Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem
Current Criticwire average: B- (see all grades)
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Tye Sheridan
Distributor: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions
Current Criticwire average: B+ (see all grades)
Why Is It a "Must See"? Coming off a year that saw the release of a quartet of generally acclaimed (and all very different) performances ("Killer Joe," "Bernie," "Magic Mike" and "The Paperboy"), Matthew McConaughey kicks off what should likely be another prolific year (he has three films and an HBO series on tap) with Jeff Nichols' "Mud." The film -- which premiered at Cannes almost a year ago -- could have been part of the actor's impressive 2012 CV but Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions opted to hold it until this month, where hopefully it will get the attention it deserves. The follow-up to Nichols' "Take Shelter," the film stars McConaughey as a fugitive who becomes friends with two Arkansas teenagers. Back in Cannes, Nichols said the film "moves unlike anything else I've made."
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Tuppence Middleton
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Current Criticwire average: B (see all grades)
Why Is It a "Must See"? In his follow-up to the Oscar-nominated "127 Hours," returns to the noir genre of his debut film "Shallow Grave" in "Trance." A rare Boyle film that skips the festival circuit, the film stars James McAvoy as a young auctioneer Simon forced to undergo hypnosis administered by a perceptive therapist (Rosario Dawson) at the bidding of gangster Franck (Vincent Cassel). The Playlist called the film a "twisty, trippy, terrific thriller" in their review, adding that "if it's not quite Boyle's very best, is probably his most satisfying and coherent since 'Trainspotting.'"