Posts Tagged ‘Whiplash’

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

More Movie Rentals To Check Out

You know I love watching movies and sharing my thoughts on them to let you know if you should hurry and rent something or don’t waste your time.

Here are some of the recent ones that we’ve watched.

“WHIPLASH”

This Academy Award-winning movie is a must-see!

I’ve now seen three of the 2014 performances for “Best Supporting Actor”.

While Robert Duvall was incredible in “The Judge” and Ethan Hawke put in a great performance in “Boyhood”, J.K. Simmons rightfully took home the Oscar for his sadistic music teacher.  I wonder if I’ll change my mind once I see Edward Norton in “Birdman” and Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”?  Oscar voters didn’t!

While he wasn’t nominated, Miles Teller was very compelling as a first-year jazz student that pushed himself to bloody pulp to excel at drumming to try to impress his cruel conductor.

GRADE:  A-

“LILTING”

This British drama and love story from Cambodian-born British director Hong Khaou is heartbreaking and touching.

It’ll make you want to hold your loved one tighter and even call your mother-in-law to let her know that she’s loved and needed.

The movie featured incredible performances from legendary Chinese actress Cheng Pei-pei and English actor Ben Whishaw.

Whishaw is best known for his role in the James Bond film, “Skyfall” and its upcoming sequel, “Spectre”.  He also voices Paddington Bear in the recent film, “Paddington”.

In “Lilting”, he’s so charming and adorable.

GRADE:  A

“JOHN WICK”

“John Wick” is a kick-ass American crime caper starring Keanu Reeves.

After his wife dies, he gets a present delivered that she arranged to help him cope with his sadness.  It’s a cute little Beagle named Daisy.

At a gas station, the leader of a trio of Russian thugs asks John how much he’d take for his vintage car, which isn’t for sale.

Needless to say, that’s not the last we see of them and things go badly and then John Wick is out for revenge.

The movie is violent and bloody, but very entertaining.

GRADE:  B

“THE EQUALIZER”

This movie, which stars Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington, is basically “John Wick” with more acting pedigree.

“The Equalizer” came out a month before “John Wick” and grossed about three times the money ($192.3 million to $78.7 million).

Like John Wick, Washington’s Robert McCall, a retired black ops government operative, goes up against the Russian mafia.

However, the circumstances are different — it’s sex trafficking in this movie when McCall befriends a teenaged prostitute played by Chloe Grace Moretz.

Other than the violence and the Russian bad guys, that’s where the real similarities end.

While Washington is hands down a better actor than Reeves, this movie is 31 minutes longer than “John Wick” and it definitely could have been edited down to tighten it up.  It dragged and wasn’t as much fun (for a crime thriller).

GRADE:  C

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

Hedwig, the East German transgender rock musician, has been around since 1998.  That year, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” made its Off-Broadway debut and won the Obie Award and the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical.

It was adapted into a movie in 2001 by star and creator, John Cameron Mitchell and Mitchell was named “Best Director” at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and he was nominated for a Golden Globe that year as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.

Neil Patrick Harris led the 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig and won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” and his co-star, Lena Hall won “Best Actress in a Musical”.  “Hedwig” also won “Best Revival of a Musical”.

I saw it on Broadway in early January with Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and he was incredible.

The movie stars the original Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell.

GRADE:  B+

“KINKY BOOTS”

Here’s another older movie (2005) that is earning rave reviews on Broadway.

In this version of “Kinky Boots”, you’ll see Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years A Slave”) like you’ve never seen him before as sassy, drag queen Lola in those “kinky boots”.

This British comedy-drama also stars a much younger and softer Joel Edgerton.

GRADE: B-

Let me know what you think if you’ve seen any of these.

Anthony