Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mason's 2015 Top Ten Movies

To hear my top ten talked about on the radio, click the link below. Begins at the 43.21 mark.

In reflection of the movies i've seen this year, I quite enjoyed many. I had a hard time narrowing my top ten because I liked so many for different reasons. But ultimately, I decided to make my top ten list consisting of movies I would be interested in seeing again or already have. Others had great subject matter, or amazing acting and directing but I don't care to watch them again. I'm speaking about The Big Short, Spotlight, Concussion and Suffragette. All worth seeing and I highly recommend them. In fact I couldn't help but notice a link between these four films. They all seemed to be a sort of David and Goliath story. The tax payers against the big banks and housing market in The Big Short. The little news team trying to break the big sex scandal against the mighty Catholic church. The unknown doctor who discovers the effects of concussions and goes up against the NFL in Concussion. And women fighting for equal rights against the government in Suffragette. All were important pieces in our history and definitely get a conversation started. Go see them!

#1. Mad Max
Oh man I loved this movie! Saw it multiple times in the theater and at home as well. In 3D of course. All you 3D haters don't know what you are talking about. The depth and realism that 3D added to this beautifully imaginative movie were astounding. I will never soon forget the visuals George Miller put on screen for us to consume. And the soundtrack added that next level intensity. With very little dialog this film tells a visual story that gives you a glimpse into a post apocalyptic world without having to explain everything. And its a chick flick. Hardly about Mad Max at all. Charlize Theron was awesome and bad ass.

#2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I'm not a huge Star Wars fan even though it came out the year I was born and the most popular song the day I was born was Star Wars. I remember liking the original three but somehow through the years I felt like they got overhyped and then lets not talk about the prequels. Ugh! But who could avoid all the hype for this new one and not get a little excited? I had high hopes once it was in the hands of Disney and J.J. Abrams. Loved it! I felt like it captured what we all enjoyed about the original but made it current. Completely entertaining from start to finish. I loved all the new characters and i'm excited for where it will go. I can't imagine the pressure to even attempt to make this movie with all the nerds wanting it done a certain way. 3D really added to the visuals.

#3. The Martian
I'm so happy Ridley Scott finally made another great movie. He's had just ok films since Gladiator. But i'm always rooting for him. What a captivating movie this was. Constantly wondering what Matt Damon will do next. Very funny at times yet also sad and moving too. I can't wait to watch it again. In 3D mind you!

#4. Jurassic World
I'll never forget going to see Jurassic Park on opening weekend. In those days you would have to line up hours before to get in line for a good seat. The lobby was packed with people and their popcorn and you feel the excitement to see dinosaurs brought back to life. Wow! I remember wanting to go right back in the theater and watch it again. This new installment brought all that excitement and wonder back for me. The soundtrack, the visuals and lets be honest, we all wanted to see the park open for business. Another great 3D film this year.

#5. Brooklyn
This one fills your heart and is just down right enjoyable to watch. Good story, interesting plot, engaging characters, great script and all. I'm reminded of similar good movies like The way way back, About Time, An Education and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Just good film making. Saoirse Ronan is a pleasure to watch on screen and you are immediately seeing the world through her eyes. I always enjoy a period piece as well. This portrayal of 1950's Brooklyn was refreshing.

#6. The Revenant
I'm a Leo fan through and through. His films are always top notch in my book and his acting is always stand out. Its truly a shame he has not won an academy award. I hope this post is outdated soon with his win. Birdman was in my top ten list last year and Alejandro Gonzalez IƱarritu has done it again. Superb stellar film making. The visuals of this movie were simply breath taking. The choreography of the battle scene and fights truly feel authentic. Gritty and savage and cold and dirty all describe this story of a frontiersman fighting for survival and revenge.

#7. The Gift
This was so much better than I thought it would be. While it may be a bit slow at times, I was completely engaged with in characters and story. So much more depth than I thought it would have. I loved guessing what would happen all through it and it had a thought provoking ending. I found myself wondering what I would do in the same situation.

#8. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl
A small but well scripted little movie. Given the title one might think it would be a sappy sad story but it is so much more. It celebrates the love of film, the love we should have for one another and is a celebration of life. Uniquely filmed and well acted it touched my heart and left its mark. I was transported to high school days and what we all filled our time with back then and the future we thought we were headed for and what we thought was most important in life. Losing someone you love changes you.

#9. The Walk
This made my list because the story is CRAZY! Did you see the documentary of this same story called "Man on wire?" Both these films are worth watching. I cannot believe this happened in real life and now even more so since we've lost the twin towers. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job as the quirky artist Philippe Petit. This is the fifth 3D movie in my top ten worth watching in 3D. My feet were firmly planted on the theater floor as to not get vertigo.

#10. Room
A story about a mom and her son held captive in a small room. How can that be any good? Well as confining as the room was, the story was so much bigger. A mothers love for her child is deep. Watching how she was able expand the confines of the room for her child was captivating. Then pair that with how nerve wracking the escape was. You'll be on the edge of your seat. Then how do you cope in a world after all you've knows was a small room your entire life? There is so much to learn and think about in this movie. Brie Larsen is sure to be a break out star we will see much more of.

There you have it. My top ten. Watch them all. In 3d if you can. 5 movies in my top ten were amazing in 3D.

And now i'd like to draw your attention to a few that did not make the list but are very good and worth seeing. I've sifted out the bad ones for you.

Far From the Madding Crowd: An excellent period piece starring Carey Mulligan. A favorite of mine.
The Age of Adeline: Huge potential to be the worst but was actually quite good. Blake Lively is a joy to watch.
The Woman in Gold: I remember studying this painting by Gustav Klimt but had no idea about this story. Very interesting. Love love love Hellen Mirren. Ryan  Reynolds was great too.
Krampus: I'm a huge Gremlins fan. Both one and two. This movie helped fill the void a bit. Campy, silly creepy fun!
Sicario: A gritty authentic look at the war against drugs. I love Emily Blunt.
The Intern: Another great movie by Nancy Meyers. De Niro is excellent.
Steve Jobs: Do you own an iPhone or any apple products? You might want to watch this movie and learn about the man. Excellent script and acting. Kate Winslet is stellar!
Bridge of Spies: Spielberg can do no wrong. An excellent movie.
The Danish Girl: A beautiful movie and superb acting. A glimpse into what it might be like to be transgender.
In the Heart of the Sea: Or as I call it, Thor on a boat. I enjoyed the look at 1820 boat life.
Joy: Not as good as silver linings playbook but an interesting story indeed.
McFarland, USA: I totally enjoyed this movie. Great family film.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Loved the first one and loved this one too.
Furios 7: I could care less about cars but these movies are always a good time. Excellent handling of Paul Walkers death.
Ex Machina: Alicia Vikander will be a household name very soon. This movie was very interesting.
Love & Mercy: A well executed look at the man Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. A brilliant artist struggling with his emerging psychosis. Paul Dano is great as usual.
Inside Out: Very good Pixar movie. Makes sense the complicated things going on in our heads.
Black Mass: Johnny Depp was great as the violent criminal Whitey Bulger.
Pawn Sacrifice: I loved the movie searching for Bobby Fischer and enjoyed this look at the chess prodigy himself. What an interesting time in our history.
Secret In Their Eyes: It was good to see Julia Roberts back on the screen. Especially with some other favorites, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Creed: People are loving this movie more than I feel they should but it was worth a watch.

There are still a few movies that I didn't get around to seeing but have high hopes for: The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa, 99 Homes, He Named Me Malala, Experimenter, Trumbo, Carol, The Lady in the Van, Son of Saul, The End of the Tour. 

And now the losers and let downs of last year:

It Follows: This was getting so much hype as the scariest movie in years. I found it boring and annoying and could barely sit through it.
Tomorrowland: Didn't even see it, thats how bad i heard it was. Might still have to see for myself.
Pixels: Loved the idea of seeing some classic video games brought to life. But this movie has Adam Sandler in it and so I stayed away. I try not to judge people that like him but find it difficult.
The Fantastic Four: Again there was so much bad publicity about this one that I stayed away.
Spectre: Not the worst movie but because I loved Casino Royale and Skyfall so much this was definitely a let down. The opening scene was great but the rest not so much.
The Hunger Games: Part 2: Again not the worst but this one lacked the emotion that the first and second had. LOVED one and two but three and four left something to be desired.