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New movie reviews: Critics' picks

Check out the best new movies, as reviewed by Time Out's critics, then find showtimes and buy movie tickets.

New movies we love

Hail, Caesar!

The Coens return to making elaborate yuks in a backstage Hollywood comedy that's fast and funny

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Anomalisa

Critics' pick

Charlie Kaufman delivers another downbeat masterpiece with this stop-motion animated tale about a lonely motivational speaker

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45 Years

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play a couple dealing with the past in this powerful British drama

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Creed

Critics' pick

A new Rocky movie that deserves awards consideration? Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, his rising young star Michael B. Jordan and a surprisingly subtle Sylvester Stallone punch out of their league.

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Room

Critics' pick

Room is a fitting title for director Lenny Abrahamson’s potent and sensitive film about two characters who spend precious years of their lives trapped in one. But Room is also cruel shorthand for a story about two characters who aren’t afforded any. That one word expresses the grand sum of their shared universe, while also intimating the wide spectrum of the things they’ve been deprived. That duality extends to the eponymous box itself, a decrepit lawn shed serving as both prison and unlikely paradise for the mother and child locked inside. The full picture emerges slowly, details arriving like the droplets of rain that dribble onto Room’s solitary skylight. But it’s clear from the start that Joy (Brie Larson) and her preteen son, Jack (the eerily intuitive Jacob Tremblay), are forcibly confined within the gray concrete walls of their grim enclosure. For exercise, Jack tumbles back and forth between two walls. For food, a man referred to as Old Nick delivers the essentials when he slips inside to rape Joy. For sanity, Joy tells her son that "room" is all that separates them from the infinity of outer space, and for survival she’ll eventually begin to teach him the truth. (If you want to experience the film without a more explicit indication of what happens next, stop reading here.) Their inevitable escape makes for a harrowing sequence that exemplifies both the best of Larson’s raw-nerve performance and the worst of Abrahamson’s technique, which erratically fumbles between

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Bridge of Spies

Gifts of civility small and large mark Steven Spielberg's latest film, a deeply satisfying Cold War spy thriller that feels more subdued than usual for the director—even more so than 2012's philosophical Lincoln—but one that shapes up expertly into a John Le Carré–style nail-biter. In a knockout near-wordless intro, a long-faced canvas painter (Mark Rylance, magnetic) finishes an oil in his 1957 Brooklyn apartment, makes his way to the park, picks up a secret nickel under a bench containing a tiny folded document, and eventually gets nabbed by feds on his tail. He's Rudolf Abel, the real-life Soviet spy charged with espionage. But the decent, often feisty man at the film's center is James Donovan (Tom Hanks), the lawyer who, at great risk to his family, defended Abel's life as a matter of due process and integrity. One could be forgiven for finding this early stretch a touch Costnerian: Apart from cinematographer Janusz Kaminski's blooming windows, it doesn't quite feel like a Spielberg film until a burning American spy plane plunges past its parachuting pilot, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). He's about to become a Russian prisoner and a pawn in a secret trade that the government hopes Donovan will broker in a wintry Berlin split by the Wall: Abel for Powers. The verbal gamesmanship brings on a new, energized movie, beginning with Hanks's charming Donovan, slightly amused in his Irish crankiness, even as his fancy overcoat is stolen by German teens ("You know—spy stuf

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Steve Jobs

Critics' pick

Steve Jobs the movie is a lot like Steve Jobs the person: astonishingly brilliant whenever it’s not breaking your heart. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who’s written about America’s Great Flawed Men with such fire and hyperarticulate pathos that he’s threatened to become one himself, outdoes his work on The Social Network with an even sharper and more savage script about a tech visionary whose genius threatens to corrupt his ethics. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle—at turns an agreeably rambunctious and disastrously literal choice for this material—does his best to stay out of sight, but whenever he shows his hand, you want to smack it away. Combining the entrepreneurial narcissism of Slumdog Millionaire with the backstage mania of Birdman, Steve Jobs squeezes the Apple founder's outsized persona into three discrete story sections, each one corresponding to a product launch vibrating with the same make-or-break electricity of a Broadway show on opening night. Michael Fassbender, whose lightning-in-a-bottle performance has distilled the CEO into a nasal whine and a merciless attention to detail, sinks deeper into the role as Jobs develops into the icon he would ultimately become. The first and most flawlessly scripted slice is set in January of 1984 during the half hour before the unveiling of the initial Macintosh. Fassbender, like a coiled snake whose tail never stops rattling, is too ripped to feel fully persuasive as a burgeoning geek tyrant during this ea

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The Wonders

Here’s a lyrical and warm portrait of an unusual family living a scrappy, hand-to-mouth existence in the Italian countryside. It's the second film from Alice Rohrwacher (Corpo Celeste), a personal, intimate riffing on her own childhood, celebrating the wonderful strangeness of families—equally capable of love and destructiveness, happiness and despair, often all at the same time. You could say this family is stranger than most. Hippy farmers Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher) and her unnamed partner (Sam Louvyck) live with their four daughters and an adult friend, Coco (Sabine Timoteo), in a rundown farmhouse in the scorched Italian countryside—speaking a mix of Italian, German and French. We meet the family at crisis point: Money is tighter than ever and the parents are at each other’s throats. To complicate things further, there’s a new addition to the family to deal with, a troubled and near-silent German foster child. Meanwhile, a local TV station is running a bizarre, nostalgic contest called Countryside Wonders with a prize for local producers. The eldest girl, 12-year-old Gelsomina (Alexandra Lungu), feels the pressure to step up, helping her irascible, endlessly stressed father to keep bees and harvest honey. Rohrwacher’s film is at its strongest exploring the everyday experiences of Gelsomina and her family. She and her sisters are terrified of upsetting their father, doing everything they can to avoid sparking one of his rages. Their mother feels the same. "When he’s not

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