2015: A year in movies

I don’t track all my movie-viewing quite as well as I do my reading (although this blog should in theory change that!), but I do know that I saw 47 movies at the cinema this year (not including live broadcasts) – got to love that cinema pass!

Beginnings

The first cinema trip of 2015 was to see Into the Woods. The mix of musical and fairy tales did suit the holiday season, although I can well believe that something was lost in the transition from the stage show – it all just felt like it was missing something. The duet between Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen as Cinderella’s and Rapunzel’s Princes, respectively, was a comedy highlight, though!

Endings

Along with many, many people, I suspect, my last cinema trip of the year was to see the behemoth that was Star Wars: The Force AwakensAnd I liked it 🙂 Still a few too many ‘hmms’ to have made it to my top 5 of the year (see below), but maybe deserves it for making Star Wars fun again.

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

Two movies stand out as being too big for their own boots: Jupiter Ascending, and Tomorrowland: A World Beyond. Both left me with a sense that the audience was supposed to just be so bowled over by the sheer spectacle, that flaws in the plot and characters would be overlooked. Nope! Oddly, the former struck me as too manic, and the latter too sedate – one unsure, and one overly sure, of its own ‘magnificence’.

Superheros Still Reign

Hard to believe that this juggernaut is STILL expanding, but 2016 looks even more chock-full than 2015, which saw Big Hero 6, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Fantastic Four. And says a lot about me that the first three were my only repeat viewings for the year! Looking at that list, I’d suggest the quality dropped as the year went on – BH6 was just wonderful; FF was awful! Doesn’t bode well for the coming year…!

Sequels

By my reckoning, 16 of my cinema trips were to see sequels – okay, a couple of ‘re-imaginings’ with the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road, I suppose, and the odd status of Terminator: Genisys, which I apparently really liked at the time but am not remembering that fondly! Insurgent, The Scorch Trials, and Mockingjay part 2 all carried on YA adaptations, and none impressed me as much as previous installments, likewise Fast and Furious 7 or the dire Transporter Refueled.

I did, however, really enjoy the very fun Minions (okay,that was more a prequel), and Spectre, Jurassic World, and  Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation all added something positive to their respective franchises, in my opinion.

Don’t Look – There’s Spies Everywhere!

Talking of Mission Impossible, there were no shortage of spy movies – serious and otherwise! – around this year. I hugely enjoyed the wonderful subversion of Kingsman: The Secret Service back in February, and June’s Spy let Jason Statham send himself up perfectly! And unlike all of the new installments/reboots, the period aspect of The Man From UNCLE is what allowed an otherwise okay-ish movie shine a little brighter in the pack.

Lows

Quite a few disappointments this year, but special mentions for In The Heart of the Sea (far less emotional impact than it should have managed), and Gravity (2013), which I caught up with very late and was a bit meh away from the big screen visual impact. However, the chosen turkeys of the year, in reverse order, are:

  • The Good Dinosaur – sorry Pixar, but why did you bother? Makes the list as expectations were so high.
  • Chappie – almost had good points. Almost.
  • The Scorch Trials – disappointing follow-up.
  • The Transporter Refueled – it was bad; as if I could have expected much else!
  • Fantastic Four – how to kill a franchise in one step – it was actually WORSE than the previous adaptations!!

Highs

Mad Max: Fury Road is making so many year-end lists, but somehow didn’t appeal to me as much as all that – enough to get an honourable mention, right enough. Both Mississippi Grind and Macbeth were excellent, if dark; Big Hero 6 was also wonderful, but not my favourite animation of the year. So the golden hummingbird statuettes go to:

  • The Voices – sadly seen by few, it veered between very black comedy and leaving me feeling uncomfortable for laughing – but I still did! Altogether now: “Sing a happy song, sing a happy song…”!
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service – so much fun, much of it inappropriate, I’m already looking forward to a repeat viewing!
  • Sicario – harsh, brutal even, but oh so well done.
  • Inside Out – Pixar makes the bottom and top lists! Such a lovely, spot-on film with this one, for all ages.
  • The Martian – surprising myself putting this at the top of the list, but it was actually better than the book imo, and how often can you say that?! Perfect popcorn fodder.
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