Set in Paris in the late 19th century, “Moulin Rouge!” tells the story of an English poet (Ewan McGregor) who falls in love with a cabaret actress named Satine (Nicole Kidman). Their relationship isn’t easy, as she’s already promised to a Duke. Chicago Tribune’s Michael Wilmington called “Moulin Rouge!” a “landmark musical movie – controversial, mercurial, even cheeky. It’s the kind of film that wildly divides audiences and critics – people tend to either love or hate it. I loved it.”
Inspired by Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 book “Those About to Die,” “Gladiator” takes place in ancient Rome. A victorious general (Russell Crowe) refuses to follow the new emperor who killed his father. He narrowly escapes but finds his family was murdered and is soon after discovered by slavers and trained as a gladiator.
A Scottish patriot William Wallace (Mel Gibson) seeks revenge after his bride is murdered, sparking a battle – and eventual war – against King Edward I of England in the 13th century. The Washington Post’s Hal Hinson called the film “a completely adequate modern facsimile of the classic romantic epic.”
Adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical and set in 1960s Detroit, “Dreamgirls” follows the female singing group “The Dreamettes.” The trio set out on a journey to become stars but must overcome obstacles along the way. “Fit with pitch-perfect costumes and sets and a sufficient sense of scope and grandiosity, ‘Dreamgirls’ is an enjoyable musical, even if it has to rely on the voices of its actors to carry certain scenes,” Cameron Johnson wrote for The Spread.
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) refuses to believe reports that her fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel) was killed in World War I and begins to investigate his disappearance. As she searches for answers about what happened to him, she uncovers a chilling secret. “A Very Long Engagement’ is all that its title promises. At two and a quarter hours, it is the longest film yet by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; happily, it is also the most engaging, a stylish and satisfying epic of love and war, hope and memory,” Christopher Orr wrote for The Atlantic.
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
A look at how one man’s diagnosis with ALS altered the course of his life, “The Theory of Everything” chronicles famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s (Eddie Redmayne) career and romance with wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). The 2014 film is based on Wilde’s memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.”
“There’s no doubt that Redmayne is working from 20/20 hindsight,” David Edelstein wrote for Vulture. “But the way he fuses past and future makes this a triumph of sympathetic imagination.”
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Set in a rural English farming community in the 19th century, “Far From the Madding Crowd” follows Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) as she manages a farm she inherited from her uncle. Playing on themes like love, passion, betrayal, and family, the 2015 film is centered around a vibrant, independent protagonist that must navigate a variety of marriage offerings and relationships.
Culled From: www.insider.com