Posts Tagged ‘The Imitation Game’

My Favorite Movies of 2015

It’s time for me to share my twenty favorite movies of 2015.  Notice I said “favorite” and not “best”.  There may have been better movies, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to see them again.  The ones on this list, I would watch again (and, maybe, again).

These are the movies that I saw for the first time in 2015 regardless of the release date.  You’ll see some familiar titles that were big at the Oscars and Golden Globes earlier in the year.

Before I begin, as Casey Kasem did to start his countdown, here’s a recap of my favorite movies over the past three years. In 2012, my favorite movie was “Weekend”.  In 2013, it was “Out in the Dark”, and last year, “Bridegroom”.

Here’s a link to those movies (and my favorite albums from 2010-2014):

 https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/best-of-2010-2015-flashback/

2015 Movies

Now, my favorite movies of 2015!  Oh, disclaimer:  some of the movie trailers might be more “rated-R”.

20

“SPY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $235.7 MILLION

 

19

“LILA & EVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $38,263

18

“CHAPPIE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $102.1 MILLION

#17

“WELCOME TO ME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $625,727

16

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

15

“THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN”

14

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $122.9 MILLION

13

“KRAMPUS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $47.6 MILLION

12

“TRAINWRECK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $139.5 MILLION

11

“WHIPLASH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $49 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4 MILLION

 

9 CD

“THE JUDGE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $84.4 MILLION

8

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.6 MILLION

 

7

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $57.7 MILLION

6

“CHEF”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $46 MILLION

#5 MOVIE

“STRANGER BY THE LAKE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.1 MILLION

#4 MOVIE

“BIRDMAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $103.2 MILLION

#3 CD

“THE IMITATION GAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $227.8 MILLION

#2 CD

“STILL ALICE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.8 MILLION

Now, before I reveal my favorite movie of 2015, here are the worst movies of the year.  Okay, my least favorite movies.

Gag Me

“MAGIC MIKE XXL”, “PITCH PERFECT 2”, “IT FOLLOWS”, AND “WHILE WE’RE YOUNG”.

Now, back to the countdown.

#1

“LILTING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $197,588

Tomorrow, my 20 favorite songs of 2015.

Anthony

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Movies For A Rainy Day

Unseasonably cool weather has taken over the Midwest the last few days and with rain Friday night and for much of Saturday, here are a few movies suggestions if you’re in the mood to rent movies and just listen to the falling rain.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

“The Imitation Game” was a fantastic lesson of one of the true heroes of World War 2 that few know.

It’s tragic how pathetic British laws were back in the 1950s persecuting people for just being themselves. Benedict Cumberbatch was very touching as a tormented genius that helped to bring the Germans down.

While definitely an Oscar worthy performance from Cumberbatch because I couldn’t take my eyes off him, I still think that Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” deserved the Best Actor Oscar and I’ve seen 4-of-the-5 performances.

GRADE: A

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

Speaking of the Oscars and Eddie Redmayne, I’ve seen four of the five Best Actor nominees from last year.

Without seeing Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper” and as much as I love Cumberbatch, Eddie deserved his Oscars hands down playing ALS-stricken theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Eddie was so believable as Hawking as he met the love of his life that would become his wife and then find out that the debilitating disease would, in just years, take his life.

The most heartbreaking scene in the movie for me was a dinner scene with Hawking, his wife, and close friends, but I won’t spoil it for you by describing it.

Redmayne succeeds and Hawking was a winner in real life.

GRADE:  A-

“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”

When this musical drama came out in theaters late last year, I didn’t have any desire to movie house prices to see it.  I guess America didn’t either.  The $7 million dollar movie earned only $14.6 million at the box office.

However, I definitely wanted to see it on DVD and what a pleasurable movie it is.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who earned rave reviews in the 2013 period piece, “Belle”, was excellent as pop star Noni Jean, who just won a Billboard Music Award and is getting ready to release her debut album.

But, an incident on a hotel balcony railroads her path to success.

“Beyond The Lights” has great music, a good storyline, a hot love interest played by hunky Nate Parker, and an incredible performance by Minnie Driver as an obsessive stage mom.

If you’re like me, it’ll be hard to watch some of the movie and not see Rihanna (and Chris Brown).

GRADE:  B

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

She won rave reviews, her first Oscar, and a Golden Globes award for “Still Alice”.  She also won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for another Golden Globes award for “Maps To The Stars”.

In this satirical drama (although Moore was nominated in the “comedy” category for the Golden Globes) from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, Moore plays an aging actress, who’s trying to win the dream role of playing her late mother (a famous actress) in a movie remake.

Needless to say, Moore’s Havana Segrand is messed up and out of touch with real life.  I’m not saying all in Hollywood are. 🙂

But, she’s calm and collected compared to Agatha Weiss, played with perfection by Mia Wasikowska (who also played Moore’s daughter in 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right”).  She has many issues, as does most everyone in this movie.

“Maps To The Stars” is a very strange, but riveting movie.

GRADE:  B

“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR”

New Year’s Eve may not be the best time to release a movie if you want people to see it.

This drama takes place in early 1981 New York City during a very violent period when several oil trucks were being hijacked.

Oscar Isaac, who was amazing in the much better “Inside Llewyn Davis” that I wrote about earlier this year, is the owner of Standard Oil, an up and coming oil company.  Several of his trucks are taken and one of his drivers is almost beaten to death.

The movie follows his quest to find out who’s behind the violence.  At the same time, he’s being investigated for price-fixing, tax evasion, and other charges by the city’s assistant district attorney.

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globes winner Jessica Chastain, played his powerful, domineering, and heartless wife, Anna, the daughter of a mob boss.  She’s incredible and needed to be in the movie more.

GRADE:  B-

“INTO THE WOODS”

My 13-year-old daughter has seen this Disney musical, from the man who brought us the Oscar-winning 2002 musical, “Chicago”, several times and she loves it.

I, on the other hand, did not care for it.

It was too long and tried to serve too many children’s stories without much cohesiveness.

When Meryl Streep was on-screen as “The Witch”, the movie soared.

But, I don’t know everything.  The $50 million production has now grossed more than $204 million worldwide.

GRADE:  C

“NIGHTCRAWLER”

I was excited to see “Nightcrawler” with Jake Gyllenhaal, but I had to suspend belief while watching it since I’m in the news business.

A casual viewer would rate the movie higher.

However, I know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to just walk into the news studio of the #2 market in the country saying you have video and seeing the news director working with the editor on how to put a story together.

The movie paints the news business as very unscrupulous (and some stations and networks are, hi Fox News!).

Gyllenhaal is so creepy in the movie, it could have been called “NightCreeper” or “CreepyCrawler”.

GRADE: C- (to a non-news person: C+)

“RABBIT HOLE”

Here’s a fantastic flashback if you can find it.  It only took me more than four years to finally see it.

This little seen 2010 movie directed by the incredible John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus”) stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and a younger Miles Teller (“Whiplash”).

The drama follows the lives of husband and wife, Howie and Becca (Eckhart and Kidman) after their 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a car when he ran out into the street chasing their dog.

Kidman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her sad and incredible performance.

Not a happy movie, but very powerful.

GRADE:  B+

Enjoy your weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

Winter begins this weekend and Christmas is now less than a week away!

I hope you and yours have a very merry holiday — whatever you celebrate this time of the year.

If you’re not caught up on “The Following” or “The Walking Dead”, this blog DOES, I repeat, DOES contain spoilers.

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

If you’re tired of the holiday classics this season and the Lifetime movies just don’t do it for you, check out this Finnish Christmas movie that was my fifth favorite movie in 2011.

This horror/fantasy/thriller will have you looking at Santa is a whole different light!  Now, when I say “horror”, I don’t mean silly slasher movie.

Sadly, “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” was only released in 21 American theaters and it made a whopping $236-thousand domestically!  However, its foreign box office pushed it up to $4 million.

“THE INTERVIEW”

Sony has scrapped its release of the $44 million budgeted, James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy, “The Interview” after cyber threats to moviegoers.

I have to say that I’m disappointed in this decision and I hope that the movie is quickly released to DVD or VOD (video on demand).  Yet, Sony adds that it has “no further release plans” for the movie at this time.

It seems that I’m not alone in the scary precedent Sony is setting regarding internet threats.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “Sony is a disgrace. Sickening.”  And, here are some others:

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

In the movie, Rogen and Franco’s characters are asked by the United States government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Here is the “red band trailer” that just cracks me up.

In case you’re not familiar with “red band trailer”, it means that it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS and NSFW!  As with any truly “R-rated” video on YouTube, you might not be able to view this video without verification that you are 18 years old!!!

Again, this trailer is truly adult in nature and may be too abrasive to some.

warning

I loved the duo’s last big screen collaboration, “This Is The End”, which was my fifth favorite movie of last year.

I just wonder if they had made the North Korean leader a fictional character if things would have gone down differently?

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

While it’s not official just yet, in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on November 7, 2014, I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the first candidate to declare his run for the 2016 presidency.

Earlier this week, he said he will “actively explore” a run for the Republican nomination for President.

I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, just like the 1992 election, I think that Hillary will be back in the White House.  Only this time, she’ll be the President of the United States and former President Bill Clinton will become the country’s “First Gentleman”!

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

The third season of the psychological thriller, “The Following”, returns to Fox on March 2, 2015.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

Sadly, my favorite character, Emma, won’t be returning since she was killed off toward the end of the second season!

The Following Silence

It’ll be interesting to see how unstable Luke (Sam Underwood) will handle and avenge the death of his twin brother, Mark, and his mother, Lily.

following Mark

And, who was in the truck that picked him up as the season ended?

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

In just a little over two weeks, Reba McEntire will be making her return to country radio.

On January 6, 2015, her new song, “Going Out Like That”, an “upbeat”, sassy song is being released.

It’s the first single from her upcoming 2015 album.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women  I Am”, was released more than four years ago and it was my third favorite album of 2010.

It featured her last #1 hit on country radio, “Turn Up The Radio”.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

While I await the return for the second half of season five of “The Walking Dead” and see how the group handles Beth’s death at the end of the shocking mid-season finale, more details are surfacing about the spinoff to the hit AMC series.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Forget the east coast and Atlanta, the new pilot will take place in Los Angeles.

Can you just imagine “walkers” taking over Sunset Boulevard, the Malibu beaches, the deserts, and the Hollywood Hills?

ANY “LOVE ACTUALLY” FANS THAT WATCH “THE WALKING DEAD”?

This weekend, I plan on watching “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” and “Love Actually” again just in time for the holidays.

If “Love Actually” is one of your Christmas favorites and you love “The Walking Dead”, you might find this parody entertaining.

Andrew Lincoln

If you recall, a much younger Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead”) played Mark in “Love Actually”.

Now, while Lincoln is beautiful and flawless, sexy Charlie Farrell in the parody could definitely pass a double!

RENEE FLEMING

I just bought Renee Fleming’s “Christmas in New York” album and it’s quite delightful and very charming.

renee-fleming

For those of you that may not know her, Renee is world-renowed American opera singer, a soprano.

Beginning on New Year’s Eve, Renee will appear with Kelli O’Hara at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in a revival of the operetta, “The Merry Widow”, which was first performed in 1905.  Renee performed this role in 2010 in Germany.

NEW YORK CITY

Christmas is a magical time for many reasons and one place I’d love to visit around Christmastime is New York City.  In my fifty years, I’ve never visited the “Big Apple”.

If I was there now or over the next few weeks, I’d love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, check out my first opera with Renee Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, get lost in the Christmas spirit with the iconic Mariah Carey’s holiday show at the Beacon Theater, and be blown away by Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

In the absence of my favorite new network show this season, “How To Get Away With Murder”, which returns to ABC on January 29, 2015, I’ve had a chance to catch up on two other great shows on CBS.

Tea Leoni, who is nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is incredible.  And, Tim Daly, who plays her husband, is incredibly handsome in his late-50s.

The show is very intelligent and thought-provoking.  It also makes me miss my favorite real life Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

The show is doing rather well in the ratings and should easily be renewed.

Other than the awesome Leoni, my other two favorite characters are Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s quirky and sexy personal assistant.

“STALKER”

However, the other new show I’m enjoying, is not looking too promising for getting a second season if you trust the website, zap2it.

“Stalker” is a very creepy and sadistic thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott.

Other than Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis character, my other favorite is Janice (Mariana Klaveno), who’s on Beth’s Threat Assessment Unit team.  Klaveno also played Lorena, Bill’s maker on the hit HBO series, “True Blood”.

“HANNIBAL”

Sadly, there is no return date scheduled for the most under appreciated, least watched, best written and acted series, “Hannibal”, on NBC.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

Come on, schedule the return!  There was so much blood shed in the season two finale with four main characters lying there dying!  Who will survive?

Obviously, Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier as they jetted off to Italy!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

I have to say that the fourth season of “American Horror Story:  Freak Show” has been my least favorite season, so far.  (We have “Coven”, season three, but haven’t gotten around to watching it.)

I’m not alone since the ratings this season have dropped almost 50% since the October 8th premiere.

However, I’m not giving up on it because two of the last episodes, “Blood Bath” and “Tupperware Party Massacre”, were very entertaining and intense.

While the mid-season finale focusing on Pepper and showing us a connection between the seasons was touching, my favorite character was missing — psychotic man-boy Dandy Mott.

Actor Finn Wittrock is incredible and mesmerizing.  And, it doesn’t hurt that in recent episodes we were treated to several full posterior naked shots of him and others in his tighty whities!

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

While “The Interview” has been pulled from theater release on Christmas Day, there are still a couple of movies that I want to see during the holiday season.

One is the Angelina Jolie-directed true story, “Unbroken”.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

And, the other is another true life story also centering around World War 2, “The Imitation Game”, with Oscar-buzz front-runner Benedict Cumberbatch.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Up next, my favorite (and least favorites) movies and songs of 2014 and my favorite albums of 2014.

I want to leave you with a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” from my idol, Reba McEntire, with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli from his 2009 album, “My Christmas”, which was the top-selling holiday album of that year.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with or what your random thoughts are.

Anthony