Happy New Year! (are we still saying that?) We don't know about you, but it feels like Christmas was an age away and January's been going on forever. Research, by scientists, has shown that there's no better way to chase the blues away than to settle down with a good film or two, and luckily we've got loads. Read on for our rundown on what's great and new on Virgin Movies this month and start 2015 on a roll! Click through to watch online or select 'Catch Up & On Demand' then 'Movies' on your Virgin Media TV.
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28 January 2015, 10:14pm
The Matrix was released 16 years ago and every movie they've released since has flopped – it's fair to say that after a strong first innings, the Wachowski's batting average has slumped somewhat. With new sci-fi Jupiter Ascending on the horizon, Lana and Andy Wachowski – known collectively by those who know them as "the double-yous" – look set to add another misfit to the collection: originally scheduled for release in July 2014, it was ungainly shunted back to February 2015, a dead-zone for would-be blockbusters. But you should underestimate the Wachowskis at your peril – they may not have the box-office receipts to back them up, but they have in spades two things most directors lack: originality and ambition.
22 January 2015, 10:07am
Nearly twenty years since he published his first novel, The Beach - during which time he's written two more books and four highly acclaimed screenplays - Alex Garland has taken the plunge and directed his first movie, Ex_Machina, from his own original script. It's the latest step in a fascinating career, and one which proves that Garland is entirely adept at pretty much anything he chooses to turn his hand to.
21 January 2015, 8:30pm
With a twitch of his ‘tache and over-the-top clipped British reactions, Charles Mortdecai can be added to a very long list of "kooky" characters that Johnny Depp has played throughout his career, and with it comes the realisation that it’s becoming harder and harder to find Depp's performances daring or refreshing any more. It seems that, in his determination to constantly change, surprise and be original with his acting choices, Johnny Depp is finally starting to become safe and predictable.
19 January 2015, 3:12pm
The joyous appearance of an unexpected dance sequence in a film that is not otherwise dance-related is undoubtedly one of the great unsung movie pleasures. A particularly great example occurs in this week's sci-fi thriller Ex_Machina, when, out of nowhere, computer genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac) launches into a full-tilt boogie with his domestic help (Sonoya Mizuno) in front of boggle-eyed programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). It's a sublime and ridiculous moment that smartly undercuts the intensity of the cat-and-mouse game played by the rest of the film. Inspired by Ex_Machina's example, here is our pick of the best unexpected dance sequences.
18 January 2015, 8:49pm
The critics were united: Garden State was one of 2004's most delightful cinematic surprises – and it was all thanks to debut director Zach Braff, best known for TV hospital sitcom Scrubs. "Braff's direction – of both cast and camera – is so confident that this debut could well mark the start of a major career," said one admirer. "One of the best directorial debuts in recent memory," said another. It seemed Braff, in his late 20s when the movie was made, was a major new discovery: a triple threat who couldn't just write, act and direct, but was funny too. What could stop him from conquering Hollywood?
16 January 2015, 10:59am
‘Cheer up, love it might never happen’ isn’t something you tell an actress who has hopes of winning an Oscar. On the make-up free face of it, seems the more downtrodden and ill-fated an actress is in her roles, the more likely she is to get a shiny golden gong. A look at this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Actress help prove the point.
15 January 2015, 10:33am
This week sees the 10-year anniversary of the release of Elektra. So let's celebrate the idea of a strong female heroine, a super-hot ninja assassin kicking ass in an awesome comic-book adventure... and then let's commiserate the film we actually got: a bloated, nonsensical yawnfest.
11 January 2015, 2:32pm
Whiplash is tense, compelling and emotionally distressing, but let's forget all of that and focus on one thing: drumming is cool. In fact playing any kind of instrument is cool. with the possible exception of the bagpipes. Which leads us to the question: who would you have in your ultimate movie fantasy band? Here are our picks...
9 January 2015, 1:13pm
The red carpet is fresh from the dry cleaners just in time for award season. Kicking off the razzle dazzle is our very own Baftas. Who's up for what in the top nods? We take a look and, more importantly, reveal our predictions for who should win.