July 2, 2015

2015: Best Movies of the First Half

The first half of 2015 is over with. Can you believe it? I have to say, it brought some really good films with it, including a number of surprises. One of the surprises is that the new Avengers movie didn’t came near the top ten. I thought for sure that was going to be a great one. On the other hand, I was surprised by some movies rating as highly as they did. Spy, for example, and Age of Adaline. Neither top ten worthy, but both surprisingly good. Anyway, this list is based on my favorite movies that I saw in a theater since January 1, 2015 that were also 2015 releases. So, what made the list? Read on, you may be surprised by what you find..….


10. Jurassic World. I have to admit that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Sure, it was a little rough at the start, but once the action kicked in, there was no looking back. It is not a movie that is going to transcend its genre, but it executes well within the format and left me smiling.


9. Kingsman: The Secret Service. The trailers for this looked a little lackluster, but I was intrigued enough to check it out. What I saw was a blast of an action movie, an even more irreverent James Bond. If you take away nothing else, the scene in the church is an amazing bit of choreography.


8. Dope. Days before this one came out, I had no idea what it was. The movie turned out to be rather involving, comedic, and dramatic. It comes at an opportune time with regards to some of its subject and its tale of the slippery slope. The ending could probably have been worded better for interpretation, but it is still a strong film that should be seen.


7. Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water. Yes, I am as surprised as you are to see this here. My entire exposure is comprised of the two movies and some random clips. This is funny, touching, and pays homage to some cool films. Most surprising was the delightfully constructed time travel causation loop.


6. Paddington. Another family movie in the top ten? Yup. This is a great example of how to update a character for the present. Pay no mind to the terrible commercials. This is pure joy for the whole family. It is sweet, involving, wonderfully executed, and just really good.


5. The Connection. Ever wonder about the other side of The French Connection? Wonder no more. This is a tightly plotted tale of crime as we see the drug cartel in operation in France and the magistrate who dares take them on. Not a new story, but so well made that it demands your attention. It also looks as if it were made in the 1970s.


4. Ex Machina. This is a movie I was so glad I got to see in theaters, It is a science fiction thriller that feels just out of reach of reality. It plays with perceptions and feelings. It plays the audience as it plays the main character. I love how it goes about it in such an even fashion with no peaks or valleys.


3. Inside Out. Pixar is back! After a seeming slip over their past few films, they have come roaring back. This movie takes a fascinating high concept and visualizes it in a way that makes sense, better yet, it uses it to tell a wonderful story. This is one of their best films, just be prepared to be sad.


2. It Follows. This indie horror divided audiences early this year as it made a splash on theaters across the nation. It is a wonderfully original story that feels as fresh while still paying homage to the past. It is terrifying without being graphic. It tells its story but does not tell you everything. This is solid horror film making.


1. Mad Max: Fury Road. Finally, at the top of the heap is the one movie that feels very hard to beat. It is all action, a two hour chase scene, if you will. Still, it has a fascinating story and unique individualized characters that reveal themselves, and the plot, around the edges of the frame, in throwaway lines, in simple looks, it all works. This is amazing cinema. No, it is not for everyone, but for my money, this is near perfect filmmaking.

There you have it! Let’s hope the second half has some surprises up its sleeve.


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