The Theory of Everything, Birdman, Exodus: Gods and Kings: Christmas and New Year cinema reviews

A Brief History of Stephen Hawking, Michael Keaton takes to the skies, and Ridley Scott directs an old-school Biblical epic


Eddie Redmayne’s being tipped for an Oscar for his performance as Stephen Hawking in this engaging but straightforward biopic. The film looks at the physicist’s early life, and his relationship with first wife Jane, played by Felicity Jones.


BIRDMAN ★★★★★ Out 1 January

Another Oscar contender, this time in the shape of Michael Keaton. The real-life former Batman star plays a washed-up actor (and former star of superhero movie franchise Birdman), whose attempts to reinvent himself as a serious theatrical star become increasingly fractured. An excellent supporting cast includes Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS ★★★ Out 26 December

Ridley Scott goes Biblical for this spectacularly OTT epic, in which Christian Bale’s Moses faces off with Joel Edgerton’s pharoah Ramses. No prizes for guessing what happens, but the journey is thrilling.

UNBROKEN ★★★★ Out 26 December

Directed by Angelina Jolie, this powerful true-life tale stars Jack O’Connell as heroic Louis Zamperini. The Olympic runner faces almost unendurable hardships during the Second World War, but his spirit remains (of course) unbroken.

ANNIE ★★★ Out 26 December

The sun won’t come out for this lacklustre update of the classic Broadway musical. Quvenzhané Wallis is appealing as the cute, afro-haired orphan, but the adult stars, including Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, fail to impress, and the songs lack sparkle. 


The ghostly Eel Marsh House plays host to evacuated schoolkids during the Second World War, in an eerie and unsettling horror sequel. Phoebe Fox and Jeremy Irvine are among those caught up in the sinister events.

ENEMY ★★★★ Out 2 January

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a teacher who discovers he has a double and proceeds to stalk him, in this creepy, perplexing and unnerving doppelganger thriller from the director of Prisoners.


BIG EYES ★★★ Out 26 December

Tim Burton tones down the gothic touches for this true-life tale of artistic struggle in the 1950s. Amy Adams shines bright as painter Margaret Keane, whose depictions of sad-eyed girls became hugely popular. But her husband (Christoph Waltz) attempts to control her and claim her success for himself.