Movies: What to Watch in December 2014 and January 2015


Stars: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth PaltrowPaul Bettany
Director: David Koepp

Showing off his impeccable British accent, Jhonny Depp stars as Mortdecai, a debonair art dealer and lovable rogue who is never far from a sticky situation. This unabashed action-comedy movie is an adaptation from “The Mortdecai Trilogy,” penned by author Kyril Bonfiglioli. Fearing retribution from some angry Russians, the British spy service and his stunning yet demanding wife Johanna, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, Mortdecai is on a mission to find a stolen painting containing details of a bank account loaded with Nazi gold. A dapperly attired Depp appears in his element, in a movie that is bound to entertain.


American Sniper
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman
Directors: Clint Eastwood

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker and veteran actor Clint Eastwood, the plot follows the story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, who is sent to Iraq on a mission to protect his brothers-in-arms. Forced to make life-or-death decisions on a daily basis, Kyle also has to contemplate the family life he has left back home. Cooper’s character is, in fact, based on the man widely recognized to be the most lethal sniper in the U.S. military history. An actor who has proven himself as one of the very best, could Cooper snatch his first Oscar with this performance?


The Interview
Stars: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan
Director: Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg

Capitalizing on what appears to be a strong and humorous bromance, James Franco and Seth Rogan play characters Dave Skylark and Aaron Rapoport, a team behind a popular celebrity tabloid TV show. When the duo discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they manage to secure an interview with him as they try desperately to prove themselves as journalists. However, as Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them to assassinate the despotic dictator, with predictably depraved and amusing consequences.


Exodus: Gods and Kings
Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley
Director: Ridley Scott

Boldly seeking to re-tell the story of Moses, it would appear that 77-year-old Ridley Scott isn’t a big fan of retirement. “Exodus: Gods and Kings” will be his eighth movie release in the last decade. Christian Bale plays the part of Moses who leads an uprising against the defiant Egyptian Pharoah Ramses, played by Joel Edgerton, setting 600,000 slaves on the road to freedom as he goes. However, the journey is a treacherous one with the slaves being subjected to terrible and deadly plagues. Brought to life by immersive special effects and spectacular 3D, this movie has all the makings of a modern-day “Gladiator.”


The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Stars: Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage
Director: Peter Jackson

Following 2013’s “The Desolation of the Smaug” that concluded with Bilbo inadvertently setting loose a dragon named Smaug, director Peter Jackson returns with the trilogy’s final installment. The movie sees Bilbo (Martin Freeman) being forced to reason with the King under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), who has become obsessed with power. Meanwhile, the ultimate enemy Sauron releases an army of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain, leaving dwarves, elves and men to decide whether to unite or perish. This final battle brings an epic conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the company of dwarves.


The Boy Next Door
Stars: Ryan Guzman, Jennifer LopezIan Nelson
Director: Rob Cohen

Channeling good looks that even J.Lo can’t ignore, former DA MAN cover star Ryan Guzman gets up close and personal with the singer and actress in this psychological thriller. The age-defying Lopez portrays Claire Peterson, a recently divorced teacher who immediately falls for the charming, young student Noah Sandborn, played by Guzman. However, things take a turn for the worse as Sandborn becomes obsessive and vengeful, leaving Lopez fearing for her career and her family. Though unlikely award-winning material, the film undoubtedly features two of the hottest actors around.