Angelina Jolie's sophomore film as a director is a handsome World War II epic about Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell), an Olympic athlete-turned-bombardier-turned POW. Jolie films his inspirational story with a painterly eye, but Unbroken is a little too reverent to be truly suspenseful and involving. Still, it's a worthy effort from a clearly talented filmmaker.
Jolie is magnificent in Maleficent, a reimagining of Disney's Sleeping Beauty that turns the so-called "evil" fairy into the anti-hero, cursing a young baby but eventually realizing the error of her ways. It's too bad the plot is such a mess, because Jolie is alluring and powerful as the storybook heroine, and her story arc - which comes as close to a "rape and revenge" plot as Disney is ever likely to produce - is undeniably involving.
Angelina Jolie's most underrated movie isn't exactly brilliant, but it's an enjoyably sexy romp in the grand ol' tradition of Charade and How to Steal a Million. Jolie plays a femme fatale who seduces a hapless schmuck (Johnny Depp) so the spies chasing her will think that he's a criminal mastermind. Depp is funny, Jolie is sensuous, and although the movie is too long for its own good, overall it's far better than its reputation would have you believe.
Angelina Jolie once again bestowed a messy blockbuster with her winning charisma in Wanted, a ridiculously loose adaptation of Mark Millar and J.G. Jones's comic book about a loser (James McAvoy) who discovers he was born for great things, and even greater violence. The action is riveting, the story is claptrap (every single thing about the "Loom of Fate" is stupid), but thanks in large part to Jolie's swagger Wanted is still a fun time at the movies.
Jolie first turned heads in Iain Softley's Hackers, a thoroughly engaging 1990s timepiece with a killer soundtrack, over the top teen heroes and a sense of "cool" that already seemed retro the moment it came out. But Hackers is committed to its craziness. Jolie plays a member of a team of renegade hackers who are scapegoated by a corrupt corporation, and have to use their sick computer skillz to save the day.
This oft-forgotten drama stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton as air traffic controllers whose competitive streak goes out of control, leading them to try to seduce each other's wives, played by Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie. Directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Pushing Tin is a mature and likable drama about breaking your life and putting it back together again, and it deserves to be rediscovered.
Angelina Jolie was nominated for her second Academy Award for Clint Eastwood's engrossing period drama, about a woman whose son is kidnapped and then returned years later. But when Jolie eventually realizes the boy is not her child, the police will go to any lengths possible to shut her up and keep the case closed. By the time she's committed to an institution, the suspense and frustration are absolutely palpable. Based on a real story, shot with dignity, and featuring one of Jolie's best performances, Changeling is a winner.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are dynamite in the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, one of the most entertaining films on her resumé. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) directed this farce about a seemingly normal husband and wife whose secrets - they are both spies, and bitter rivals - explode the illusion of suburban bliss, and seem destined to either break Mr. and Mrs. Smith up or make them happier than ever.
Angelina Jolie won her first Oscar for her supporting turn in Girl, Interrupted, based on the real-life story of Susanna Kaysen, who wound up in a mental institution in the 1960s. Winona Ryder is just fine as Kaysen, Brittany Murphy turns in a solid performance as a doomed fellow inmate, but Jolie steals the film as the dangerously-disturbed Lisa Rowe, whose personality is as magnetic as it is poisonous.
Angelina Jolie's slickest film - and one of her best - is an action-thriller with one hell of a twist. Jolie plays a CIA agent accused of being a Soviet spy, and when she goes on the run she ruins all her credibility. Where the plot goes from there we won't say, but Salt manages to question the many silly action tropes we take for granted and come up with truly original answers. It's smart, Jolie gives a spectacular performance, and it remains one of the best straight-up action movies of the decade so far.
She had already been acting for years, and she'd already made a few good movies, but it was the HBO Original Movie Gia that turned Angelina Jolie into a star. As the supermodel Gia Carangi, Jolie gives a furious performance, careening between a serious love affair with a make-up artist (Elizabeth Mitchell) and a drug addiction that leads to real-life tragedy. It's jagged, it's passionate, it's still a haunting film.
We had a hard time putting Kung Fu Panda on the proper list of Angelina Jolie's best movies, because even though it's a wonderful film, she's not in it very much and even then she only contributes her voice to an ensemble cast. But she's just fine in this loving homage to kung fu movies, which works just as well as a kids movie as a blockbuster action romp.