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

Review of “The Martian” (3D)

It’s better than Interstellar and Gravity, alright? Let’s just get that out of the way. In fact, you know what? I have a great comparison: this movie is essentially Gravity if Gravity had endearing characters. Or a worthwhile plot. Or, you know, a soul.The_Martian_film_poster

The Martian is the best damn space movie I’ve ever seen. That’s not saying much as I’ve never really loved a space movie before (Star Wars is fun and all, but let’s be real guys). Still, it’s a compliment that’s definitely due for a movie of this quality. Ridley Scott is back in the game baby, and he’s playing to win!

It’s a movie about Mark Watney (Matt Damon), a botanist who gets stranded on Mars and has to grow potatoes while he waits for a rescue team over the course of a few years. It sounds so stupid, I know, yet the execution is AMAZING. Potato-growing is really only around thirty minutes of the movie, with the other two hours consisting of the best bits of NASA drama I’ve seen on the big screen and a hell of a lot of cool Mars cinematography.

Matt Damon, as you can tell by his smarmy face on the front of every poster for this movie, is obviously the one carrying the brunt of the screen time. And you know what? He nails it. He’s solid. I liked him in this movie. It almost made me forget how much of a politically correct goody two-shoes tool he was in Entourage (which, honestly, is probably more profile than parody of his real-world self). So yeah, if this were real life I’d like Damon to reach earth again, is what I’m saying.

Everyone else in the cast was awesome as well. Kate Mara was great, Michael Pena (forgive the lack of an accent of the “n”, no idea how to format that in) was (Inter)stellar, and OH MY GOD IS THAT SEBASTIAN STAN?? He’s gone from Winter Soldier to Galactic Soldier and it’s pretty great. He’s pretty great. Stan’s the man. Oh, and everyone else in the movie was great (Kristen Wiig, the two [three, technically] Chinese actors, Chitiwel Adjakfoar [I am NOT googling how to spell his name properly, he just needs to cut that thing down to a syllable or two at max], the NASA director [was he the dude from Full House??], etc.).

The soundtrack is really good. And no, I’m not referring to the shitty ’70’s disco stuff… though it did work, in the movie’s defense. Yes, even Abba. Anyway, Harry Gregson-Williams (responsible for some shitty soundtracks, admittedly, like Black Hat‘s) nails the desolate Mars survival atmosphere of the movie with his original score, the pieces of music I’m really referring to when I praise this movie’s soundtrack. I’m going to make a point of mentioning worthy soundtracks in movies because people just don’t do that enough these days. This guy put in work and it shows.

My only real issues with the movie stem from the actual source material in the Andy Weir novel, which involves the plot advancing based off of one coincidence to the next. Circumstances align in such a way that Watney is given exactly the amount of tools he needs to succeed, no more or less, almost like he’s in a Portal testing chamber. And while this was bothering me at first in the movie, the fact that the plot implements one random negative coincidence against him for every freebie it gives him made me appreciate the overall narrative a hell of a lot more. Oh, Watney magically found a way to grow potatoes on Mars? Well, Mars says fuck you and tears your little garden in half during a sandstorm. Ha.

Speaking of fucks, Watney drops two of them verbally within the first half hour of this movie, and alludes to like four more usages later. I am digging this whole “MPAA doesn’t care about language anymore” theme. The sooner we stop being offended by goddamn spoken four-letter combinations, the sooner movies like this can be entertaining and realistic with their dialogue.

Lastly, let’s talk about the 3D of this film. While I’m usually a staunch defender of the anti-3D camp as I believe it to be a worthless gimmick, The Martian isn’t that bad of an offender (that’s the nicest thing I’ll ever say about 3D) in terms of useless usage of the tool. Some of the debris flickering early on looks nice in 3D, and to be perfectly frank, I actually caught myself holding my breath for the grand finale of the movie and I think the 3D played a small part in adding to that tension (though really, I think it’s just that the movie had gotten me to care enough about the characters by that point and implemented bad-ass cinematography for the final scene that really caused my suspension of disbelief to be that intense… though, I’ll give 3D the benefit of a doubt just this once).

Well, that about sums up my ramblings regarding The Martian. Go see it because it’s amazing. Yeah.