Wow! They actually did a pretty good job!
Ok so I'm doing what I usually do on Oscar night. I live tweeted the show, talked with half a dozen people at once, and now I'm gonna write a review of the show. It's a long night, but this review is always an interesting one because I am pretty loopy. Now, there was a lot of controversy surrounding this year's Oscars. There was the obvious and deserved #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but there was also some lesser-known controversy surrounding the lesser-known musicians nominated for Best Original Song. Anohni, the first transgender performer to be nominated for Best Original Song, was barred from performing her song at the show because of "time constraints." While I can see why they choose not to let her play as the show went on till midnight EST, she still has the right to be able to play her song in front of her peers. The Academy is not being very transparent on this issue, and but in the wake of all the clamoring about a lack of diversity from the Academy, a promise of "we will do better" from the Academy president felt very hallow to me as they are clearly saying one thing and doing another. She wrote a powerful essay on her ordeal which you can read here. But I digress. Let's talk about Chris Rock!
Chris Rock was by FAR the best host we've had of the Oscars in a long time. From the very first second of his opening monologue his jokes were on point and right to the jugular, and they made everyone in that room uncomfortable. They were also funny! He managed to somehow find a balancing line between making fun of the Oscars for their lack of diversity while make fun of everyone else for making such a big deal over it. His segment at a movie theater in Compton where he interviewed people who didn't know what films were nominated for Best Picture was a sharp statement on both how irrelevant the Oscars are to most people and how we can all find enjoyment in film regardless of what some old white guys had to say about it. I think this segment was my favorite moment of the night. Either that or the opening monologue, which was fantastic from start to finish. The only sort of cheesy bit we got from him all night involved his daughters selling girl scout cookies, and this moment felt much more like Ellen's selfie in 2014 than it did NPH's "look I got all the Oscars right because I got to see the winners before the show!" bit. As in it was a much better moment, and seeing how much money they raised, assuming they did actually raise that much money, was pretty incredible. I guess when you're a millionaire Hollywood star you walk around with hundreds in your pocket. I also wanted to give credit to Chris Rock for bringing out Stacey Dash for the official smart joke of the evening. Most of us said, "huh?" when it happened, but upon further investigation it turns out Stacey Dash once appeared on Fox News (of course) to say that we shouldn't have black history month. So to get her to come out and go against her word is actually fairly impressive, and I hope a story comes out about how that moment transpired in the upcoming days.
Another thing that surprised me but I honestly was kind of glad didn't happen was some tribute to an old Hollywood film. The lack of tributes did keep the pacing of the show pretty brisk, until we got into the second and third hour of the show. Then it really slowed down as they sped through the first 10 awards then took their time with the last few. I expected to see some half-assed tribute to Star Wars as an "apology" for not giving the film any awards, but all we ultimately got was a cameo from the three droids. Which, honeslty, might've ultimately been the weakest part of the night. But let's talk awards! I need to go to bed soon.
So let's address the elephant in the room first: Leo finally won his Oscar. Yay! And he had a great speech lined up too, pulling a Ron Burgundy from Anchorman and choosing to use his spotlight to deliver a great (and very true) message on the enviornment. Ok, now that I've talked about that and since that's all the world is going to be focusing on for the next few weeks, let's talk about other things you might not be aware of, shall we?
The real story to talk about is who won Best Original Score. Ennio Morricone. The only victor outside the top four to receive a standing ovation, Morricone is a famed Italian composer who has been composing film scores since the 1960's. He has well over 500 film credits to his name as well as an Honorary Academy Award which he received back in 2007. But, until tonight, he remained Oscarless. As an emotional and frail Morricone walked onto the stage, I too was overcome by emotion. To see this man, a man so ridiculously obsessed with his craft but never eager to step into the spotlight, finally be officially recognized for his contributions to the industry, was the only moment the entire night I was truly emotionally moved. And to see his peers acknowledge this the way they did....it was a great reminder of the good side of Hollywood, one which I desperately needed in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and the Anohni controversy. I stood up and clapped in my apartment at this moment, as it was over 50 years overdue.
As for a few other great moments....the biggest surprise of the night for me had to be Ex Machina winning Best Visual Effects. I was happy to see Mad Max pull a Gravity and (almost) sweep the technical categories, but I can't help but love the fact that the little sci-fi film that could, a film destined to be a cult classic, can now tout an Oscar to its name. And a pretty high-profile Oscar at that. What must have happened was Star Wars and Mad Max split the Academy's votes which opened the door for someone else to steal it. And, honestly, I'm glad that it won! I know Star Wars and Mad Max got all the press for its practical effects, which of course were fantastic, but the amount of care that went into turning Alicia Vikander into Eva day in and day out (Vikander had to show up at around 4 AM every day to begin prep with the makeup crew and effects crew for the day's shooting) had gone largely unnoticed by everyone until tonight. It was almost the culmination of the fact that Vikander deserved an award for her performance in Ex Machina more than The Danish Girl from those who voted for Machina in the effects category over Mad Max and Star Wars. Wow the lines are starting to slant because I can't keep my head straight up I should probably wrap this up soon....
Let's see what else what else......oh! I overall approve of who the Academy picked for acting this year. The big surprise was Mark Rylance over Sly, which many people may be upset about but BELIEVE ME I am not one of them. I'm so glad Brie Larson won, as FOR ONCE my best performance of the year actually aligned with Academy's choice for whatever category that person was nominated for. (Leo was my number 1 in 2013, and don't forget the part where my number 1 from 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler, wasn't even nominated) I also loved how the presenters, you know, presented the awards this year. From Cate Blanchett (who I met OMG OMG) walking on stage to present the award for Best Costume Design with a bunch of costumes behind her to some great tributes to the sound editors highlighting the, you know, sounds of the film, (PLEASE put that in the special features section of these films because that was AWESOME) the Academy was on point this year in acknowledging the individual departments responsible in creating a film. However while I was happy in most of the picks this year, there were a few that really pissed me off.
There were 3.5 awards that kind of got to me this year. First off, let's talk about the .5. Anomalisa. Look, I'm not stupid. I knew Inside Out was going to win Best Animated Feature. But to all of y'all saying it deserved it.....you're wrong. Just straight up wrong. Anomalisa was a VASTLY superior film to Inside Out, and it was even a better film from an animation perspective. There was no doubt it wasn't going to win, but you cannot say it truly deserved to win until you see Anomalisa. Then you can say whatever you want. I was also saddened by the fact that Mad Max won Best Editing versus The Big Short. This one I was only kind of sort of mad over since there's a great story behind the editing of Mad Max, which was done by George Miller's wife, by the way, but I still felt the editing of Big Short was far more creative. However the two awards that really got me were Best Original Song and....you guessed it! Best Director. First off, this year's Best Original Song seemed to be set up for Lady Gaga to take it with her emotional Till It Happens. However, what we got was a win for Sam Smith? Featuring a song that was, according to Sam Smith himself, written in about 10 minutes and just might be the worst song in the history of the franchise? Don't get me wrong: I looooooved Smith's acceptance speech. The speech felt particularly relevant given the controversy within the category itself, but still. Smith's performance of the song during the show was absolutely DREADFUL, and was by far the worst moment of the entire ceremony. Whereas Lady Gaga's performance was the best performance of the night. Though how the Academy actually used Dave Grohl (playing Blackbird on guitar during the In Memoriam segment) was great too, and it was about the only way I would've been happy to actually see Dave Grohl perform during the show. Though I do wish he had played Starman or Life on Mars as opposed to Blackbird, but I'll trust Dave Grohl's judgement to not play a Bowie song in that moment.
Anyway, the big disappointment of the evening in terms of awards was Alejandro González Iñárritu. Hollywood's favorite yes-man, Iñárritu became the first director in over 50 years to win back-to-back Best Director awards. And he didn't deserve either of them. I don't mean to take away anything from The Revenant, but George Miller's work on Mad Max was, like Richard Linklater on Boyhood a year earlier, just so much more meaningful than Iñárritu's work on Revenant. He didn't even bother to hide it during his introduction! During the "and the nominees are" segment, Iñárritu talked about the cinematography of the film. You know, the cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki did and not him. Just as they did last year, the Academy selected their favorite director of the year, and not the best director of the year. While I'm ultimately glad Spotlight took home Best Picture and not The Revenant, it still doesn't change the fact that George Miller was snubbed for his incredible achievement in the creation of and dedication to Mad Max. So sad.
Finally, as I said before, I'm glad Spotlight took home the ultimate prize. This is a film that needs to be watched by everyone, and if winning Best Picture makes that happen then I'm all for it. Sure, in 20 years we will likely be saying Mad Max was snubbed, but at least it was to Spotlight and not The Revenant.
Ultimately, despite the controversies surrounding it, I quite enjoyed this year's Oscars. Chris Rock was on point from start to finish with some exceptional skits and jokes, most of the musical numbers were good, and the awards were mostly on point. There were enough surprises to keep even a hardened moviegoer like me entertained, and in the end a deserving film took home the biggest prize. 2015's Oscars are a distant memory. Now can we PLEASE get Kevin Hart to host the Oscars in 2017????
My Number: 8/10 Great
Well, that wraps up my 2015 in film! Given how much work I've done over the past year, (and every year, for that matter) this moment is about the biggest moment of closure for me in any given year, as now we officially put 2015 in the books and focus squarely on 2016. Thanks for another great year here at Enter the Movies, everyone. I love all of you, and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for film. But, as for now, it is very late, and my pillow is calling. I'll see ya next time here on Enter the Movies! DEUCES!
http://global.fncstatic.com/static/managed/img/Entertainment/chris%20rock%20oscars%202016%20reuters.jpg (Chris Rock)
http://a57.foxnews.com/global.fncstatic.com/static/managed/img/Entertainment/876/493/chris%20rock%20oscars%20girl%20scout%20cookies%20ap.jpg (Girl Scout Cookies)
http://budnews.hu/container/news/ennio-morricone-01_1451464484.jpg (Ennio Morricone)
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/exmachina_vfx.jpg (Ex Machina)
Well, here we are! The best films of 2015. I've put this one off as long as possible, because I still (even now, as I type this) have no idea how I'm gonna order my top 3 films of this year. See the problem is there are 3 films that all deserve to be the best film, and they've all resonated with me equally. So, who's gonna get the top spot? Let's find out together, shall we?
As we did last year, we'll have a few honorable mentions, then, after counting down 10-4, I'm gonna hand out a few awards to films that didn't make the top 10 but I still want to talk about. But, before I get to the honorable mentions, I just want to say this: I've been doing this since 2013 and I can say without a doubt that 2015 was the best year I've seen for cinema in my short career of reviewing films. Yes, we got our fair share of bad films, as we do every year, but this year I had four (count 'em, four!) perfect 10s. That's almost double what I've had the last two years combined! (2 in 2013-Gravity and Her, and 3 in 2014-Boyhood, Whiplash, and Locke) While Whiplash still remains the best film I've ever reviewed (you can revisit that review here if you want) on my blog, these four perfect films give the other ones a run for their money.
One final note: I reviewed more films in 2015 than I ever have on the blog. The films that follow are, in my opinion, the "best" films of 2015. They are not listed in the order of my "favorites." When I review a film I try to take a look at the entire film and all its components, then maybe focus on one or two aspects of it. This is a hard thing to do, no doubt, and with every film I review I attempt to improve on this technique, but it's also why I feel I can call these films, in my opinion at least, the "best" films of the year. Wow were there a lot of commas in that sentence. I'm also really tired, as usual, so I apologize in advance for what will likely be my declining grammar skills as this goes on. I'm doing this whole list in an afternoon which is never a good idea, but it was the only way I could do it. Anyway, here goes nothing!
Honorable Mention: Creed
This film made the honorable mention list for one big reason: director Ryan Coogler. One of the bigger snubs in this year's Oscars, Creed is the brainchild of Coogler, who had to fight tooth and nail with a distributor weary to try to again revive the Rocky franchise after a disastrous 2006 attempt, to approve the film. Then he had to fight tooth and nail to get Sly to actually be in it. Fortunately for us, though, he succeeded at all of this. Now, his thank you from the Academy for all his work is ridiculous, as the one white guy in this whole film was its only nomination, but those awards don't matter anyway, right? The only thing that matters is this blog! Totally! Anyway, Michael B. Jordan is fantastic as the film's namesake, putting in a performance which landed on my top 10 list from 2015. (Which you can revisit here, or check it out if you haven't already!) But the story was a fun one, and kept me engaged from start to finish. Also gotta compliment the soundtrack. Awesome soundtrack here. But, if nothing else happens for this film, hopefully it gets Michael B. Jordan more work and hey! Maybe he'll actually be nominated for an Oscar one of these days!
Honorable Mention: Steve Jobs
I was really excited about this movie. A biopic about Steve Jobs, one of the most iconic figures in modern American history, directed by the great Danny Boyle and written by my favorite screenwriter in Hollywood in Aaron Sorkin, and starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Stuhlbarg? There is literally nothing bad with what I just said. And if this were 2014 or 2013 this film certainly would've been in the top 10. But, apart from the glaring fact that 2015 was a ridiculous year for film, this film doesn't make the top 10 because when I left the theater, I basically said "ok" and moved on. You can argue that that is a limitation of the biopic genre itself, to which I'd say....correct. Which is why, for the most part nowadays, the big biopic gets made, gets a lot of nominations, and that's it. But, when you have this many other great films to talk about, the biopic is going to be shafted outside the top 10. However that's not to say Steve Jobs still wasn't anything short of excellent, because it was. It was the sendoff Steve Jobs deserved. But that's about all I can say about it.
10) The Revenant
I'm gonna try and keep it together for this one. Because right now this film is the favorite to win both Best Picture and Best Director, and once again Alejandro González Iñárritu does not deserve the award for either category. That said, this is still a great film. Featuring the best cinematography of the year from Emmanuel Lubezki, an Oscar-worthy performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, a strong supporting performance from both Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson (who also had himself a great 2015) and a unique production cycle for the film as Lubezki insisted the film be shot only in natural light, there's no denying this film is great. But, at the same time, it is very overbearing and extremely dry. This is a film that does not appeal to anyone who does not have anything less than a major passion for cinema. It is a brutal watch, which really lowers the rewatchability factor and the memorability factor in the long term. This overbearing quality is the main reason this film is not any higher than 10 on my list, but the technical side and DiCaprio's performance kept it within the top 10. This film is a perfect example of "best' versus "favorite" for me, as this film likely wouldn't even crack my top 20 if I were talking about my favorite films of the year. And yet....here we are. Another Iñárritu film, another undeserving Oscar win likely on the way. But this one is even less deserving than Birdman: at least that film benefited from it's one shot sensation as well as its perfectly timed humor. Here, the natural light choice does add to the movie, but not enough to offset the fact that it feels like a gimmick to make the film appear more "important." Combine that with its totally dry experience featuring one character, and you have a very dense film. But I digress. Great film, but far from the best of the year.
Riding the performance of Saoirse Ronan, (can't believe I spelled her name right without even having to look at IMDB) Brooklyn is a wonderfully shot romantic drama featuring one of the best set designs and some of the best costumes of the year. It's based off a wonderful book, and it only cost $11 million to make. If nothing else, this film should stand as a testament to directors and production companies on how to properly spend your budget, because this film sure doesn't look like it cost only $11 million. On top of all of that, we also saw strong performances from the supporting cast, especially relative newcomer Emory Cohen. Domhnall Gleeson is also excellent as he's given the tough task of being "the other guy" so to say, but he did a good job with his relatively minor character. Ultimately, Brookyln is a rather safe film, but it's still a very enjoyable romantic film. Saoirse Ronan is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses in Hollywood right now, and this film is a major reason for that: she is the main reason it's on this list. Definitely the second best date night movie from 2015.
8) Straight Outta Compton
Gaaaaahhhh why didn't this film receive more love from the Oscars this year? We'll never know. But holy crap is this film terrific. While many of you might pass this one off since you didn't care for N.W.A., trust me: I never cared for them much either. I respect them immensely for the contributions they made to the music industry, but I would not listen to their music if I didn't absolutely have to. But, in my opinion, that really isn't the point of Straight Outta Compton. This film is more about highlighting the systemic racism that has been around in our country for decades, and the attempt to investigate why the black community feels the need to respond to this through music and protests. The film is about N.W.A. becoming a voice against the establishment and against the oppression this community has felt and still does feel today, which is why I think it is so important to watch this film. On top of its importance, you have great performances from the entire cast, led by O'Shea Jackson Jr.'s recreation of his father Ice Cube. On that end the three core members of N.W.A. (Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre) are all wonderfully recreated by 3 almost complete newcomers, which was a great choice by director F. Gary Gray. There aren't nearly enough black actors in Hollywood right now, and all 3 of these guys deserve a real shot after this film. I know there's a portion of this country that will cover their ears at even a mentioning of the phrase "systemic racism," but for the sane, open-minded individuals among you curious to further investigate why so many believe this is still a problem in this country.....this one should absolutely be on your list to see. "Yo, Dre, I got somethin' to say."
The best romantic film of 2015, Carol shows us the heartbreaking story of a female same-sex couple struggling to find acceptance in 1950's America. Carol is a fantastic film featuring some of the best acting of the year from its two leads in Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, as well as great set design, costumes, and cinematography. While I was distracted at points by said cinematography, Edward Lachman, the cinematographer, did create a very unique signature for the film. There was also a great and subtle score from Carter Burwell underneath this film, peaking at the emotional highs and lows of this film. A film which should've received a Best Picture nomination especially since there's only 8 films nominated in a field that could be 10, prepare for the ugly cry with this one. But this is definitely the best date night film of 2015, and if you're (hopefully) among the accepting crowd it is absolutely worth the watch. Even if you're not accepting, watch it just to see Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara be the gorgeous women that they are.
6) The Big Short
Man you know it's a good year for film when a film this good is only number 6 in my top 10. Geez. The Big Short is another bold undertaking from director Adam McKay, the man who brought us Anchorman, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. This film tackles the 2007 housing crisis! Hilarious, right? Well, it actually is pretty funny, but it somehow manages to take a topic as dense as the housing crisis and explain to us commonfolk how this travesty happened. I loved it and was on board from start to finish. The film features a wonderful supporting cast led by Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt, but what really stood out to me was how well this film explained these complex financial processes and even did so in a humorous way. From Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to Anthony Bourdain in a kitchen of a renowned restaurant, this breaking of the fourth wall to deliver exposition contained not just some of the best moments of the film but some of the best moments of the year. However what's even more amazing is how, after all the humor of the first two acts and the lighthearted nature the film takes, once the crisis actually occurs the film takes a sharp SHARP turn for the serious, and ultimately leaves you very frustrated with Wall Street for allowing this to not only happen, but to already start doing it again. This is an eye-opening film, and certainly the most damaging film about Wall Street that I've ever seen personally. It's hard not to walk out of this film wanting to see some sort of reform on Wall Street.
5) IT Follows
AH I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I know this is my "best" films of 2015 list, but if it were my "favorite" films of 2015, this one would be right there with Mad Max for my "favorite" film of the year. But as is, it is a worthy beginning to my top 5 films of 2015. It Follows is the hero the horror genre needs. If you somehow don't know, I love the horror genre. But in recent years the genre has lost its way as it has reduced itself to nothing but lazy pop scares with very little creative ingenuity from a technical standpoint. I wrote an article on this genre, which you can revisit here so I won't bore you with the details, but It Follows laughs at the face of the horror norm and delivers a haunting thriller that has resonated (and terrified, I might add) with me as much as any other film has this year. The film rarely uses the pop scare, which means when it does (like in the snapshot above) it makes the pop scare that much more meaningful and terrifying. I watched this film on my laptop, and it was the first time. well, ever, where I found myself turning the laptop away at points and unplugging my headphones because I was so scared of what was about to happen. And this is coming from the guy who was able to watch the first Insidious (you know, the good one) by myself in the dark without waking up my light-sleeping roommate. On top of all that, the film features a strong performance from its first-time lead Maika Monroe. However what the film really needs to be commended for are the extras that embody the entity. These extras had to receive a lot of instruction to be able to terrifyingly recreate this entity that lumbers towards its victim at a maniacal and steady pace. It never stops. It is always walking. Straight. For. You. GAH it's so freaking original! The film also features one of the best horror film scores I've ever heard, as if everything else wasn't enough. In short, It Follows is easily the best horror film I've ever reviewed on this blog, and if you're a fan of this genre it's one that I cannot recommend enough. Juuuuuust maybe not watch it by yourself. You may find yourself looking over your shoulder for a few months.
4) Ex Machina
The first of my four perfect 10s, Ex Machina is the modern-day equivalent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That's about as high a compliment as I can give for a film, I know, but Ex Machina resonated with me as much as 2001 did. It is the smartest film about AI since that film, offering a new and modern interpretation of what AI can do based on the advancements made in technology since, you know, 1968. Alex Garland's directorial debut is a phenomenal one as we witness a simple and yet elegant drama unfold in front of us between 3 characters performing the Turing test on Eva, which is masterfully acted by Alicia Vikander. On top of that, Domhnall Gleeson (again) and Oscar Isaac are phenomenal together as they tackle this very dense subject on screen. A film that had me totally engrossed from start to finish, Ex Machina is the best old-school sci-fi film we've seen in years. Oh, and on top of all of that, the effects are amazing as well. I mean look at that picture! The creation of Eva was a tedious one, and one which involved an immense amount of preparation from the makeup crew, the costume crew, the effects crew, and the actress herself. Just for the creation of Eva alone this film deserved to be in the top 10, but then when you have this thought provoking a story behind it and you better believe it's a perfect film and one of the best of the year. It's already garnering a strong cult following, and for obvious reasons. On another note, Alex Garland's next project is entitled Annihilation and revolves around biology. To say I'm excited for that one is an understatement.
The Best Comedy was....
As is the norm, and in particular since Edgar Wright didn't release a film, 2015 was a bad year for comedies. To me there were two true standouts in this genre from 2015: Spy and Trainwreck. I eventually settled on Spy because of the production value around this film, as well as the fact that there's some controversy surrounding the originality of Amy Schumer's humor at the moment. But mostly for the production value. And Rose Byrne. Actually mostly Rose Byrne, because she steals the show in this film and then some. Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Allison Janney and Jason Statham are also hilarious, but there's a certain.... elegance to Rose Byrne in this film. This is now two straight comedies she has stolen the show in between Neighbors and Spy, and I think it's in part because she's a great actress that has great comedic timing rather than the other way around. Anyway, I found myself laughing all throughout this film, and I also appreciated the fact that there was, you know, a plot to go along with it. There were twists and turns! Wow! Well that's more than can be said about most comedies nowadays. Paul Feig has been on a nice roll recently between Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy. Hopefully he keeps that roll going in the recreation of Ghostbusters.
The Best Summer Blockbuster Was....
Yup. Screw you haters. The definition of a summer blockbuster is a big mindless popcorn flick. That's what it is. And there was no better embodiment of the big mindless popcorn flick than San Andreas. It's a film that knows exactly what it is and thus never takes itself even remotely seriously all throughout the briskly paced film. But, on top of that, it's my best blockbuster of 2015 because of the care that went into making the film look as good as possible. The CGI effects are as real as it gets in films like this nowadays. The cinematography is actually kind of fun. There's even a great oner in the middle of an earthquake destroying LA that was actually one of my favorite moments of the year just for the amount of crap that happened during this single cut. And, on top of everything else, while this film stars The Rock being The Rock, there's also a badass female role that's really well played by Alexandra Daddario. Yes Daddario is absurdly hot, but she's not just here to be the hot chick. She's a resourceful boss of a character who saves the dudes with her on more than one occasion, showing that you can be the hot chick in the movie and still, you know,l do stuff. Yes it's sad that I have to actually compliment that, but for a summer blockbuster of all things to have enough of a brain to do that is particularly impressive. And yes I know the introduction of her character is her in a bikini for no reason but I mean you gotta start somewhere, right? Especially with Alexandra Daddario because if you look at her IMDB credit list she is almost ALWAYS the hot useless chick who's there only to be hot. And I mean The Rock takes his shirt off a few times for no real reason so that at least kind of evens out. Not to be overlooked, however, is an excellent performance from Paul Giamatti as well. But Giamatti does not take his shirt off. So if you were looking for a Paul Giamatti shirtless scene, you'll have to keep waiting. Anyway, I had an absolute blast watching this big stupid disaster movie in IMAX, and if you still think I'm stupid for saying it's the best summer blockbuster well then you have no soul. Or don't like fun. Or something.
The Best Action Flick outside the top 10 Was....
I was gonna call this the most underrated film of the year, but then I realized that's why I make my best films of said year that no one saw list. So instead, I created this best action flick category so I could again talk about The Man from U.N.C.L.E. First off, if you haven't seen this film but were all about Kingsman: The Secret Service, then HOLY CRAP WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE? GO SEE THIS FILM RIGHT NOW. Yes, Millennials, I get it: we all love Matthew Vaughn and Guy Ritchie is more known as the guy who directed the "fake" Sherlock Holmes films. But this film is SO much better than Kingsman it's almost unfair to compare them in the same sentence. And I liked Kingsman! But this film is.....it's just so sexy! It is so stylish and charming and oozing charisma with two male leads that are far more suave than Colin Firth and Taron Edgerton, and those two male leads also just happen to be Henry Cavil and Armie Hammer. Henry freaking Cavil and Armie freaking Hammer! Then this film also features a great performance from a badass and strong female lead in Alicia Vikander, and to top it all off the villain is an awesome and menacing woman played brilliantly by Elizabeth Debicki! Both of the females are also sexy and charismatic. I mean....look at that picture! Look at those sunglasses Vikander is wearing! Those are like the quintessential 60s sunglasses, and even though I know I'd look about as stupid as stupid could be wearing them, I want them! Ah! I want Cavil's suit! And Debicki's white and black dress! Who cares that this film doesn't have a plot: actually, that's another reason why it's far better than the plot of Kingsman: Thamuel L. Jackthon's plot to destroy the world made no sense the second you actually tried to think about it, and the film spent so much time focusing on it that it's impossible to, you know, not think about it. What's happening in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. again? Something about a nuke? Oh well who cares???? Ah! I know I'm spending a lot of time comparing this film to Kingsman, but I'm so mad that Kingsman made all the money and this film didn't because the marketing campaign for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. sucked. I hope the guy who decided this film should be targeted towards baby boomers and not Millennials was fired. Because that was a dumb idea, especially when this film was released two weeks after Mission Impossible 5, a film which made a ton of money off of, you guessed it! baby boomers. Nice one, marketing department. What a shame too because they want to make a franchise out of it but after this film didn't do so hot at the box office we'll see if it happens. But for once after such a great start I really hope they do! I want more Armie Hammer, Henry Cavil, and Alicia Vikander being sexy! There's no doubt this was the best action film of the year outside my top 10. Please....if you haven't seen this film yet and like action films PLEASE go see it.
The Best Sci-Fi film outside the top 10 was...
So I initially added this award solely so I could give it to Star Wars so people wouldn't yell at me, but then I realized.....there's a better sci-fi film out there than Star Wars that's not on my top 10. Ohhhh yes. While I wasn't as high on The Martian as others were, I can't deny that it was a great sci-fi film that actually talked about science and made science fun! I didn't think that was possible for me, but here it sure is. Featuring a great performance from Matt Damon, awesome cinematography, and a wonderful set design which must have been a challenge given the fact that this is another planet, The Martian was ultimately a great film. However it was too long for me and contained a very cliche third act, where all the gravitas and science (honestly) of the first two acts was left on the side of the road, for me to put this film in my top 10 list. However, in a year of (mostly) subpar sci-fi films like the disastrous Jupiter Ascending, The Martian was a standout film among a crowd that included the (now) second highest grossing film ever made. As much as I wanted to put Star Wars on this list, I just ultimately couldn't justify it. It's definitely high on my "favorites' of 2015, but "best" films of 2015 it is not.
The Best Sequel We Weren't Expecting to be Good Was.....
Oh hey look! Now I'll talk about that other action film, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation! I love this category. I love it because every year we are getting more and more high-profile sequels and remakes, and more and more they are terrible. But that also makes the ones that surprise us that much better, and the Mission Impossible series continues to surprise me. After a subpar original trilogy featuring a now hilariously dated first film, a pretty good, but still dated second film, and a terrible third film who's only saving grace was the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, this series has roared to life with two excellent sequels at a point where most franchises would just dig themselves further into the grave. But, after 2011's excellent Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, and he is as Tom Cruise as ever. However, what really makes this film are the actors around Cruise. Simon Pegg is awesome as Benji, Jeremy Renner and Alec Baldwin make what's usually mundane political affairs fun and exciting, and Sean Harris is a fun, but admittedly shallow, villain. (Man if this was the film where Hoffman was the villain than we'd have a film that would be a legitimate contender for my top 10) But the one who steals the show is the sexy and mysterious Rebecca Ferguson. Yes, she's the hot chick of the film, and there are definitely moments where she is very hot, but at the same time you know she could beat the crap out of you at any given moment, and she's actually given a lot to do here as her character has a wonderful "which side is she really on" kind of story that you legitimately can't answer until the end of the film. Picking a newcomer in Ferguson really helped add to the mystery, and I honestly did not know which side she was on for most of the film. On top of that, the action set-pieces in this film were amazing. Mission Impossible has figured out that no one really cares about the banter in between set-pieces, so the filmmakers make the pacing feel brisk to quickly get through the dialogue. But I even kind of enjoyed this part too. Oh, and Tom Hollander is having a blast in his role in this film. I can't help but love that. But if you've already seen The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mad Max and are looking for another great action film to watch, than MI 45 is the film for you. (Also don't hate me for not including Furious 7 in this list at all. It narrowly missed both this category and the Best Summer Blockbuster category in my book. Just wanted you to know that.)
The Best Animated Film of the Year Was....
Sorry, Inside Out fans, but there was a better animated film than that in 2015. Which is saying something because Inside Out is a fantastic animated film from Pixar and one of the best it's released in a while. But Anomalisa was better. I've talked about this film several times at this point, and I've said this before but I'll say it again: if you're looking for a great example of film as an art form, then Anomalisa is your best bet. Everything about this film is meticulously created and placed in its spot with a specific purpose, which made the film have a nightmarish production cycle. However, co-directors Duke Johnson And Charlie Kaufman (Kaufman also wrote the film) never compromised their artistic vision, much like another director on a film further down on this list. Staying true to form helped this film in a big way. The film is wonderfully voiced by David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and I can't get enough of the wonderful artistic choice of having Tom Noonan voice everyone else. Ultimately this was a fantastic little film with stop-motion animation featuring a meaningful and very down-to-earth story that had me engaged from start to finish. If you're having a mid-life crisis, then this film is for you.
The Award for Film I Missed in 2014 and Watched Later and Realized It Deserved a Spot in Last Year's Top 10 Was....
I'm gonna start doing this for all my future best film lists that I may do. While I see a ton of films any given year, there's always a few I miss that are outstanding films. Last year, it was Locke. Locke is a great little indie film that debuted at a few film festivals and really nowhere else, which made it hard to actually find.....but holy crap am I glad I finally got to see it. Featuring Tom Hardy and ONLY Tom Hardy, he masterfully plays the character Ivan Locke, a man simply driving from point A to point B. Ya. How the heck can anyone make a film interesting where all the main character does throughout a 90 minute runtime is drive from point A to point B, right? Well, Steven Knight sure can, because holy CRAP does this film have a ridiculously engaging story and some of the best in-a-car shots I've seen in a film. Ha. But seriously, this film is amazing and asks Tom Hardy to talk to voices for 90 minutes and still make you feel for him. Which he of course does with ease. It is an extremely original concept and a bold undertaking, and I am so happy I made the time to see it in 2015. You should too.
So I've finally come to it. Alright, time to figure out what my top 3 films of 2015 were. I think I'll start with Room.
Room receives the distinct notion of having the best fictional story of 2015, hands-down. This film destroyed me. Featuring the best overall performance of the year from its female lead and an almost-as-good performance from its kid-actor Jacob Tremblay, Room is a powerful and engaging piece of cinema that respectfully looks at both a very dark part of the human condition, as well as unconditional love and the will to survive. I had the luxury of going into this film cold after somehow managing to avoid all plot synopses and reviews of it before my viewing. Boy am I glad I did that, as my first-time watching experience of this film was one of the best I've ever had. It was right on par with my first viewing of District 9 from back in 2009 which, fun fact, was one of the things that made me want to try my hand at reviewing films in the first place. But what's truly amazing to me is the second half of this film: I thought this entire film would be about Larson and Tremblay's experience in Room. So I figured there was no way the Room-less second half could be as good as the first half, right? Boy was I wrong. The second half of this film is why this is the third-best film of the year, as the psychological effects set in on our two main characters and they have to deal with figuring out how to live normally outside of Room. This is where Larson shows off her true acting talent, and why her performance is the best of the year. I ugly cried watching this film more than I ever have in a film before, and at various points throughout it mind you. It is an emotionally charged and powerful story. Be ready to ugly cry big time watching Room, however it is absolutely worth it.
From 2015's best fictional story in Room, to 2015's best nonfictional story. Spotlight. My pick for Best Picture this year is one of the most eye-opening films I have ever seen. Featuring a great ensemble cast led by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, Spotlight flawlessly tells the story of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team uncovering the major sex scandal that rattled (and still is, for that matter) the Catholic church back in the early 2000s. First off, Spotlight is the best film about journalism since 1976's classic film, All the President's Men. Spotlight tackles its extremely controversial and still fresh subject matter with reverence and care, and you see this reverence from start to finish. Additionally, it has an incredible set design with most of it being shot on location for authenticity purposes. While I know that's usually not a big deal, here on location means at the Boston Globe, which one needs to remember is a still-in-operation paper. So you can't just "shut down the office" to shoot the scenes in the Globe. Anyway, most films like this would have an agenda. Like The Big Short, most historical dramas are created to make you feel a certain way by the end of the film about whatever the film is talking about. But, not only that, you know they are trying to make you feel a certain way. However that is not the case here. Here, the filmmakers essentially said, "here's the evidence, now you decide what to think." Even though this film has an extraordinarily important subject material, it never reminds you of this. It simply presents its story, and leaves you to formulate your own opinion about it. This is why Spotlight is so incredible. This is why it is respectful. And the final end card where the film presents you with all the cities that have had priest sex scandals be exposed at some point or another is devastating. This is extremely thoughtful and courteous filmmaking, which is especially needed in a film like this. This film ultimately resonated with me more than any other film this year because of my upbringing, but while I really wanted to say it was the best film of the year........... I just couldn't justify it over Mad Max. I couldn't do it.
1) Mad Max: Fury Road
It started as I was writing my initial paragraph way up at the top of this list. As I was talking about "best" vs. "favorite" film and looking at a film from an all-encompassing perspective, I simply could not justify saying this was not the best film of 2015. Yes, Mad Max does not have the best story of the year. That honor, as I said before, goes to Room and Spotlight. Yes, it's subject matter is not important or life changing. You're not going to get that in a post-apocalyptic film about people chasing each other in cars. But, because of the technical achievements of this film like the effects, the costumes, the makeup, the editing, the artful cinematography, the directing, and the acting.....Not to mention a perfect score from Junkie XL to accompany the entire film.....it's simply the best overall film of the year. Featuring a badass performance from it's strong female lead in Charlize Theron, we see Mad Max take a backseat in his own film. This is awesome because, fortunately, Furiosa is so well-written that I was more than ok with Max in the passenger's seat. But what really gets me is the creativity of this film. From the first glorious shot of the film featuring Mad Max overlooking a great and vast desert while eating a freshly-killed lizard, we are immediately immersed in this post-apocalyptic world from the mind of the film's master, director George Miller. The production of this film is also insane, featuring a 10+ year cycle that was derailed by the film's location being deemed too unsafe to film because of things like the Iraqi War. Damn. George Miller needs to be commended for not compromising on his artistic vision as the YEARS dragged on with no end in sight with the Iraqi War. Miller could've easily decided to go to the Australian Outback, or Death Valley in California, or even just used a sound stage in LA, but he knew that would make the film a less authentic one. Even after the film began shooting he experienced numerous problems, with the highlight being the film going massively over-budget. But Miller never compromised. Usually when a film has this rough a production cycle you get something like Fant4stic, but, in part thanks to Miller's refusal to compromise, what we got instead was hands-down the best film of the year. Well done, George Miller. If only the Academy weren't in love with Alejandro González Iñárritu. Man....Iñárritu will .be the first director to receive back-to-back Oscars in over 50 years, and Miller will be the second director to be snubbed as a result of it. I honestly don't know which scrub is worse: Linklater or Miller. (I STILL can't believe the Academy gave Iñárritu an Oscar for director AND gave Birdman Best Picture last year. Please don't make me say that again this year, Academy...)
I know if you emphasize story more than anything else you might have a bone to pick with me about saying this is the best film of the year, but that's totally ok. These top 3 films could've all been interchangeable, and Spotlight and Room are up this high because they contain the best stories of the year. (Both in the nonfictional and fictional realm too, I might add.) But at the end of the day, my conscious told me I had to give this award to Mad Max. This film sets a new standard for what we should expect from an action movie, and it really showcases what a talented director can do with a film when you properly combine CGI and practical effects. I think in 20 years, when we look back at the best film's of the 2010's, we will look at Mad Max to be well within the top 5. Even though it won't win Best Picture because it falls well outside the norm for the Academy on this award, I think in time we'll also look at it as one of the great snubs of this decade. Though hopefully it looses to Spotlight and NOT The Revenant. Anything but The Revenant.
Well, there you have it folks. My best films of 2015! I just wrote all of that in like 5 hours boy are my fingers tired. I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank all of y'all for your wonderful support. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: y'all are freaking awesome. Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you next time here on Enter the Movies! Now rest, my fingers.
https://cdn.amctheatres.com/Media/Default/images/maxresdefault.jpg (Mad Max)
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/X8s265xvf64/maxresdefault.jpg (The Revenant)
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/N-UEEPbj5hk/maxresdefault.jpg (Straight Outta Compton)
http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/2015/moviereview/the-big-short-20151210/217786/medium_rect/1448398767/720x405-21626637065_987e23b3de_o.jpg (The Big Short)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YtGs1d1SSOs/VTG-t78KZ_I/AAAAAAAABB8/O9lexki3x0s/s1600/It-Follows-Trailer-620x350.png (It Follows)
https://static-secure.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/1/21/1421844142951/alicia-vikander-ex-machin-012.jpg (Ex Machina)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/film/San-Andreas/sanandreas3-xlarge.jpg (San Andreas)
http://www.canyon-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-Man-from-UNCLE.jpg (The Man from UNCLE)
http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-Martian-4.jpg (The Martian)
http://cdn.movieweb.com/img.news.tops/NEmUfw0c3Rztpq_1_b.jpg (MI: 5)
http://cdn.movieweb.com/img.news.tops/NEql9YlPxdVuur_1_b.jpg (Mad Max)
Yay! Now that we've gotten the worst films of the year out of the way, let's talk about fun things! This year marks the Second Annual Awesome Actor Awards. So welcome! Welcome to Enter the Movie's Second Annual Awesome Actor Awards: 2015 Edition! Though SPOILER: this year it should really be called the Awesome Actress Awards! You'll find out why in a bit. Anyway, it's gonna be a fun time once again as we count down the best performances of the year, hand out a few other various awards, and ultimately reach the best performance of the year. So here we go! Let's talk about two quick honorable mentions first.
Honorable Mention: O'Shea Jackson Jr., Straight Outta Compton
We start off with a great performance from a (now) mostly overlooked August film, Straight Outta Compton. I really have to respect O'Shea Jackson, Jr. for his role in this film. After all he was asked to play his father here. How often do sons get the chance to play their father in a film? And, I mean, how do you even prepare for that? Playing the young Ice Cube, O'Shea was fantastic as his father, delivering a performance so good that at a few points I legitimately thought the crew went out and got Ice Cube to play this role. Definitely the most standout performance from this excellent film! Thanks for overlooking it, Academy.
Honorable Mention: Joel Edgerton, The Gift
I'm not gonna lie: I added this honorable mention at the last second when I realized that I didn't give Joel Edgerton any love AT ALL in this post. The dude was my second choice for feel-good comeback story, third choice for best actor of the year, and his performances in both Black Mass and The Gift were going to just narrowly miss my list when I realized there's no way I can't let this happen to Edgerton! And, you know, being in charge of Enter the Movies means I get to do whatever with my Actor's Awards so now we have THREE honorable mentions. Anyway, The Gift is a little film that came out back in August and was actually quite impressive. Egerton both stars and directs, and for a feature length debut picture.....damn. Did Edgerton know how to balance both roles, something that has been notoriously difficult for an actor in Hollywood to do over the years. But he is great in this film, and I give it a big recommendation because of this performance. Also, I love that picture. That picture basically sums up his role in the film. All the creeps. And all the awesome.
Honorable Mention: Steve Carell, The Big Short
Where was this performance in Foxcatcher? The Big Short is hands-down Carell's best non-comedic performance in his career. He was fantastic as the eccentric and somewhat insane Mark Baum, and he managed to stand out in an excellent ensemble cast from this film. Seriously. If his performance in Foxcatcher was as good as his performance was here, he may have taken home the Oscar that year. We've now seen two serious performances from Carell in the last two years, and while I wasn't sure this was realm for him after Foxcatcher, I feel much more confident in his serious acting talent now. And with a Woody Allen project on his upcoming list of films, I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next!
10) Emily Blunt, Sicario
Emily Blunt broke out in a big way in 2014, earning her my "Breakout Actress of 2014" award. She had a very quiet 2015 with only one film, but I can see why. Sicario asked her to do a LOT. It was clearly a very taxing and demanding role, but I felt she was ultimately the best part of this film. She delivered a standout emotional performance, taking her character from Edge of Tomorrow and amplifying the human element to a far greater extent. She's beaten and broken and had me invested in her character at every turn. I think I was a little harsh on Sicario overall when I reviewed it, but I'm making up for it by giving Emily Blunt a well deserved spot on this list.
9) Michael Fassbender, Jobs
The big biopic performance of the year, Michael Fassbender did as good a job as one could've asked in his version of recreating Steve Jobs. Course it always helps when you get to rattle off Aaron Sorkin dialogue. Though not as memorable as say Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg, to quote another Sorkin film, Fassbender still did a fantastic job as Steve Jobs. Faaaaar better than Ashton Kutcher's go around, that's for damn sure! This performance is the perfect sendoff for Jobs, and credit has to be given to Fassbender for successfully and accurately playing the iconic Apple founder. While he benefits for playing one of the most recognizable figures in modern history, Fassbender does successfully absorb himself into the role, and it didn't take very long for me to forget that I was watching Fassbender and not Steve Jobs. That's what every actor strives for in a biopic performance, and while some do it better than others, (cough cough, Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln cough cough) Fassbender still did a great job here. Kudos, Michael Fassbender. Kudos.
8) Michael B. Jordan, Creed
My official "quantifiable acting" performance of 2015, Michael B. Jordan killed it as the title character in the latest revival of the Rocky franchise. But I'm gonna quick use this performance to talk about something bigger: #OscarsSoWhite. Now wait wait wait! Before you scroll down, just here me out. I'll pull a John Oliver here and say at the end of this rant I will attach a link to a gif of an adorable puppy doing something adorable to reward you for sticking around. So, on the one hand, if you scroll through my list here you will notice that this was the only performance by a black actor that cracked my top 10 list. Unlike 2014, which saw several high HIGH profile black performances get left by the wayside, (David Oyelowo's performance as MLK in Selma was in my top 3 best performances last year and it somehow wasn't nominated) 2015 was not the best year for black actors. The most high profile performance, Will Smith in Concussion, was kind of a disappointment. I could see why the Academy did not hand him a nomination. HOWEVER. Why. The. F**k. Is Sylvester Stallone, the ONLY white person involved in this ENTIRE movie, nominated for an Oscar and not Michael B. Jordan? This performance is right in the Academy's wheelhouse: it is an example of great quantifiable acting, as Jordan had to put on a ton of body muscle and do a ridiculous amount of training to prep for this role. Then, you know, he had to act! And act he did: this is the best performance I've ever seen in a boxing film short of Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. Which, to be fair, that film is more about what happens off the ring than on so it's kind of impossible to top it, but still! How the Academy could overlook this performance is BEYOND me, and the fact that now we've gotten all white nominations 2 years in a row, it's hard not to say this is a trend within the Academy. But that's my two cents on the matter. Now, let's look at a gif of a puppy being adorable. OH MY GOD. LOOK AT IT JUMP WHEN IT STARTS TO RUN. I CAN'T EVEN RIGHT NOW. Wait, what was I doing? Oh right. Acting discussions. What's next? OH MY GOD LOOK AT THIS PUPPY. IT'S SO CU-man I really need to get back to this. Who's next? Oh right! Michael Shannon! I've been looking forward to this one!
7) Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Ok so I'm gonna be honest, I'm kind of loopy right now. It's been a crazy couple of days at work, and I've had to work on this when I get home after mostly 12+ hour days. So my mind is all over the place. Hence the PUPPIES. Which has nothing to do with Leonardo DiCaprio! OR the fact that he's going to win his Oscar! But it's a well deserved Oscar. They might as well call this film the "Leo Gets An Oscar" film instead of The Revenant, because most of this film is just Leonardo DiCaprio alone and trying to survive out in the wilderness. I think the biggest thing I have to say against this performance, which is obviously the best performance from a male actor this year that were nominated for an Oscar, is just that: it's obvious. You go into the film knowing that Leo is going to be Leo, which kind of removes the sense of surprise when you walk out of it. Unlike with a film like Room, where I was shocked and amazed by the performances of both Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson. However, that doesn't take away anything from Leo and this performance. He is amazing as Hugh Glass, bringing his typical Leonardo DiCaprio-ness to the performance and reminding us yet again why he's one of the best actors in Hollywood today. I am definitely looking forward to this man's name being called on Oscar night. It is long overdue.
6) Jacob Tremblay, Room
Holy crap this kid can act! I mean wow. This performance throws Tremblay into the limelight as he more than holds his own opposite Brie Larson, which some of you already know will show up on this list later. But this kid is asked to do so much opposite Larson, from having to convince us he's looking at the world for the first time, to expressing basically every emotion imaginable throughout the film. This performance is certainly a memorable one, and by FAR the best I've seen from a child actor in my time reviewing films here at Enter the Movies. Yes, he got a lot of help from Brie Larson, but that doesn't take away how great a performance this was. And you better believe I thought it was better than Leonardo DiCaprio's (future) Oscar-winning performance from The Revenant.
5) Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
OH MY GOD MICHAEL SHANNON AND A CAT. Man that cat has big eyes. And that off camera stare....man is Shannon one good looking man! Speaking of good, his performance in this film! Yup. Plowing through. So Michael Shannon in 99 Homes. Man was this film massively overlooked last year. I could've just as easily put Andrew Garfield on this list as well, but Shannon really stuck out to me, putting in a terrifying and haunting performance as Rick Carver. While Garfield is the one with the character arc, as we see him become what he hates, it's Michael Shannon that manipulates him into that role. And there's a presence to him in this film. When Michael Shannon talks, you drop everything and listen. He nails a huge range of emotions in this film, and he does it in a very non-showy kind of way. There's no screen-hogging in 99 Homes. But in this case, that's a very good thing.
4) Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Man did Jennifer Jason Leigh come back in a big way in 2015. She's gonna show up in my awards section of this list, but for now, let's talk about her performance in The Hateful Eight. This is one of those rare examples of a performance were the actor (or actress, in this case) is completely swallowed up in a role. I very quickly forgot that I was watching Jennifer Jason Leigh, and instead thought I was watching Daisy Domergue. There is total immersion experienced here in this film, and we get to witness a totally insane and unpredictable Jennifer Jason Leigh having a blast in the role. She is funny, she is maniacal, and she is, of course, crazy. This performance was on par with the likes of Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Basterds or Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs. In other words, it's one of the best performances we've seen from an actor in a Quentin Tarantino film. Were it not for Alicia Vikander, she would be my favorite to win Best Supporting Actress this year. However, Alicia Vikander just had to bust on the scene this past year.
So, before I continue onto the top 3 performances of the year, it's time to hand out some "coveted" awards from Enter the Movies! I'm sure these guys will be thrilled to know that they received an award on this prestigious blog. Cough cough....
The Breakout Actor in 2015 was....
He finally did it. 3 years after his performance in Dark Knight Rises set his career back, he finally got his name back into the mainstream. After his performance as Bane, Hardy settled into smaller films, putting in stellar performances in films like Locke, The Drop, and Child 44. (Child 44 was not a great film, but Hardy was easily the best part of it) Finally, this year, he found himself back in major films. Between an outstanding performance as the iconic Mad Max, a wonderful and somewhat overlooked supporting performance in The Revenant, and an extremely underrated performance in Legend, a major British film, Hardy used 2015 to once again make himself a household name. Right now he only has one film on his radar which is Christopher Nolan's new film, but I'm confident that Nolan has seen Hardy's skills and will make him the lead of Dunkirk. We'll see!
The Breakout Actress in 2015 was....
Was there truly ever any doubt? When your career goes from 0 to 100 with one film, you better believe you're gonna be the breakout actress of the year. But Daisy deserves it! She was fantastic in the most high profile film of the year, and her performance even just barely missed making this list. Now that she's in the limelight, I look forward to seeing what she does in the future with other, non-Star Wars related films. Should be fun to see how far her acting prowess goes! Also, if you want a good laugh, check out the student film she did before Star Wars, called Scrawl. It's......interesting.
The Feel-Good Comeback Story of 2015 was...
2015 did not have a high profile comeback story that the previous 2 years contained, but that doesn't mean it wasn't void of comebacks. I wanted to shine light on one great feel good story from last year. Jennifer Jason Leigh has had a rough couple of years. Really a rough 21st century.She has had a few major roles in bad films, but besides a few low key performances in good films, she has gone largely unnoticed in Hollywood recently. However that changed in 2015. Between her excellent voice performance in Anomalisa, and her amazing supporting performance in The Hateful Eight, (which, as you saw, made this list) she killed it in 2015. And someone noticed. She was cast in 2016's high profile biopic, LBJ, and she is rumored to have been cast in Alex Garland's follow up to the outstanding Ex Machina, Annihilation. Congrats to her for turning her career around in 2015!
The Actor who had the worst 2015 was....
Look. Bradley Cooper is a ridiculously charismatic actor. He's been great before, and he will be great again. But that greatness did not shine through in 2015. Between a terrible film in Burnt where he was stupidly miscast, a disappointing film in Aloha, cashing it in with CBS's Limitless spinoff, and an odd, subpar performance in Joy, he really just hit the ground with a major thud in 2015. He's taking a bit of a break in 2016, which I think is certainly needed, but I'm certain he'll return in grand fashion soon. However there's no doubt that 2015 was not his year. Get it together, Bradley Cooper! I've been following you since 2010's The A-Team. I know you are better than this!
The Actress who had the worst 2015 was....
What did I say about Bradley Cooper? Oh wait. Lawrence was nominated for an Oscar so I actually have to defend why I think she had the worst 2015. Well, I'll get to Joy in a second, but let's first take a look at what else Jennifer Lawrence did in 2015. First off, she did Serena, which I forgot to mention Cooper was in as well and it was terrible, but the other high profile performance she had was in the finale of The Hunger Games. There's no doubt the series went downhill real fast after Catching Fire, but Mockingjay, Part 2 was easily Lawrence's worst film of the series. She is very obviously just going through the motions and essentially phoning it in on the franchise that made her famous. Then there's her other film, Joy. Yes, she received an Oscar nomination for the role, but holy crap did she not deserve it. She is very miscast as Joy and looked.....outmatched at various points. She was asked to do too much. Joy was a very disappointing film overall, but Lawrence was average at best. The only reason she received a nomination is because the Academy loves Jennifer Lawrence. However there were faaaaaaaar better performances last year, (like Daisy Ridley in Star Wars!) and so I think she is a deserving recipient of this award. Fortunately, though, she has been announced in Steven Spielberg's next high-profile film, so I'm hopeful she will bounce back in a big way. Bring it back, Jennifer Lawrence!
The Actor who had the best 2015 was....
I told you! I freaking called it Last year I said Isaac was the man to watch in 2015, and he had EASILY the best 2015 of any actor in Hollywood. First off, he was the outstanding Nathan in Ex Machina, a performance that would've been on this list had I not known that I was giving Oscar Isaac this award. Then, he impressed in the ok Mojave, a film that wasn't very good short of the outstanding performance from none other than yours truly. Then, he DAZZLED in an HBO mini-series called Show Me a Hero, which is something you should DEFINITELY take the time to watch. As if all that wasn't enough, then he created the now iconic Poe Dameron in Star Wars Episode VII, thus making himself a household name. And with his performance as Apocalypse in the latest X-Men flick, he's only going to further cement his status among the Hollywood elite. The man who once got stuck outperforming all his co-stars in the terrible Sucker Punch has come a looooooooong way. Well done, Oscar Isaac.
The Actress who had the best 2015 was....
This one was also easy. Vikander had the best year of anyone in Hollywood in 2015. After being the best part of the terrible Seventh Son to start the year, Vikander found her grove in Ex Machina, putting in a performance I believed was more worthy of an Oscar nomination (and win, I might add) than her actual Oscar nominated performance from The Danish Girl. But she was incredible in Ex Machina, creating a convincing and thought-provoking AI in Eva. Then, she was the sexy and intriguing Gaby in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which I believe is by FAR the most underrated and unappreciated film of 2015. To continue her roll she put in another fantastic performance in The Danish Girl, in which I thought she even outperformed her co-star, Eddie Redmayne. I was honestly entranced by her performance as Gerda Wegener, and I think she is very deserving recipient of an Oscar for the role. While she capped off the year with Burnt, her performance in this film was very similar to Lupitia N'yong'os performance in Non-Stop to follow up her Oscar winning role in 12 Years a Slave: very brief, and clearly accepted at a time when she had to accept any role she could get. Well, now she certainly doesn't have to, and with a well-deserved Oscar likely on the way, I can't wait to see what the future holds for this great actress. (Oh, and the only reason her performances are not on this list is for the same reason I gave with Oscar Isaac: I knew I was giving her this award. Otherwise almost half the list would've been taken up by Vikander and Isaac.)
The Actor to watch out for in 2016 is....
So I did this last year and went 1 for 2. Oscar Isaac obviously had himself a great 2015, but Shailene Woodley took a giant step back instead of forward last year. However hopefully I'm right on with both of these predictions. First off, on the male side....I'm going for it. Watch out for Jacob Tremblay. As I said in Room, this kid has made me a believer that he could be the next high-profile child star. Right now he's got 3 films on the slate for 2016. One, called Before I Wake, has a trailer out already and it looks like it could be a good horror film. But did you see the part where I said horror? Ya, I said horror. So you know what that means. Next up is an adventure film called Burn Your Maps, which comes to us from the writer of Big Hero 6 that will put Tremblay opposite Vera Farmiga, so I'm definitely excited to see where that one goes. Finally, Tremblay is starring in a film called The Book of Henry. I don't know a whole lot about this film other than the fact that it's the in-between film for the director between Jurassic World and Star Wars: Episode IX. So I have a feeling it's gonna get some press. So Tremblay is definitely someone to watch out for in 2016! Hopefully he is up to the challenge. After all, how can you not root for this kid? Look for him to get some airtime at this year's Oscars!
The Actress to watch out for in 2016 is....
This was an easy choice for one reason: Star Wars. Felicity Jones is the lead in the first ever Star Wars spinoff story called Rogue One. But, not only is she doing that in 2016, she's also has 3 other films coming out this year. The first is called Collide, which may or may not receive a lot of coverage as it comes out April 1. However Jones stars alongside the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Nicholas Hoult, so that's always a good start. Then, she's starring alongside Tom Hanks in the next Ron Howard film, Inferno. Yes. As in Dan Brown's Inferno. So you KNOW that one's gonna get some press. Finally, she's gonna star alongside Liam Neeson and Signourney Weaver in A Monster Calls. This film is being released right in the middle of 2016's Oscar season, and puts Jones in the perfect spot to go for an Oscar nomination, before she finally leads a great cast in the first Star Wars spinoff. She's got quite the year upcoming and was the easy answer to the question of which actress you should watch out for in 2016!
Well, now that I've handed out all my excess awards, let's finish off the list, shall we? All female performances from here on out, I might add. You go girls!
3) Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Oh my goodness I love this woman. I've been waiting for Saoirse Ronan to really break out. She had been in several films before this like Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Peter Weir's The Way Back, (and of course her other Oscar nominated role in Joe Wright's Atonement) but I was still waiting for that role where she really showed off what she could do. Well, I am waiting no longer. Brooklyn is that film. Ronan carries this film, and rightly so: she is asked to do so much in the lead role. I mean, for starters, she has to balance two dudes! That's a pretty tough thing to manage. No but seriously, she really has to convey so much in this role, and she does it all without ever feeling overbearing. While she definitely benefited from having a great script and a great director in John Crowley, there's no denying this movie is as good as it is squarely because of her. If there's ever a role that is the definition of a career-defining performance, it would be Saiorse Ronan in Brooklyn. She's on the rapid rise to the world of A-list movie star, and when we look back on her career in 10 years we'll look to Brooklyn for where it all started.
2) Cate Blanchett/Rooney Mara, Carol
It's unfair to separate these two in this film, so I'm not going to. It's weird to think that the reason an actress is not going to win an Oscar is because she has too much chemistry with her counterpart, but that is absolutely the case in Carol. Both Blanchett and Mara are exception in this film, but they are also inseparable. Carol is, without a doubt, the best romantic film of the year and it is that because of Mara and Blanchett. These two are exceptional in their lead roles and each create diverse and interesting characters. Bouncing off each other, they did absorb themselves into these characters and entranced me from start to finish. Both are nominated for an Oscar, which should say something about the performances, and both would be deserving victors most years. Heck before I saw Room, I really thought both were gonna take home the Oscar in their respective categories. Then Room happened. Alicia Vikander did too but that's beside the point! Then Room happened.
1) Brie Larson, Room
As you'v_e seen, there were a lot of great performances this year. However, Brie Larson was in a league of her own. The heavy favorite to win Best Actress this year, Brie Larson delivered the rawest, most harrowing, and most emotional performance of 2015. Hot damn did she destroy me in her performance as Ma in Room. This role was by far the most emotionally demanding role asked of anyone in the business from last year, and most would not have been up for the challenge. I'm honestly not sure how many actresses out there could've pulled this role off this convincingly other than Larson, but fortunately I don't have to worry about that. Everything about this role was demanding, all the way from the prep to the after effects. There are some fascinating featurettes out there on YouTube about Larson talking about the mental challenges she had to endure in making/prepping for this film, like this one. But what's so impressive to me about this performance is the fact that not only did she have to prepare for her time in Room, there is a basically another movie after the characters escape Room! In this second half, Larson is basically asked to play a completely different character, with a totally different set of emotions, and she nails it. I was almost more engaged in the second half of the film than I was the first half, which I didn't think would be possible. But all of this happens because of Brie Larson. While it wasn't as subtle as something like Saoirse Ronan in Brookyln's performance, Larson still very much carried this incredible film. The second the film was over, the first thing I did was write down "Brie Larson: best performance of the year." Before I did anything else. As the film settled I realized just how good Tremblay's performance was, but Larson's stood out even as the film was happening. Her performance....brought out genuine emotion out of me. Something no performance has done before during my time here on Enter the Movies. I don't claim to know anything about the acting process, or how to prepare for a film, but I think Larson's should be adapted by others because it really is something to behold. Go watch Room and see what I'm talking about, guys. But for now, take my word for it: Brie Larson's performance in Room is EASILY the best performance of 2015. Here's another fascinating featurette on the film and the roles of both Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in Room. You get some info on Black Mass too, which is cool as well!
Well, there you have it! My best performances of 2015. Now, if you can't tell yet, I am definitely giving Room some HIGH high praise. But is it the best film of the year? While this is an obvious tease for my final list that will be release in the next few days on the best movies of 2015, I also honestly don't know yet. I may or may not be delaying that in part because I'm still trying to figure out which of my top 3 films resonated with me the most from 2015. Don't know what 3 films I'm talking about? Well, stay tuned for the best films of 2015 and find out! See? There. Better teaser. Yes I know I have no idea what I'm doing DOG. THAT'S A DOG. I'd say see ya next time but I'm totally distracted by this dog HE'S SO FLUFFY.
http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MCDSTOU_EC037_H2-1200.jpg (O'Shea Jackson Jr.)
http://cdn.hitfix.com/photos/6096999/JoelEdgertonTheGift_article_story_large.jpg (Joel Edgerton)
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2454577!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_635/big-short.jpg (Steve Carell)
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/3clPMLVTIdM/maxresdefault.jpg (Emily Blunt)
http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/9af6e2335cafcb3c5764289bb2a59eb2dd105281/c=119-0-2765-1495&r=x1683&c=3200x1680/local/-/media/2015/10/07/USATODAY/USATODAY/635798284365753944-XXX-STEVE-JOBS-MOV-DCB-74914270-1-.JPG (Michael Fassbender)
http://statcdn.fandango.com/MPX/image/NBCU_Fandango/438/871/Room_FeaturetteJacobTremblay.jpg (Jacob Tremblay)
https://d2p1nnn035jt22.cloudfront.net/styles/spw_image_large/s3/news/images/galleries/creed2cropped.jpg (Michael B. Jordan)
http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/sites/sbs.com.au.film/files/99_homes_704_2.jpg (Michael Shannon)
http://thecelebritycafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/th8-ac-00031_lg-1200x545_c.jpg (Jennifer Jason Leigh)
https://s3.amazonaws.com/tm-photos-production/109770.jpg (Saiorse Ronan)
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mKlkp0aEfec/VlFzPIp3xbI/AAAAAAAEWRw/C0bhar1gHKc/s1600/Carol-Cate_Blanchett-Rooney_Mara-018.jpg (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara)
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/UMs3Y600wOI/maxresdefault.jpg (Tom Hardy)
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/e/e6/DaisyRidley.jpg (Daisy Ridley)
http://elephantmanlondon.com/content/uploads/2015/02/bradley.jpg (Bradley Cooper)
http://www.blackfilm.com/read/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Oscar-Isaac-2.jpg (Oscar Isaac)
https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/alicia_vikander_portrait_session_38293263.jpg (Alicia Vikander)
http://media2.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2016_03/938101/jacob-tremblay-tease-troday-160118_683960f1bdee6c54886d4265453c2467.JPG (Jacob Tremblay)
https://3elydn392n5m3p35uv1mwipek8n-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/content/uploads/2015/01/felicity-jones-7456.jpg (Felicity Jones)
http://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/room_header-620x320.png (Brie Larson)
Well, I know this is the one you come for. I do too: "worst of" lists are always way more fun to read/watch than "best of" lists. I get it. However that doesn't mean I like making them. Cause I sure don't. Alright well let's just get this over with. Wait, where's my beer? I need some alcohol hang on.......I know you can't see it, but I seriously just went and grabbed a beer. Don't believe me? Look!
That's the beer I just went and poured myself. Easy IPA from Firestone Walker, even though I know you weren't wondering. I just felt like telling you because right now I am absolutely stalling for time because I don't want to talk about these films. Alright alright I'll talk about them! Just remember: that beer is gonna be the best thing for me over the course of the next hour.....
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Serena
So how does a straight-to-streaming/DVD movie staring two of Hollywood's biggest names happen? By being absolutely hilariously terrible. The best part about this film is watching Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper slowly realize how awful this thing is and thus take their roles less and less seriously as it goes on. For example at the start of the film, Bradley Cooper has this weird southern "old timey" accent, but by the end of the film, it's gone! WHOA! That should've been a story arc: the case of Bradley Cooper's vanishing accent! Well, this film could've very well been higher, but nobody saw it! You probably would've scrolled passed had I not included a picture of Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper together. After all how can anything staring the two of them be bad, right?
On another note, can I just say that director Susanne Bier kind of pisses me off? In the trailer for this film she says, "Academy Award Winner" Susanne Bier. I searched her IMDB page and couldn't find mention of this supposed Academy Award. Was she perhaps a sound mixer or something and won an award back in the day for it? NO. She directed a film in 2011 that won Best Foreign Language film, and now she totes that around NO! You're entire crew did that. If you want to properly sell that, you say "Director of the movie that won Best Foreign Language film." You don't take credit for the entire project yourself. Bad Susanne Bier. No.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The Gunman
This film is being mentioned mostly because of who's in it. Sean Penn has two Oscars and his role of Harvey Milk is, in my opinion, one of the best performances of the 2000s. Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, and FREAKING Idris Elba round out this seemingly strong supporting cast. However here, they're just awful. And this is from the director of the original Taken too! You know, the good Taken. (I didn't even bother watching Taken 3 so you won't see it on this list) But this film is just a joke of an action movie. Somehow these wonderfully charismatic actors are..... well.... not.... charismatic here. This isn't even good by stupid action movie standards. Just let this stay on your Netflix queue forever man. You'll be happy you did.
I'm not gonna lie: this one might be the only film on this list that I love to hate. This is a film that you watch after a lot of drinks and laugh at. Yes Johnny Depp has played this character entirely too often. Yes he's not funny here. But after a few drinks and with company? It's a blast to hate it. And it has a strong supporting cast too! Sure everyone but Gwyneth Paltrow is dreadful, with Olivia Munn particularly disappointing because the film has no idea what to do with her other than ogle like a 12 year old over how hot she is, but it's still a "so bad it's good" kind of bad. It's also the only one of those I put on this list, so let's get to the ranting, shall we?
9) Paranormal Activity: THe Ghost Dimension
How? How is this franchise still a thing? Paranormal Activity fell into the classic horror movie trap: the original was successful and was a NEW IDEA in the horror genre and made a lot of money, so we have to crank out 8 more of them! This series is FINALLY taking a break after this stupid, lazy excuse of a horror film, but I'm sure in 5 or 10 years we'll get another one when the distributor thinks they'll make some money again. GAH! What's sad is the fact that the first 2 films in this franchise were SO GOOD. Paranormal Activity 2 made some significant advances in the franchise and introduced one of the first uses of the "rotating camera" scare, something which It Follows used to perfection this past year. But since then these films have gotten lazier and lazier, reducing themselves to nothing but pop scares. If you're into horror films like I am, for the love of God go see It Follows and NOT Paranormal Activity 16.
8) Jupiter Ascending
LETS YELL SOME and now let's whisper. I am channeling my inner Eddie Redmayne right now. Bring her to me. I WILL FIND HER.
You know, I think I love to hate this movie too. Because it is hilariously awful. This film is impossible to defend, and it was a major disappointment given who created it, (the Wachowskis) but Eddie Redmayne going absolutely freaking nuts saved it from being higher on this list. But then you realize that this travesty is way too long, filled with way too much exposition, and filled with way too much damsel-in-distress from its supposed female lead to be truly enjoyable. It's a big stupid sci-fi film, but it's trying way too hard to be more. Thank GOD for Eddie Redmayne. Never thought I'd be saying that honestly....
Ok so this film probably shouldn't be on this list at all because absolutely no one saw it and it doesn't have a backstory like Serena does, but I LOVE PATRICK WILSON, OK? HE'S SO FREAKING CHARMING AND CHARISMATIC I MEAN LOOK AT THAT PICTURE. LOOK AT THAT SMILE. LOOK AT THAT LEG CROSS. HOW CAN YOU NOT FIND THAT SEXY AS HELL? So I'm gonna talk about Zipper because this movie sucked! A terrible attempt to show a politician's attempt to deal with an addiction to sex while in office, Zipper starts out with the potential to be a House of Cards-like political drama, but then it throws it all away as it HAS to have this stupid, overbearing message about corruption in politics over your head like it's a dead pig. You KNOW that after a man is exposed for cheating on his wife with prostitutes, and is exposed through irrefutable video evidence of this fact, his political career is done. We all KNOW that. He wouldn't be "noticed" by a higher member of his party then 6 months later be running for AND WIN a seat in the US Senate! Seriously? As a result this film either has a really cynical view of today's world, or it's just trying to make a very lazy statement about politics today. The acting sucks here too. Even Patrick Wilson. Patrick freaking Wilson! Even he is bad here. And Lena Headey is totally forgettable, Ray Winstone and Richard Dreyfuss are in this film for so short a time that if you blink you might miss them. The director, Mora Stephens, has had a rough start to her directing career, as none of her films have done very well, but someone somewhere believes in her because with each film she directs her profile increases. Good for her! I hope she manages to make a good film soon. But it's certainly not here. Please be your old, charismatic self again Patrick Wilson.....
6) 50 Shades of Grey
Ya. Remember when I struggled through this film for you? Well, here's my review if you wanna relive my misery. This is one thing I want to try and improve on this year: I need to get out and see more crappy films and actually review them. I started that last year with 50 Shades, but I struggled through this one so much that I really didn't do it again. But, as you can see, I was not as low on this film as others were. Sure, it sucked. Don't get me wrong I am by no means saying it was a decent film when I say I'm not as low on it, I just mean I didn't hate it as much as others did. Why? Because I knew what I was in for going in. I knew that this was going to be bad. But, in a film like this, I really wish they had just gone for it. The filmmakers try and saddle this line between decency and bat-s**t crazy, but I really wish they had just gone full crazy! But see? The fact that I was wishing for that meant I was at least paying attention during the film. And there's no doubt Dakota Johnson is doing her bestest here, but, like another young adult novel film that's gonna show up later on this list, she just can't bring along her stone-age hunk of a male counterpart along for the ride. Jamie Dornan is God-awful as Christian Grey. He is SO BAD. I would've love to see what a Charlie Hunnam Christian Grey would've been like, but of course we'll never know. But just the fact that I care enough to think of what could've been is why this film is not higher on the list. Now, I stop caring about what could've been. Why? Because it's time to talk about another young adult film that's even worse than this.
Yup. Bet this one took you by surprise a bit. Why is this here and not on my biggest disappointments of 2015? Because this film signifies EVERYTHING that is wrong with the young adult genre: it's heavy handed, it tries to immerse you in a s**tty world makes no sense and that is the same as every other post-apocalyptic world in this genre, it stars a lead that is "special" because, well, because they are, and there's always one high-profile actor (or actress, in Kate Winslet's case.... course now Naomi Watts and freaking Jeff Daniels have joined the team....) that's embarrassing themselves by being in it. All the "fun" parts of the first movie are gone here, and we get this stupid investigation into a world that we don't care about, which ultimately left me struggling to find any entertainment in this film whatsoever. M83 didn't even make an appearance this time around, as his song while the characters ziplined through the Chicago skyline was EASILY the best part of the original. And of course all the problems of the first are still here, most notably the fact that Theo James has just about as much charisma here as Jamie Dornan has in 50 Shades. Pretty much the only saving grace in here is Miles Teller not giving a crap about anything that's going on. But ultimately, Insurgent is a crappy young adult film that's trying so hard to be so much more than it actually is. God make it stop make it stop....
4) Get Hard
I initially had something like 9 comedies on this list. I narrowed it down to 3, but that means 3 of the bottom 4 films on this list are comedies. That's not good! Well, we start with Get Hard. Kevin Hart is one of the funniest people alive. But why does he keep picking terrible movies to try and show off his acting prowess? Actually, why does he pick films where the film crew has no idea how to let him even be himself? I mean this film has one legitimately good/funny scene, and it's the one scene where the filmmakers clearly just let Kevin Hart be Kevin Hart. (It's the scene we kinda see in the trailers where Hart is impersonating multiple different types of people at once-I'll spoil it because dear God don't see this film) And Will Ferrell.... it's been quite some time since I've found Will Ferrell to be truly funny in a movie. Well, ok. I thought he was pretty funny in The Lego Movie, but he definitely did not carry that movie or anything. The last time I thought he did that was in 2010's The Other Guys. He's been on some kind of cold streak recently, and I think he could really benefit from settling down and taking a bit of a break from Hollywood. Maybe focus on stand-up and find his rhythm again, because he's just not funny right now. There. I said it. He's not! And of course this film is absolutely dreadful from a technical standpoint, so when you have no laughs and no technical side to your film whatsoever, you have a pretty awful movie. But don't worry! It's only gonna get worse.
3) Hot Pursuit
Reese Witherspoon. Why. How the hell do you follow up Wild, a performance which I said was my second favorite of 2014 in my actor awards, (which you can revisit here) and an overall year which had me calling you the feel-good comeback story of the year, to THIS? HOW CAN YOU BE PROUD OF THIS MOVIE? You can't. You simply cannot be proud of this. It's impossible. Reese Whitherspoon and Sofia Vergara had more chemistry during their press tour for this film than they did in the film itself. It's embarrassing how awkward these two are on screen together. Not to mention the part where this film is weirdly sexist? Ya, I know. Somehow this film finds a way to be sexist against women when its two leads are female. Bravo on that one! There is literally nothing funny about this film. Not one laugh. Honestly, this movie makes you question why your wasting your time watching it during the film. Coming in at 87 minutes, it's 86 minutes too long, and has absolutely no redeeming qualities to it. The only reason its not number 1 on my list is because there are somehow 2 worse films than it on this list. Gosh where's my beer?
F*****************************************************************ck this movie. It was on my biggest disappointments list as well (which you can find here) but this film just ended up being a complete disaster. I still don't understand how a film can be this bad when it stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, and Kate Mara. How can you be this bad? It's action scenes are hilariously corny and unbelievable, the effects are on the same level as the first freaking Fantastic Four (you know, the one that came out back in 2005) and it once again SOMEHOW screws up Doctor Doom. Stop it, Fox! Just let this franchise die and go back into the hands of Marvel. See Fantastic Four is a lot like Aquaman: nobody cares about them. Despite being Marvel's first family. This comic series tried so hard to be like Justice League and Avengers, but it's always failed so miserably despite a fantastic villain. I mean, how lazy can you be to be called Fantastic Four and have your supposed leader be called Mr. Fantastic? (Even though Teller is never once referred to as Mr. Fantastic) Could you imagine if the Avengers Were called "America's Finest" or something with Captain America their leader? It's just poor writing, and I think even in the hands of Marvel this series doesn't stand a chance unless it's immediately brought into the MCU and they're only used as supporting characters in the overall story. But for now, Fant4stic serves as a "shining" example of corporate-directed film making at its worst.
Shame on you, Miles Teller. You had such a great 2014 WHY DID YOU SCREW UP 2015! Seriously, the difference between Teller's 2014 and 2015 is like Jekyll and Hyde. Maybe it's a pattern and that means that in 2016 he'll be really good again? I sure hope so. But, of course The Divergent Series still exists so I'm not holding my breath too much. You can do better, man!
Alright ready for my worst film of 2015? Well, here we go.....
1) Paul BLart: Mall Cop 2
Let's be honest: I'm using this film as a scapegoat to rip on (again, I might add) Happy Madison Productions. Can you say f**k Adam Sandler? Because this film might as well have stared him. It is, like literally every other Happy Madison film, condescending to the audience watching it. This film, as usual, is essentially a vacation for everyone involved. This time around, it's to the Wynn in Las Vegas! Woot woot! And of course there's tons of product placement all throughout the film and there's even a super awkward cameo from Steve Wynn himself at the end of the film as this movie tries so hard to be a 94 minute add for the Wynn casino. It's lead is a terrible human being who, despite being an awful person on screen, gets the girl in the end because of course he does, and he's played in the most lazy, I-don't-give-a-f**k way by Kevin James, who of course is squarely in the posse of Adam Sandler. There are absolutely no jokes in this whatsoever, and it's almost to the point where you find yourself sitting there wondering if there were even attempts at making a joke throughout most of this movie. I couldn't even finish it! I could not finish this movie, that's how bad it was. It is more than worthy of my worst film of 2015 "award" which means of the 3 years I've done this, 2 of the 3 years a Happy Madison film was my worst movie of that year. Shame on you, Adam Sandler. Shame on you. Just stop it.
But I'm not done! The other reason I made this my worst movie of 2015 is to further yell at Adam Sanler. I know, I haven't done that enough already. But I'm gonna address him directly! Ready? You are a terrible person, man. Your films are garbage, and you look on your audience with such disdain as you laugh your way to the bank. You give yourself absurd salaries for your films, and you use them as an excuse to go on vacation somewhere. You are the embodiment of what's wrong with the upper class in this country. You at least spent some of your budget on visual effects in Pixels which is the only reason why Paul Blart is at the top of the list instead of Pixels, but most of all.....you're just. Not. Funny. Pixels was no exception to this not-funny rule. And don't even get me started on The Ridiculous 6! And it's already the most watched film on Netflix...... how, America? This guy has one, maybe two funny movies in his entire CAREER. That's it! And he's still able to make these lazy-ass films that distributors overpay for because they somehow still make money. We all should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing this to happen. And as long as it does, I will keep bringing it up every year. Least he's in a 6 film deal on Netflix so we don't have to worry about him reaching the big screen for a while. We just get to hear about his films being the most watched movies on Netflix. Which isn't a whole lot better....
I'm done. Where's my sunset? I need to ride off into it because I am so done with this list. Now we at least will brighten the mood a lot with the best films and best performances, but I need a breather first. Thank God for this beer. Anyway, I'll see y'all next time here on Enter the Movies. Yay..........
https://s3.amazonaws.com/lifesite/50shadesmovie.png (50 Shades)
https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/the-gunman-sean-penn.jpg (The Gunman)
http://cdn.idigitaltimes.com/sites/idigitaltimes.com/files/2015/10/23/paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension-1.jpg (Paranormal Activity)
http://minnesotaconnected.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/jupiter-ascending-movie-review.jpg (Jupiter Ascending)
http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3AY%5D/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3Am%5D/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3Ad%5D/01-fifty-shades-of-grey.jpg (50 Shades)
http://www.metro.us/_internal/gxml!0/r0dc21o2f3vste5s7ezej9x3a10rp3w$afbugwaertqfepqiubv1vzo5orolsjq/get-hard-low-res.jpeg (Get Hard)
http://i2.wp.com/pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/hotpursuitnew.jpg (Hot Pursuit)
http://www.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul_blart_mall_cop.jpg (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Another year, another Oscar season! While this year's Oscars have a fair bit of well deserved controversy over being all white..... again.... I certainly look forward to Chris Rock hosting this year's awards, because you KNOW he is going to make the Academy the butt of several #OscarsSoWhite jokes over the course of the evening. But, outside the omission of color, we actually have a fairly strong contingent of nominations this year! So let's get started, ya? Here are my Oscar predictions for 2015!
The format is the same as the last two years. (holy crap this is my third year doing this) I'll go in reverse alphabetical order through the nominations, and in each category I'll have my pick (who deserves it) for the category as well as who's the favorite. My who's the favorite category is based off Vegas odds found at this site and it should be noted that over the last 2 years this late in the game they've only been wrong like 3 times total, so my who will win is right like 97% of the time. Anyway, let's go!
Writing: Original Screenplay
Who deserves it: Spotlight
Who's the favorite: Spotlight
I often don't agree with the Academy on who deserves to win Best Original Screenplay, and I must admit I was pretty torn between Spotlight and Ex Machina, but at the end of the day I cannot deny that Spotlight resonated with me more than Ex Machina did. However Vegas is saying Spotlight is the HEAVY favorite going at 1/14 (Inside Out is the next closest at a distant 13/2) so they obviously didn't think Ex Machina was as thought-provoking as I did. I think with Machina it's just more about the fact that it was actually nominated than anything else. But Spotlight does edge it out. Also sad day for the one nomination for Straight Outta Compton showing up here and likely not walking away with a win. Definitely one of the big snubs of 2015.
Writing: Adapted Screenplay
Who deserves it: Room
Who's the favorite : The Big Short
Oh hey! I disagree with the Academy again! Right now The Big Short is going off as 1/14 favorites in Vegas, however I think the film that deserves a win in this category is Room. Honestly, this category is stacked with deserving winners with the exception of The Martian, (Great film, but there were quite a few that were better.) however no film destroyed me or resonated with me as much as Room did in 2015, with the sole exception of Spotlight. In my review I said it was the best work of fiction of the year, and it features a story that stayed meticulously loyal to its subject material. That said, I have no problem with The Big Short ultimately running away with it, as its story is definitely more "important" than Room's.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I'm going to be very sad if Star Wars wins this. It would essentially be the Academy saying "Ok, Star Wars fans. You got an Oscar. Now hush." But in the process it would take the award away from a FAR more deserving candidate in Mad Max. I love the fact that 2015 saw a meteoric rice in films that emphasized the use of practical effects. And both Mad Max and Star Wars focused on this. But Mad Max triumphed over Star Wars in this department in every way. Whereas Star Wars would just have explosions go off in various predetermined spots, Mad Max actually blew s**t up. RIP to all the cars that lost their lives during the filming of this movie. And when the CGI did come out, like during the sandstorm? It looked spectacular. Whereas in Star Wars Snoke and Maz really stood out as CGI in an otherwise practical effects world. Really took me out of the film at times. So please, Academy. Don't go for the easy road. Go for fury. Go for Mad Max. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Wait where's my slow clap? Ok I'll move on.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
This is gonna be a recurring theme in the technical categories, because there's no doubt Mad Max was the best technical film of the year. The Academy usually gets these categories right, and this year is no exception. Both the mixing and the editing of Mad Max were the best of the year, and I'm glad their name will (likely) be called on Oscar night. The Revenant is in second on this list, going off at 7/4 at the moment compared to Mad Max's 8/13. It's a little close, but I hope the Academy's hard-on for Alejandro González Iñárritu stays at bay this year, because outside of Cinematography and Actor it doesn't deserve, well, anything. More on that later.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
Same as before. Mad Max in first and deserves it, The Revenant in second. Pretty much the exact same odds too. Won't say much here other than HOLY CRAP THE SOUND OF MAD MAX IS SO GOOD. Sorry I don't know why I yelled just there.
Short Film (Live Action)
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Ave Maria
As usual, I haven't see any of these yet. It's just so hard to find them! I'm glad that after the Oscars last year the Academy release both the live action and animated shorts in a collection that you could purchase, which I did and was thus able to see all the nominations. I hope they do that again this year, but as is I haven't seen any of them so I'm just going with Vegas here. Ave Maria is at 8/15, while Shok is at 3-1. But they have very little to base that off of, so we'll see what happens!
Short Film (Animated)
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Sanjay's Super Team
I don't know how I didn't see this one. It is the Disney-Pixar short, though I don't recall seeing it before Inside Out. Must have been before The Good Dinosaur, which I have not seen yet. Either way, it's the Disney-Pixar short, so it's obviously going to win. It's going at 8/11 right now in Vegas, though it should be noted that World of Tomorrow is close behind at 11/8. Man if a non-Disney short film ever won this category it would be a colossal upset given the fact that about 60% of the Academy is employed by Disney...
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
This was the bread and butter of Mad Max. On top of the spectacular visual effects and sound mixing, you have the stunning artistic creation of the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max. Mad Max is the heavy favorite in this category, going at 1/12 with the next closest being The Danish Girl at 14-1. Ya. This one is easy.
Who deserves it: Spectre by Radiohead
Who's the favorite: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
Boy does this year's Original Song category SUCK. First off, this category is really just a publicity stunt. It's an opportunity to get big name artists to perform at the Oscars for marketing purposes, and yet every year there's always at least one high-profile omission. Last year it was Lorde's Yellow Flicker Beat, and this year it's See You Again from Furious 7, aka a chance to get Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa to perform at the Oscars. The song isn't very good, but the performance would've been fun. That said, I'm saying screw this category and picking a song that wasn't even in film this year, Spectre by Radiohead. For a long time before it was announced that the massively overrated Sam Smith was going to singing the theme song of Spectre, it was rumored that Radiohead was going to be singing the it. As it turns out, they were supposed to. And they did. They recorded this song for the film, but when they sent it over to the producers it got rejected for not being "pop-y enough." But holy crap is it so much better than Writing's on the Wall. It goes to show how crappy this Sam Smith song is when it's not even the favorite to win Best Original Song at the Oscars. The Bond song always wins at the Oscars! Way to be disappointing as usual, Sam Smith. (Seriously, how is this guy popular? His voice is the only thing he has going for him, and it is below average at best.... I mean I can kind of understand T. Swift and Ed Sheeran, and I can definitely understand Adele, but Sam Smith's success is beyond me.)
Who deserves it: The Hateful Eight
Who's the favorite: The Hateful Eight
I am so salty over the fact that Junkie XL's ridiculously badass score from Mad Max isn't even nominated. Seriously? Why in the world didn't this get a nomination over Bridge of Spies and Sicario? No one can say with a straight face that those two films had better scores than Mad Max. But such is life. However if I were to give this award to anyone else this year, it'd be the LONG overdue Oscar for Ennio Morricone. Leo is gonna get all the press this year for likely finally winning an Oscar this year, but this man's overdue Oscar makes Leo's look like child's play. Seriously. Go to Morricone's IMDB page. It's right here. 528 score credits since 1961. Five. Hundred. And. Twenty. Eight. I mean how the heck do you even have the creative imagination to compose 528 different scores???? This is the big story of the Oscars this year in my opinion. This man is a legendary contributor to the film industry, and has even received an honorary award from the Academy for his contributions to the film industry back in 2007. And now finally, after doing this for over 50 years and at age 87, he will finally walk away with an Oscar. Probably. I cannot wait to hear this acceptance speech. John Williams is my favorite composer of all-time, but the man already has 5 Oscars. So don't get upset when Star Wars doesn't win for Best Score. Because there's a far better feel-good story in this category. Also Morricone has the same birthday as me so that's cool.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
First off, why are there only 3 films in this category? This category infuriates me every year. Sure Mad Max had the best makeup of 2015 and is the deserving favorite regardless of whether there were 3 films here or 5, but it feels like an insult to the makeup crew. They put their hearts into every film, and the Academy only gives them 3 nominations as a thank you? I mean there's hundreds of films that could comprise two more spots on this list. Why do you do this, Academy? Oh well....Mad Max's makeup was pretty freaking awesome, particularly with all the extras and the seemingly impossible task of humanizing Charlize Theron who, fun fact, I believe is one of the most attractive women alive. You know the makeup department had their work cut out for them here. So I'm glad their name is gonna be called on Oscar night.
Foreign Language Film
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Son of Saul
As usual, I haven't seen any of the films on this list, however Son of Saul has been absolutely tearing it up to this point from a critical/awards perspective. Usually this category is a total toss-up in Vegas, but this year Son of Saul is the HEAVY favorite at 1/14. I hope to see this film soon and see what all the hype is about!
Who deserves it: The Big Short
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
I loved the editing of Mad Max, don't get me wrong. But the editing of The Big Short was far more creative in my eyes. That said, the Academy seems to favor editing to create smoke and mirrors versus creative visual editing, which I think is why Mad Max is the favorite here. However I would not be surprised to see an upset here, because in terms of what the viewer sees there's no doubt The Big Short had better editing. I'm definitely holding my breath on this one!
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Body Team 12
Don't know anything about this category, but it's a close race in Vegas between this and Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. I look forward to these being included in the shorts collection which will hopefully be released at some point!
Who deserves it: Amy
Who's the favorite: Amy
Easy category. Amy is the heavy favorite, and is a well-deserving choice. Not gonna say much here, except if you want to watch a good documentary from 2015, watch Amy. I hope there's a great tribute to Amy Winehouse in store at this year's Oscars honestly.
Who deserves it: The Danish Girl
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
Yes, The Danish Girl was blatant Oscar bait. However, it featured some ridiculously awesome costumes. It was easily the best part of that film, and I hope that crew gets recognized at this year's Oscars. While I won't be mad if Mad Max wins, (Carol is also very deserving of this award) Vegas is saying the odds of The Danish Girl walking away with an upset is slim. Just....don't give in and give it to Cinderella. Please. Let's not let corporate-directed films rule the day!
Who deserves it: The Revenant
Who's the favorite: The Revenant
This will mark the third year in a row that Emmanuel Lubezki has won Best Cinematography at the Oscars. Lubezki has officially turned the world of cinematography on its head with his work on Gravity, Birdman, and now The Revenant. For years there has been a tug-of-war in the world of cinematography between using digital cameras to make your film and using reel-based cameras. An "analog versus digital" debate, so to say. Well Lubezki will go down as one of the greatest cinematographers of all-time when we look back 20 years from now because of what he's shown us is possible with digital-based cameras.. Seriously. And while yes the main calling card of The Revenant was the fact that it was shot with only natural light sources, the digital technology still seeped through this film in almost every scene. Particularly the infamous bear attack. Kudos to Lubezki on yet another fantastic job on cinematography. We are watching history in the making with his work, guys. We really are.
Who deserves it: Anomalisa
Who's the favorite: Who do you think?
So right now Inside Out is going at 1/100 odds in Vegas. Ya. I think it's safe to say it's going to win this year. Which is fine! Inside Out is a great movie. I called it the most original Pixar film since Toy Story 3, which is certainly high praise when it comes to Pixar. But Anomalisa was better. Holy crap was it better. It's original. It's unique. It's abstract. It's beautiful. Anomalisa had a ridiculous production style since directors Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman wanted to use stock-motion animation from start to finish. And it pays off. I cannot recommend Anomalisa enough, guys. It's really a film worth watching. It's not going to win, but that doesn't change the fact that it deserves to.
Best Supporting Actress
Who deserves it: Rooney Mara, Carol
Who's the favorite: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
So this year's acting categories are pretty much already set in stone. Save one. This one. This Supporting Actress list is RIDICULOUS. I am torn between Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, but I think ultimately Rooney Mara deserves it in my book. Cate Blanchett might have received the Best Actress nomination instead of Mara, but I believe it's Mara's character that drives the narrative here, and Mara steals the show, putting in the best performance of her distinguished career. Additionally, while Vikander no doubt had the best year as an actress, she was actually better in Ex Machina than she was in The Danish Girl. That's what I'm upset about. She should be nominated (and win, I might add) for her performance in Ex Machina, not The Danish Girl. But I digress. Jennifer Jason Leigh was also a major bright spot in The Hateful Eight, putting in another great performance there. I can't wait to see who ultimately gets this one!
Best Supporting Actor
Who deserves it: Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Who's the favorite: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Now we go from a great list to a bad one. I hate this list. It was a down year for supporting actors. But Stallone is becoming a bigger and bigger favorite with each passing day. The "triumphant" comeback of a bad actor who's gone from bad to marginally bad doesn't really mean anything to me, and this category just goes to showcase how white the Oscars are this year. Several big omissions, most notably of O'Shea Jackson Jr. from Straight Outta Compton (which, if they made Rooney Mara a supporting actress, they definitely could've made O'Shea Jackson Jr. one as well) are glaring with this list, and as a result it makes little difference to me who wins this one this year. Especially since it's likely gonna be an undeserving Stallone victory, and thus adding insult to injury for Creed, which will become forever known as the film where the one white guy in it took home an Oscar. So sad.
Who deserves it: Brie Larson, Room
Who's the favorite: Brie Larson, Room
For once, I'm gonna actually agree with the Academy on their choices for Best Actor and Actress! YAY! Larson's performance is easily the best of 2015, and is one that I will discuss more in a later post. But, for now, just know that she is extremely deserving of this award, and I look forward to her name being called on Oscar night!
Who deserves it: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Who's the favorite: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
I mean, do I honestly even need to say anything about this one? We've been waiting for this moment for a long time. It finally looks like the Academy is going to let bygones be bygones and give Leo his Oscar. He's favored at 1/100 in Vegas and he's won almost every award imaginable up to this point, so there's little doubt that he will win this year. So, here's to you Leo. Hope you have a great acceptance speech ready.
Who deserves it: George Miller, Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
This feels like déjà vu. Last year I said the same thing I'm gonna say this year: Iñárritu is a great director because he lets the team around him be great. I commend him for allowing his team to take these creative liberties, but The Revenant is great, like Birdman, because of the crew. Not the director. And, like Boyhood, Mad Max is great because of its director, which is why it deserves to win, you know, Best Director. The production of Mad Max is ridiculous. Filled with problems as the film was in "development hell" since 1997, Miller put his heart and soul into creating this film. Sure, the production of The Revenant was also crazy, but that was because cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki insisted on using natural light so they only had a few hours a day to film. And Iñárritu let him do it. So obviously him saying "ok" to these things is what's gonna make him the first director to win back-to-back Director Oscars since Joe Mankiewicz did it all the way back in 1950/51. But the production of The Revenant was still better than things like the freaking Iraq War happening and preventing you from shooting because the location you need to shoot your film in is unsafe. I mean c'mon! Not to mention all the problems that arose once they did finally start shooting! Particularly with the cars.... they just didn't want to die for some reason! My point is, Mad Max had just as much care and dedication put into it as Boyhood did, but once again it looks like the Academy is going to ignore all of that because of their raging hard-on for Iñárritu. This category will once again likely be my biggest disappointment of the 2015 Oscars.
Who deserves it: Spotlight
Who's the favorite: The Revenant
So this category is still totally up for grabs. It's a 3 way race between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short out in Vegas. Currently The Revenant is the favorite at 8/15, with Spotlight close behind at 9/4 and The Big Short a close third at 5-1. I also think this really leaves the door open for a potential upset from Mad Max as the votes for these other three films may split and give Mad Max a legitimate chance to steal the award. You know where I stand on The Revenant: great film, but not deserving of Best Picture by any means. And while I'm still trying to decide whether I think Mad Max was the best film of 2015 or not, I can say that I feel like Spotlight needs to win this award because of its importance. It is a film that needs to be seen, whereas Mad Max is a film that you want to see. That need vs. want difference is why I'm going with Spotlight for Best Picture. This film opened my eyes to some pretty nasty stuff, exposing me to a scandal that has been successfully underplayed by the Catholic Church for years. This is an eye-opening film, and it is an important film. But it avoids the classic Oscar-bait mistake of overemphasizing its importance. Yes it is an important film, but it was also a very grounded film, or a very humble film. It tells its story in a very neutral way, allowing you to formulate your own thoughts and opinions on the matter. Not even The Big Short could accomplish this. (Though its pretty hard not to be upset with the greed of Wall Street after you watch The Big Short) As a result, Spotlight is my pick for Best Picture from the Academy, but I'd be ok with The Big Short winning or Mad Max. Just not The Revenant.
Well, there you have it, folks! My predictions for this year's Academy Awards! I have a few more lists to push out over this upcoming week, and I will be live tweeting the Oscars as usual. Thank you again for your support! Y'all are seriously awesome. I'll catch ya next time here on Enter the Movies!
Who's the favorite category found at http://www.oddschecker.com/awards/oscars
http://oscar-prod-images.bls-customers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/04111618/Chris-Rock-Promo.jpg (Chris Rock)
http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/gallery/mad-max-fury-road-1406144100/11110866_658246694280855_1682386295316885693_o.jpg (Mad Max)
http://oscar-prod-images.bls-customers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/13232728/00ea15988df4039fb199d6ff240bfdf478db6225e386a6392aa15050a4c466ba-717x1024.jpg (Ave Maria)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ac/Sanjay's_Super_Team_poster.jpg (Sanjay's Super Team)
http://cdn3-www.shocktillyoudrop.com/assets/uploads/2016/01/Morricone.jpg (Ennio Morricone)
http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/05/ea/4f64ae7d4bd0b3db2891cd30c525/the-hateful-eight-poster-2.jpg (The Hateful Eight)
https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/V6YGOjIU4XgBPaiDVPb6MQ--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAwO2lsPXBsYW5l/http://l.yimg.com/cd/resizer/2.0/FIT_TO_WIDTH-w1230/7fad57927b8edee2b17272e0b820522bc5669c7a.jpg (The Big Short)
http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/a6/1f/536875104053ab08048b6866033b/4b07767d4cc171ce795ecfb8a1a41c3e-1.jpg (Son of Saul)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/49/Body_Team_12_poster.png/220px-Body_Team_12_poster.png (Body Team 12)
http://awardswatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/danish-girl-poster.jpg (The Danish Girl)
http://starcasm.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/The-Revenant-poster.png (The Revenant)
http://cinemavine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/carol-movie-rooney-mara-cate-blanchett-trailer-images-screenshots-2.png (Rooney Mara, Carol)
http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CXg_d_8UQAAJMpp.jpg (Tom Hardy, The Revenant)
http://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/room_header-620x320.png (Brie Larson, Room)
http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2015/09/leonardo-dicaprio-the-revenant.jpg (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant)
http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/max-max-fury-road-image-george-miller-tom-hardy.jpg (George Miller, Mad Max)
Did you know United Passions only made $600? Ya, that's right. Six hundred dollars. Fortunately, it is not on this list. In part because it sucked, and in part because I didn't want to waste my time watching it. But let's talk about some of the best films of 2015 that no one saw! Ready? .............I honestly have no explanation for why I felt like bringing up United Passions, other than to mention the part where it only made $600. Buuuuuuut hush.
Honorable Mention: Z for zachariah
Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine. How did this film only make $100,000 with that cast? That is a question I will never be able to answer, but what I can say is this was a very fun and entertaining post-apocalypse film featuring 3 wonderful performances from the only 3 people in this film. While the story isn’t the greatest thing in the world, (it’s kind of predictable) the film is gorgeous to look at, and wonderfully edited. All in all, this film definitely deserved to make more than $100,000. However, thanks to a completely nonexistent marketing campaign I think the biggest problem was that no one actually knew about this film. Whoever decided this film wasn’t good enough to warrant a strong marketing campaign needs to be, well, fired. Or sent over to Warner Brothers. Pew pew.
Honorable Mention: THe Stanford Prison Experiment
I kind of figured that this one wouldn’t make a whole lot of money, but only $600,000? This film is an incredibly loyal adaptation of one of the most famous psychology experiments of all time, so I definitely think there’s a market for this film. My guess is that in time it will grab some momentum, especially in the teaching space. I can definitely see teachers showing this film to their class to show them what this infamous experiment was truly like. Also it helps that it has such a strong cast of up-and-comers. Ezra Miller in particular was good. Seriously. When is this guy gonna get more work? Anyway, if you are even remotely fascinated in learning more about the Stanford Prison Experiment, (as we all have at least heard about it at some point in Psychology 101) check this one out. Definitely worth your time!
5) 99 Homes
Ahhhhhh Michael Shannon. It’s a damn shame that the one performance everyone knows of his is of Zod from Man of Steel, because that is without a doubt the weakest performance on his resume. This guy has been kicking ass and taking names under the table for a while, and his terrifying performance in 99 Homes just might be his best one yet. I honestly thought it deserved an Oscar nomination, but when your film only makes $1 million…..probably makes it pretty hard to justify a nomination. But, on top of that, this film has a gripping story, a fantastic performance from its other lead, Andrew Garfield, and is wonderfully shot. There’s a powerful statement on the current state of the American dream underlying this film, and it had me leaving the film saying…..damn. While there were a few holes in the story and other technical aspects of the film were just…meh, if you’re looking for a gripping narrative and wanna find out what all the buzz is about with Michael Shannon…the buck stops here.
Sorry, Inside Out fans. As great as that film was, it has nothing on Anomalisa. This film is the best animated film of 2015. Plain and simple. Unique is the best word to describe this film. Few films dare to be as unique as Anomalisa. This is the rare example of a creator refusing to sacrifice creativity for the largest common denominator. Unfortunately, this also meant that the film only made $1 million, but it also didn’t really have a marketing campaign behind it, and it doesn’t help that one cannot come up with an answer when asked, “who is this film for?” However, there are definitely people out there who love watching cinema as an art form, and this film definitely falls into that category. Featuring a wonderful narrative and brilliant voice performances from David Thewlis (from Harry Potter) and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as the wonderfully artistic choice of having Tom Noonan voice everyone else, Anomalisa is a spectacular little film that deserved to make far more than it did. If you want to feel cultured and watch art unfold in front of you, go see this one.
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. Carol is a fantastic love story. Quite possibly the best of the year, actually. This film was a gut-wrenching film to watch and featured two of the best performances of the year. The set design is spectacular, the costumes are beautiful, and the story is fantastically engaging. Right from the beginning you love these characters, and as the film goes on you find yourself more and more invested in what’s happening in front of you. There’s a reason both Blanchett and Mara were nominated for Oscars, and, were it not for another performance later on this list, would also likely sweep both categories. This film only made $12 million, but it is worth every second of your time, especially if you are looking for a date night movie. Add this one to your list!
2) It Follows
Oh my God. This film. I really hope this film is a game changer for the horror genre. I’ve talked a lot about this film all year, and were it not for a very late addition emotionally destroying me, it would’ve been number one on the list. This film is everything the cliché horror genre isn’t. There’s only a few jump scares in this film, which makes the jump scares that much scarier. Not only that, but this film’s technical achievements are a large part of why it’s so scary. One of the best movie moments of the year (that just barely missed my list) was this. The ingenuity in this scene to use a circling camera to create the scariest moment of the year was incredibly. Yes, this tactic is not new per say, (it was the scariest moment in Paranormal Activity 2 as well) it's used better here than I've ever seen. The genius of director David Robert Mitchell absolutely stole the show here and made for a film that has resonated with me more than any other film in 2015. While it is absolutely worth watching, (especially if you like horror films) consider yourself warned. This film will break you in the most awesome way imaginable.
Wow. This film is phenomenal. Featuring the (spoiler) best performance of the year from Brie Larson, Room is an emotional train wreck. I have never cried as much over the course of a film as I did in Room. Jacob Tremblay’s character arc is ridiculously engaging, and his chemistry with Larson is undeniable. The set design here is meticulous and unspeakably loyal to its subject material, and even produces a great set in the second half of the film. The music is ridiculously good, and there is just scene after memorable scene from start to finish. I really cannot speak highly enough of this film, guys. I’m not done talking about this film yet as it will show up on the Best Films of the Year list next week, but for now….go see Room. Sadly only made $12 million, which is absolutely insulting. It’s hard not to be cynical about our culture when a film as incredible as Room only makes $12 million while a below average dinosaur porn film in Jurassic World makes over $650 million domestically, but such is the nature of our world where big budget distributors are unwilling to take a chance on an original idea. But, for all of you saying that the creative side of Hollywood is dead, I say this: as long as films like Room keep showing up, I will always disagree with you. Whether they go under the radar or not. It’s up to us to support them. So support Room and go and see it!
Well, there you have it! Those are the best films of 2015 that no one saw. You should change that. You should make that the best films of 2015 that everyone saw. WOW! AREN'T I ORIGINAL? Ya I know you're jealous. Oh, you want me to go now? Ok. I'll go now. Stay tuned next for next week when we count down the worst movies of the year, the best performances of the year, and the best films of the year! Woot woot!
http://www.thewrap.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ZFORZACHARIAH_Pine_Ejiofor_Robbie.jpg (Z for Zachariah)
http://media2.fdncms.com/nuvo/imager/u/original/3369667/the_stanford_prison_experiment.jpg (The Stanford Prison Experiment)
https://jackblackwell.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/99-homes.jpg (99 Homes)
https://draven99.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/9e6cb-it-follows-movie-reviews-maika-monroe.jpg (It Follows)
I've said it multiple times, but I'll say it again: 2015 was a great year for film. But it was also an extremely disappointing year for it as well. We saw duds from David O. Russell, Guillermo del Toro, Cameron Crowe, and The Wachowskis. Not to mention the part where Jurassic World came out. So, while most years I only highlight 5 films that disappointed me, this year I expanded that list to 10. And a (dis)honorable mention. So, without further adieu, here's my list of the most disappointing films of 2015! I don't know why I felt so excited there.....there is nothing to be excited about right now.......
Honorable Mention: Concussion
So I know there's this whole #OscarsSoWhite thing going on. Heard of it? Well, it's totally justified this year, with films like Straight Outta Compton and Beasts of No Nation getting completely snubbed for no real reason, but one film where it is not as justified is Concussion. This film was a mess from various standpoints, but the most glaring point was the fact that it was a nonfiction piece with several MAJOR historical inaccuracies. I mean I'm totally fine with cutting a corner here and there to make a film more dramatic, but from what I've read the filmmakers here took a story and basically completely turned it on its head to make this film. And Will Smith was kind of weird as the lead here. His performance was the centerpiece of the film, and as time has gone on it has really failed to resonate with me. For all the potential this film had, we got a really disappointing result.
Ah yes, remember when this film came out? I know I don't either. This film was one of several big budget box office disasters in the early part of 2015, (there's another one on this list, spoiler) and while this film was a bit better than the other big budget duds, it still featured an extremely forgettable plot and a lackluster performance from George Clooney. Which was basically what the entire marketing campaign around this film focused on. There were some cool visuals, and there was an excellent score from Michael Giacchino, but that wasn't enough. Disney really hyped this film to no end, but what we got was a dud. C'mon, Brad Bird. You directed The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. You're better than this!
9) Accidental Love
That picture pretty much sums up this film. Not a whole lot of people know about this film, but this is the first of several disappointments from high profile directors. Believe it or not, this film was directed by the one and only David O. Russell. Unlike the other David O. Russell film on this list, I think when this film was done everyone involved knew it was terrible, which led to this film's complete lack of a marketing campaign. It even led to David O. Russell taking the drastic measure to put a pseudonym on this film. So thank you for this travesty, Stephen Greene. Then let's take a moment to look at who is in this film. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Bill Hader, Kendrick Cross, James Brolin, and Tracy Morgan are all in this film. All of them. I am honestly amazed that this film even exists, especially when you realize just how incompetent it is. I decided to put this film on the disappointment list instead of the worst films of 2015 because it only made $4,500 at the box office. (Safe to say it was a flop...) However there are some absolutely hilarious reviews of this film out there, as this film is gradually rising to Serena-like levels of awful. The only question I have to ask is this: WHO THE HELL THOUGHT THIS MOVIE WAS A GOOD IDEA? WHY WASN'T IT THROWN INTO A PIT OF FIRE? I'm sorry. I tried to contain myself this whole time and I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't even recommend watching this film with a bunch of people while intoxicated. There are way "better" terrible films to do that with than this. Ok now time to forget about this film forever. Go away, Accidental Love.
Yup. Remember when this film's trailer came out and emotionally wrecked all of us? After all, how could it not? I mean it was the end of an era for this legendary actor. His final leading performance. Aaaaaaaand then it was released. The only reason this film is not higher on the list is because the man was as good as he ever was, but everything surrounding Robin Williams was just an absolute drag. The story we got in this film was incredibly forgettable, and the acting around Williams was sub-par at best. Even the wonderful Bob Odenkirk looked like he was sleepwalking throughout the film. As a result, it got very little coverage when it was finally released, as many choose to (wisely, I might add) remember Robin Williams through some of his more iconic performances. Don't bother with this one, guys. Just watch Good Will Hunting again.
RIP Robin Williams. If you want to watch an interesting tribute to the legendary actor, check out this video. That is absolutely my favorite tribute to him.
Here is another disappointing film from an established director. Cameron Crowe. Director of great films like Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and We Bought a Zoo. And then he did Aloha. There's a funny story I have with this one from one of my favorite movie critics, Ben Mankiewicz. His screening of this film was the debut screening on the Sony studios lot. Cameron Crowe was there. And, before the film started, he actually got up and apologized to everyone for what they were about to watch. Ya. Everything about this film was messy, from the fact that they tried to pass Emma Stone off as a quarter Asian or whatever to the fact that this film was, from start to finish, a tonal catastrophe. It made no sense as it fumbled from scene to scene despite some charming performances from the A-list cast. But they were nowhere near enough to make this film watchable, and Aloha has already been lost to the depths of the ocean. Where it should be, I might add. There are far better tributes to Hawaii out there. Honestly can we get a heartwarming tribute to Ohio or something for a change? Someone should mix it up and travel to Iowa or Kansas or something and give a wonderful tribute to that state. Least it would be original.
And here is the other dud from David O. Russell. Fun fact: I think David O. Russell is one of the best directors in Hollywood today. His films are so daring! After all how many films are you going to have a your climax be a dance off to Fell in Love with a Girl and have it be totally awesome? But here we see his imagination get the best of him. Combine that with some gross miscasts on the part of virtually everyone, (and) especially Robert De Niro) voiceovers that do little more than just confuse the heck out of you, and you have the embodiment of what happens when you let creativity trump coherency in film. The only reason this one isn't higher is because numbers 5-1 are so much worse. I'm glad Russell is taking a break. He's a great director, and he will be great again, but he needs to have a bit more.....self control next time around. His films are all about finding the unusual balance between creativity and fun. He'll find that again. But it's certainly not here.
5) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
Wellllllllllllllll saw this one coming, didn't you? Gosh remember when Catching Fire dropped and it was one of the best young adult films ever? I mean I had heard that Mockingjay was a mess compared to the other two films, and I knew going in it wasn't going to be great since the film was split into two parts unnecessarily, but I didn't think it was going to be THIS bad. My God. What is this monstrosity? This film stooped so low that it's even in the same ballpark of badness as the latest from the Divergent series. Whatever it's called. Insurgence? Something? I honestly can't remember. Moving on. There were just so many things in here that made no sense, including one of the worst deaths I have ever seen. A death scene so awful that it took me about 10 minutes to even recognize that the series had just killed off one of its most important characters. I mean I understand in the book it was basically terrible too, but you drew this one out to two parts! Why the heck couldn't you take a bit of creative liberty and, you know, make this pivotal moment, like, better? Or something? Do literally ANYTHING other than follow the book religiously at this moment. Why??? Were it not for a great final scene with Katniss that I admittedly found myself on the edge of my seat for, this film would be way higher on the list. It's just a shame we had to sit through basically 4 hours of crap to get to it. What a damn shame this is the ending this once-glorious franchise received. What a damn shame.
4) Jupiter Ascending
Ahhhhhhhhhhh Jupiter Ascending. We come to you at last. You know what's funny? I was actually seriously hyped about this film before it was released. The last original content from the Wachowskis was an incredibly unique and daring film, Cloud Atlas. Atlas is definitely a film worth seeing because, even though I couldn't quite buy into it, I could really respect these two for swinging for the fences by telling 5 (I think?) different stories at the same time. But here? Here they fall flat on their faces. Why is Channing Tatum a dog? Can we start with that? What about the fact that Mila Kunis, who is supposed to be the daring heroine of this film, is just a damsel-in-distress the entire time who needs saving from Dogging Tatum? What about Eddie Redmayne, who could not, for the life of him, take this film seriously and thus tries to screen hog as much as humanely possible? There is a somewhat interesting premise underneath this film of an advanced human civilization cultivating these worlds that they have created, (including earth) but it's swallowed whole by terrible acting and a silly set design. I mean look at that gun! It looks so fake! Look at how she's holding it! This screenshot is from one of the tensest moments of the film and yet, how can you take it seriously when that's what you see? This film was one of the biggest box office bombs of the year, failing to make back even a quarter of its budget here in the US. It was only saved from actually losing WB money because of its slightly better foreign total. But I have a feeling no major movie distributor is going to go near any Wachowski original content for quite some time.
On another note, man was 2015 a bad year for Warner Brothers. Check out their 2015 movie list if you want a good laugh. Maybe they'll bounce back in 2016? Well, they are sure putting a lot of eggs in the DC Comics basket, where most of its target audience already hates them. We'll see how all this plays out, but their stellar 2014 (from a monetary perspective) already feels like soooooooo loooong ago.
3) Crimson Peak
Ok now I'm just getting depressed. Noooooooo Guillermo del Toro how could you do this? I had such high hopes for this film! This was supposed to be the film that brought the horror genre back to the mainstream! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! Wellllllllll Crimson Peak just basically yelled I HATE YOU in response to my begging it to be good. The biggest problem with this film is that it's forgettable. Totally forgettable. Not to mention the part where the lead in this film, Mia Wasikowska, is also very forgettable. Really the only thing in this film that is even remotely memorable is Jessica Chastain, but then again she's arguably the most talented actress in Hollywood right now so it's kind of impossible for her not to be memorable. But pairing her with Tom Hiddleston was a huge mistake, mostly because she really towers over him. But, most egregious of all is the fact that this film is. Not. Scary. It isn't! It's just unoriginal pop scares featuring some hilariously unbelievable ghosts and demons. The only thing that saved this film from being the most disappointing film of 2015 was the fact that its set design was spectacular. The house looked incredible, and the final "climatic" scene also looked amazing. Buuuuut everything else was such a major letdown. Can you please take another crack at this, Guillermo del Toro? Can you please bring the horror genre back into the mainstream? Please and thank you.
So this film is going to show up on another list it does not want to be on, but it's up here this high because yes, I was suckered in to thinking this film would be at least somewhat decent. Call me stupid, but I thought this because all four members of the Fantastic Four are outstanding actors! And Dr. Doom was gonna be the villain! Miles Teller won my breakout performer of the year award last year in my First Annual Awesome Actors Awards, (which you can revisit here if you'd like) and Michael B. Jordan is so ridiculously charismatic. Kate Mara is just as talented as her sister Rooney, which is as high a compliment as I can give, and Jamie Bell is extraordinarily underrated. All these actors have been great in the past, and they will be again. But they sure weren't great here. Absolutely freaking not. Everything about this film screams corporate BS, (similar to my number 1 film which you can certainly already guess, just more obvious) and everyone is just going through the motions to grab their paycheck and run. They even screwed up Dr. Doom. How has one of the best comic book villains of all time been screwed up TWICE? I mean he should have a presence that's right there with The Joker, but instead he's always this giant crybaby. But here, it's even worse than that: the final battle scene of this film is so laughably bad, I almost walked out. The only reason I didn't was because there was literally nobody else in the theater (on opening weekend, I might add) and so I had no qualms with having my phone out and doing other things. I even watched a few YouTube videos at one point. That's how bad this film was. And while the number 1 film on this list definitely wasn't as terrible as Fan4stic was, it was certainly much more disappointing.
1) Jurassic World
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think that they should." My how the mighty have fallen. I never expected Jurassic World to be able to live up to Jurassic Park.Those expectations would be unreachable for almost any film. But what we got was so much more disappointing. I can just imagine a bunch of Hollywood businessmen sitting down in a room and saying, "You know what'll make a crapton of money? Let's remake Jurassic Park on a bigger scale and call it Jurassic World! Genius!" This film is ignorance at its finest. Creativity and ingenuity sacrificed in the name of greed. I know the latest Star Wars has received some (admittedly) deserved criticism for being just a rehash of Episode IV, but Jurassic World's offense is even more egregious. It's Jurassic Park minus the things that made Jurassic Park so good. Hey, let's make a dinosaur that can turn invisible! That would be cool right? HELL NO. In my opinion, this film is the worst in the franchise hands-down. Which is saying something because man are the second and third films not good. And this film is graphic! It takes PG-13 to insane levels, leading me even to take the drastic measure to actually warn parents from taking their kids to see this. This movie is not a kids movie. And yet it's marketed towards them! What the f**k? And let's not forget the part where SOMEHOW the filmmakers decided not to watch ANY Chris Pratt performances before, during, or after shooting this film because they managed to SOMEHOW make this ridiculously charismatic man bland and forgettable. Combine that with Bryce Dallas Howard's incredibly forgettable performance, (can we take a moment to realize that this actress is basically just a discount Jessica Chastain?) and you have the biggest dino dud of the year. And yet this film made over $650 million. Incredible. This film is without a doubt my biggest disappointment of 2015, as it should be on everyone's lists. Steven Spielberg must be laughing up a storm at what this series has become: dino porn. Well, in this case 100 minutes of mindless exposition, and THEN 10 minutes of dino porn. Whatever man. I'm done.
It really makes me sad when I look at the Top 10 grossing films of 2015 and realize that.....only one of them is going to make my best films of the year list. Maybe two. Two of the Top 10 are on this list, with another one (Avengers: Age of Ultron) just narrowly missing it. We can do better, guys. Please. Anyway, I'm done with this list. Time for a pick-me-upper with some of the best films in 2015 that no one saw! I know, fitting transition, right?
http://nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Jurassic-World-Review-061015.jpg (Cover photo)
https://static-secure.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/6/18/1434631994148/accidental-love-review-009.jpg (Accidental Love)
http://assets1.ignimgs.com/thumbs/userUploaded/2015/10/8/mjthumb-1444329435929_540h.jpg (Mockingjay, Part 2)
http://minnesotaconnected.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/jupiter-ascending-review.jpg (Jupiter Ascending)
https://www.latfusa.com/media/uploads/2015/10/13/12002988_1039865592699740_3813104304900435569_n.jpg (Crimson Peak)
https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/-2D6ET_qhN_8AkyHUPPstfNJgQ0=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3777058/owen_clare.0.jpg (Jurassic World)
This was a hard list for me this year. Why? I started this list with 12 moments. 12 moments! After much sacrifice, I rattled that list down to 7. Yes I may have cheated a bit on number 5, buuuuuut bite me. This post is always one of my favorites in the year in review lists, so I can do what I want. (Sassy Joe is sassy) Ok enough of me talking, let's talk about my picks for my favorite movie moments of 2015!
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR STAR WARS AND SPECTRE. I mean at this point if you haven't seen Star Wars you have no excuse to be upset for something being spoiled, but I just wanted to give you fair warning. Alright moving on!
Honorable Mention: Dino Porn
The only great moment from this film, the final dino fight in Jurassic World is a fun scene to watch. Does it making forcing yourself through 100 minutes of dino crap to get to it? No. Does it justify this film being the 4th highest grossing film of all time? Absolutely not. But I cannot deny that this is a fun scene, and there's even a great ode to Steven Spielberg with this scene attempting a famous Spielberg oner, which, by the way, is filming a shot in one take but hiding the one take in the background so you don't necessarily notice it. (There's a 70 second take starting at 1:45 if you didn't know) Buuuuuuuuut even this is a superficial ode at best since it failed to incorporate arguably the most important aspect of the Spielberg oner: the fact that the camera basically stays in one place. That's how he hides it. The only reason the single take might get by you here is because there's a sensory overload on screen and among the 18 million things happening you may let slip the fact that there isn't a cut. But I digress. Still a fun scene, but let's talk about some good scenes in good films now, shall we?
Honorable Mention-Steve Jobs is Removed from Apple
God I love Aaron Sorkin dialogue. His know-it-all style makes any scene awesome, and never was there a moment where this was more prevalent in Steve Jobs than when the man is removed from Apple. The music swells and is dramatic, there's great symbolism outside the board room in the raging storm, and, of course, there's that sexy Sorkin dialogue. Just narrowly missing my top 5, Steve Jobs removal from Apple is certainly the pinnacle of this great film and extremely deserving of a spot on this list.
5) The Long Take (SAn Andreas, Creed, Jurassic World, ETC.)
So if there's one thing that will be remembered in 2015, it is the long take. Several films employed fairly obvious oners throughout the year to varying degrees of success, but the long take was definitely employed more this year than it has been in a long time. See back in the early days of cinema directors would employ the long take to help speed up the pacing of their story, but their long takes would often be hidden, like what we know as the Speilberg oner today. However nowadays, it's all about having as much crap happening during your long take as humanely possible. Like this. (Which, holy crap please do yourself a favor click on that link....that may be the best long take ever filmed.) While several of these were great, the one that really stood out to me as the best of the year was from San Andreas. I've heard a lot of people bash this film, and I really don't know why: yes, it's a mindless disaster movie. But it KNOWS it's a mindless disaster movie. And the filmmakers actually cared about what they were making! If not, then why would they have filmed the scene above the way they did? They were just going for trying to be as crazy and fun as possible, and this scene certainly succeeded at that. Check it out!
4) Spectre-Blofeld's Reveal
(Sorry couldn't find the actual scene, but it's way better than this one.) So, note the part where I said these were my favorite movie moments of 2015. Not the best. Because the scene where Blofeld reveals himself is definitely not a technically awesome scene or anything. It's just exposition. I mean Khan's reveal in Into Darkness was a better scene from a "technical" standpoint. But I've also waited YEARS for Blofeld to return to this beloved franchise, and now that the Fleming estate has FINALLY won the legal battle with scumbag Kevin McClory, I knew the stage was set with this film. And anyone with a brain could see through the thin veil of Christoph Waltz's character to know who he really was, but hiding his true identity till the end of the movie made that moment so much sweeter. I almost cried when we first saw his iconic Persian cat in the scene. It's a beautiful moment, and it made the rest of this otherwise fine Bond film just that much better.
3) Room-Jack's Escape
(Once again I couldn't find the original clip. But this one is just as good!) Honestly this entire film could be on the list, and most years a moment like this would be number 1 on my list. Definitely would've been in 2013 for sure. I was balling my eyes out as Jack made his courageous escape from Old Nick and rolled himself out of the carpet he was in and saw trees for the first time. (That photo at the top of this post encompasses that moment.) The music was beautiful, the cinematography was perfect, and Jacob Tremblay was exceptional. All in all, this moment was one of the best in a film that had great moment after great moment and made me cry more than any other film in 2015. The emotional struggle is real.
2) Star Wars-Han Solo's Death
Ya. Anyone with a brain could see this one coming. So let's talk about this scene. First off, it's not on here because it's the best moment of Episode VII. I know I saw it coming from the moment Kylo Ren's identity was revealed. It's on here because of all the great technical decisions that were made in the filming of this scene. Anyone who says J.J. Abrams is a bad director is an idiot, and this scene is why. So many directors nowadays feel like they have to have noise all throughout their film. They have come to fear the idea of silence. Smart directors know when to use it, and to say J.J. Abrams used silence to perfection is an understatement. When you remember that Star Wars is a space opera with one of the great composers of Hollywood at its disposal, this use of silence becomes even more daring and impressive. Not only that, there is an awesome symbolic moment that happens here too as darkness encompasses the scene in the moment Kylo Ren gives himself to the dark side. Sure this symbolic gesture may have been a little heavy-handed, but it was still a great allegory. And Harrison Ford and Adam Driver are at their best here, making for my second favorite moment of 2015.
1) Mad Max-Sandstorm Scene
I'll keep this one short and sweet, because you better believe this was not only my favorite moment of 2015, it was the BEST moment of 2015. If you don't understand why this film is as good as it is, (and one of the best of the year) you need only watch this clip. The sandstorm is beautiful and terrifying. The score is perfect, and the visuals are second-to-none. I watched this moment over and over again all throughout 2015, and there was never another moment all throughout the year that could beat it. It is the quintessential scene of the film, and the perfect visual summary of the mastermind that is George Miller. Oh what a day. What a lovely day!
So that's it! My favorite moments of 2015. Did you disagree? I'd love to hear what your favorite moments were! Let me know in either the comments here or on my Facebook page. Next up are the most disappointing films of 2015. I'm going all out and putting 10 films on the list this year, so this one might take a few days. But I guess we all have to face the sadness eventually, right?
Hey guys! Well, here we are! Time to look back at 2015. This year has been a really fun year for film. My 10 Best Films of 2015 is currently sitting at 18 films. Trimming that down is gonna be fun. But I have a lot of things to reflect on from this past year. One of the things that really took off last year were trailers. We got some insanely good trailers in 2015. I've compiled 5 of my favorites here, so let's look back at my 5 favorite trailers of 2015, shall we?
NOTE: These trailers are for films that were released in 2015. Hence why it's ok that a trailer released in 2014 is on here. So let's go!
You will very quickly realize that the main reason I like these trailers is because of the music in them. But I think a great trailer is defined by not only the music it selects, but how the editing utilizes it. This is the first trailer on the list to properly utilize its music selection. I wasn't the biggest fan of the newest Imagine Dragons album, but I also predicted that Gold and I'm So Sorry were quintessential trailer music songs. And hey! Here's I'm So Sorry! This trailer may have overused its song a bit, but I still found myself watching it over and over again. It's just such a fun trailer! And the lines in it are hilarious. Sadly they were also the best lines from the movie, but let's not talk about that part. The movie was alright, but this trailer is spot-on and an absolute blast to watch. Easily deserving to be on the list.
4) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
One of the most underrated films of the year, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was pure, sexy fun, and this trailer embodied that stylized action to the max. Sure it may have given just a tad too much away, but this trailer was just as much fun to watch as the movie was regardless. Combine that with great music and wonderful editing to the beat of said music, (again) and you have an action-packed two and a half minute trailer. There's just so much awesomeness here, and I've watched this trailer so many times over the last couple months. Also, on a completely unrelated note, GOD I LOVE THEIR ACCENTS. HENRY CAVILL, ARMIE HAMMER, AND ALICIA VIKANDER CAN DO NO WRONG.
Ok so this trailer is just a good trailer, but the reason it makes the list is because it was my third most-watched trailer of 2015 behind number two and number one on this list. Say what you want about Spectre, but this trailer is quintessential Bond: the girls, the gadgets, the cars, the corny one-liners, and of course, the action. Couple that with the tease of the long-anticipated return of the legend himself Ernst Stavro Blofeld, (though in the film it still ended up being basically just a tease I know) and you have a trailer I couldn't help but watch over and over. Plus getting to use that classic Bond theme isn't going to hurt you either.
2) Jurassic World
Da-na-naaaaa-na-na. Da-na-naaaaaaa-na-na.....this movie is gonna show up again on a list it doesn't want to be on, but for now, let's remember how awesome this trailer was. Also thank you for making said trailer awesome, John Williams. His reprise of the famous score is definitely the primary reason this trailer is so high on the list. And even though the problems with this film already start to show in this trailer, it's still awesome. Buuuuuuuuuut the good parts of this film end very quickly after this trailer, so let's just move on. It's basically on here because of that wonderful reprise of the Jurassic Park score, and at the time of watching it a lot I was still hopeful the film was going to be, you know, good.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Did anyone not see this one coming? Well, regardless, this trailer is one of the best trailers ever. It is perfection. Utter perfection. The marketing behind the latest Star Wars is easily the best marketing I have ever seen for a film, and all three trailers were at the centerpiece of the campaign. I'm not gonna lie: I may have shed a man-tear watching this before Spectre in IMAX. John Williams iconic score pulsed through me, and I couldn't help but cry. Not to mention the constant goosebumps. And this style of trailer is taking over Hollywood because it doesn't really give away any part of the story. It's no longer about giving you a preview of the film. The trailer itself is just fun to watch over and over and over and over and over and over.....
Well that's all I have for this post. Before I go, however, I did wanna shine light on one honorable mention in Spotlight! Tune in next time when I take a look at My Favorite Movie Moments of 2015!
Honorable Mention: Spotlight
This trailer is on the list because I wanted to give one more shout out to my buddy Joe Hackman for creating this awesome trailer for Spotlight! This film ended up being one of the best of the year and just might take home the Oscar for Best Picture, and this was the main trailer for the film, so hopefully that gets him noticed by the business. It also helps that this trailer is badass featuring some fantastic editing and just enough of a tease to get us interested in the film. So proud of you man! Represent the Long Blue Line well!
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