As is tradition with all critics of entertainment, there comes a time when we must take all of our in depth analysis and well thought out arguments, and then condense it all down into a list that leaves no room for ambiguity because everyone loves things crystal clear for everyone to pick apart! Well okay, it’s actually TWO lists and people tend to prefer the bad one, but we’re gonna save that for next time. For now, it’s the best movies of 2015! Before we get started however, just a few caveats.
I DIDN’T SEE EVERYTHING THIS YEAR
In fact, I barely saw anything for the first half and when I thought of going back and trying to watch some of those that I missed, I learned that both Amazon and Netflix are absolutely DREADFUL when it comes to recent releases. Neither services has more than maybe three or four movies that came out this year and the most mainstream among those was probably that Sean Penn action movie you’ve already forgotten about. Needless to say that catching up would have cost a small fortune (on top of what I’m already spending at the theater) so I decided against it. Also, the theaters I have access to rarely have anything outside of a mainstream release. Hell, Dope is probably the most indie movie that my nearby theater had all year. So the fact that I’ve missed almost everything before the summer and that my theaters don’t have as much variety as I’d like means that this is going to be a blockbuster heavy list. It sucks that I couldn’t see more interesting stuff that’s making waves like The Danish Girl, Spotlight, or even Carol, but that’s how it shook out this year. Hey, once I become one of those PROFESSIONAL film critics and join one of those associations, I’m sure the studios will be sending movies to ME instead of making me pay to watch them!
MAKING LISTS IS HARD
Now I did take some time to consider the order for this list and overall I am very happy about it, but when it comes to the top three it’s really REALLY close. I’m happy with the order I chose for them but think of it as pretty much a three way tie as all of them are fantastic in their own ways.
Daddy’s Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Sean Anders
While Adam McKay is trying to branch out with The Big Short, his longtime collaborator Will Ferrell seems to be doing the same thing he’s been doing since Bush was in the White House. You could make the comparisons between him and Adam Sandler, but honestly I still find the guy funny and despite always going back to the man-child well, he’s still willing to branch out every once in a while with films Like Everything Must Go and even The LEGO Movie where he actually got to make an honest statement about the people he has so often portrayed in film. This one though doesn’t look to be all that challenging for him or his audience, but it can still be funny, right? They’ve got Mark Wahlberg in there, and he’s proven himself to be hilarious in other movies. Will this be the perfect comedy to end 2015 on, or is this going to be one more reason we can’t wait to see the year end? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Will Ferrell playing some guy who’s a step dad and Marky Mark from the Funky Bunch playing the biological father of the family Will Ferrell married into. Will Ferrell has spent the last year or so trying desperately to connect with his new step children and it finally seems like they’re starting to accept him when Marky Mark calls up and says he’s coming over to visit. Misunderstands and double talk then ensue which somehow leads to Marky Mark staying in the garage of their new house and he spends most of the film trying to undercut Will Ferrell and win back his family that he abandoned many years ago. Seems like a tough sell, but it turns out that the kids have mythologized him and he’s also a real MAN’S MAN so who couldn’t fall in love with that, am I right? Can Will Ferrell prove his manly dad-ness enough to convince his wife to NOT abandon him (which really seems like an unlikely scenario), or will Marky Mark get his way long enough to get bored with his family again and leave them twisting in the wind? Can this AT LEAST be better than The Other Guys? Please?
The Big Short and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Adam McKay
So the guy who directed both Anchorman Movies, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys is gonna sit here and try to tell us about the housing crisis? Yeah right! Who’s gonna take THAT seriously!? Wait, they’ve got Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, AND Ryan Gosling? It’s also written by the writer of Moneyball? Well I certainly didn’t see THAT coming. Then again, it’s not like he hasn’t taken on relevant targets in the past. Just look at Anchorman 2! That took a lot of pot shots at Fox News and the media in general, even if it was surrounded by a lot of stupid. So can the guy who brought us four Will Farrell man-child movies manage to make something a bit more mature while still giving it a proper sense of humor, or will this be just another painful example of someone who is WAY out of his depth and has no idea what the hell their doing and go back to his old shtick to give us Step Brothers 2: Now There’s Three of Them or Something? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows several people in the years leading up to the big financial crisis of 2008 brought about by the crash of the housing market. As we interweave between these stories of people who saw it coming, it’s slowly dawns on them (and the audience) just how absolutely unattainable the market was at the time and just how corrupt the system got which is what led to everything going to hell. That’s really about it as most of the characters serve as either audience avatars or exposition machines to keep the audience in the loop as to what’s going on. It’s definitely more about giving the us an idea of the scope of the problem rather than telling personal stories within them, but a couple of the character eek out an arc here and there like the young investors Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley (John Magaro and Finn Wittrock) who are new to all this and get caught right in the god damn middle or even Mark Baum (Steve Carell) who’s already got it out for the big banks and at first sees this as just another thing to call them out on until he realizes how dep the rabbit hole goes in all of this.
Point Break and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Ericson Core
When Star Wars and Creed are bringing back beloved franchises in spectacular fashion, it takes a lot of nerve to try and sneak this movie right in the middle of it. The original Point Break is one of those movies I’ve been meaning to see for a really long time, but never got around to for one reason or another. Still, from what very little I know about it and from how the trailer for this remake looked, it definitely seemed like a shaky proposition to try and bring it back like this. Still, I’ve been surprised by plenty of movies this year and I certainly don’t have the last movie to compare this to. Could this be a solid remake of a minor action classic, or will this be yet another movie to throw in the pile of unnecessary remakes along with the likes of Total Recall whose writer coincidentally wrote this movie as well? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows an FBI agent who as far as I can tell is ONLY referred to by his nickname Utah (Luke Bracey) that is brought in on a case that involves EXTREME thieves that are pulling some Robin Hood shtick with rich corporations. The first of their crimes that the FBI is made aware of is the group driving motocross bikes through the twentieth story of a diamond sorting building and stealing all of them before crashing through the windows and parachuting to safety. How they got the bikes all the way up there and how they weren’t caught once they landed is left a mystery, but let’s just say they escaped by sheer manly bro-force. The reason why the FBI (or at least this one boss of his played by Delroy Lindo) wants Utah on the case is because the guy was an extreme sports practitioner before joining with the FBI. That is… before the accident.
Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Takao Yoshizawa
Welcome back to another episode of Sailor Moon: Reincarnation is Magic! The last episode had our born again Moon Princess fighting off a really interesting villain who inadvertently was getting in the way of two people finding true love in one another! It was actually a pretty nice change of pace from the formula the show was falling into where Usagi remained pretty much oblivious to the evil machinations of the villains until she finally confronts them at the scene of the crime. So what’s the story for THIS episode? Usagi will remain pretty much oblivious to the evil machinations of the villain until she finally confronts them at the scene of the crime. Well, I guess they can’t ALL be original stories, so maybe they’ll find an interesting angle with what it is the villains will try to exploit this time. Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Usagi frantically trying to get to school before the bell rings yet again. I mean sure, she’s fighting for humanity’s survival every night, but she should really invest in a louder alarm clock or something. Along her route, she runs past an advertisement and, as any good consumer would do, stops to stare at it and contemplate purchasing the product.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by JJ Abrams
Alright, look. This review is going to have spoilers and if you’re worried about that, then here are my thoughts real quick.
The movie is fantastic. The bad guy stuff is the best, the good guy stuff is bogged down a bit by the references they’re trying to fit in, but overall it’s a fun ride and a worthy successor to the original trilogy.
You got that? Okay, here comes the rest of the review.
The movie starts off with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) getting a sci-fi USB stick that contains the location of Luke Skywalker who has been missing for a very long time. Before he can take the flash drive to The Resistance however, the village he’s in gets raided by the new bad guys named The First Order who are the Empire in all but name. Kind of like how Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC. Nothing’s changed, but now they have a less obviously evil/unhealthy name. Anyway, Poe gets captured by Darth Vader 2.0, also known as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) but not before Poe gives the USB stick to R2-D2 2.0, also known as BB-8. The droid makes his way to a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who takes it in while simultaneously A Storm Trooper named FN-2187 (John Boyega) breaks out Poe from the evil starship. Their escape is cut short when they get shot out of space and crash land on the planet below (the one BB-8 and Rey are on) and FN-2187 (also known as Finn) is the sole survivor. His deal is that he wants to get as far away from The First Order as quickly as possible, but now that he’s on the dirt planet he doesn’t really have a way to do that. Fortunately, he eventually finds the droid and Rey, poses as a Resistance fighter, and convinces them to help him escape the planet and drop off the droid (with him escaping to wherever the hell he wants to in the process). Can these two make it to The Resistance before The First Order can capture them? Will Finn step up to the plate when the time comes, or will his self-preservation instincts kick in before he has a chance to play the hero? Is Rey more than what she appears to be and is the she the key to stopping The First Order once and for all? WHERE’S HAN SOLO!?!? Oh wait, there he is.
After the cinematic horror show that was the ill-conceived Pixels, Adam Sandler was banished to the world of streaming and will not be allowed back into theaters until his penance of four movies is paid! Okay, the four movie deal with Netflix was already underway before Pixels (or even Hotel Transylvania 2) was released, but considering how absolutely dreadful his career has been with the movies under the Happy Madison umbrella, it really does feel like he needs to be taken out of the spotlight for a while just to see if the change in scenery will bring some life back to him and his chosen profession. Is The Ridiculous 6 the movie that will finally bring him back to top form, or is this yet another pointless exercise from a man who gave up on being funny a long time ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with, what else, RACISM!! Seriously!? I can’t even get thirty seconds into an Adam Sandler joint before I’m itching to turn the damn thing off!?
Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara
We’re back with another episode of Luna and Usagi’s Excellent Adventures! The last episode with the hypno-furbys was fine but it really didn’t do anything different from the other episodes except for kicking Luna across a room which is DIFFERENT but I wouldn’t call that an improvement to the formula. Will the mix things up for this episode or are we doomed to see Usagi repeat the same story every single episode until the other scouts come in? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins in Dark Kingdom and… what’s this? Do we finally have some new animation for Queen Beryl!? She’s not waving her hands in front of a crystal ball this time!? This MUST be a special episode!! The reason for this change in her behavior is due to her undivided attention for the demonstration of Jadeite’s newest soul-sucking scheme. Apparently, he’s developed a sound wave or whatever that drains the life out of those who listen to it.