official submission to the Academy Awards and the Grand Prize winner at this yearand’s Cannes Film Festival, and”Son of Sauland” is the story of a concentration camp prisoner (Gandeacuteza RandOhrig) who tries to save — from the ovens — the body of a dead boy he believes to be his son. Last yearand’s best foreign language film winner, and”Idaand” also had a Holocaust theme: That Polish drama told of a novitiate nun (Agata Trzebuchowska) who discovers her Jewish roots in the years after World War II.
If you liked and”American Sniper,and” then check out and”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghaziand”: Ever since and”American Sniper,and” the world has been waiting for another polarizing military action flick about a controversial real-life conflict zone. (Or maybe not.) Set during the infamous 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Libya, and”13 Hoursand” stars a beefed-up and bearded John Krasinski as a member of the embassyand’s security team. Ladies and gentlemen: Pick a side. (c) The Washington Post 2015


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