Hello, fellow moviegoers!
2015 has been another great year in film. We had great throwbacks to films we loved as kids. Some disappointed, some were great additions to popular franchises. There have also been a lot of pleasant surprises. Some films have taken us to the stars and back, while others had great insights to who we are as a species.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see every film this year. So, there will be films missing from this list that will be included on others. Films like The Revenant and The Hateful Eight, which both could have very easily been on this list, have yet to play in a theater anywhere in my general area. So obviously, they won’t be on here. Also, keep in mind these are my favorite films of the year. Some of them may not exactly be the most well put together, and you may see Oscar contenders lower than summer blockbusters. So here we go! Here are Kruzereviews’ 10 Favorite Films of 2015…
10. The Good Dinosaur
For the first time in history, Pixar released two films this year. The Good Dinosaur was the second to be released and was another great addition to the slew of fun Pixar films. The animation in this film was the best I’ve ever seen. There were points where I couldn’t tell whether or not they filmed actual water or field of grass.
The two main characters were very lovable. The human boy Spot may be one of the most fun yet adorable characters on screen this year. The voice work in the film was very well done. All of the dinosaurs brought something new to the screen, and the western setting made it one of the year’s best.
9. The Peanuts Movie
The second movie on this list is yet another animated film. The Peanuts Movie was a film that I was nervously excited for. A lot of people, including myself, grew up reading the comic strips and watching Charlie Brown and this cast of characters every holiday season. Thankfully, this movie was every bit a Peanuts story as you wanted it to be.
This film did what many considered impossible and captured that classic Peanuts vibe. The characters were just as relatable as we remembered, and the voice work done by the kids brought in was very impressive. They were almost identical to the voices of the old cartoons. If you are a Peanuts fan at all, you will fall in love with the charm that this film brings to the table.
When making this list, I surprised myself with this film’s placement. Initially, I thought it would be a lot higher, but it’s not a film I could ever picture myself watching again. Chances are, Spotlight is going to be receiving the Academy Award for Best Picture. Deservedly so. The acting in the film was magnificent, and the chemistry amongst the stellar cast was just as impressive.
It was a very interesting story. Watching these reporters uncover the true details of a child-molestation scandal amidst the Catholic Church was just as intriguing as it sounds. The dialogue in this film was fantastic. Which in turn makes the film equally as good, because it relies so heavily on that dialogue. I cannot recommend this film enough, but don’t plan on watching it again.
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is a film that I enjoyed at first. However as the year went on, I started to love it. Now, I can’t shut up about it. This film is fantastic! The visual effects alone are worth your money. A majority of them are practical effects which are especially impressive when people are swinging on giant poles between moving vehicles.
This film is one of the most heart-racing ones of the year. The action scenes were so well directed by George Miller, and Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy were both brilliant as the leads. This is the type of film that doesn’t have a super complex plot, but that makes it better. Basically, the plot is someone turns left when they aren’t supposed to. That’s it. But, you get so connected to these characters that you don’t even care. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most fun times I had at the theater all year.
6. Kingsman: The Secret Service
This film came out of nowhere. Yes, I did have it on my most anticipated films of 2015 list, but I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it was. Kingsman: The Secret Service could very easily become the James Bond of a new generation. The comedy in the film hit almost every time. I was crying laughing several times in this film.
Collin Firth did such a different role than usual in this film, and it totally paid off. The audience totally buys into him as an action star. Taron Egerton is now on every studio's radar due to this film. He’s even my personal choice to play Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars Anthology film. If you haven’t seen Kingsman yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. The final shot of the film is a little odd, but the rest of it is totally worth it.
Before we continue, I would like to mention a few films that didn’t make the list, but deserve to be in the conversation. At one point or another, they were most likely on the list but have since been removed. I recommend all of these films, but they weren’t quite great enough to be on the list.
5. Ex Machina
This is one of the few films this year that I saw and didn’t review. But, if I were to review it, it would receive a stellar recommendation from me. Ex Machina is one of the most original films I’ve seen in the past decade. It is such an intriguing premise. The owner of a Google-esque company invites one of his employees to test an Artificial Intelligence by the name of Ava that he’s been working on for quite some time.
The business owner Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the employee Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), and the A.I. Ava (Alicia Vikander) are really the only three characters in the film. It’s enthralling, it’s funny, it’s nerve-racking, and it’s definitely one of the best Sci-Fi films in recent memory.
4. The Walk
The Walk is, in my opinion, the most underrated film of the year. The film follows Phillipe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a French wire-walker who decides it’s his dream to walk on a wire between the two towers of the world trade center.
Visually, this film is amazing. The visual effects alone are worth the watch. Robert Zemeckis’ direction and the cinematography really make you feel like you’re hundreds of feet off the ground. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was enigmatic as the walker, and he absolutely nailed his French accent.
3. The Martian
This year was a packed one when it comes to Science Fiction. Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a fantastic film based on one of the best books I’ve read. It is the story of a Mark Watney (Matt Damon). When he becomes stranded alone on Mars, he has to use real science to discover a way to survive for up to four years on his own.
This film hits almost every emotion humanly possible. You get frustrated at every setback Watney faces. You cheer with him when he overcomes those setbacks. You tear up whenever hope seems lost. And surprisingly enough, you laugh hysterically at Watney’s sense of humor. This is a fabulous film, and you would be amiss if you decided not to watch it.
2. Inside Out
For a vast majority of the year, this film was in the number one spot. Inside Out is one of Pixar’s best films to date. The concept of the emotions in your head being actual people is so completely original! It’s a great family film.
Kids will enjoy the emotions that the film follows. It’s a great film to teach kids how to keep themselves in check. While simultaneously, being an emotional rollercoaster (pun intended) for the adults in the audience. I would consider Inside Out a lock for the Best Animated Feature award at the Oscars, and don’t be surprised if it even gets a Best Picture nomination.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Is anyone really surprised that this is number one? Again, I would like to point out that these are my favorite films of the year, not necessarily the best. That being said, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was freaking amazing! This film had the weight of the world on its shoulders, and it delivered in spades. Star Wars is the most popular franchise in the world, and this film successfully met expectations introducing a new generation to a galaxy far, far away.
I have been an avid Star Wars fan all my life. The first film I remember seeing in theaters was Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. While The Force Awakens is leagues better than that film, it’s the pure experience of seeing a Star Wars film in theaters that makes it great. The acting was fantastic. The story was familiar, yet new at the same time; and the film as a whole was undoubtedly the best movie-going experience of the year. This film deserves your attention, and it deserves to be number one.
So as 2015 comes to a close, what were your favorite films of the year? Do you agree with my list? Comment yours down below! Also, if you enjoyed this list, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! I will not be posting a Worst Films of the Year list as frankly, I tried to avoid seeing bad films. Friday I will be posting my Most Anticipated Films of 2016. So check back then for that!
Thanks for stopping by!
Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Well, I hope you all had a very happy holiday season. As we approach the New Year, it seems like every film critic and fan out there are putting together their lists of best films of the year. While this isn’t that list, this film looks as if it could possibly be making that list.
Concussion stars Will Smith and Alec Baldwin. It is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian doctor that is very skilled at his work. He makes a discovery that repetitive head trauma, specifically from football, causes extreme memory loss and change of character later in life. For obvious reasons, the NFL wants to cover it up. The film really focuses on the discovery of this disease, and the fight to make it known to the public. This film looks as if it could be real Oscar-bait, but how does it live up to expectations?
I really enjoyed Concussion. The biggest surprise of the whole film is that it’s not a football film. The trailers made it seem like we would get quite a bit of sports-action in this film, and there was very little if any at all. This is very much a medical drama with a hint of a sports film and a dab of politics.
What this film didn’t do was sugarcoat anything that happened. It was very up front and honest about everything that went on. Some of it is even a bit unbelievable. Also, it does a good job of showing both sides of the story. You really understand why the NFL doesn’t want people to know about this, but you also understand why people need to.
By far, the best part of the film is Will Smith’s performance. He absolutely nails the Nigerian accent. It was a bit jarring at first simply because it didn’t sound anything Smith’s voice that we’ve grown accustomed to. But, it’s not his accent that makes the performance. The looks on his face and the pure emotion in his voice really drive his performance home. I do feel that the film as a whole would be significantly less impressive without him.
The film was left a little bit open-ended. Which is fine with a lot of films, but it didn’t really fit with this one. Mainly because it’s based on a true story. If this were fictional it almost would have felt like they left it open for a sequel, which obviously isn’t going to happen. The lack of a resolution made the film feel a little empty.
There were several scenes throughout the film that were very powerful. Usually, a movie is lucky if it has one extremely powerful scene. Concussion has at least three of those scenes in it. These scenes made this movie exponentially more interesting every time they would appear.
The cinematography also piqued my interest. Often, shots focused exclusively on a characters eyes or mouth. It was a very good idea because the dialogue that was spoken and the emotion conveyed were both great. These shots really focused the audience’s attention on them.
Concussion is a very good film. It’s not quite Top Ten worthy, but I would still recommend it highly. Will Smith’s performance alone makes the film worth seeing. It didn’t have much of a resolution, but the dialogue and cinematography are both impressive.
So what did you think of Concussion? Were you as impressed by Will Smith’s performance? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back later this week for a few special Top Ten lists!
Thanks for stopping by!
THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
FROM STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!
IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM COME BACK AFTER YOU HAVE!
Hello, fellow moviegoers!
It’s official. After years of waiting, we can now say that we have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I say we because if you’re reading this, you contributed to that record-shattering $248 million opening weekend. So now that I’ve given you my spoiler-free review, let’s talk some spoilers. I didn’t feel like making this post a spoiler review because if you read my spoiler-free one you already know my thoughts on the film. It’s awesome! So, this post is going to serve as a list of my favorite moments in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is your last warning. SPOILERS!
6. Kylo Ren Loses his Temper
The scenes where Kylo Ren would receive bad news and just tear whatever room he was in to shreds with it were awesome. I particularly loved these scenes because they really set his character apart from that of Darth Vader. We never really saw Vader lose his temper like that, and these scenes go to show that Ren is similar to him in appearance alone. Plus, him calmly asking “Anything else?” afterward was hilarious.
5. Finn Persuades BB-8
This scene was perhaps the funniest in the entirety of the movie. It features Finn confessing to BB-8 that he is an ex-stormtrooper in an attempt to convince the little droid to tell them where the Resistance base is. Finn doesn’t want Rey to know the truth behind his origins, so he wants BB-8 to tell Rey where to go. The comedic timing of BB-8 looking back-and-forth between Finn and Rey was great. Then, BB gives Finn a thumbs-up with his lighter. My entire theater was rolling.
4. Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s Son
This scene was already an interesting one because it involved a conversation between Kylo Ren and the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. It became even more so when Snoke dropped the bomb that Kylo Ren was Han Solo’s son. It sent a shockwave throughout my whole theater, and it seemed as if everyone gasped simultaneously. It really gave more depth to the Kylo Ren character and started to make him one of my favorite parts of this new film.
3. Kylo Ren’s Real Name and the Death of his Father
This scene is one of the many in this film that will be considered among the best of Star Wars many years from now. Han Solo walking out onto that bridge and revealing his son’s name to be Ben Solo was great. The conversation that ensues between both Solos in the center of that bridge was an emotional one. Kylo Ren was talking about being torn apart, and wanting to be made whole. We thought that he wanted to be good again, but when the conversation ends with him killing his own father, it’s revealed he wants to be one with the Dark Side. Ben Solo committed fully to the Dark Side of the Force in that scene, and now he will be even more menacing in the sequels.
2. Rey Fights Kylo Ren
One of the best scenes was where Kylo Ren tries to pull Luke’s lightsaber out of the snow and it flies passed him and Rey catches it. The fight that ensues was one of passion, not of precision. It didn’t feel like a dance. It was a raw fight, you could really feel the emotion behind both characters. Plus, the attention to detail was great. Kylo Ren hitting the wound given to him by Chewbacca was odd at first, but then you realize he’s purposefully causing himself pain because pain causes fear. As Yoda put it so well “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
1. Rey’s Backstory (or lack thereof)
Arguably my favorite thing about this film was the character of Rey. She was similar to Luke in A New Hope, but not a carbon copy. She was similar enough to draw a parallel, but she was her own character. One thing a lot of people have been speculating about is her backstory. Because they give us so little about it. Which was great! I absolutely love that they didn’t tell us about Rey’s heritage. They left that open for future films to explore. They gave us enough to make educated guesses, but nothing more. It may have been the single best decision this film made, and the series as a whole will be made better because of it.
So what were your favorite moments in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? How excited are you for Episode VIII? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this list share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and editorials!
Thanks for stopping by!
Hello, fellow moviegoers!
In case you didn’t know, I have a job at my local movie theater. With the release of Star Wars this weekend, it’s been pretty crazy over there. We have 17 showings of it per day, which is a lot for us considering we only have seven theaters, and Star Wars is playing in four of them.
While I was taking tickets on Saturday, a fan in line posed an excellent question to me. Why is Star Wars so popular? What about it hits everybody in that exact same sweet spot every time? Yes, it’s a pop-culture icon, but why did it become that way? I’ve really been pondering this question a lot over the past couple days, and I’ve discovered that there are so many different reasons for this. Here are the four biggest ones I found… (Keep in mind that these are in no particular order)
1. Darth Vader
We’ve all heard the saying that every story is only as good as its villain. Well, in Star Wars’ case they have one of the best movie villains of all time. When we first meet Vader in A New Hope he is this menacing villain that strikes fear into anyone who sees him. Not only that, but he is also in control of this powerful “Dark Side of the Force”. The audience has no idea the true menace that Darth Vader can be, and it’s the mysteriousness of the character that made him so intriguing.
It’s not until The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that we really get to explore the character. We discover so many things about him throughout those next two films. With most characters like Vader, you don’t want to know a lot about them because they’re ultimately disappointing. The exploration of Darth Vader’s character had quite the opposite effect. The more we discovered about him, the more he grew as a character and the more enthralling he was to the audience.
2. Its Advancements in Cinema
A big part of the reason the original Star Wars film became so popular is because of all of the advancements it made in the art of filmmaking. The visual effects at the time were groundbreaking and so different from anything seen before. Not only that, but it also was one of the first true summer blockbusters. Coming out only two years after Jaws broke box-office records around the world, Star Wars was able to capitalize on the time in which it released. People were just starting to truly discover what a summer blockbuster was, and Star Wars helped tremendously.
Star Wars changed the world. That may sound like a big statement just to sound dramatic, but I mean that in the most truthful way possible. You only need to look at the world around you now. If you walk up to some random stranger on the street, chances are, they have seen the original Star Wars trilogy at some point in their life. People are always using classic Star Wars quotes for conversation, and the music of the film is infinitely recognizable. Star Wars changed the way that people look at the film industry as a whole.
3. Luke Skywalker
One of largest reasons Star War became so popular was its central character of Luke Skywalker. Luke is the definition of relatability. He starts off as nobody really. He’s just a simple farm-boy on the remote planet of Tatooine. He doesn’t really make that much of a difference, but he wants to. He wishes he was out there, fighting alongside the rebellion in the war against the Empire. He dreams of grandeur. The best part is, this is all conveyed in that shot of Luke staring off into the distance at the now iconic Binary Sunset.
When Luke finally gets the chance to chase his dreams it comes at a cost. He ends up in way over his head. He discovers so many things about the empire and himself that he never thought to discover. He faces so many trials and oppositions, and it really gets to him at first. This is expressed well in his impatience while training with Yoda. Despite the odds he truly discovers what it means to be a Jedi, and he and the galaxy were made better because of it.
4. The Imaginative Universe it Created
Personally, I believe this is the main reason Star Wars is so popular. The world it created is so inventive and breathtaking, that it really captures the audiences’ imagination. We all became so intrigued by this galaxy far, far away. This was a universe where anything was possible, where the sky was the limit and everybody was free to do whatever they want to do, go wherever they want to go, and live whatever life they want to live.
That’s why when the Empire threatened to take that away, we all rooted for the Rebellion. That freedom was cherished by everybody, and we didn’t want to see that taken away from them. We had all become so encapsulated in this universe where nobody cared what race you were, nobody cared about your sexuality, and nobody cared about what you did with your life. You were free to be whoever you wanted to be. Nobody was going to take that away from the Rebellion, and that’s why we became so invested in this world.
So why has Star Wars become so iconic? Easy. Its characters were amazing. They were all fully fleshed out, three-dimensional characters. Nobody was perfect. Everybody had their flaws, and that’s what made them so relatable. Star Wars had a magnificent effect on the world. No matter who you were, and where you were from, you could enjoy Star Wars. It gave everybody some common ground to talk about. It became something far bigger than George Lucas could have ever imagined. It developed a sort of ring to it. Whenever you hear the words Star Wars, you get a little reminder of the world where you’re free to be happy. It is the definition of escapism. At least, that’s the way I see it.
So why do you think Star Wars is so popular? Am I way off base in my reasoning? Let me know by commenting on this post. Also, if you enjoyed this editorial, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and editorials!
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