THE BLACK HOLE "The black hole is my anus."

Annie
A shinier, more calculated affair than the 1982 original, even if the bones are mostly the same. And while it's packed with winks for grownups, it's ultimately a kids' movie, designed for a generation of cyborgs who grew up perfecting their selfie game. The addition of cell phones, hashtags, and YouTube will no doubt be inherently horrifying to many adults; it's also a perfectly reasonable and target-audience-appropriate set of updates. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

recommended The Babadook
Australian horror movie The Babadook is gonna scare the babadook out of you. Writer/director Jennifer Kent's first feature is incredibly smart and insightful. Here's a horror film that's legitimately good (!), and has thoughts about the hardships of motherhood, the frustration of being a child, and the psychological dangers of tamping down feelings. COURTNEY FERGUSON Various Theaters, VOD.

Big Eyes
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Bill the Galactic Hero
A sci-fi comedy from Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid and Nancy). Director in attendance. Clinton Street Theater.

Birdman
There's no doubt that Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest is very clever about what it says. The question is if it has anything to say. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

The Black Hole
Back before Disney bought Star Wars, they just did a terrible job trying to rip it off. Hollywood Theatre.

Exodus: Gods and Kings
A big, loud, pompous retelling of a very familiar story. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
John Hughes' beatific, beloved bildungsroman. Academy Theater.

recommended Force Majeure
Life is pain, even in the gorgeous French Alps. What starts as a perfect family vacation goes hideously awry in Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund's darkly hilarious and/or darkly horrifying tale of a marriage on the rocks. Or maybe that should be "on the slopes"? I don't know. The important thing is that these people are fucked. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

Foxcatcher
A high-intrigue crime story based on a 1996 murder. (If you aren't familiar with the crime itself, I won't spoil it—in the movie's atmosphere of flat menace, it comes as a shock.) In adapting the story to the screen, however, director Bennett Miller (Moneyball) seems so determined to avoid salaciousness that he errs too far in the other direction. Miller's reserve is both commendable and frustrating, and the result is a chilly, distant film that observes its characters without explaining them. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

Fury
Like the claustrophobic, blood-splattered WWII tank in which it's largely set, Fury rumbles on, solidly, brutally doing its job. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

The Gambler
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Although the shortest film of the entire franchise, this Hobbit sure seems like the doziest. Coming from a filmmaker who is clearly weary of the Epic Elder Statesman crown, the results are a dramatically uneven, technically flabbergasting film, which often feels more dutiful than inspired. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.

recommended The Imitation Game
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

Inside the Mind of Leonardo
A 3D film that "re-creates the mindscape and ideas of mankind's greatest polymath." As befitting Leonardo da Vinci's final wishes, he is played in this film by Doctor Who. Living Room Theaters.

The Interview
See Film, this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Into the Woods
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended John Wick
Like the best Keanu Reeves characters, John Wick is a man of few words. He lets his actions speak for themselves. Given that John Wick is an action movie, he ends up saying quite a bit; given that John Wick is a really fucking good action movie, what he says is great. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Exactly one year ago, Ben Stiller was hoping for an Oscar with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Look how well that worked out for him. Various Theaters.

Repressed Cinema
A monthly series "showing vintage and contemporary films that are obscure, neglected, and from the fringe." This month: Frank Grow's Love God, featuring "gore, animation, strange monsters, and bizarre hallucinations." Hollywood Theatre.

recommended Rosewater
Longtime viewers of The Daily Show will recognize former Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari as a frequent guest on the program. In 2009, he appeared in a segment that also featured Daily Show contributor Jason Jones pretending to be a spy. It was meant as a joke, but it led, in part, to Bahari's incarceration. The Daily Show's host, Jon Stewart, felt kind of bad about it. So he took a summer off from the show and directed a movie about Bahari, writing the script with J.J. Abrams and casting Gael García Bernal as the Iranian Canadian journalist. Whatever greenness Stewart displays as a filmmaker is offset by his earnestness in telling Bahari's story. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.

Stray Dogs
Tsai Ming-Liang's film about a troubled family and the ways its members attempt to cope with their meager lives under the nonstop downpour of Taipei. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

The Theory of Everything
A romance about Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), and a not-that-smart movie about a really smart guy. ELINOR JONES Various Theaters.

recommended Top Five
Chris Rock invited all of his friends to make a movie. And because his friends are Cedric the Entertainer and Jerry Seinfeld and Questlove and DMX, Top Five—like Rock himself—exists at the vibrant intersection of hiphop and stand-up comedy, drawing from both worlds without comment or conflict. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.

Unbroken
See review this issue. Various Theaters.

recommended Wild
As a whole, Jean-Marc Vallée's adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's harshly beautiful memoir works phenomenally well, and at its best, it's as striking and intense as the book. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.


recommended MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, December 26-Thursday, January 1, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.