Friday, December 25, 2015


The one constant of my blog (and it’s not timely entries) is that every year I visit the movies I paid to see at the movie theatre.  There were numerous movies in 2015 that I waited to see on VOD or DVD but the list below are the ones that got my butt to a seat in the theatre (usually with a large Slurpee and a pretzel too...boy that adds up).

SAW THAT - so let’s take a look at the 2015 Movies I saw (in order) at the Cineplex.  Some of these movies I saw multiple times as is noted in the parenthesis.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Furious 7

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2 IMAX)

Mad Max: Fury Road (5, 1 IMAX)


Jurassic World (2 IMAX)

Ted 2

Ant-Man (IMAX)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (1, 1 IMAX)

The Green Inferno

The Walk (IMAX)

The Martian

James Bond: Spectre (IMAX)

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2


Star Wars: The Force Awakens (IMAX)

The Hateful Eight (70mm Limited Road-show)

Total = 17 different movies

Total = 25 different showings

With only seventeen different movies in the running, choosing a Top 10 was a bit challenging.  Truly there are only sixteen movies since Poltergeist was more like forced duty since my nieces begged me to see it.  I’m not the market audience for Poltergeist as I don’t need a reboot of this series, and even with all that the movie lived down to my lowly expectations.  It was generic, bad, and instantly forgettable.

The only movie I had a lot of anticipation for was Mad Max: Fury Road and this one blew me away.  The first time I saw it I was heavily medicated due to an allergy situation and my brain had a struggle processing the pure assault I was under.  Repeated viewings made me appreciate this movie more and more and shockingly on my last viewing I dragged my wife to see it and even she had to admit being entertained.  “Witness!” is now a much enjoyed phrase around the house.  With a 97% approval rating and buzz about a possible Best Picture nomination for the Academy Awards, I couldn’t be happier.

That said let’s take a spoiler free look at my Top 10 favorites for this calendar year.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie is a sheet assault on our senses.  If you haven’t seen it then do so instantly.  I am in sheer awe of the vision of George Miller and the world he created with a budget behind him.  Would the movie have been better with Mel Gibson as Mad Max...possibly?  I did like what Tom Hardy did with the limited role, but this franchise has always been about the world and Max drifting from one scenario to another.  This movie can, and should, be embraced by all moviegoers because of the pure levels of creativity and imagination on display.

2. Jurassic World

Wow, dinosaurs run amok and it was entertaining as hell!  When I heard that this movie was going to center around a fully functional dinosaur theme park and that Chris Pratt was going to train raptors, my initial thought was “This movie will suck!”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  By definition Jurassic World is: Pure bubble gum entertainment!

 3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The haters are hating on this one and some people are so wrong that they’re resorting to the weakest of comparisons.  Is The Force Awakens a classic?  No.  Star Wars has produced two classics A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (thank you Gary Kurtz).  If we’re honest this series will never achieve that level of greatness, in fact it’s impossible.  However Return of the Jedi is decent, and somewhere between greatness and decent lies this new entry.  I was entertained throughout and I’m aware that the magic of 1977 and 1980 will never be recaptured...but this new entry has me curious to see what will follow...and I think Kylo Ren (not Rey) is the strongest original character delivered to this franchise in decades.

4. The Hateful Eight
Christmas morning I went to see this at the limited 70mm road-show engagement.  It was worth it!  I’m a Tarantino fan through-and-through!  Hateful Eight is purely a character-piece that essentially takes place in one setting.  It’d be a stellar play.  The dialogue was strong and the characters, and surprises, were handled perfectly.  When the bloodbath starts (and it does) I was legitimately shocked because what I thought was going to happen did not happen.  Go into this one spoiler free.

5. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise hanging outside of an airplane!  Yep, this is an exciting movie!  Cruise’s energy and enthusiasm are a marvel to behold and I hope he doesn’t seriously injure himself at some point in the hope of keeping audiences entertained.  There are some great action pieces in this movie and a thrilling break-in sequence.  I’ve never been unhappy with any entry in this franchise and can safely say, “I am a Mission Impossible fan!”

 6. Avengers: Age of Ultron

More Hawkeye!  We all win with Renner!  I loved the original Avengers and this movie is a decent sequel.  The biggest problem with this film is that it gives us more of the same but doesn’t strive to give us something different.  There’s a thrill to seeing this entire team working and interacting with each other but the climax felt like the finale of the first movie (replace alien army with robot army).  I was hoping for more but glad that the wheels didn’t even come close to falling off the wagon.

 7. The Walk

It’s a travesty that this movie was overlooked by audiences.  It was a great caper movie with an incredible third act and the IMAX experience had me up on that wire with the main character.  Televisions will never be able to capture the magic of what IMAX delivered but I’m sure everyone reading this missed this movie at the theatre so go see it immediately.

8. Creed

Can we all just agree that Sylvester Stallone deserves a Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance as Rocky Balboa?  This is a great movie.  I’m a Rocky fan and this film follows that blueprint perfectly while also giving us a strong bond between mentor (Rocky) and mentee (Adonis Creed).  The homage’s to the franchise are handled perfectly and there is a strong emotional level to this film that had me misty-eyed at several points.  Of all the entries in my Top 10 this year, I bet upon revisiting this movie its ranking will climb in the future.

9. James Bond: Spectre

I’m a James Bond fan.  I even like the weaker entries (A View to a Kill, Diamonds are Forever, and anything from Timothy Dalton).  Spectre was a solid entry.  It’s not as fast paced as Casino Royale or as exciting as Skyfall but there’s plenty of fun to be had and you can't go wrong with Christoph Waltz chewing up the scenery (heck I love that guy's work in those new Clash of Clans commercials), inspired casting!

 10. Kingsmen: The Secret Service

I know there are people who don’t like this movie.  It’s not good enough or bad enough to feel strongly either way (thanks Don, I borrowed that bit of perspective from you).  I went into this movie expecting nothing and, again, managed to be completely entertained from beginning to end.  There are occasional touches of Mark Millar’s sophomoric humor but for the most part this is a James Bond homage and it plays that role perfectly.


And the rest...

Furious we’re back to a year where a Fast & the Furious movie doesn’t make the Top 10.  I have a lot of love for this franchise and the male bonding that takes place between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.  This movie was sad to me because of the tragic passing of Paul Walker.  That said, they managed to patch together an entertaining entry and they did his character justice.  My preference in the franchise though is still Parts 4 and 5 which work stellar as bookends. was good but not quite enough to beat out Furious 7.  I enjoyed the fact that not every movie in the Marvel Universe needs to revolve around a plot that leaves the planet in peril.  Smaller hero, smaller scope, but its’ heart is in the right place.

The Martian...the book was better.  Not sure what I expected but overall the movie left me with an overall vibe of “average”.  It’ll probably be worth a revisit at some point.  For anyone interested in seeing this I’d recommend reading Andy Weir’s superior book instead.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2...this franchise isn’t marketed for me but I’ve enjoyed each entry.  Catching Fire was easily the high point (which is hard for a sequel to do) but the darkness of this universe is something I appreciate.  The entire saga and the wrap-up were done well.

Ted 2...sequel comedies are usually the hardest sell.  I wasn’t shocked to see the general level of indifference audiences had.  I went to the movie hoping for a ninety minute escape and it succeeded on that level.  I also laughed enough to leave the theatre happy.  I’m not much of a Seth MacFarlane fan but both Ted movies are films that make me smile.

The Green Inferno...I'm a horror fan and an Eli Roth fan (I could listen to his interviews for hours on an endless loop because I am in awe of his rapid-fire love and respect for movies) but I'm not necessarily a fan of cannibal movies.  Needless to say, I did like this movie even though it had me grimacing.  The film's heart and ironic message are handled perfectly.  It'll definitely get a second viewing from me at some point...just not at dinner time.

Poltergeist...weak story and a pale comparison to the Tobe Hooper / Steven Spielberg original.  Some massive plot holes and idiotic character moments of implausibility.  Still, my nieces enjoyed it so I’m wise enough to know this movie was not made for people my age.

I’m hoping that 2016 delivers a wider range of movies that have me excited to get out to the theatre (especially the IMAX which is possibly the greatest addition to the movie going experience of all time).  I know Batman v. Superman is coming and my prediction is that it will be an overcrowded mess because I don’t think Warner Brothers understand how to build a franchise like Marvel did.  Captain America: Civil War looks super although it also looks like it might also be overpopulated with characters.  As for the rest of the upcoming movies...let’s wait and see...

For those interested in previous years Top 10 movies

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