Monday, 4 January 2016


JOY (20th Century Fox)

The third collaboration between David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence once again gifts the actress a great role, and as previously (in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) she runs with it even if the film itself doesn't always keep up. Based on the life of Miracle Mop creator, Joy Mangano, Russell's comic-drama follows its heroine as she overcomes obstacles (mostly her obnoxiously suffocating family, including Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen and Edgar Ramirez) in the invention of her mop and then the creation, loss and restoration of her shopping network-funded wealth. Joy is a salute to both the feminist spirit and the capitalist pursuit; a rags-to-riches tale and a shaggy dog of a film. Now Showing.

THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox)

The ugliness of man set against the beauty and grandeur of nature, Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is the real star of Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant, even as Leonardo DiCaprio suffers admirably in this frontier-set survival tale. Following a bear attack (an awesome scene), Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is left for dead by his trapping party, only to claw his way out of the grave and make his way through the frozen wilderness to avenge the murder of his son at the hands of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Too long at 2.5 hours, the faux-profundity of Inarritu's film may become tedious but the scenery never does. And DiCaprio may finally win an Oscar, even if not for his best performance. Opens January 7.

SISTERS (Universal Pictures)

. . . Are doin' it for themselves! 2015 seemed to be the year of females in comedy, and after the big laughs provided by Melissa McCarthy in Spy and Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler round out the year (or kick it off, depending on your time zone), with this side-splitter. Kidult sisters Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler) return to their family home to throw a high school-style house party, recreating -- or in the case of the anal retentive Maura, simply creating -- the glory days. While not trying to out gross the boys, Fey and Poehler still go where male comics fear to tread and as a result, the laughs are plentiful. Opens January 7.