Pixar normally releases quality movies and Inside Out was no exception. While not their best effort, it was still one of the best movies of the year by a wide margin (especially when looking at kid-centric films). The writing was smart, the characters were lovable, and at the end it was simply an enjoyable film from top to bottom.
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to this movie when I first saw the trailer. Heck…I even wrote about my concerns when the trailer originally came out. I didn’t watch the movie during its initial run in theatres, but watched it when it came out on Blu-Ray with my 9 year-old son. After not thinking I’d like it, I found that I really enjoyed it…especially when hearing my son laugh almost all the way through it. This movie was certainly filled with more comedy than most other Marvel movies, and because of that people didn’t really give it a fair shake. I can tell you, though…that Ant-Man is certainly NOT the worst Marvel has done in the past decade. In fact, I’d dare say it’s one of the best.
8. The Hateful Eight If I’m being 100% honest, I was not really looking forward to seeing this movie. I mean, I find Quentin Tarantino films to be an acquired taste…and while I’ve enjoyed the majority of his movies, I didn’t know if a western taking place during the winter would be the most entertaining thing he’d made. And while it’s no Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds, it’s a fantastic film with twists and turns, incredible performances, and Tarantino on top of his cinematography game (it’s a gorgeously-shot movie). Yes, it has more n-words than you probably ever want to hear in a movie, but if you can set that aside then you’ll enjoy one of Tarantino’s better films. While I didn’t love the ending, I thoroughly enjoyed The H8ful Eight.
This was another example of a movie trailer not really delivering upon its initial showing. At the beginning of the year, did anyone really think that a movie starring Matt Damon being stranded on Mars in a movie called The Martian would be as good as it was? From special effects to acting to the direction, this movie delivered a lot more than it probably had every right to.
This is the movie that could have really ruined the entire Marvel Universe franchise. After a colossally successful initial Avengers movie, the entire franchise could have collapsed under the pressure…especially if the movie wasn’t good. Thankfully, it contained story and emotion and special effects out the wazoo. The story of Ultron and why Tony Stark created him was original and creative. The continuation of the background story of Hawkeye and the developing romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow gave depth to an otherwise “turn your brain off” type of movie.
I had zero expectations with this movie coming into 2015. After viewing the trailer, though, it looked like something my wife and I might enjoy. Needless to say, this was the funniest damn movie of the year. Will Amy Schumer be a continual box office success over time? That, obviously, it up for debate…but for a major role like this one, to come out of the gate looking like a legit superstar is a very big deal. She owned this movie and it’s one that can be watched multiple times without getting stale.
When I first saw this movie with my son, I was sure that no other movie would be able to be better. They took the concept of the original film, modernized it, and re-made (virtually) the exact same story. Nobody would call Jurassic World an original film, but in terms of sheer entertainment it’s arguably puts its predecessors to shame. The dinosaurs were bigger, smarter, and faster. The park itself was incredibly realistic and made you dream about the possibilities. The acting, while not fantastic, was carried by star Chris Pratt (who is really on a role at the moment). It was as good a “popcorn movie” as you’re going to find.
I didn’t even see this movie until near the end of 2015. It honestly didn’t look that great to me. As I was going through Netflix one day I saw it and thought I’d give it a shot. WOW…am I ever glad that I did. I saw a spy movie that was as unique and fun and violent as anything I’d ever seen. I loved the new take on the classic James Bond-esque story and how effortless the action sequences were for everyone. The direction was fantastic and I’m really hopeful for a sequel at some point in the future. For me, though, the church scene was just the most incredible, disturbing, violent, and shocking scene of the entire year. It kinda came out of nowhere and left my jaw hanging open…feeling both sick to my stomach and exhilarated at the sequence at the same time. Not many films can pull that off while still being an entertaining thriller/action movie. On top of all that, the female villain is super sexy in spite of the fact that she’s got swords for feet. If you haven’t seen this yet, I can’t recommend it enough.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road I think that the majority of movie-goers had low expectations when it was said that they were rebooting the Mad Max series. After all, it had been 30 years since the last installment was released. In addition, the stories of production issues and cast members not getting along only made it seem like this movie was destined for failure. Thankfully, this movie was not only great but can easily be considered one of the most “beautiful” action movies in history. This movie is so gorgeously shot, in fact, that there are rumours of it being re-released for a limited 2016 run in black & white…
The storyline is one that doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s not really supposed to. It’s supposed to take place in the world of the original Mad Max movies, which was a post-apocalyptic nightmare with insane people who use water and gasoline for power. Both Tom Hardy and a clean-shaven (but still smokin’ hot) Charlize Theron are fantastic in their roles, but the movie isn’t really about them. Much like, say, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the movie’s primary focus in on the cinematography and direction. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more spectacularly filmed action movie. The colours are brilliant and the fact that 80% of the film uses practical effects only makes it even MORE spectacular. I really don’t know if I can put over this movie enough. You don’t need to know the characters or the storylines or even what’s happening as the film progresses to sit back and LOVE this movie. Up until a few weeks ago, this brilliant film directed by George Miller was my runaway choice for best film of 2015. That is, until…
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Really…is there any other movie that can come close to this? Let’s put aside the box office records that this movie is shattering. Let’s put aside the fact that it’s a Star Wars movie. Instead, let’s look at the movie itself…the characters, the story, the acting, the special effects, the pacing, the direction, the soundtrack…it’s ALL absolutely fantastic. It’s simply a great movie on its own.
JJ Abrams‘ decision to use practical effects wherever possible made this movie as good as it is. Seeing it the first time in 3D, I was transported back to my youth when I saw the original films in theatres. Watching it a second time with my 9 year old son and I was able to feel the magic that I felt as a kid through his eyes. I don’t even know if I could sit back and say that there’s a boring or unnecessary scene or character, either. It’s just all so fantastic.
And the big storyline twist and spoiler death? Well…I made sure I didn’t read anything ahead of time so I was genuinely moved and shocked when it took place. The ending of the film leaves a TON of questions unanswered as we wait two more years until Episode VIII, and that’s the way it SHOULD be. I want to see more immediately, and that’s a very good sign.
Where Titanic was a box office bohemeth because of the love story combined with special effects, and Avatar was a box office record holder because of the special effects never seen before…Star Wars: The Force Awakens combines action, drama, comedy, and every other emotion you can think of to go along with the incredible directing job by Abrams. This is a movie that DESERVES to break every box office record…it’s that good.
But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!