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When hail falls in bright sunshine, spring must be on its way. That most variable of seasons, due to start soon, is already marking its arrival. Fear not if winter strikes back to keep us indoors in the meantime though. There’s plenty on offer at the cinema as Neill Blomkamp makes his third science fiction voyage, Julianne Moore demonstrates why she now has an Oscar and a 2014 Sundance hit finally makes it across the Atlantic. There’s also a real treat for DVD pick of the week.

After impressing with District 9, even writer/director Neill Blomkamp recently expressed dissatisfaction with sophomore effort Elysium. Before he takes on the next Alien film, Blomkamp gives us Chappie. A modern day Short Circuit with more shooting, it follows Dev Patel’s attempts to create a thinking, feeling machine, and said machine’s struggle to avoid destruction at the hands of Hugh Jackman’s mulleted villain. So will Chappie get him back on track? Early reviews suggest not.

Julianne Moore has spent the better part of two decades developing into one of the best American actresses of her era. And all this without the Academy ever deigning to give her that statuette despite several nominations. That’s changed now following her win last month for Still Alice. Arriving in UK cinemas now, Moore plays a University Professor struggling to adjust her life after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film is a solid little number, raised mightily by Moore’s brilliant performance. No wonder the Best Actress race was called before it even began.

Writer/director/actor Desiree Akhavan’s feature debut, Appropriate Behaviour, first appeared at the Sundance Film Festival last year. A rare comedy that doesn’t revolve entirely around adolescent men, it follows main character Shirin’s (Akhavan) attempts to mix her ethnic upbringing with her sexuality and hipster lifestyle. It promises an irreverent take on the well-trodden rom-com genre.

If you’re staying in, the DVD pick of the week is a doozy. Provided you like your morals on the shady side. In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays aspiring news footage gatherer Lou Bloom. Not one to be held back by social niceties, he’ll do anything to get exclusive shots of messy accidents and brutal crimes, all to sell to the highest paying news station. Things escalate further when he finds an opportunity to manipulate events to suit his own filming needs. Nightcrawler somehow manages to be joyously bleak as Gyllenhaal slips ever further into a hole no one comes back from. Don’t miss it.

That concludes another week. See you soon as Liam Neeson returns yet again to protect family members in the most violent manner possible.

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