'The Big Short,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Spotlight' and other movie recommendations from our reviewers

Movie recommendations from critic Kenneth Turan and other reviewers.

The Big Short Adam McKay, with the help of Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, has made a very funny film about a very serious situation, 2008's global financial collapse. (Kenneth Turan) R. Read the review.

Bridge of Spies Steven Spielberg's superior directing skills and fine acting from Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance do the trick in this espionage thriller about a successful insurance lawyer who has to defend a Soviet spy and then attempt to trade him to the Russians for one of ours. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13. Read the review.

Brooklyn Impeccably directed by John Crowley, feelingly adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín's fine novel and blessed with heart-stopping work from star Saoirse Ronan and the rest of the cast, "Brooklyn" is about love and heartache, loneliness and intimacy, what home means and how we achieve it. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13. Read the review.

Carol Impeccably acted by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women in love, with an exquisite look captured by cinematographer Ed Lachman, "Carol" has been made under the complete and total control of Todd Haynes, a gifted director who always knows what he's doing. (Kenneth Turan) R. Read the review.

Creed In the hands of director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan, what is nominally a spinoff of the celebrated "Rocky" series plays like a spiritual remake of the 1976 film that retells the original story in the kind of involving way one would not have thought possible. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13. Read the review.

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The Good Dinosaur The latest Pixar event is antic and unexpected as well as homiletic, rife with subversive elements, wacky critters, and some of the most beautiful landscapes ever seen in a computer animated feature. (Kenneth Turan) PG. Read the review.

Hitchcock/Truffaut Smart, thoughtful and elegantly done, this fine documentary is more than an authoritative look at the careers and interpersonal dynamics of directors Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut, it's also a love letter to film itself, to the value and lure of the cinematic experience. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13. Read the review.

Room Brie Larson excels in a film able to give full weight to both sides of the emotional equation as it tells the story of a young woman imprisoned for years in a single room in a tiny shed and the young son who was born to her there and knows no other world. (Kenneth Turan) R. Read the review.

Sicario Directed by Denis Villeneuve from a script by Taylor Sheridan, the film depicts the border between the United States and Mexico as a zone of anxiety and often violent transformation, and manages to somehow be sleek and sprawling, focused and cagey at the same time. With Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. (Mark Olsen) R. Read the review.

Spotlight The saga of how the Boston Globe won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for uncovering sexual abuse by Catholic priests, the film is mightily impressive not only because of the importance of the story it tells but also because of how much effort and skill went into bringing it to the screen in the best possible way (Kenneth Turan) R. Read the review.

Trumbo The film paints an engaging portrait of a left-wing crusader toiling in one of Hollywood's most shameful eras, managing to re-create both the glamour and the oppressive mood of post-World War II America. (Rebecca Keegan) R. Read the review.

Youth Quixotic, idiosyncratic, effortlessly moving, this meditation on the wonders and complications of life unites top Italian director Paolo Sorrentino with stars Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda. (Kenneth Turan) R. Read the review.

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A version of this article appeared in print on December 18, 2015, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "CRITICAL MASS" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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