Now that 2015 is safely behind us, and there isn't a hoverboard or flying car in sight - so, yeah, thanks for getting my hopes up, "Back to the Future" - we do have a long list of films to show for it. Some of them were amazing, some less so. Some of them were even downright awful. What follows is a completely subjective list of the five best and five worst movies of the past year. These are not ranked and are in no particular order.
The 5 Best Movies of 2015
"Creed" is the continuation of the "Rocky" film franchise and the seventh installment of that series. This time, the focus is on the illegitimate son of one of Rocky Balboa's most worthy opponents and closest friends, Apollo Creed. "Creed," while drawing obvious parallels to Rocky's own story from the first film, brought a freshness to the franchise that had never quite been done before. "Creed" was a delight to watch and would be well worth watching again. In case you missed it, you can find my original review for "Creed" here.
Starring Matt Damon as a NASA astronaut who is presumed dead and left behind on Mars, "The Martian" was an engaging, smart and funny experience. Even Matt Damon turned in a marvelous performance. "The Martian" is one of the best hard science fiction films of all time. In case you missed it, you can find my original review for "The Martian" here.
"Secret in Their Eyes"
Psychological thrillers tend to be rather formulaic. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's always refreshing when a film in a specific genre is able to bring something new to the table and "Secret in Their Eyes" certainly does that. The film chronicles the hunt for a killer and Islamic terrorist who murdered the daughter of a FBI agent - played to perfection by Julia Roberts - and then disappeared for 13 years. The former partner of Roberts' character seemingly discovers the killer and tries to bring him to justice. "Secret in Their Eyes" is engaging and even manages to pull off a few great twists. Read my full review for this film here.
"Ant-Man" was another genre film that managed to bring something new and outside the box to its genre. While "Ant-Man" certainly works as a superhero action movie, it is also a really good heist movie. It's charming and funny, without venturing into self-parody territory. Read my full review for "Ant-Man" here.
With "Casino Royale" in 2006, Sony Pictures tried to inject new life and energy into the over 40-year-old film series. It worked, and Daniel Craig soon become one of the most loved James Bond actors, often being compared favorably to Sean Connery. Even former Bond Roger Moore thinks that Craig is the best 007 ever. Still, many fans have lamented the absence of Bond's signature gadgets in the new movies. "SPECTRE" brought Bond back, gadgets and all, in full force and finally completed the James Bond origin story arc began in "Casino Royale." Read my full review of "SPECTRE" here.
5 Worst Movies of 2015
"Love the Coopers"
"Love the Coopers" had so much potential, unfortunately it couldn't manage to live up to it. It tried to follow too many characters doing too many different things and in the end the viewer didn't get to learn much of anything about any of them. "Love the Coopers" did land a few laughs, but it wasn't able to do much else and had very little real substance. Read my full review for "Love the Coopers" here.
Hollywood seems to have gone from trying to resurrect popular film franchises of the past to just outright remaking them. The forthcoming "Ghostbusters" looks like nothing more than a gender-bent remake of the original, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was incredibly derivative of the original trilogy, and "Terminator Genisys" used time travel to pretty much just do the first movie over again. "Terminator Genisys" also didn't seem to understand how movies are supposed to be structured, lacking any sort of second act at all. This movie just failed. Read my full review of "Terminator Genisys" here.
"Jem and the Holograms"
Much like 2003's "Daredevil," "Jem and the Holograms" mostly failed because it couldn't decide what sort of movie it wanted to be. It tried to be both a grounded and realistic coming of age story, while also trying to stay true to the Saturday morning cartoon it was based on. The end result was a confusing, incoherent mess. Read my full review for "Jem and the Holograms" here.
"Fantastic 4" was another example of an interesting idea not executed very well. Doing a superhero movie as a sci-fi thriller could have been brilliant, except it wasn't. It started strong, it set a marvelous (no pun intended) stage, and then midway through it just completely fell apart. There was so much more wrong with this movie than just abandoning its source material.
"Fifty Shades of Grey"
What do you get when you cross erotic rape fantasies with poorly written "Twilight" fan fiction? Well, if you turn it into a movie you get a 25 percent "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite protests by fans, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is nothing more than a chronicle of domestic violence disguised as kinky sex. If Christian Grey were a janitor instead of a billionaire, this would be an episode of "Law and Order," not a "romantic" Valentine's Day film for lonely middle-aged women.
Well, there you have it. The best and worst films of 2015. Agreements or disagreements? Leave a comment and let's talk about it.
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