Here are the movies that came in at #19 – #11 on my complete movie list for 2015. We’re almost at the finish line and it only took me halfway into the year…smh.
19. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2
The end has finally come for ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise (for now at least) and even though it felt like the hype for the series died down a little by the time this last installment was released, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good finale. It ended on a nice action-filled note that finally resolved the story of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). Unfortunately this installment seemed to not have the greatest payoff since the first two movies of the franchise started things off greatly and really had me anticipating how exactly things were going to end (even though I wiki’ed the books). It’s really hard to build on what two successful movies have done and follow through on a great ending that was expected thanks to the two great movies that seemed to be leading up to a very epic conclusion. But whatever. I’m still a big fan of the franchise and really enjoyed watching Katniss a.k.a. Lady Green Arrow’s last go around.
Here goes another Quentin Tarantino flick with excellent dialogue along with excessive violence. The scale of this movie is smaller than some of his most recent work so the movie really relies on its dialogue and on its mystery but it works well enough to make this 2+ hour movie not seem so long. The score is great and Samuel L. Jackson puts on another great performance in a Tarantino flick by basically playing the same sharp and witty character he’s been knwon to play in the filmmakers films. Jackson also has one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a movie in some time and of course it plays toward my childish outlook on humor. When the violence finally gets going, its fun to watch but it pales in comparison to most of Tarantino’s other work. One thing that can be taken away from this movie is that Tarantino’s writing skills are still on point more than ever.
17. Steve Jobs
This father-daughter story is great strictly thanks to the dialogue pulled from Aaron Sorkin‘s exceptional screenplay and the great performances from the cast, especially Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. Fassbender had the burden of being in practically every scene and making each one a solid viewing experience. He was able to do that and then some. But he got help from the likes of Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen who all bounced off each other to only make their individual performances that much stronger. This was a cool way to do a biopic because even though it only focused on three events in Jobs life, it got down to the nitty-gritty of who he (possibly) was as a person and his motives behind his work. This was a great film that sadly got ignored at the box office for some odd reason.
16. Irrational Man
I don’t really watch too many Woody ‘Incest’ Allen films so I didn’t know what to expect from this. The fact that I’m not accustomed to Allen’s movies is probably why I enjoyed this movie so much. The story was definitely not what I expected it to be. It was so weird and left field that it made me enjoy it more. The execution was entertaining all the way up to the ridiculous and irrational (ha, get it) ending. The story seemed like something different than the norm and I usually like when those risks are taken…just as long as the outcome isn’t too bad. I can’t believe I got through this many sentences without mentioning Emma Stone. Once again she killed it! Her charm on top of her sheer acting talent always makes her a joy to watch and this time around is no different. I could go on and on and on and on and on about how much I enjoy watching her but I’ma chill. A pretty fat Joaquin Phoenix also did a great job as our “irrational man”. Stone and his chemistry on top of the interesting dialogue made the movie even more intriguing.
15. Straight Outta Compton
Read my review here.
14. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise‘s streak of good action movies continues as he continues to raise the quality of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies with more great action and unbelievable death defying stunts done by the man himself. I can’t say if this one is better than ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, but the latest installment has Rebecca Ferguson so that’s a point in its direction. To me, she came out of nowhere and stole the show from the 4′ 6in Cruise (sike, he’s barely 5′ 7in). Now I’m interested in seeing what she does with the rest of her career and hopefully she gives us more great performances like this one. Now back to the movie itself. Although the ending was subpar compared to the rest of the film, the movie was still entertaining as a whole with great interactions between the cast and fun action that we’ve come to expect from these movies. Similar to the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, we could get ten ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies and I wouldn’t be mad…as long as they keep looking like this.
The boy Jake Gyllenhaal is back again with another great movie and great performance. But this time he mumbled and squinted his way through this great performance. Forest Whitaker also decided to join in on all the good acting fun as Billy’s (Gyllenhaal) trainer. The boxing in this movie is a bright spot as it is performed and shot well too. Each fight looks realistic with solid choreography that could mimic real life bouts. Antoine Fuqua did a good job directing the fights with great angles and perfectly timed uses of slo-mo. Boxing movies seem to usually be really good and this was another example of that (also look for another boxing movie coming up on this list). Although this a great flick, it could have still improved in a few areas. Even though Rachel McAdams‘ character served a big purpose for the plot, I still would have liked to see her character incorporated in the movie more through flashbacks or something like that because her and Gyllenhaal had good chemistry for the small amount of scenes they had together. Also, the death of Maureen (McAdams) was a big deal but for some reason her killer wasn’t given a bigger spotlight. Billy having to come face to face with the killer again or something along the lines of that part of her death still effecting him seemed like it would definitely be incorporated into the movie but I guess I was wrong. Lastly, Billy’s career and life descent to him getting on track to turning it all around just seemed too smooth based off the situation he was in. I also have to shout out my boy 50 Cent for doing a good job as one of the films “villains”. Just to think, since Eminem was originally slated to star in this movie, him and 50 almost starred in a movie together. That would have been dope, I’m just saying.
Two words: LeBron James. Now I’m not saying this because I’m a gigantic LeBron James and am pretty biased when it comes to stuff dealing with him but he was hilarious in this movie. Every joke related thing that came out of his mouth or that he did had me laughing uncontrollably in my seat. He clearly was the stand-out of the movie. The rest of the flick of was hilarious too. Amy Schumer did a great job in the movie and with the script. Bill Hader wasn’t really there for comedy purposes but he still did a good job balancing humor and a solid performance. John Cena also was funny in his portion of the movie. The scene with him and Schumer in the movie theater makes me laugh out loud every time I think about it (like a weirdo). The movie didn’t end how I would have liked it but I still chuckled during it so it is what it is.
Read my review here.
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(Photo Credit: http://www.egotripland.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/NWA-movie-2.jpg; The Weinstein Company ; Universal Pictures)
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