“Straight Outta Compton” – Not since “The People vs. Larry Flynt” has Hollywood made a film documenting the ongoing fight for Freedom of Speech with such controversial antagonists. And this movie was a stunner, O’Shea Jackson portraying his father Ice Cube, conveys beautifully the rapper’s explosive vibrato on the microphone, while depicting a more quiet seething rage in his personal life.
“Ex-Machina” – This is a sleek, wondrous journey through the virtual rabbit hole of singularity and what it means to be human.
“The Hateful Eight” – Tarantino’s masterpiece. Enough said. He moves the camera impeccably. He takes his time to let a scene breathe; and he has an amazing score from Ennio Morricone. Everything Tarantino has done previously, has been leading up to this.
“Steve Jobs” – Fasbender, Winslett, and Sorkin. Two of the world’s finest actors, portraying the life of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial, compelling, and revolutionary men – from a screenplay written by the most gifted auteur of dialogue in the modern era. It was destined to be this freakin’ good, it’s a shame it came out in one of the worst box office months the industry has ever seen.
“Spotlight” – A story that needed to be told.
“The Big Short” – A story that needed to be told.
“Truth” – A story that needed to be told.
“Inside Out” – It’s really been a long while since I saw a children’s movie, or any movie really, where the plot was so literal and made such a profound statement.
“The End of the Tour” – What this film lacks due to its aimless intellectual rambling, it more than makes up for with breathtaking performances by both Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg. The seething tension and ceaseless admiration between the two main characters is more than enough reason to hop on this tour.
“Grandma” – Lily Tomlin at her salty, poignant best. And who would have thought you would get a legitimate comedy out of a plot line centered around a broke, recently heartbroken, pot smoking, lesbian grandmother taking her teenage granddaughter to get an abortion. It sounds ridiculous, but the script is on-point and Lily Tomlin swings for the damn fences.
“Trainwreck” – You can’t beat the year Schumer’s had. And “Trainwreck” is kind of the crown jewel, the always funny Amy Schumer had a box office smash with this semi-autobiographical story about growing up and settling down. Besides Schumer, comic genius Bill Hader goes right along with her as the straight-man – while LeBron James and John Cena both turn out to hold their own and have impeccable comic timing, alongside pros like Schumer and Hader.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finally! A Star Wars for the next generation that is also a film that the old school audience deserves. There may have been a little rehashing of old tropes, but ultimately that and the cast from the originals, are what made slipping back into this universe on Rey and Finn’s journey feel a little bit more familiar.