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This month’s big theatrical releases include Tom Hardy(s)-starring gangster thriller Legend, Bill Bryson adaptation A Walk In The Woods, fizzy campus comedy Dope, Owen Wilson action thriller (yup, you read that right) No Escape, Woody Allen’s new mystery Irrational Man and the much-hyped Me And Earl And The Dying Girl. We run a critical eye on them all, divvying out stars according to their merits in the age-old Empire style. 

Empire’s welcome mat, this month's Premiere ushers you into movie heaven with a cornucopia of cine-treats. We take a trip to the set of Suffragette, undertake a Pint Of Milk with the irrepressible John Waters, peruse Zac Efron’s CV and get bloody and medieval on Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth. This month’s Face is the really-quite-marvellous Kristen Wiig, while we witness the equally marvellous Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper reunite with David O. Russell on Joy. 

If Fantastic Four was a rare bump in the road for its talented young cast, the talents of Michael B. Jordan are too diverse to be sunk in the Storm. From his breakout in Fruitvale Station to the upcoming Creed, his second team-up with Ryan Coogler, he’s clearly an actor with a big future. He told Empire about his recent past, which included the Rocky rite of passage: being punched by Sylvester Stallone. “He’s still got some bite!” Jordan remembers.

For The Intern, Nancy ‘The Holiday’ Meyers has paired Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway as intern and boss in a Devil Wears Prada-ery tale of one man’s attempts to navigate the modern workplace. We assembled this unlikely work force for a joint interview that tackled subjects as diverse as social media, tai chi, the challenges of learning Chinese and leather trousers. As in The Intern, Hathaway was wearing the trousers.

Crashing, banging and walloping onto your DVD/Blu-ray player, streaming service and downloads this month is Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Fast & Furious 7 and Big Game. For those looking for a quieter pace of life there’s Carey Mulligan’s trip to the country in Far From The Madding Crowd, true-life art tale Woman In Gold and gardening drama A Little Chaos. If you’re looking for a lot of chaos, we’ve run the rule over Slimer and co in the majestic new tome Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History.

Star Wars is back! Empire’s first look behind the scenes of 2015’s most seismic release explores the nature of villain Kylo Ren and delves into the state of the Star Wars universe three decades after Return Of The Jedi. We talk to JJ Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and Kathleen Kennedy about revisiting the galaxy far, far away, further films and why a napkin doodle might be the year’s most memorable character.

Offering a suitable frosty entrée to Empire’s winter preview, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight will have the bodies lying crisp and even in the snow of Wyoming. QT shares eight secrets from the film with us, while Guillermo del Toro opens the creaking doors of Crimson Peak to share a few Gothic nuggets on a horror film that feels simultaneously fresh and wonderfully old-fashioned. Also circled on the calendar is Pan and a pair of radically different survival tales, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and Everest. Pack your fleece and beanie.

Empire’s big winter preview also takes a trip on the high side with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s teetering, tiptoeing recreation of Philippe Petit’s famous World Trade Centre high-wire act. The subject of the superb Man On Wire seven years ago gets the feature treatment with Robert Zemeckis calling the shots . Very, very quietly. "It was a ballet on a razor’s edge,” says the director. “One false step and it’s over.”

Emily Blunt has suffered through an alien invasion in Edge Of Tomorrow and been exposed to time-travelling assassins in Looper. In Sicario the villainy all stems from the same timeline – the present-day – and the same locale – the US/Mexican border. The stakes are no less high, however. The war in drugs is raging and her FBI agent, Kate Mercer, is thrust into the front line. Blunt told us about her work on the terrific narc thriller and SWAT-ing up for the role. 

When Empire first spots Matt Damon in action on the set of The Martian, he’s in the middle of space dust tsunami. “Ridley, I can’t see a damned thing,” says the actor, motioning for some assistance. Short of forming a bulwark against the Martian elements, Empire can’t get a whole lot closer to the action on this intriguing hybrid of space adventure and survival tale (AKA Will Robinson Crusoe). We report back from the depths of space – well, Budapest – on one of the most exciting releases of the winter. 


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Wes Craven: Film By Film
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A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

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Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

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Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

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