By: Emilie Renard
As we near the half way mark of 2015, I’d like to reflect back on the first half of the year and discuss the five films that I’ve loved, the five films I’ve hated and the five films that I’m most looking forward to in the 2nd half of the year. Plus I've included a few Honorable Mentions just for fun.
This should go without saying but I’m just going to say it anyway: Possible Spoilers Ahead.
THE GOOD –
#5 - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl –
I went into this film with extremely high expectations having read some ridiculously glowing reviews. While, I’m not quite sure that it lived up to those expectations, it was still a great film. Things don’t progress in the manner you might expect and if you love movies, you will love this film. I kept thinking of Cinema Paradiso (which happens to be my all time favorite movie) while watching this film and the power of the movies. I’d love to see a short film just made up of the little films that Greg and Earl have created. Wouldn’t that be fun?
#4 - Dope -
Why haven’t we seen this story before? I personally grew up with several black “nerd” friends that were often called Oreo’s. Being biracial, I have been called Oreo before which makes no sense since I look Hispanic but one cannot argue with racism. This is a very powerful film. It starts out very light and fun and by the end, it delivers a very important message about racism and expectations in a very entertaining way. I wondered while walking out of the theater if its message would have been more powerful without such a positive ending. But I know while watching it, I was hoping for that ending.
#3 - Inside Out –
What can one say besides Pixar does it again. It seems to me that the plots of Pixar movies always have me thinking the same thing: “Such a simply idea and yet so smart. And why didn’t I think of that?” Pixar always makes movies that both adults and children will enjoy. It’s so funny you’ll enjoy it while watching it. But it’s also so smart and clever, you’ll think about it on the drive home. A lot of people are calling it the best Pixar film ever. I’m not quite in that camp because of Wall-E, a true masterpiece. It may not even be their 2nd best film because of Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3. But that really says more about the greatness of Pixar doesn’t it?
#2 - It Follows
I’m not much of a horror fan. I don’t like things that jump out at me for the sole purpose of scaring the bejesus out of me. I like a little plot to my movies and It Follows has oodles of plot. I’ve seen it twice now and it’s even better the 2nd time around and holds up in every aspect. And I was genuinely scared both times. Now if someone can just explain that damn seashell device, I’d appreciate it.
#1 - Mad Max: Fury Road
Ever since the trailer broke at San Diego Comic Con in July of 2014, I’ve thought there’s just no way that a film that looks that good can really be that good. I’ve been burned by amazing trailers many, many times before. But surprise, surprise…Mad Max: Fury Road is not just that good, it’s even better. To be blunt, Fury Road is a supremely badass film. It’s just so much fun. But it’s not dumb in any way. It’s also full of badass women, young and old. That’s not something you see everyday, if ever. I cannot wait for sequel. But please shoot it and release it in Imax this time. Pretty please.
Honorable Mention – Spy (Melissa McCarthy) - Is this a great film? Probably not. But you will laugh quite a bit at it and have a great time. I’ll never look at Jason Statham the same again.
THE BAD – You could argue with my list below that there were many worse films than these. But I tend to stay away from movies like Paul Blart 2. These were films that I went into expecting something decent and they didn’t deliver.
Is Tomorrowland really bad? Maybe not. But it isn’t really good either. The words Disney and Live-Action are starting to strike fear in my heart every time I hear them together (see #4). Why call a movie Tomorrowland and then spend less than 20 minutes in Tomorrowland? Why show us all of the cool advances and possibilities of the future and then proceed to spend the majority of the time in the boring present? Just doesn’t make any sense to me. Plus I can do without the preachy “We are the World, We are the future” ending.
So much potential. I really like Lily James as Cinderella. Cate Blanchett is her usual remarkable self. And Kenneth Branagh…well I’ve always been a fan of his as both a director and an actor (check out his skills as both in Dead Again). But there is nothing original or different about the “reimaging” of Cinderella. Same Ole Same Ole. What a waste of time and potential. And don’t get me started on Cinderella’s waist size.
#3) Seventh Son
Was there a good movie in there somewhere? Maybe at sometime, but it isn’t there now. I can almost sense something interesting in there. I’ve heard that the books series is rather popular. But since I can’t understand a word Jeff Bridges says in the film, who knows what’s going on. A complete waste of talent. I hope this is the end of the series.
#2) Avengers: Age of Ultron
I know a lot of people love this movie. But I think that if the Avengers were filmed taking a bathroom break, there are a lot of people that would call it a masterpiece. There is nothing really wrong with this film. But there is nothing really right with it either. The character of Vision is a minor plus but that’s really it. I actually fell asleep for about 30 minutes during the film and I don’t think I missed much. You can’t give us Guardians of the Galaxy last summer and then expect us to accept this trite summer fair. I expect more from you, Marvel.
#1) Jurassic World
Ok, go ahead and let me have it….I know you all love this movie. But I don’t care. This is not a good movie in any way, shape or form. It’s bad from the moment it starts to the moment it ends. I don’t want my summer entertainment to be mindless or predictable. And it doesn’t have to be (see Guardians of the Galaxy above). The only thing Vincent D’Onofrio was missing was a handlebar mustache to twirl as he spoke his evil spiel. Was Chris Pratt auditioning for Indiana Jones because the only thing I picked up from him was that he sure looked good in his Safari clothing. The camera sure does love Chris Pratt now, as there seemed to be a lot of softly lit shots of him and his new physique. And I really like Chris Pratt but I need more than that. And Bryce Dallas Howard and those high heels, what can I say? She is running for her life in a jungle/forest in high heels. It’s just so ridiculous that I cannot excuse it. The sight of realistic dinosaurs just does not entertain me anymore. I demand more. Since there is already a sequel in the works, can someone, and please only one person, start working on that script now. We already know you can create awesome dinosaurs. How about a plot the next time around?
Honorable Mention: Hot Pursuit (Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara) – To be honest, I actually went into this one with rather low expectations. And yet it was much worse than I expected. Two very talented women making such a moronic movie is not a good idea for either. Both actresses need to be very careful; Hollywood has a very short self-life for older women that make bombs.
OOOHHH I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT ONE.
#5) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – Release Date: November 20, 2015
After being symbolized as the "Mockingjay", Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol.
I haven’t read the books so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series end. Please let Katniss pick Peeta (not sure). Will Katniss overtake the Capitol (likely)? I think it’s been a great series so far. And I love Jennifer Lawrence but who doesn’t?
#4) Trainwreck – Release Date: July 17, 2015
Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
I’m new to the Amy Schumer bandwagon but I love her already. I love everything about her. And the idea of Amy Schumer paired with Judd Apatow makes me giddy with anticipation. I’m seeing this one soon, so fingers crossed.
#3) The Visit – Release Date: September 21, 2015
A single mother finds that things in her family's life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents.
I’m a big fan of M. Night Shymalan’s movies. I even love his so-so movies. I love The Village and Signs. I’m one of the few people that appreciated what he was trying to do with The Happening and Lady in the Water. I’d rather have a director try something different and fail than have a director not try anything original at all (cough cough Michael Bay).
But after The Last Airbender and After Earth, this may be the last straw for my M. Night Fandom. Luckily the trailer looks good and early word has been positive. I have faith in you, M. Night.
#2) Crimson Peak – Release date: October 16, 2015
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers.
I’m so happy to see Guillermo del Toro back where he belongs….in horror. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I was not a fan of Pacific Rim nor do I have high hopes for Pacific Rim 2. But this looks good. It reminds me a lot of Hitchcock’s Rebecca and that’s a good thing. And what a great cast this has: Hiddleston, Chastain and Wasikowska. If this is half as good as it looks, it’ll be great.
#1) Life – Release Date: TBA – Sometime in 2015 but not soon enough
A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.
James Dean is my all-time favorite actor. There was no one like him before and there has been no one like him since. I poured over Dennis Stock’s (the Life Magazine photographer) pictures of Dean as a teenager repeatedly. I’ve had Stock’s book for over 25 years now. I cannot wait for this movie. I cannot even wait for the trailer.
Oh did I forget to mention that Robert Pattinson is starring as Dennis Stock. My list of 5 People I’m allowed to “hook-up” with if ever the situation presents itself is:
- Robert Pattinson
- Robert Pattinson
- Robert Pattinson
- Robert Pattinson
- Robert Pattinson
So yeah…I’m dying to see this film.
Honorable Mention: The Walk – Release date: October 2, 2015 – I wasn’t extremely excited to see this until I saw the trailer in Imax. Wow!!! I think I’ll need to take some Dramamine beforehand but it looks like an interesting experience.
Well that’s it. Please let me know what you think in the comments section. I’m always up for lively film discussion even if you disagree with me and are 100% wrong.