Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Movies I Saw Summary and Reviews

I got a late start this year with watching movies in the theater, or I'm going crazy and misplaced the first five months' worth of tickets.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - (5/8/15; rating = 4/5 stars)

Age of Ultron was a flashy scifi sequel to Marvel's The Avengers. It suffers slightly from being a sequel but was a great movie in its own right too. I'd forgotten that I saw it, but I do remember liking it. I never bought the dvd or bluray, but I would if I saw it on sale. It's a decent movie to add to any collection. I do think Avengers was a stronger story overall, but the sequel keeps some of the magic.

San Andreas - (6/6/15; rating 3/5 stars)

There's not too much plot to this one. The premise is that there are massive earthquakes across the San Andreas fault, basically devastating large swaths of California. The Rock does a decent showing as a frantic father who happens to fly rescue helicopters. I'd put it on a netflix list. It's worth watching, but it's not tempting enough to be a buy-it-to-treasure-forever sort of movie.

Jurassic World - (6/27/15; 4.5/5 stars)

Enjoyable. This is one of those rare gems of a sequel that actually captures a lot of the greatness in the first one. I don't remember much about Jurassic Park 2 or 3, except that they didn't quite do it for me. One could easily watch Jurassic Park then Jurassic World and enjoy them as a duology without 2 and 3. It's typical fare for that type of movie. The chase scenes are suitably exciting and the fight at the end is action packed.

Inside Out (7/8/15; Rating = 4.5/5 stars)

Cute yet thoughtful. This movie had a surprisingly deep plot. The characters weren't as memorable as somebody like Queen Elsa from Frozen, but the story's intricate yet simple. There's great use of humor throughout. My favorite moments were the bus driver's mind, the cat's mind, the teenage boy's mind upon seeing a girl, and the father thinking something like oh, no, she said something and I wasn't paying attention.

I think this might be more enjoyable to share with friends than seeing alone, but it's still a great movie.

Minions - (8/24/15; rating 3.5 stars)

Cute and amusing but suffers from spinoff syndrome. To me, spinoff syndrome is when there's a character or in this case a character type that's popular enough that movie makers just want another payday so they cobble together a story and throw it on screen to give their stars another chance to shine. It should be noted that it's probably really difficult to make a wonderful movie with main characters that say very few actual words. Minions are adorable...I wear the bandaids and PJs, but they're much better playing second string to Gru in Despicable Me.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - (9/5/15; rating = 4/5 stars)

Solid action movie. It'd be worth a second or third viewing, but not in a row. I'd happily watch it again, or throw it onto a netflix wish list. It had decent fights and chases. That's pretty much the basic requirements for an action movie. I find the MI series has decently deep plotlines.

Scicario (10/3/15; rating = 2.5/5 stars)

It was all right. Emily Blunt does a great job at the part, playing an idealistic FBI agent sent as a liasion to deal with some drug cartels. It's not exactly a feel-good movie, and I'm finding that I sort of need that in a movie to truly enjoy myself. I'd probably pass seeing it again. Wouldn't exactly call the time spent a waste, but I feel like I'm fulfilled having seen it once.

Spectre (11/14/15; 4.5/5 stars)

James Bond movies have a long and glorious history. I found the beginning of this one kind of creepy, but aside from that, I'd call it a solid action flick. The plot's as outrageous as usual yet boils down to a bit of a cliche. The impressive part is that it works here. It's well acted. The chase scenes are exciting, though they probably didn't wreck as many cars as other action movies. They wanted a wider variety of vehicles wrecked, I guess.

Star Wars Episode VII (12/18/15, 12/22/15, 12/26/15; rating = 5/5 stars)

I'm probably biased on this one because I've been a Star Wars fan for a long time. I promise to keep this recap spoiler free for those who've not gotten around to seeing it yet. In short, it's excellent. There are enough ties to the old trilogy (the original Ep 4-6) to please most die hard fans. The one thing I will say is that fans of the movie only may have a higher chance of loving this than those who drank in every one of the hundreds of novels printed between the 90's-2000's. When Disney took over, they basically scrapped 90% of the canon established throug those books. But back to Episode 7 ... I loved it. You probably gathered that from me seeing it 3 times in the past week. To be fair, I'd bought tickets to Friday the 18th and Saturday the 26th before even watching it once.

So, what made this movie great?

Fresh faces. Old favorites. Great use of humor to lighten dark moments. Well-acted. Nice use of special effects without there being an over abundance of CGI. Story line is okay. I have some speculation about that which I'll put in a separate post marked all over with spoiler alerts.

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