Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 Movies

I didn't set a movie goal again this year - a good thing considering I haven't really seen all that many, and given all the time I dedicated to falling down the bad romance novel wormhole.

That said, I have seen a handful of new movies, and even had the opportunity to see a screening of one I really liked and actually participate in a brief Q&A with some of the cast, Of course, having learned that it is based on a book I actually did not read before seeing the movie, I then felt I had to go back and do more book reading. More on that in another post. Here's a list of 2015 movies I've seen, and my thoughts on them. (My favorites are in bold.)
  • McFarland, USA: Reminded me of my years working with an AmeriCorps program that did outreach with farmworkers. I had some issues with it, but glad Disney decided to make it, and wish more people had seen it. It was better than expected, and yes, in keeping with my reputation as a weeper, tears were shed.
  • Woman in Gold: Helen Mirren is awesome and I bet the real Randy wishes he looked like Ryan Reynolds. It's an OK movie, but I will say that I left the theater really wanting to see a Klimt exhibition in person.
  • Far From the Madding Crowd: The design and cinematography of this movie are beautiful, but the plot was frustrating. I mean, the right choice of suitors was clear from the get-go...but I guess we all at one point make stupid decisions when it comes to a pretty boy. (Although in this case all her choices are easy on the eyes.)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Entertaining effects-heavy set up for future Avengers movies. 
  • The Age of Adaline: beautiful costuming. Michiel Huisman is very easy on the eyes. The voice over exposition was annoying, and the plot was weak.
  • Pitch Perfect 2: I'm going to go ahead and say it: I kind of loved Das Sound Machine, and feel that they were robbed. This was silly, but also a ton of fun.
  • Ex Machina: Wouldn't a being with artificial intelligence know better than to go into the woods with high heels on? Interesting movie, but obviously written by a man. (Also, you'd think I'm a huge fan of Domhnall Gleeson or something, since it's one of three movies I saw him featured in this year.)
  • Tomorrowland: where a smart girl with a dream can change the world, yet somehow all those in charge are still old white men. Despite my frustration with the plot, I might have still shed a few tears with this one.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: I love Colin Firth. Turns out I love him even more as kick-ass spy. My favorite of the spy movies I saw this year, surprising in that I saw multiple spy movies this year, and they are not typically my preferred genre.
  • The Duff: OK teen movie, made watchable because Mae Whitman just can't help but be great in everything.
  • Me and Earl and The Dying Girl: was lucky enough to attend a screening with two of the leads and the director of this very funny (and sad - it's in the title) little movie. Unexpectedly one of my favs of the year.
  • Spy: I love Melissa McCarthy, and turns out pairing her with Jason Statham playing a parody of the characters he usually plays in movies was comedy gold.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: enjoyable. Henry Cavill is sure easy to look at. That said, I would be hard pressed to remember the plot of this movie, and it's only been a few months since I saw it.
  • Magic Mike XXL: dare I say it - I enjoyed it more than the first. Maybe even more enjoyable than the film is Roxane Gay's spoilery and hilarious recap of it. 
  • Inside Out: another Pixar movie that made me tear up. Funny and sweet, and I loved it, but it felt more like a kids movie for adults than for actual kids. 
  • Paper Towns  I read the book, and it falls into my coming of age dramas sweet spot, but I felt kind of lukewarm towards this movie. 
  • The Martian: The science in it may be kind of wonky, but I enjoyed it, and any movie soundtrack that includes ABBA automatically goes up a star in my book.
  • Trainwreck: hilarious raunchy take on a romantic comedy. Amy Schumer has become one of my favorite comedians. 
  • Spectre this one confirmed to me that I'm really not a fan of James Bond in general. Not that it was bad, it's just not my cup of tea. 
  • Spotlight: an engaging movie on a difficult subject, that did a great job showing what I fear will soon be the lost art of investigative journalism. One of my favs of the year.
  • Brooklyn: was beautifully styled, but I felt it lacked something. I liked it, but I kept focusing on the costumes instead of characters -given the subject matter and my leaky eyes, I expected some tears, but surprisingly there were none. I did walk away wondering how Saoirse Ronan managed not to get burnt to a crisp in the days before sunscreen, and wanting her green coat. (Domhnall Gleeson feature #2.)
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2: Again, surprisingly no tears from me, which is shocking given how I ugly cried reading a certain scene in the book. The one thing I walked out of the theater thinking was how did those 2 parents produce such a giant baby? 
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I walked out with many questions, but I enjoyed the ride. I really took a shine to most of the new characters too. That's all I feel I can say without being too spoilery for people waiting to see it. (Domhnall Gleeson feature #3 - and my least favorite of his appearances. I liked the movie, but not so much him in it.)
  • Sisters: I'm a big fan of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and although I would love to be friends with them in real life, I wouldn't be friends with their characters here. The movie was pretty formulaic, but also a lot of fun. And for some reason after seeing both this and Trainwreck, I now want a big bear hug from John Cena.
Overall, a lot less tears shed than last year. Not sure if that's a good thing. Once again I hope to squeeze in a few more movies before the end of the year in order to be better prepared to give my opinion come awards show season.

Any movies you would recommend seeing?

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