Posts Tagged movies

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2015

2015 has been a pretty great year for movies that brought us a ton of great adaptations, revivals and sequels. While every year has its fair share of bad movies, 2015 was one filled with plenty of good to outweigh the bad. While there are tons of films I want to give recognition, the list only contains ten spots, and it’s been tiring to condense everything down and make these hard choices. Some movies on this list might not be critically acclaimed or Academy Award worthy, but that doesn’t matter. These are the motion pictures that gave me the most enjoyment while sitting in the theater during 2015. That said, let’s kick things off with my honorable mentions.

P.S.: I unfortunately haven’t seen The Hateful Eight yet… I’m planning on seeing it 1/2 or 1/3 but have been away and didn’t want to watch it on my computer for my first viewing. Might ninja edit it in later. 

Honorable Mentions

 Furious 7:

Furious 7 is the seventh installment to the Fast & Furious franchise that began back in 2001 as an action movie with cool cars that borrowed the plot outline of Point Break. The series dragged along with some mediocre movies, eventually dying after fan interest disappeared after the third movie Tokyo Drift. This series has always been a guilty pleasure for me; growing up Vin Diesel was the coolest guy around and I loved watching him be cool while driving fast cars. I was thrilled when the series picked back up and decided to have fun with itself, moving towards the direction of being filled with absurd action. Two years ago, the series’ second leading man (and Diesel’s real life best friend), Paul Walker, unexpectedly passed away leaving the future of the F&F franchise up in the air. Yet, Diesel and the crew moved on to complete what was one of the best Fast and Furious movies to date that included a beautiful and tear jerking sendoff for Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor.

The Gift:

The Gift was a movie that I originally had no intention of seeing. I would catch the trailers on TV and almost laugh at how goofy the movie looked each time I saw Jason Bateman’s character say, “OH GOD!” However, The Gift turned out to be a classic case of terrible trailer – great movie, and it turned out to be one of my favorites in 2015. I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton and was delighted to see them both in such a great serious thriller like this. The Gift was an awesome directorial debut for Edgerton who, along with Bateman, gave a great acting performance in what was my most surprising film of the year.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation:

The Mission Impossible franchise has never been a series that I’ve fully hopped on board as a fan of until more recently. i saw the first two movies when i was younger and thought that they were cool, but wasn’t blown away with them like others had been. M:I3 came out and I enjoyed it, but again, wasn’t as into it as others that I knew. Ghost Protocol came out and completely changed my mind about the movies. I wasn’t sure they could top what they had pulled off in the fourth installment, but, to my surprise, Rogue Nation pulled it off and delivered a movie of equal quality. The cast in the more recent Mission: Impossible movies has been the main draw for me and the addition of Rebecca Ferguson only made it stronger this time around. Hopefully Mission: Impossible can continue to be over the top action spy movies that are well made, because Rogue Nation showed that they know what they are doing and Ghost Protocol wasn’t an accident.

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl:

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl was a movie that I really had no expectations about going into the theater. I thought that it looked pretty cool but, again, didn’t know what to expect. What I was given was a super artsy, super emotional, awesome movie that even made me tear up by the time it was done. Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke really stood out in this movie and it really nailed high school stereotypes and what it’s like to feel out of the loop. Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon each brought some necessary experience to the cast in their supporting roles to really round things out and make this a complete film. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl had a bunch of heart and fun while delivering a very emotional finish in what was a great artistic movie.

What We Do In The Shadows:

What We Do In The Shadows was easily the most underrated comedy of 2015. I hadn’t heard about this film until my cousin recommended it to me and I immediately knew I would be on board. I’m a Flight of the Concords fan and love Jermaine Clement, who was hilarious in this movie. What We Do In The Shadows took a step into the supernatural genre that has been polluted by movies like Twilight and while the movie wasn’t scary, it at least made these types of characters fun again. The film was ridiculous and over the top but a clever comedy with a solid story. The last I heard, there is definitely a sequel in the works, which would be amazing.

Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs was a movie that I had hoped would be good enough to possibly contend for best picture this year, especially with my favorite actor, Michael Fassbender, leading the way as Jobs himself. I really loved how Steve Jobs was structured and the entire film felt like a play with different acts rather than a flowing movie. We watch the genius become the genius as he goes through the different stages of business and life. Fassbender was absolutely phenomenal and I think he definitely deserves a nomination for Best Actor because he not only looked enough like older Jobs, he had the mannerisms, tone and demeanor of the man as well. This was definitely not a perfect movie and I know plenty of it was exaggerated or changed to be more appealing to an audience, but I loved how they displayed the character and it was just barely pushed off of my actual top 10 list.

The Top 10 

Spotlight-Sicario

10. Tie: Spotlight & Sicario:

I actually feel bad having to stick both of these movies in my number ten spot because they are easily deserving of a higher position, but I wanted to make sure they both got some recognition.

Spotlight:  Spotlight was a movie that I knew was getting a lot of critical acclaim, but I wondered how much I would personally like it. The cast was about as well rounded as I could have asked for but the topic seemed like it would be a lot of talking with a known outcome; however, I really loved this movie. I’m not really a religious person, and during the time in 2001 that the Spotlight team was breaking all of this I barely remember it happening. 9/11 really clogs my memory from the time, but there was always news popping up throughout the following years about church rape scandals. Spotlight does a great job of presenting a tough topic and showing how much it impacted people because it was the first time that people were willing to speak up about the truth that had been shoved under the rug until then. The one line in this movie that really stuck out to me the most was that, “this wasn’t just physical abuse, it was spiritual too.” It really bothered me to think that these priests knew they were taking advantage of people’s faith to do these horrible things. Spotlight was an amazingly put together film that shows some great traditional film making as well as good investigative journalism that seems to have disappeared in 2015.

Sicario: Sicario was something that I assumed I would love when I saw all of the pieces put together. You get an all-star cast that includes Josh Brolin, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro as well as recent king of directing dark thrillers, Denis Villeneuve. I was most excited to see Villeneuve return after his other successful movies Prisoners and Enemy and he was able to outdo himself again. Sicario steps into an extremely dark part of the world that most people probably have no clue exists where the government is walking on the edge of their power and jurisdiction to control and influence the war on drugs. I absolutely loved the mysterious aspect that this film had by keeping viewers in the dark on the full scope of the plot. They attach us to Emily Blunt’s character because she is just as much in the dark as we are until we realize that she is being used for some morally questionable things. Everyone absolutely loved Benicio Del Toro, who plays the Sicario, Alejandro, who is just an absolute badass. Benicio really steals the show in Sicario and the film is an all around win that is dark, thrilling and crazy in the best ways.

Side note: There are rumors about a sequel to Sicario that focuses solely on Benicio’s character. I’m definitely interested in this, but don’t care whether it gets made or not, because the movie by itself was amazing and I almost don’t want to know more about these characters.

Inside-Out

9. Inside Out

Inside Out is another film that clearly doesn’t deserve this low of a position on my list, but here we are. You can always count on Disney Pixar to put out a good film that instantly has a chance to become a classic. Inside Out did exactly that. This movie found a way to connect with just about everyone, because it’s a universal experience to grow up. The clever way to analyze the mind of a child going through a series of big events in her life was phenomenal and each of the voice actors chosen for their roles were absolutely spot on. The biggest thing I took away from Inside Out is how well the movie communicated that it’s okay to address all of your feelings and there is never any reason to ignore or bury who you are. It was an original and creative adventure movie from Disney Pixar that is easily on par with the likes of Toy Story for this new generation of kids growing up. I loved this movie, and whether the studio decides to do sequels or not doesn’t really matter to me; however, I think that there are infinite possibilities they could take advantage of and really grow these characters through different stages of life in a similar way that Toy Story did.

Creed

8. Creed

Creed was a movie that I was initially skeptical about last year when I heard they wanted to move forward with the Rocky franchise at all. Being from Philadelphia and watching the original Rocky films with my father when I was growing up, they have a special place in my heart. While the back half of the series really dropped the ball and never lived up to the original two, they slightly brought things back to glory with 2006’s Rocky Balboa. I really enjoyed that film but never expected to see them continue things at all, and I really didn’t know what to think about Creed. Yet, as soon as I heard Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan were attached, I was on board and had faith it would, at the very least, be an acceptable installment that carried on the legacy of the Rocky films. This film completely exceeded all of my expectations and delivered a movie that had the most heart out of anything in 2015. Michael B. Jordan was phenomenal and Sylvester Stallone gave one of, if not, his best performance ever. Creed is an emotional underdog story that fully captures the heart and feeling that the original Rocky and continues the story and series in the best way possible.

7. The Martian

I was initially turned on to The Martian when my cousin recommended I read the book (yes, same cousin mentioned earlier). He brought up that it was being adapted into a movie, which I had heard about, but didn’t know it was such a recent book. Upon finishing the book I looked up the cast list and was in disbelief because I knew that they had perfectly cast each character for the film. Matt Damon was terrific in this role and had the perfect personality to deliver the smart but relaxed fun guy. In fact, I described Mark Watney as if Will from Good Will Hunting grew up. For being an isolation movie, this is one of the best, because the character is written so well that you can easily get behind him and his interesting quest for survival. The Martian really nails its adaptation and pretty much incorporates all but two or three major parts of the book but nails the tone enough to condense it down to a reasonable time amount. The Martian was an all around fun movie and each actor thrived in their role to deliver a great time in the theater with some laughs while a guy was stuck on Mars.

Ex Machina

6. Ex Machina

Ex Machina was another extremely underrated movie of the year. While What We Do In The Shadows flew under the radar as a comedy film, Ex Machina was one that is definitely Oscar worthy but won’t receive the full praise it deserves. This movie was able to create a completely original take on the dystopian sci-fi genre and there were only three characters the whole time. Domhnall Gleeson is 2015’s most underrated actor having been in some of the year’s best films and he delivered another great performance in this. I’m so happy to see him getting praise and slowly sliding into roles that will get him bigger notice. Domhnall is sort of in the position that Oscar Isaac has been the past couple of years, but now Isaac is a full blown movie star, having lead roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as playing Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. Oscar Isaac is another main character in this movie and boy does he put on a show; his character, Nathan, is this interesting yet creepy guy who lives in isolation and you are worried could snap at any point. Isaac is one of my favorite actors and I love seeing how diverse he can be, his performance in Ex Machina shows another side of his wide acting ability and his coordinated dance scene (you know what I’m talking about) is possibly the best scene of 2015. Alicia Vikander also deserves a huge shout out for her role in Ex Machina because she has had a breakout year as well, and her portrayal of the A.I. character, Ava, was awesome.

Room

5. Room 

Room was easily the most fucked up movie I saw in 2015, but for all of the right reasons. This story was amazingly emotional and upsetting while also being beautiful at the same time. The films is about a girl who gets kidnapped and is raped and kept in captivity in a backyard shed where she raises her son under protective circumstances. The mother creates a whole creation story to explain everything in the “Room” and keep her son from wondering why he can’t go outside. The movie is horribly sad but wonderful at the same time because it displays how far a mother is willing to go in order to save her son. There were extreme high tension moments in this movie and I didn’t know what would happen next. During the climactic scene I even found myself holding my breath in the theater, ready to break down because I wanted these two characters to break free and survive. Brie Larson gives a wonderful performance of someone who has borderline given up all hope in life yet still has something to live for in her son. On top of this, Jacob Tremblay gives an amazing performance for only being nine years old and I wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed if he received a supporting actor nomination at the Academy Awards this year.

Mad Max: Fury Road

4. Mad Max: Fury Road

I’ve seen all of the old Mad Max films and while I liked them, I was never as huge a fan as others are, but I was pretty excited to see that they would be bringing the series back with George Miller intact. I loved the choice of Tom Hardy for Max, and was happy with the way he presented the role. It’s funny, because Hardy does a lot of grunting and this is one of the few roles where that is fully acceptable. The first thing that immediately stood out to me in Fury Road was the scenery and the world that they were able to create and immerse us in. Everything looked stunning and when I saw the movie for a second time in IMAX 3D it added even more depth to the beautiful sequences. The big wide landscapes were breathtaking and I just loved all of the different color palettes this movie brought out. The second thing was Charlize Theron’s performance as Furiousa, which I believe was one of the best female lead roles in all of 2015. Otherwise, the film delivered a ton of great themes that felt extremely real for an end of the world scenario where things like bullets, fuel and water are the biggest and most important forms of currency. I haven’t even talked about the religious themes or the character of Nux, which is a whole other fantastic part of the film. I’m curious to see if Mad Max: Fury Road will receive any praise from the Academy, but I would hope it can at least qualify for a couple of nominations, even one for Theron would be amazing.

The End of the Tour

3. The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour is a movie I was extremely excited to see and pretty intrigued about. I really discovered David Foster Wallace during 2014 through a friend during our final year of college. I was blown away by the complexity of a single man and was pumped to see how they could bring him to the big screen. Jason Segel was really phenomenal in this role and seems to have nailed the demeanor and tone of Foster Wallace down to the mannerisms. His interaction with Jesse Eisenberg was awesome and the two worked really well together on screen. The End of the Tour was a really interesting look at life and how unique people can truly be, especially writers. David Foster Wallace was a super interesting guy and it’s sad that the world lost him so young, but the ideas he expressed through his writing were pretty great and I loved that this movie helped raise awareness about who Wallace was.

Brooklyn

2. Brooklyn

I had been excited to go check out Brooklyn when I saw the cast and the trailer, which seemed super interesting and romantic at the same time. Saoirsie Ronan was great as the lead and I was thrilled to see her in such an amazing role that will get her tons of notification. Brooklyn is a love story in multiple aspects because not only does it deliver the growth of a strong relationship but it also is a love story between a girl and the places that she calls home. Eilis has the chance to immigrate to America and leaves her entire family and life behind to make something of her life, which is not an easy task for anyone, even now with all of the technology and ways we still have to stay connected. Yet, she goes and eventually falls in love with a young Italian boy named Tony. Emory Cohen, an actor I was not familiar with before this movie, really stood out to me and delivered a great performance as Tony. The chemistry he had with Ronan was great and I really bought into their romance during the entire film. When Eilis has to return home for a month or two for unfortunate reasons, she begins to fall back in love with the place she grew up and even has a young Irish man, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson), who takes an interest in her. It seems like Eilis could have just as good of a life back in Ireland, which causes tons of conflict in her. The movie really shows off the beauty of both countries with some fantastic shots of Ireland and creative ways to make city life in Brooklyn look wonderful as well. All of the acting was amazing from Ronan, Cohen, and, once again, Gleeson. Brooklyn really put an emotional toll on me, because if you are in a serious relationship or have a spouse (like I am), you know how much they mean to you, and really being in love with someone can become more important than anything else in the world, and sometimes that might require the sacrifice of other important things, which comes down to making the decision of whether or not it’s truly worth it.

The Force Awakens

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This probably doesn’t come as any surprise, but yes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is my favorite film of 2015. Like most people, it’s mind-blowing to me that we actually got a seventh installment to the Star Wars franchise. This was something I’ve dreamed about for years and it was near perfect. While the film definitely suffers from some plot flaws and can get away with other plot points knowing there will be two sequels, it easily gets 95% correct in this movie. Not only did it include four upcoming actors I’ve been a huge fan of four the past five years (John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson) but it took an unknown in Daisy Ridley and showed off how great of an actress she is. Star Wars did a great job in paying homage to the original trilogy while being it’s own entity and a new chapter in this series. J.J. Abrams did a great job bringing Star Wars back to the big screen and I love that he didn’t go overboard with the motion capture or go completely off the path. The movie had an insane amount of heart and made each person an actual character, even the villain, Kylo Ren. I could talk about this movie all day long, but all I have to say is go see it if you already haven’t.

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Pros and Cons to the Batman v. Superman Trailer

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Last night the full length Batman v. Superman trailer was released during Jimmy Kimmel Live! When I initially discovered that this would be the followup to MoS, I was pretty pumped that we were going to get Batman back in the DCMU so quickly. Although I’m not the hugest Zack Snyder fan, I do like a lot of his work; Watchmen was amazing and even 300 was super cool. Yet, his take on Superman was definitely different from what we’ve seen before.

I’ve loved the dark tone that is being established for this universe because it worked for the Nolan Batman trilogy and brings a unique style to these classic heroes and their stories. Henry Cavill is a pretty solid Superman in my opinion (although I’m not the biggest expert on the character) and I have enjoyed his performance so far. I was on board with Battfleck from the moment it happened, and have really only questioned the Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor decision although I can understand what they saw in him (see Social Network).

When the San Diego Comic-Con trailer was released, I was actually more on board for BvS than I ever had been. It was just like seeing the first clips for The Avengers where I was just mind blown to see these characters on the big screen together. I loved everything it had set up and actually thought the movie looked pretty badass; however, last night’s full trailer was a huge let down to me, and it seemed like the bad outweighed the good.

The Pros:

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  • The DC holy Trinity: Holy crap! We got to see the DC Holy Trinity lined up on screen. That was pretty amazing. It was a comic nerd’s dream in the same way we saw The Avengers together in one place. I love this, they looked so good, and it’s not even the full Justice League!

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  • The Clark vs. Bruce Dynamic: I loved that the trailer opened up with Clark and Bruce meeting. This was awesome and their interaction was perfect. Bruce’s brooding criticism of how the Daily Planet writes puff pieces praising an alien yet calls Batman a vigilante. The movie is Batman vs. Superman, so I’m pumped to see these two constantly interacting and how their relationship develops.

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  • The Dark Tone & Setting: The one thing I loved about MoS was its dark tone and setting. Although a very nontraditional looking Superman and setting, the DCMU is really diversifying itself with a gritty more realistic feeling take on superheroes. While there was too much destruction in MoS, I definitely didn’t mind the tone it created. I love the look that BvS is establishing so far and am excited to see this world expanded.

The Cons:

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  • Alexander Luthor Jr.: We heard that Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor, or, apparently, Alexander Luthor Jr.. While I’m glad to hear that he isn’t his father, the portrayal of the character has me scratching my head a bit. As many have already stated, the trailer makes him feel like the Joker and he’s a little too quirky for my taste. The trailer reveals that he seems to be the one pushing Batman and Superman to fight one another, but we’ll see his full plan in the movie. What really bothered me about Eisenberg was that we saw too much of him. I would have loved to have seen the quick clip of his excitement that Clark and Bruce have met and how he loves bringing people together, but cut it there. I know and believe that Eisenberg can pull off the dark brooding evil moments like in the Social Network, but this trailer was definitely not what I had been expecting from the character.

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  • The Doomsday Reveal: Along the same lines as seeing the holy trinity together on screen, seeing Doomsday was amazing. Seriously, it’s crazy to think this character is going to come to life before our eyes; however, I’m disappointed they revealed it now. We were under the impression that Luthor was the main villain and from previous clips knew he recovered Zod’s body, but just gives us the Doomsday roar and leave the mystery for the actual film. The character felt a little more CGI that I would have liked, but he still looked cool nonetheless. I’m just disappointed that they showed him because it would have been a phenomenal reveal that I would geek out on in the theater.
  • It’s a Long Revealing Trailer: The movie trailer standard has turned into releasing long theatrical mini-movies that usually reveal too much. The Batman V. Superman trailer does exactly that, and is what really put a sour taste in my mouth when it was all said and done.  The editing was off and chose to display a long string of moments that sort of spell out the plot of the movie. The theme of this is Batman and Superman seeing each other as threats only to realize that they are better off working together because they believe in the same cause. This trailer sort of kills that whole idea. As I said before, I loved seeing the holy trinity on screen, but I think it would have been smarter to just keep Doomsday out and show Wonder Woman drop in. In my opinion, that would make the comedic line, “I thought she was with you,” land better because it doesn’t disrupt the tension that the Batman & Superman vs. Doomsday establishes. I really loved the teaser and the SDCC trailer, but felt like this was too much.

 

I really want this movie to be good. I don’t see anything as a competition between Marvel and DC, because both are so amazing in their own right. The DCMU is definitely diversifying itself with a darker more realistic tone, and I’m hoping it can accomplish that look and feel within all of the characters. I almost wish I hadn’t seen this trailer because I loved the idea that anything was possible in this movie, and no matter what, it would be about the entire dynamic between the Batman/Superman relationship. It would have been nice for them to not give us a skeleton of the plot and save all of the fun stuff like Doomsday and Wonder Woman for the actual movie. The scenes look pretty cool, but this was just a classic case of a trailer that is too long and revealing.

What did you think of the trailer? Let me know!!

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Students of Cinema

Hey,

So I’ve been pretty absent lately, and the reason for that is mainly due to a new WordPress blog I’ve created with two of my best friends called Students of Cinema. It’s strictly dedicated to movies and our differing views within a shared passion.

I’ve also been distracted by school, True Detective, and now House of Cards Season 2.  I’m hoping to write up a True Detective episode 5 review later today and eventually drop a House of Cards Season review when I finish the season later today or definitely tomorrow.

I’ll be dropping my Top 10 movies of the year list over at the other site, but am going to post it here as well.  My post relating to movies will probably lessen here because it’s the focus of Students of Cinema, but I’ll still be pumping out TV news, and should also be putting more comic reviews out very soon as well.  I’m almost caught up with The Superior Spider-Man and want to roll right into X-Men: Days of Future Past.

So feel free to check out my new website, it’s really awesome and we are pumping out a lot of content! Otherwise, I’ll have some TV and comic reviews out soon!

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R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Between getting my school work done, hitting up the art museum, and then watching the Super Bowl, I wasn’t really on technology that much yesterday, so I apologize for the tardiness of this post.  Sadly, I discovered from a friend that Philip Seymour Hoffman had passed away at 46 from a heroin overdose in his apartment.  I, like most, was shocked and dumbfounded at the news of this actor I loved falling victim to such a harmful drug.

It’s sad to see someone who was so great in  The MasterPirate Radio, Doubt, Capote, and so many more types of film disappear in an instant.  Personally, Pirate Radio is one of my favorite films and PSH kills it as The Count, countin’ down from 10… yet, he was also able to give us award worthy performances in movies like Doubt or Capote.

It’s sad to lose such a talented actor.

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Close up of Batroc the Leaper

Close up of Batroc the Leaper

Here’s a closer photo of Batroc the Leaper in CA2:TWS. I’m a pretty big UFC fan so it’s awesome to see the one and only Georges St. Pierre in the role. For those unaware, Batroc is actually a master of Savate (French Kickboxing) so GSP is perfect. I’m really excited for CA2 and all of the hype that it is Avengers 1.5 and the best MCU movie yet!

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RUMOR! Jon Hamm Possibly Cast as Marvel’s Dr. Strange!

RUMOR! Jon Hamm Possibly Cast as Marvel’s Dr. Strange!

This article popped up from ThisisInfamous.com reporting that Mad Men’s Jon Hamm has been cast as the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange.  This is only a rumor for now, and there has been no official comment or announcement from Marvel yet.  A decent amount of actors have been tied to rumors surrounding the role, such as, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Patrick Dempsey, Timothy Olyphant, and most recently Johnny Depp.

Hopefully Marvel will release the news sometime soon considering that they have recently been making many casting announcements with Michael Douglas and MIchael Peña signing on with Ant-Man and Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Strucker in Avengers 2, but for now we will just have to wait and treat this as a rumor.

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Golden Globe Awards Review: The Movies

Alright, so I’m surprised that I actually ended up watching the Golden Globes all the way through.  I usually am just focused on who is winning the awards and how it might set up for the (much more important) Academy Awards.  I definitely thought there were some surprises last night, while mostly positive and deserving surprises, not my initial picks for the winners.  I’m going to save my predictions for the Academy Awards because it focuses strictly on film and by then I will have seen nearly all of the films up for nominations, so for now, I’m just going to give some general feedback about last nights Golden Globe winners.

Best Picture, Drama: 12 Years a Slave

  • This movie absolutely deserved to win, I would have rioted had it not.  12 Years was easily my second (really 1.5 if that were acceptable) favorite movie of the year and it is deserving of  every award it gets nominated for.  The story is something very real and sad, but a nice reflection on the time period and how messed up slavery actually was.  The film just has everything, great acting from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, and many more, an awesome score that provides haunting and beautiful background music, as well as great cinematography.  This was my expected pick for this category and I won’t be surprised if it receives the Best Picture award from the Academy, but there is stiff competition this year.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Cate Banchett, Blue Jasmine

  • Again, I got this one right.  I just felt like this category was weak considering the choices aside from Blanchett.  She is awesome in Blue Jasmine and puts on a wonderful performance that makes the character feel real and appropriate for the unfortunate situation that flips her life upside down.  Bullock was good, however Gravity was a visual spectacle, Emma Thompson was wonderful in Saving Mr. Banks but the character was pretty straightforward, and I have not gotten to see Philomena or Labor Day just yet.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

  • This was definitely a surprising pick to me, mainly that he beat out Chiwetel Ejiofor.  I was happily surprised to see McConaughey win this award because he really was phenomenal in Dallas Buyers Club.  I think that the Best Actor category is actually the most competitive this year and whoever wins at the Oscars will most likely be deserving.  Personally, I thought Ejiofor was going to nab this award for his role in 12 Years, but McConaughey won and this is just going to make me think harder when decided for the Academy Awards.

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: American Hustle

  • Again, I was a little shocked by this, but not for bad reasons.  I love American Hustle, it is probably in my top five films of the year, but again, there is a lot of great competition surrounding it.  I honestly thought Her was a much deeper and better film than Hustle, however, it grabbed the award last night.  Inside Llewyn Davis was very good, but I think just a touch under the level that some of its competitors are on,  The Wolf of Wall Street was a good movie, but had plenty of flaws that I think will cost it being seriously considered as a Best Picture winner, and I have yet to see Nebraska, but it seems to be getting a lot of love.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams, American Hustle

  • Amy Adams is actually the only actress on this list that I have seen in her movie for this category.  I definitely believed that she should have won because I loved her performance in American Hustle and thought she really created and portrayed an awesome character.  Enough Said is actually a movie I plan on watching today (finally) and I have heard nothing but good things about Julia Louis-Dreyfus, however, I don’t think anyone can outdo Adams smart and cunning character from Hustle.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

  • All of my friends think that I really don’t want Leo to win because of my dissatisfaction with TWoWS, but that’s definitely not the case, he was amazing in the role, per usual.  Am I surprised that he was given the award over Christian Bale, Joaquin Phoenix, and the largely buzzed about Bruce Dern? Yes, absolutely.  However, Leo is a great actor, and was killer in the role as  The Wolf, Jordan Belfort.  He wasn’t my selection, but like I said, Best Actor is easily the tightest and deepest category this year, so it seems to be a toss up, but I still don’t think he will receive the Oscar when there is only one category.

Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen

  • You can’t beat Disney and Pixar.  Frozen was really nice and held that classic Disney story feel while having amazingly fluid animation and visuals and awesome original songs for the OST.  I thought Frozen should get this award and I think it’s expected for Disney/Pixar to always be the frontrunner in this category each year.

Beset Foreign Language Film: the Great Beauty

  • I actually haven’t seen any of the foreign films yet.  While I would like to, we’ll see if I can find a way to watch them, but I can’t really comment here.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

  • This had to have been the biggest disappointment to me all night.  Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress, don’t get me wrong.  As my good friend put it, watching her go from Katniss to this role in Hustle shows off the ability of her range and talent, but I just didn’t think she should have gotten this award.  My choice would have been for Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years because she really knocked it out of the park along side of Ejiofor. Hell, I even would call Sally Hawkins a close third behind Lawrence in this category.  I just thought that out of all the main characters in American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence’s was the least important and the only role I wasn’t overly excited with after viewing.  She was great, like I said, but she really didn’t have to do much besides act crazy in a more comedic way.  Sometimes I just feel like everyone’s personal love for Lawrence outside of her roles makes them slightly biased to call her amazing in every role she takes. I’m hoping to see a different result from the Academy.

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

  • Totally deserving and I think the most expected result of the night.  Leto returned to acting with this fantastic role that had him playing a full out woman basically.  The story and importance of his character to the Dallas Buyers Club were awesome and while I still think Fassbender should be a very close second for his role in 12 Years, Leto had me constantly forgetting that I was watching him on screen.

Best Director of a Motion Picture: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

  • Again, I think this was pretty expected because of Cuaron’s bravery in giving us visual spectacles that push the limits of visual film making.  Gravity, while not my favorite movie of the year or what I consider the “best”, had me (and the entire theater) dead silent during this epic and bold space exploration.

Best Screenplay for a Motion Picture: Spike Jonez, Her

  • This was the most surprisingly satisfying win for me last night.  I wasn’t sure who would receive this because I think 12 Years and Hustle are both just as deserving.  However, Her was easily my favorite movie of the year and I really want to see it win as many awards as possible.  I think that Spike Jonez really deserved this for not only the creativity behind Her, but also the most accurate sci-fi future possible.  This movie blew me away on all levels so I was really happy to see Jonez get the credit he earned.

Best Original Score for a Motion Picture: Alex Ebert, All is Lost

  • As an Edward Sharpe fan, I was shocked to see Ebert up on stage because I honestly did not know he was doing the score for All is Lost.  I really liked the score for Her, but it wasn’t even nominated so I actually need to go look more at this category before the Academy Awards.  Zimmer did great with 12 Years and providing a haunting yet perfectly beautiful score for the film, but like a lot of people are saying, it felt like he pulled from past works such as Inception and did not provide anything terribly new.  I have to go check out the score for All is Lost but I definitly remember it catching my attention several times during my viewing.  

Best Original Song for a Motion Picture: Ordinary Love, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

  • I haven’t seen Mandela yet, but I’m sure the song is good because it is by U2.  I thought Please Mr. Kennedy was catchy from Inside Llewyn Davis, but a little annoying. Atlas was good as well, but again, I will have to go listen to these songs individually to make a decision.

 

Well, these are all of the motion picture awards that were given out last night.  I actually am pretty happy with the results of these awards considering that the Golden Globes seem to become a rather large popularity contest with their results.  The true test will be the Academy Awards and what their nominations look like.  What did you think of last nights show and the results? I’m very excited to hear the Academy Award nominations in a couple of days, but if you think someone got snubbed last night, let me know who you thought should have won!

 

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22 Jump Street Trailer!

Here’s the trailer for 22 Jump Street. It looks pretty funny, hopefully more of the same because the first one was hilarious!

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First Trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2!

Holy smokes this trailer really made The Amazing Spider-Man 2 become one of the top movies I’m looking forward to. So many things were in this trailer! You have Peter talk about more people out to get him and how they are more powerful, so we get three villains in this one. Rhino, Electro, and the Goblin!! I think that the Goblin will come into play towards the end and only serve one evil purpose.

Then in the background at OsCorp there was clearly the Doc Ock arms and Vulture wings!! That is huge and very exciting as well!

This movie looks awesome after this first trailer so check it out!

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5 Movies to Finish Out the Year

As 2013 is nearing its end, the quality of movies releasing only improves.  With The Hunger Games: Catching Fire releasing this Friday, I’ve decided to put together which five films I am most looking forward to that are scheduled to release before year’s finish.

While many caught my attention, here’s what it came down to…

5. Her (Spike Jonez)

  • I’m always attracted to unique stories, and Spike Jonez’ Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson looks like it will deliver the type of creativity that I’m looking for.

    Theodore (Phoenix) plays a man who falls in love with his top of the line operating system (Johansson) which is personalized to his needs.Jonez (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) is the sole writer and director of the film, which looks to be all sorts of weird, yet touching.  After viewing the preview, I think Joaquin Phoenix is a perfect candidate for this role and I am expecting a very good performance out of him.

    Her is set to a limited release in the USA on December 18, 2013 and currently sits at a [very] early 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Tomatometer”, with 14 total reviews (5 from top critics).  The movie also features Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt, which only adds to the list of reasons to check this one out!

 

 

 

4. American Hustle (David O. Russell) 

  • I know that a lot of people probably have this film higher up on their priority list, but listen, it’s nothing personal, I’m just as excited for this film as all of you are. While there aren’t really reviews out for this yet, the cast and trailer should be all you need to immediately say, “sign me up for this one”.

    David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter) returns with another promising film that merges past star cast members from both Silver Linings and The Fighter.  The movie stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner.  The plot of the movie revolves around a con man (Bale) who gets place into a situation where he and his partner (Adams) have to work with a crazy FBI agent (Cooper).

    The preview revealed that the cast is going to make this movie great, especially Bale and Cooper.American Hustle is also hitting theaters on December 18th. I’m expecting multiple Academy Award nominations for this, so be sure to check it out!

 

 

 

 

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) 

  • I think this movie, being number three on my list, might be the most surprising and toughest sell on for certain people. The film is based on the identically titled short story by James Thurber, which is one of my personal favorite reads for its ability to create well describing and fully detailed

    In what will be Ben Stiller’s fifth feature film as a director, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty looks like it is going to be a film that is similar to Big Fish (2003), which is one of my favorites.  The trailer pretty quickly depicts many beautiful landscapes and a possible adventure about living life and taking chances.  The scenes in this movie’s trailer just look amazing, I want them all as computer backgrounds.  But seriously, I think this will be a heartfelt journey that pushes the imagination to its fullest and it has me really excited.

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes out on December 25th (Christmas Day) so the holiday spirit will be in full swing and a feel good movie like this will be perfect to relax to.  I think Stiller will deliver a great performance as the main character, giving a nice blend of serious with an appropriate amount of light comedy.  I really hope that a lot of people like this film, but if you have trouble letting your imagination wander, this might not be for you.  I think watching the trailer makes it pretty easy to decide if you have any interest in this movie; however, I can’t wait!

 

 

 

2. Inside Llewyn Davis (The Coen Brothers) 

  • The Coen Brothers made an interesting choice for their next film, Inside Llewyn Davis, which depicts “the week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961”.  The cast immediately caught my attention; starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and John Goodman, while also featuring Justin Timberlake and Garrett Hedlund.

    Everyone loves music, and a combination of indie and folk music will make for a [hopefully] wonderful soundtrack as we see the true battle of one man doing his best as an artist to scrape by and make it as a successful musician.

    The Coen Brothers have proven time and time again that they can write and direct as good as the best in a plethora of genres.  Inside Llewyn Davis expands their reach into the music scene, and so far holds a strong 92% on the Tomatometer (82% from top critics). The movie comes out in limited release on December 6th, but if you can find a showing, I think this will be one of the years best films.

 

 

 

 

1. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese) 

  • And finally we reach number 1 on my list, which should really be no surprise.  However, if you haven’t figured it out yet, or if for some reason it’s not at the top of your list, the movie that I am most looking forward to is the much anticipated, two hours and forty-five minutes long, The Wolf of Wall Street.

    This movie looks very promising to clean up at the Academy Awards this year.  Scorsese is reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio to tell the crazy but amazing story of crooked banker Jordan Belfort. Along with Leo, Jonah Hill and [recently revived] Matthew McConaughey star, and, for any Friday Night Lights or Walking Dead fans out there, Kyle Chandler (Coach) and Jon Bernthal (Shane) are featured in supporting roles.

    Look, this movie is going to be epic, just watch the trailer! It even almost got pushed back a year because Scorsese’s first cut of the motion picture was 3 hours with an NC-17 rating! The movie comes out on Christmas day and will easily be a contender for many Academy Awards, especially Leo, who looks phenomenal in the trailer, and deserves an Oscar for Best Actor more than anyone.

 

So there you have it, the five movies that have most caught my attention recently and excite me as 2013 comes to a close.  While these are 1-5, I have to give special mention to Out of the Furnace and Oldboy (check out the original if you have Netflix!), which I am also very interested in checking out.

For now, I hope everyone gets to check out these films because I think they will all be awesome and it never hurts to see a variety of stuff! I’ll definitely post individual reviews for any that I do see, and I’ll probably put together a year end post similar to this, picking my top 5-10 favorite movies from this year.  What five movies are you most excited for in the rest of this year?

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