My Top Movies of 2015

Another year has gone by and it’s been a good year. As such, I will continue the tradition I started last year by doing my top six movies of the year list. Yeah, six is a rather odd number, but last year I just couldn’t settle on 5. So going forward, I hope to always just stick with six. To give myself so leeway, this list is only my personal favorite, and being such I don’t have to be overly objective. So lets jump In.

Runner Ups.

Just a quick shout out to the films that missed the cut for my list. I loved this films, but there can only be o… I mean, six.

Inside Out
Concussion
Mad Max : Fury Road
The Martian
Straight Outta Compton
Beast of No Nation

Lets dig in.

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The Story Needed Spotlight

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“If there were 90 of these bastards, people would know”. It’s not normal for me to start a review with a quote, but this quote captures what this movie aims to showcase. In 2001, The Boston Globe’s investigative journalist team Spotlight, took a deep look into the allegations of sexual misconduct of the catholic church in Boston. The result of this report, published in January of 2002 bought a harrowing truth to light. A scathing indictment to over 70 priests in the Boston area who were found to sexually abuse minors. The systematic attempt from the Boston archdiocese to cover it up.  The repercussions of this report weren’t just felt in Boston.  I was not raised a catholic, but I did attend catholic school in the Bronx NY for over seven years.  The Monsignor at my high school was charged of sexual abuse in 2002 for conduct in 1970s. The victim in question, got the courage to speak out because of the outcry from Spotlight’s report. This was something I was fortunately unaffected by, but I saw it’s effects first hand. From the steward supporters, who knew Mgsr. Kavanagh as a godly man, and the people who immediately held him in contempt. At it’s core, Spotlight is a real journalist movie. It’s subject matter is one of true intrigue and impact. It doesn’t get overly concerned with the characters because the story’s development is the actual star of the film.

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Surprisingly Delicious

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You may or may not know Stephen Chow. He is the brain behind comedy cult favorites Kung-Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. He partakes in a very nonsensical style of comedy around seemingly ordinary things. Borrowing heavy inspiration from eastern animation elements like : over the top moves, expressions and dialogue. I came across the first film he made in that style, The God of Cookery. What we have here is a very entertaining comedy about a celebrity chef, Chow, who has given himself the titular nickname “The God of Cookery”.  Those with an appreciation for eastern culture will get an extra kick out of this film.  As there are plenty of call backs and easter eggs to far eastern pop culture, some even holding weight today.  Yet the movie is still general enough for anybody to follow along and enjoy the ride.

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The Power In A Name

The original Rocky was released in 1976, almost 40 years ago. Rocky was more than a movie for its time. The quintessential underdog story, about how with enough hard work you can achieve your dreams. We’ve grown with Rocky over that time-span with five hit or miss sequels, 4 if you do the wise thing and forget Rocky 5 ever existed (I did).  However, father time is undefeated and Rocky can’t don the gloves anymore. Enter in Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s greatest in the ring rival Apollo Creed. We get a new underdog story, one for the new generation and it is as rich and fulfilling as the first time Rocky stepped in the ring.

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Maybe Not The Last

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Let’s be honest, audiences love a good supernatural film. They almost tend to come and go in phases / fads. The 80’s were all about ghost and ghouls. The 90’s were dominated by vampires, and we are currently knee-deep in a zombie craze. There is nothing wrong with this, and every now and then we get a film that is trying to find its own space. That is what “The Last Witch Hunter” feels like the most. Vampires are substituted with “Witches”. The eerie dystopian scenery is instead filled by more modern scenery.  Replacing the young “teenage” hero with a large and some what menacing Vin Diesel.  “The Last Witch Hunter” isn’t rewriting any formulas,  but it becomes clear fairly quickly that it isn’t trying to. It just wants to be different, and excelling at those differences is what ultimately makes watching Vin Diesel’s Kaulder such a fun ride. Kaulder is cursed with immortality. A curse casted on him by the witch queen when he defeated her over 800 years ago. For that time period he has faithfully served an organization that maintains the balance between humans and witches called The Axe and Cross.

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Ladies & Gentlemen , Now Introducing…

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Apple is the most highly valued company in world today.  With its current market evaluation at 650+ billion dollars ( Yeah… with a “B” ).   The name most synonymous with that success is none other than Steve Jobs.   When you mention Steve Jobs, you will undoubtedly get a mix of different options and reactions: tech visionary,  egotistical maniac,  genius,  deadbeat dad,  passionate,  uncooperative,  and uncompromising just to name a few.  “Steve Jobs”,  the latest and hopefully last biopic of the late CEO of apple,  attempts to show you the man in all the light and dark avenues.   Regardless of how you feel about the late tech legend.  His impact is felt today all over the world.

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At What Age Do Beasts Bare Fangs

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The difference between “Right” and “Wrong”, also known as morality. Morality is a subject you could spend your entire life studying. The color of every morally ambiguous situation is usually gray, and when you start adding children into that equation the color gets even more hazy. “Beasts Of No Nation” is an emotionally powerful look into such a world, the world of a child solider.  How fast can the moral compass of a child turn when confronted by extreme circumstance. Based on the same-titled novel by Uzodinma Iweala, the film waste no time putting us in the shoes of Agu (Abraham Attah).  An 8-year-old orphan, who after witnessing the death of his family finds himself conscripted into a militia.

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Space Can Be A Lonely Place

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Space is always a setting that audiences can’t seem to get enough of and why would they? As the famous Star Trek saying goes, it’s the final frontier. It’s breath of mysterious gives hollywood film makers extreme latitude to flex their creative muscles. Chris Nolan’s Interstellar and Alfonso Cuarón Gravity may have given the genre a long over due boost, and Ridley Scott’s The Martian is looking to continue the momentum. Based on the best-selling book by Andy Weir of the same name. It chronicles the story of a lone astronaut stuck on Mars. The Martian is a powerful film about dealing with adversity using a broad spectrum of human emotion : courage, fear, optimistic, desperation and despair. It’s a strong work of fiction with a strong base in some real science, which gives the film a distinct edge.  Your not expecting space magic to save the day, just good old fashion human problem solving.

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Compton’s Got Something to Say

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Music is already a genre that thrives on its ability to strike at the emotions of its audience. Songs are born of emotion, letting it fill every beat, rhythm and rhyme. Films have been leveraging the power music can hold to elevate scenes for years. Music was used as an instrument to make films better even before words were spoken. Every now and then a film comes along that attempts to put music on display. Attempting to capture the raw emotion it instills in listeners. Straight Outta Compton is one of those movies and accomplishes this goal with the same attitude and power its protagonist N.W.A. performed with. It is an uncompromising and inspired piece of film making that is almost eerily timed with the actual heartbeat of today’s society. Which is extra potent if you take a moment to consider the titular album that this movie is named after was released 27 years ago.

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Netflix Original Series You Should Be Watching

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Few companies today have learned to adapt with the shifting popularity of the internet the way Netflix has.  Netflix began as a DVD distribution company and was one of the first companies to jump into the internet streaming space. Not resting on their laurels, they began producing their own feature content. Today, Netflix is responsible for around 37% of all internet traffic, and they have produced several shows that rival content created by the major networks.  I’m gonna recommend 5 of those shows.  Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and DareDevil are already pretty well known, this list is not for them. I’m hoping you see something new on this list and give it a shot.

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