So this year, I saw 19 new releases. The worst of which were Blackhat and Jupiter Ascending. The best of which, well…
Tarantino does it again. A 3-hour, seven chapter epic about eight people stuck in a room together could get boring real quick but, as he’s shown, he’s a gifted writer who knows how to truly ramp up the tension or play with the viewer’s expectations. I did feel that it got a bit repetitious (lookin’ at you, “door won’t close” gag), but the characters were interesting enough for this to be negligible. I’m curious to see how it plays on a smaller screen, without an intermission. But from what I saw, it’s up there with some of his best work.
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Did anyone expect it to be this good? JJ Abrams has totally been on a roll since Mission Impossible 3, with Super 8 being one of my all time favorites, but even I had tempered my expectations. And then promptly got lost in the visuals and the storytelling and the callbacks and everything else that’s made this movie worth watching (and rewatching, though right now my intention to see it a 2nd time is in the “plans” phase). It was pretty much what everyone wanted, somehow, and that’s evinced by the fact that it’s made close to $650 million domestically in just about 13 days. Ridiculous. But the hype is well-deserved. It’s a great fuckin’ movie.
The moment I found out they were adapting Although of Course you End up Becoming Yourself, a 300 page interview with David Foster Wallace that took place over a few days for Rolling Stone, I was stoked. Then I found out Jason Segal would be playing my favorite author of all time, and I became wary. The movie itself exceeded my expectations, and even included all my favorite moments from the book. It was a great look at a great writer and I honestly can’t believe they were able to work in the “Brothers of the Lung” line, the Alanis Morisette poster, and the Barney blanket over his window. I can only hope that, one day, someone (maybe me!) makes an inherently ironic TV show based on Infinite Jest.
I am an unabashed fan of this film. When I picked it up from Redbox, I wasn’t expecting much. None of the reviews I read of the film were all that positive so I skipped it in theaters in spite of being pretty excited from the start. Sure, there’s not too much Tomorrowland in the movie, but it raises some great points about humanity and starts an honest conversation for the adults in the audience to ponder (like, “We have simultaneous epidemics of starvation and obesity. Explain that!” is probably my favorite line from the film). The action sequences were great and the whole movie had me enthralled. Plus, it’s PG so I can show it my nephews way before a lot of other killer movies.
Did you see that ending coming? No? Me either. Exactly. Just an absolutely well-made film and an all-around great experience watching it for the first time. I was completely blown away by how smart the movie was and how well it was constructed, just like the house-fortress in the film. The story kept you on your toes and always seemed to evade my predictions. If you haven’t seen it yet, 1) Shame on you 2) Be prepared to be a little heartbroken. It’s amazing watching this story unfold. Just go watch it. You won’t be disappointed.
So there you have it. Here’s the full list of new releases I saw this year, ordered chronologically by release date:
Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
The End of the Tour
Straight Outta Compton
Mockingjay Part 2
The Hateful 8