Room

Everyone in the theatre was crying.

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It might not be my favorite movie of 2015, but it deserves every award it gets. I can’t even bring myself to “review” it, if only because this is a movie beyond review. Sure, there are nitpicks that could be made, with the script and the side characters’ acting, but none of that matters. Because it distills the relationship between a single mother and her son down to its absolute purest form. That’s an accomplishment beyond review.

It makes you want to call your mom and tell her how appreciative you are of everything she’s ever done for you.

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Review of “Point Break”

I went to this movie for one reason: that scene from the trailer when millions of dollars are bursting through the air as skydivers wingsuit through the flurry of green. It struck me that this movie was selling itself solely on the premise of “You want things that look cool? ‘Cause we got ’em.” And I’m here to say, yes, this movie had them.point-break-poster.jpg

The issues: the movie sometimes tries to explain itself too much, thinking we care about the motivations of the “bad guys.” They’re terrorists! No, they’re eco-terrorists! No, they’re nirvana-seeking eco-terrorists! No, they’re actually just petty criminals! Give it a rest, Point Break. We get it, they’re misguided. That’s all that matters.

The acting is functional. The plot is functional. Basically, everything meant to get you pumped up for the action does its job. Then the action hits and the fun kicks in. There’s quite a few high-octane sequences in this movie, and the one that got me the most is the one that’s not in the trailers at all. Let me just say this: if you have even the mildest fear of heights, don’t go into this with a full stomach. I haven’t had white knuckles in a theatre since, well, ever. So props to this movie for getting me on the edge of my seat. And besides that one sequence, all the other action bits are breathtakingly well-shot as well. The surfing bits especially are gorgeous, what with the green-aqua riptides swallowing up surfers in some of the most intense camera angles I’ve seen to date. Good stuff.

Here’s the bottom line: it’s exactly what the trailers sell it as, and that’s all you can ever really ask from an advertising campaign. If you liked the trailers like I did, you’ll like this movie. It’s extreme sports taken to a whole ‘nother level with a story woven right through the center, and that’s a niche that needed filling as of late.

Top 10 Movies of 2015

Let’s do this.

10.) Project Almanac
There are teen movies, and then there are teen movies. This one pretty much perfectly captures the spirit of today’s youth, with a mix of gritty realism and a heavy coating of young, fun, thirsty-af vigor. Not to mention the whole time travel part of it is pretty well done.project-almanac.jpg

9.) Victor Frankenstein
The soundtrack, the snazzy editing, the great lead actors, the overall design and just the fun of it all made this movie for me. It was magnificent, and I don’t care what any highbrow rottentomatoes armchair critic has to say about it (won’t be the last time I say that on this list).Victor_Frankenstein_2015

8.) The Martian
The one time 3D has ever been kind-of sort-of worth it. And the best space-flick ever, in my opinion. Not that that’s saying much as I don’t think the genre’s really been tapped to its full potential, but still. A noble award.The_Martian_film_poster

7.) Everest
It’s a harrowing movie about a harrowing true story, and the final pictures after the credits roll still give me goosebumps when put side-by-side with the identical shots in the movie. Baltasar Kormákur nailed it.Everest_poster

6.) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
It’s the snazziest, sexiest cold war movie I’ve ever seen. Do you know the plot beats before you go in? Sure. Have you ever seen them delivered with this much raw panache and style? Probably not. Plus, the soundtrack is sick.sM6KRdy

5.) Ex Machina
It’s a movie that makes you think about why sex with robots could but won’t be the future. Need I say more? It’s REALLY thought-provoking and just all-around fantastic.ex-machina-poster

4.) Mad Max: Fury Road
Good soundtracks are a reoccurring theme on this list, and Mad Max is no exception. Great soundtrack, great action, fun plot, kick-ass leads.mad-max-fury-road

3.) Ant-Man
After the travesty that was Age of Ultron, I thought I was going to have to boycott Marvel. And I just might, if Civil War sucks too, but for now, Ant-Man has reminded me just how much fun the comic book movie genre can be.Ant-Man_poster

2.) Fantastic Four
Read my two reviews of this movie (I went to see it twice in theatres and bought it on DVD, as well, just to make sure I wasn’t being subconsciously contrarian for the hell of it) if you want the juicy details. Basically, it’s a better version of Interstellar with a comic book twist at the end. And I love that. Plus, great soundtrack.images

1.) Kingsmen: The Secret Service
It’s a 2015 release in the U.S., so, deal with it. This might just be my favorite straight-up action movie of all time. It’s so fun and visceral and playful but thoughtful at the same time, while dancing with meta-humor but never so much as to break the immersion. Basically, it’s as close to perfect as I think I’ll see in this lifetime. Aaaaaaand… it has a great soundtrack. In no world did I expect to hear Dizzie Rascal’s Bonkers in a movie theatre. But it happened.Kingsman_The_Secret_Service_poster.jpg

Top 5 Most Disappointing Movies of 2015

This section always makes me sad. Very sad. In a medium I love so dearly, why must shit cloud its artistic shelves?

Honorable Mention: A Most Violent Yearmaxresdefault (1)

It’s honestly a good flick, but in no world can it justify its run time. The plot is solid but could be condensed to forty minutes. When I can shave off over half the movie’s run time and still piece together every single story element, that’s an issue. A Most Boring Year is good, if you’re doing spring cleaning with it on in the background or something.

5.) Black Mass
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Damn, organized crime movies just can’t get it together this year. Basically, Johny Depp’s makeup looks ridiculous, the movie is tediously slow without the skilled tension mounting of, say, the Godfather series, the pacing is awful and god help me did they waste Corey Stoll’s character. He singlehandedly could’ve saved this movie if they’d introduced him in the second half rather than the final twenty minutes. There was potential for a great throwdown and the movie just says “use your imagination because it DID happen we’re just not showing it.” No, Black Mass, I go to a movie to SEE cool things. Not imagine them.

4.) Spyspy-poster
If I were viewing this movie as a comedy, what it’s ADVERTISED as, it’d be my worst movie of the year simply because of how awful and devoid of humor the whole thing is. I give it the benefit of being a comedy/spy-thriller hybrid though, as the actual execution of the spy stuff wasn’t that bad. Still, not funny whatsoever. Two chuckle-worthy one-liners are all you get and the run time is much longer than those two sentences, I assure you.

3.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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This movie managed to rip my heart out even though I went in with zero expectations. It’s just so soulless. As much as people hate on the prequels, at least they TRIED to tell a new story. This shit is just a shameless rehash of the original trilogy’s plots rolled into one gargantuan pile of Disney money-generating garbage. The story has so many ridiculous conveniences after the first twenty minutes that I honestly couldn’t take it seriously, and my friends and I were laughing from the halfway point to the finish line at how much of a joke this reboot was. And it IS a soft reboot, because if it wasn’t, what the fuck is their justification for calling this Episode 7 when it’s just a supercut of Episodes 4, 5 and 6?

2.) Avengers: Age of UltronAvengers-Age-of-Ultron-Trailer-1-Quicksilver-Saves-Captain-America-570x237

Disney is knocking it out of the park this year with people eating up their shit and throwing money at by-the-numbers cookie cutter action flicks. My issue with this movie is, simply put, it’s the week of Ultron, not the age. He is the most poorly written villain I’ve seen in my LIFE. In the first trailer, he was fucking scary, in a good way. In the movie? He’s a comedian who never uses any of his fucking powers, literally just to let the good guys win. HE CAN HACK THE INTERNET. You know how much damage he could cause within a matter of seconds? He could’ve started WW3 and been on his merry way while the Avengers drowned in a sea of global violence. But no, he hacks one bank account then plays with vibranium cylinders for the rest of the movie. It’s pathetic, and I really hope none of the writing staff are proud of themselves for this, Joss Whedon and his secret ghost assistants or otherwise.

1.) Terminator GenisysNE1PqyiYsqPO54_1_a
At least the other movies had some form of endearment going for them. Some scene or line of dialogue I could pick out and go “hey, that wasn’t so bad”. This movie has pasties on tits, special effects from the 70’s and a lead female who can’t decide whether she wants to be Juliet or Sarah goddamn Connor. The plot is garbage and riddled with the same kinds of awful conveniences and plotholes Age of Ultron and The Force Awakens had, just without even a glimmer of the same charm. Ew. This movie is just ew.

Game of the Year 2015

That’s right, there’s only one game I’ve got to celebrate this year; it’s been a dry one. Though, I do have an honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Duetmaxresdefault
It’s a smart game. Very smart. Clever, witty, addictive, rage-inducing, fun, thought-provoking, etc. All of that wrapped up in a neat little mobile package.

My Game of the Year: Life Is Strangemaxresdefault
Is it campy? You bet. At the same time, is it chock-full of more meaningful branching paths and choices in a story-driven game than any Telltale or Bioware product? Yes. Plus, I was playing that one episode with the terminally sick girl intro at two a.m. one morning and I cried for, like, a half hour. No other game has gotten me to do that or ever will. Sure, the first episode has some issues with teenage-lingo and the final episode stumbles a bit in the villain department, but otherwise, it’s just the best thing to come out of a dev studio this year.

Review of “Victor Frankenstein”

Ignore the Rotten Tomatoes critics for this one, I implore you.

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To begin, the acting is stellar. James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe are on-point (I really mean it, Radcliffe is clearly giving it his all as Igor and McAvoy is reveling in the mad scientist fun of Frankenstein, though he does give the character surprising layers), Andrew Scott is a GREAT detective who really embodies the greatest fears towards science of the time period, and Jessica Findlay plays a VERY believable love interest (my theory is that she, in real life, is such a big fan of Radcliffe that it was easy for her to slip into the fantasy of being his bed partner). Basically, I bought every character on their own and every relationship that connected them. That is a rarity, and good job on Victor Frankenstein for achieving such a feat.

Next up: the story. Click here to read more

Review of “The Night Before”

the-night-beforeSeth Rogen’s latest hour and a half drug-trip isn’t funny, but makes up for the lack of laughs in genuine heartfelt moments. Honestly, when I think of redeeming qualities found in The Night Before, there’s really only three things worthy of recognition: a touching story, a main trio with good chemistry and exceptional cameos. If you don’t like Rogen’s stuff, this won’t change anything. If you want a drug-filled version of A Christmas Carol, this is a pretty solid choice.