Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts Certificate: 15 Running time: 119 mins
We said: Michael Keaton plays the one-time star of a Hollywood superhero franchise seeking to redeem himself on the Broadway stage. Keaton, a one-time Batman himself, "gives the performance of his career" in this "hilarious, beautiful, film-defying film". Read the full review of Birdman.
Director: Ava DuVernay Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Roth Certificate: 12A Running time: 128 mins
We said: British actor David Oyelowo is "electrifying" as Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay's "scorching, full-bodied, flat-out great film" about the events that took place in Selma, Alabama, as members of the civil rights movement fought for the right for black Americans to vote. Read the full review of Selma.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Certificate: 15 Running time: 149 mins
We said: Paul Thomas Anderson's surreally funny Thomas Pynchon adaptation, which stars a "quietly dazzling" Joaquin Phoenix as a dishevelled LA private eye, is like no noir you've ever seen. Read the full review of Inherent Vice.
Director: Bennett Miller Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, Vanessa Redgrave Certificate: 15 Running time: 134 mins
We said: The true story of Olympic wrestler brothers Dave and Mark Schultz, and their fatal dealings with eccentric millionaire John Eleuthère du Pont (played by a near-unrecognisable Steve Carell), becomes a "smoke-black parable of modern America", with a screenplay as tense and tuned as piano strings. Read the full review of Foxcatcher.
Director: Damien Chazelle Starring: Miles Teller, JK Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser Certificate: 15 Running time: 106 mins
We said: Superb performances from Miles Teller as a young jazz drummer and JK Simmons as his martinet of a mentor are at the heart of this "dazzling, exhilarating drama". Read the full review of Whiplash.
Director: Peter Strickland Starring: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Monica Swinn, Chiara D'Anna, Eugenia Caruso, Kata Bartsch, Fatma Mohamed, Eszter Tompa, Zita Kraszkó Certificate: 18 Running time: 104 mins
We said: Two women who live in a grand old house in the middle of a moss-draped forest play out an elaborate sex game in this "uniquely sexy and strange film, built on two tremendous central performances and a bone-deep understanding of cinema’s magic and mechanisms."Read the full review of The Duke of Burgundy.
Director: Isao Takahata Starring: Aki Asakura, Yukiji Asaoka, Takeo Chii, Isa Hashizume, Hikaru Ijûin, Takaya Kamikawa Certificate: U Running time: 137 mins
We said: Studio Ghibli's lovingly crafted film, based on a 10th-century Japanese legend about a reluctant princess trying to get back to the forests and hillsides of her childhood, is a work of "supreme artistry", and a fitting swansong for director Isao Takahata. Read the full review of The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Director: George Miller Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult Certificate: 15 Running time: 120 mins
We said: George Miller's return to the apocalyptic world of Mad Max is "nothing less than a Krakatoan eruption of craziness"; Tom Hardy is "totally commanding" stepping into Mel Gibson's shoes, and Charlize Theron is "superb" as the film's real alpha male, the rogue soldier Imperator Furiosa. Read the full review of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Diane Lane, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith (voices) Certificate: PG Running time: 102 mins
We said: Pixar's "searingly beautiful" new film is set inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, with Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger jostling for position. "The first tear was rolling down my cheek within 30 seconds," wrote Robbie Collin. Read the full review of Inside Out.
Director: Alex Ross Perry Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Joséphine de La Baume, Jess Weixler Certificate: 15 Running time: 109 mins
We said: Alex Ross Perry's wince-inducing black comedy about two repellent literary blowhards – a young misanthropic egomaniac (Jason Schwartzman) and a subtle, Philip Roth-like grotesque (Jonathan Pryce) – marks the arrival of a major new directorial talent. Read the full review of Listen Up Philip.
Director: John Maclean Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius Cerificate: 15 Running time: 84 mins
We said: There’s everything here from John Ford mythmaking to Coen brothers mischief-making, plus the sinewy sparseness of Sergio Leone – and even a little of the pride-puncturing slapstick the genre has occasionally attracted in films like Laurel and Hardy’s Way Out West and Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. Read the full review of Slow West.
Director: Tomm Moore Starring: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan, Lucy O'Connell Certificate: U Running time: 93 mins
We said: Though it’s preoccupied with loss, Song of the Sea is a film that can barely stop itself from giving, and every scene shines with imaginative flourishes that could only possible in two-dimensional, hand-drawn animation. It's alive to the world in a way that challenges, and sometimes even defies, adult understanding. The only way to describe it is childlike. See it and feel four years old again. Read the full review of Song of the Sea.
Director: Alice Rohrwacher Starring: Maria Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck, Alba Rohrwacher, Sabine Timoteo, Monica Bellucci Certificate: 15 Running time: 110 mins
We said: Alice Rohrwacher, the 31-year-old Italian film-maker, has conjured up a mesmerising coming-of-age tale: small and sweet in every good way, but alive with a power that seems to surge up from deep beneath its sun-roughened landscape. Read the full review of The Wonders.
Director: Aleksei German Starring: Leonid Yarmolnik, Yuriy Tsurilo, Natalya Moteva, Aleksandr Chutko, Evgeniy Gerchakov Certificate: 18 Running time: 177 mins
We said: An astronaut visits a mirror planet to Earth, stuck in an eternal Dark Ages, and witnesses scenes of grotesque barbarity. "Imagine Monty Python and the Holy Grail directed by Bruegel and you’re some way towards grasping director Aleksei German’s vision", says Robbie Collin.Read the full review of Hard to be a God.
Director: Andrew Haigh Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells Certificate: 15 Running time: 93 mins
We said: A couple (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) struggles to cope when the husband learns that the perfectly preserved body of his ex-girlfriend has been discovered, 50 years after she slipped into an Alpine crevasse. Rampling "rarely been better" than she is in this "shattering, shivery marital drama". Read the full review of 45 Years.
Director: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale Certificate: PG Running time: 123 mins
We said: Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis glimmeringly recreates Frenchman Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center, previously told in the documentary Man on Wire. Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes a thoroughly charming lead, despite his "prononced Franch acksong", and once we get to the main event, "the camerawork is subtle and meticulous, the 3D head-spinningly well-applied." Read the full review of The Walk.
Director: Justin Kurzel Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sean Harris, David Thewlis, Paddy Considine, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki Certificate: 15 Running time: 113 mins
We said: This is already "one of the great Shakespearean movies," says Robbie Collin, "built around a pair of cosmically powerful performances from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard." The text is pared back and key scenes have been ingeniously re-interpreted. "Everything here is so perfectly in tune with itself that you might expect the film to feel a little too neatly self-contained and vacuum-packed, like Game of Thrones with an arts degree. In fact it’s the opposite: raw, visceral and contagious." Read the full review of Macbeth.
Director: Sam Mendes Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Dave Bautista, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear Certificate: 12A Running time:148 mins
We said: The 24th Bond film's Day of the Dead-themed opening is "a swaggering show of confidence from returning director Sam Mendes," writes Robbie Collin. "The film’s colour palette is so full of mouth-watering chocolates, coffees and creams that when the story moves to Rome, the city looks like a $300-million-dollar, fascist tiramisu." SPECTRE is relentlessly modern, yet "writers John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth rub sly references to the Bond canon, and craft moments of pure flamboyance that belong there: a secret base inside a crater, a spot-lit meteor as an interior design feature, a wrestling match in a pilotless helicopter, two leonine sports cars roaring through the Roman night." Read the full review of SPECTRE.
Director: Sean Baker Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan, James Ransone Certificate: 15 Running time: 86 mins
We said: Shot entirely on an iPhone, this "heart-spinning" movie about two transgender prostitutes on a rampage of revenge on Christmas Eve is more than just a novelty. "In spite of its explicit sex and livid orange skies, Tangerine is, at heart, a proper Christmas movie about family and friendship," says Robbie Collin, "perhaps the best since Elf in 2003, in fact, although you probably wouldn’t bring the kids." Read the full review of Tangerine.
Director: Todd Haynes Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Cory Michael Smith, Jake Lacy Certificate: 15 Running time: 118 mins
We said: Todd Haynes has turned Patricia Highsmith's novel of lesbian lovers in Fifties New York into an exceptionally beautiful film, with a career-best performance from Cate Blanchett. According to Tim Robey, the film is "gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see." Read the full review of Carol.
Director: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson Starring: Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin Certificate: 12 Running time: 130 mins
We said: The most bonkers film of the year features vampire bananas and a volcano that has to be fed tapioca, in a bizarre compendium of interlocking stories. "As with a particularly Byzantine dream, you could sit down afterwards and analyse the whys, connect the thematic dots," says Tim Robey. "But the main point is to experience it intensely – the bigger the screen, the better – and to get as close as possible to the joyfully irrational state of mind that produced it." Read the full review of The Forbidden Room.
Director: JJ Abrams Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill Certificate: 12A Running time: 136 mins
We said: It's a pleasure to report that this is the sequel Star Wars fans have been looking for. Han, Leia and Luke all return – with Harrison Ford a particular delight – alongside a new cast of characters who are "brightly drawn, occasionally surprising, and an endless pleasure to spend time with". The young British actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega acquit themselves brilliantly, and Adam Driver makes an astonishing, and genuinely scary, Kylo Ren, following in the bootprints of Darth Vader.