The Christmas-New Year period in Australia is absolutely the best time to see movies. Now only is it usually hot (so spending some quality time in air-conditioned comfort makes a lot of sense) but with many people on holidays, there’s plenty of time to pick out what you want to see. Add to that the fact that many of the films releasing at this time of year are potential Oscar contenders, and you have pretty much the perfect storm of movie fandom. Here is just a sampling of the best movies opening over the next month or so.
Joy (Dec 26) – David O. Russell re-unites his Silver Linings Playbook trio of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in this story of family, business and survival. Lawrence stars as Joy Mangano, inventor of the Magic Mop; but the film is about a lot more than household appliances. Don’t expect so much Silver Linings Playbook-style goofiness, as large-scale family drama.
The Bélier Family (Dec 26) – A box office smash in its native France, The Bélier Family looks to be the polar opposite of Joy. A hearing-impaired family is challenged by the discovery of an extraordinary talent for music in their teenage daughter, the only family member who can hear. Although French cinema isn’t renowned for its comedies, this one looks likely to tick all the right boxes for a feel-good holiday experience.
Sisters (Jan 7) – Come on! Amy Poehler and Tina Fey together in a movie – what’s not to love? Plus, Sisters is directed by Jason Moore of Pitch Perfect fame. Fey and Poehler are a class act on award shows, so it’s not hard to see their combination working here. They play grown, but very different, sisters who are summonsed home to clean out their teen-years bedroom so their parents can sell the house. Naturally, they decide to throw a teen-years party for their now-adult friends from back in the day. Looks hilarious.
The Revenant (Jan 7) – Alejandro González Iñárritu follows up Birdman with a very different film. This story of one man’s survival against the odds and obsession for vengeance is a marked departure from the wry observational style of his previous outing. Still, there’s huge buzz around Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in the lead role and it’s just picked up several Golden Globe nominations.
Carol (Jan 14) – Cate Blanchett is currently at just-about unbackable odds to win an Oscar for her role in this film from director Todd Haynes. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, Carol is gaining Oscar buzz across the board, not just for Blanchett’s performance. It has Golden Globe noms for Best Picture Drama, Haynes’ direction, Rooney Mara’s performance and Carter Burwell’s score, as well as the expected nod for Blanchett. One to watch for awards season.