Plenty of biopics (The Imitation Game, Unbroken, American Sniper, Wild, The Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher) and as many Oscar-worthy performances await you this January, as well as the much-anticipated Birdman and Paper Planes, a lovely Australian movie for the whole family.
By
SBS Movies

19 Dec 2014 - 10:27 AM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2015 - 12:22 PM

January 1

Penguins of Madagascar

(USA, adventure/animation)

Director: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath
What's it about?
In this spin-off of the Madagascar franchise, our four penguins, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, team up with undercover organization The North Wind to stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world.

 

The Imitation Game

(USA/UK, biography/drama/thriller)

Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
What's it about?
The true story of English mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who helped the Allies crack the Enigma code during World War II. Despite his achievements, the revelation of his homosexuality will ultimately have dramatic consequences.

Watch trailer
Read review

 

January 8

Life Itself

(USA, documentary/biography)

Director: Steve James
Starring: Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel
What's it about?
A documentary about the life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert, based on his best-selling memoir. With Martin Scorcese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) as executive producers.

Watch trailer
Read blog article "Roger and Me" by our film critic Lisa Nesselson

Read review

 

Into the Woods

(USA, comedy/family/fantasy)

Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp
What's it about?
A witch (Meryl Streep) asks a childless baker and his wife to find for her magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. A musical twist on the best-known Brothers Grimm fairy tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel.

Watch trailer

 

Dumb and Dumber To

(USA, comedy)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle
What's it about?
Twenty years after Dumb and Dumber, this sequel directed again by the Farrelly brothers follows Lloyd and Harry, who after discovering that Harry has a daughter, who was given up for adoption, decide to go on a road trip to find her.

 

Taken 3

(USA, action/crime/thriller)

Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
What's it about?
Bryan Mills (Ralph Fiennes), an ex-government operative, is accused of a murder he never committed or witnessed. He must find the true killer and clear his name and protect his daughter, all the while being tracked by the CIA, FBI and the Police.

 

January 15

Unbroken

(USA, biography/drama/sports)

Director: Angelina Jolie
Starring: Jai Courtney, Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson
What's it about?
This epic movie filmed in Australia, directed by Angelina Jolie and written by the Coen brothers, tells the true story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connella), an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner and tortured by Japanese forces during World War II.

Watch trailer

 

Paper Planes

(Australia, family)

Director: Robert Connolly
Starring: Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould, Deborah Mailman
What's it about?
Dylan (Ed Oxenbould, also currently starring in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) is a 12-year-old lives with his father (Sam Worthington), who recently lost his wife and remains inconsolable. Dylan finds himself a passion for creating and flying paper planes, which is going to take him all the way to the World Paper Plane Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Watch trailer
Watch scene clips
Read our interview with Sam Worthington on Paper Planes, Cake, and waiting for James Cameron to start the Avatar sequels

 

Birdman

(USA, comedy/drama)

Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts
What's it about?
In Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, an actor (Michael Keaton), who once found fame by playing an iconic superhero, attempts to reclaim his former success by mounting a Broadway play and must overcome his ego and family trouble in the process. A serious contender for the upcoming Awards season.

Watch trailer
Watch scene clips
Read review

 

January 17

The Last: Naruto

(Japan, animation/action/adventure)

Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi
What's it about?
Hyuuga Hinata is kidnapped by the alien Ootsutsuki Toneri, and a disheartened Uzumaki Naruto must put himself together to save his new found love, and their budding romance. Naruto's abilities are put to the test when he loses his most powerful form - the Sage of Six Paths cloak.

 

January 22

American Sniper

(USA, action/biography/war)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes
What's it about?
Based on Chris Kyle's autobiography, this movie directed by Clint Eastwwod follows Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a U.S. Navy SEAL, on a mission in Iraq. He quicly gets recognised for his pinpoint accuracy which helped save many lives. But upon returning to his wife and kids, Chris finds he can’t leave the war behind.

Watch trailer

 

Wild

(USA, biography/drama)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann
What's it about?
This movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) is based on the memoir of Cheryl Strayed who, following a divorce, the death of her mother and years of destructive behaviour and drug addiction, decided to heal herself by hiking solo for than a thousand miles across the Pacific Crest Trail.

Watch trailer
Read review

 

 

January 29

Foxcatcher

(USA, biography/drama/sports)

Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
What's it about?
In this biopic, which earned Bennett Miller the Best Director Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is selected by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to take up residence at his estate, and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Schultz seizes on the opportunity, hoping for a second Olympic win, and step out of the shadow of his older brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo).

Watch trailer & scene clips
Read review

 

The Theory of Everything

(UK, biography/drama/romance)

Director: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson
What's it about?
The true story of how renowned English cosmologist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), who as a young man was diagnosed with a degenerative nerve disease, met and fell in love with his wife Jane (Felicity Jones).

Watch trailer
Read review

 

Mortdecai

(USA, action/comedy)

Director: David Koepp
Starring: Olivia Munn, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor
What's it about?
In this action comedy, dissolute art dealer Charles Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) searches for a stolen painting containing the secret code leading to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold, while contending with bad-tempered Russians, the MI5, his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) and an international terrorist.

Watch trailer

 

Still Alice

(USA, drama)

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth
What's it about?
Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor. However her life is turned upside down when she starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.

Watch trailer