WARNING: THIS POST IS SUUUUPER LONG.
If you know me, you know that I love movies. Not just watching them, but learning about them. I love reading about the goings on behind the scenes, the actors’ experiences, and the visual effects (particularly the practical). 2015 was a pretty good year for movies, and I managed to get out to see a lot more than usual thanks to in-house babysitters and a child who is growing up.
Without further ado, here is the list of movies produced in 2015 that I saw – either at home or in the theatre. Note, a couple of the movies I actually didn’t manage to watch until 2016, but obviously this new year is still a baby so I’m still going to include them. (There are also still many 2015 movies that I hope to see yet! And I watched WAAAY more movies than represented on this list, but they were all older.) This list is ranked from least to most favourite.
22. AGE OF ULTRON – I’m not going to say much about this movie. There was so much I didn’t like about it. To be honest though, I’m growing out of super hero movies in general. That’s not to say that I think I’m too good for them or something, they’re just not necessarily something I’m as interested in anymore. I think the epic levels of destruction and the high number of heroes in each movie are just exhausting for me. I find it’s more about the action than the characters and I’m just not the right audience for that. Not a bad movie, just not for me. Also, side note, it was at this movie that we learned front row in the VIP theatre isn’t so great, and is especially uncomfortable with 3D glasses and a meal.
21. PAN – Bryan and I saw this over our little anniversary break in Moose Jaw. It’s definitely not the best Peter Pan adaptation out there – many more would rank much higher on my list – however I would not say that it is bad. It got a really bad rep before release due to the fact that they hired a white actress to play Tiger Lily, which really hurt its numbers. I will say that the actress they hired (Rooney Mara) really suited the tone of the movie, but it was definitely a missed opportunity to make a more diverse choice. This isn’t why the movie didn’t do well though. While the movie was a fun distraction, the plot was muddled and the characters undeveloped. Beautiful visuals and the fabulous Hugh Jackman weren’t enough to save this already sinking ship. It’s a fun watch, but don’t go in expecting to be swept away by the same magic as Disney’s Peter Pan or the classic Hook.
20. THE PEANUTS MOVIE – Being a lifelong admirer of the Peanuts (really, who isn’t?), I was pretty excited for this movie to come out. The animation was brought into the present day without losing the charm of the old Peanuts specials. My brother and I took Ginny to see this one afternoon, and while Ginny absolutely loved it, it was clear that the movie was targeted more toward her than us grownups. While it was a quick and pleasant watch, it didn’t leave me with the same feeling I would have from watching the older Charlie Brown specials. Still, it was a nice way to introduce Ginny to Charlie Brown and Snoopy and Linus (who she keeps calling ‘Charlie Brown’s friend’ even though I’ve corrected her a million times).
19. THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER – A decent chunk of this list is consisted of animated movies. This is not because we have a kid, but because even though we’ve grown into adults our appreciating of cartoons has not lessened. I LOVE animation (particularly Disney). Anyways, Bryan and I went out and saw this one night and we really enjoyed it. It was silly and insane, just as Spongebob should be. We’re Spongebob fans around here, and it did not disappoint us. *bought on bluray*
18. CINDERELLA – This is one of the few that I did not see in the theatre. I was very hesitant to see it at all, as it just looked too glowy and mushy for me. Also, and I still had this issue even after I watched it, I didn’t like the design of Cinderella’s hair and ball gown. Anyways, it popped up on Netflix one day so I spent an afternoon watching it. It was MUCH better than I had anticipated. It retained the feeling of the cartoon version, and added elements that were welcome and easy to accept. The casting choices were brilliant – Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother? YES. My only complaint (other than the dress thing) was that the movie fell into the obnoxious ugly sister trap that most Cinderella movies fall into. I just feel like there was an opportunity to give them better, less vapid personalities. Think the stepsisters in Ever After. All in all, it was worth a watch and it is definitely one that I’ll be buying at some point.
17. PAPER TOWNS – I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but the YA genre of books and movies is not directed at me anymore so I have a hard time enjoying that stuff. Paper Towns however, was a book that I LOVED and the movie was a very fair adaptation. It captured the spirit of the book, featured actors who actually seemed the ages they were playing, and any changes made from page-to-screen were intelligent and logical. It’s not a favourite movie, but I was really impressed at what they did with it.
16. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – This movie didn’t do so well, but I personally really enjoyed it. I love handsome men in handsome suits, and seeing Hugh Grant for the first time in forever was a delight. It was a fun date movie, and both Bryan and I were really glad we sprung to see it on the big screen.
15. SAN ANDREAS – Mindless disaster flick starring Dwayne Johnson. It was EXACTLY what I was expecting, which wasn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it’s really nice to just pop a movie on, know what you’re in for, and be perfectly satisfied. Did it have a corny romantic subplot? Yup. Were there ample shots of The Rock’s muscles? Yes sir. Fun special effects? You bet. I love world destruction movies, which I realize is interesting considering what I said about disliking the destruction in Age of Ultron, but this is very different. Anyways, it was a great movie that I got to enjoy in the comfort of my living room with my family. This is one that I caught in the first week of 2016 as well.
14. THE NIGHT BEFORE – This was a wild card movie. I typically do not go to see these kind of movies in the theatre because I just feel I shouldn’t spend money on something that is going to offend me. However, Ginny was away for the night, and Bryan and Phil and I felt like just heading out for some brainless entertainment. And then my sister ended up coming along too! This movie was hilarious. SO inappropriate, but so hilarious. Seth Rogan was my fav. I’m sick of that little pixie Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Anthony Mackie is cute. The cameos were great. But like yeah…not a family friendly holiday film.
13. MINIONS – This is another movie that we took Ginny to, her second on the big screen (her first was An American Tail). She laughed her head off through the whole thing, and I must say that the movie earned it. It was so goofy. I kind of hate minions because I’m so SICK of all the minion memes floating around on facebook. Like seriously…why do you need a picture of a minion to express how you feel about middle age? I don’t get it. Great movie though. Good animation, good voice cast, good plot. We’ve watched it a couple times and I enjoy it as much if not more than the Despicable Me movies. *bought on bluray*
12. ANT-MAN – Well looky here! Another super hero movie, and it isn’t ranked low! Ant-Man was so much fun! It was different from the other Marvel movies and I had a much easier time really getting into it and enjoying it. It’s funny because if you had showed me the Age of Ultron trailer and the Ant-Man trailer side by side, I would have predicted myself enjoying Ultron much better. I could have seen this in the theatre with no regrets. As it was, I watched it in my little bro’s living room with my family (again, first week of 2016), which turned out to be fun. We all really liked the movie. The Thomas the Tank Engine thing killed me.
11. THE GOOD DINOSAUR – Even a poor Pixar movie is still really good. As far as Pixars go, this really would not rank high on my list. However, that doesn’t make it bad at all. The animation, as per usual, was STUNNING. The water effects blew my mind. We took Ginny to see this in the theatre (first week of 2016…we saw a lotta movies, haha), and we were literally the only people in the room so she was free to chatter excitedly about the plot and characters. It was a really cute movie, not too scary (for a kid…obviously I wasn’t scared of a cute dinosaur), and had a really nice voice cast. Sam Elliot plays a steer-wrangling T-rex and I can’t think of anything more perfect than that. It’s for sure on our to-buy list when it is released on bluray.
10. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE : ROGUE NATION – It’s IMPOSSIBLE to not enjoy the Mission Impossible movies. See what I did there? Ha. Ok anyways, this is probably one of my favourites of the series, though I’m pretty sure I say that every time they release a new one. Tom Cruise IS Ethan Hunt, and these movies are always a good time despite not really straying from the same basic idea. I love the action, the stunts, the story, the masks, and of course I love Tom Cruise – he’s such a lovable kook.
9. IN THE HEART OF THE SEA – This movie met and exceeded my expectations. From the first time I saw the trailer last year, I was excited to see this. You may not know this about me, but I LOVE reading about whaling ships and old timey sea adventures, in particular early arctic exploration. This movie fell into that circle of interest and also included a Hemsworth brother and was directed by Ron Howard who is one my favourites. What I’m trying to say, is that this movie had a lot going for it. We sprung for D-Box seats for this one, which was also in 3D, and it was worth the extra money. The motion of the ocean really added to the whole movie-going experience. The story of the whaling ship Essex is SO utterly fascinating – it inspired the novel Moby Dick. It was amazing to see this astonishing true story put on the big screen, and I really think they did such a great job. I can’t wait til it’s released on home video so I can see it again. And again.
8. SISTERS – Confession: I saw this in the theatre twice in one week. I really like Tina Fey and I adore Amy Pohler. It was a really solid female driven comedy. Waaaay better than Bridesmaids which I thought was absolutely awful. There was enough silly humour to balance out the more questionable content, and to be honest I would go see it in the theatre again if movies weren’t so darn expensive. I dunno…I just REALLY liked it for some reason. Didn’t see this one til 2016, btw.
7. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – The first trailer I saw for this hooked me. It was just so BIG, and the music was so epic. I have attempted to watch the original Mad Max films, but I just wasn’t into them. This didn’t deter me from seeing this new one though, and I’m so glad I did. It was STUNNING. The plot was like…whatever, just a general movie plot, but it LOOKED SO GOOD. Furiosa was so cool. The effects were so cool. It was just one of the coolest movies I’ve seen. As I was watching it, I was like, “What am I watching?” but by the time it ended and by the time I got home that night, I was like, “MAD MAAAAAX! I WANNA WATCH AGAAAAIN! FURIOOOOOSAAAAAA!” So yeah. In conclusion, I loved it. *bought on bluray*
6. INSIDE OUT – Another Pixar! Let’s start with the obvious: the animation was amaaaaazing! The characters were charming! And of course, it made me cry. Pixar movies do that to me. This movie ranked high on my list though, for personal reasons. I have NEVER related to a movie more than I did to this one. It was unreal. I was sitting in my seat in the theatre literally sobbing. I had zero control over the situation. I related to not only the main character (Riley) but also her parents. After the movie ended, we went quietly out to the car where I proceeded to sob even more. That movie just effected me. When it came out on bluray we made sure to snap that up, and when I watched it again at home it didn’t effect me any less. I just sat on the couch crying like a baby. This is a movie I don’t allow anyone else to watch with me because my reaction to it is so embarassing. Also, I’d like to make clear: it’s also a funny movie, and has classic Pixar humour and good voice acting and is just all around great. It’s going to win the Oscar, easy. *bought on bluray*
5. SPECTRE – Daniel. Craig. In. A. Suit. That is something that I enjoy. Very much. But obviously Spectre was so much more than that. Perhaps it did not necessarily have the strongest Bond story, but I personally really liked it and it is easily my favourite of the Craig Bond films (my least favourite is Quantum of Solace, in case you were wondering). I don’t know…just everything about this movie was so striking to me, and it gave me strong feelings as I watched. The look of the movie was so big and beautiful. It had the cars, it had the girls. The opening sequence was interesting, and I loved Sam Smith’s song (can’t even count how many times I’ve listened to it). This movie was just the perfect Bond movie for Becca, though i’m well aware that not everyone feels the same way about this one. I can definitely see why a lot of people didn’t dig this one, but that’s the fun thing about being a human: You can posses different opinions and different interests!
4. CRIMSON PEAK – I know that so many people will disagree with me on the specialness of this movie. To me though, this movie was perfect. A love letter to fans of the gothic romance genre, it hit all the right marks. I’m about to use the word stunning a lot here, but I truly mean it in every case. The sets were stunning – Allerdale Hall, the beautiful house that is the amazing setpiece for this story, was a character in and of itself. The architectural detail and hidden symbolism in the fixtures and furniture and finishings was such a cool thing to see. It felt like the house was alive, even as it sank into the crimson clay and fell into decay from years of being neglected. The costumes were stunning – I love a good costume movie, and this one went above and beyond. As I said, there was hidden symbolism in the house, but also in most other aspects of the movie as well, costumes included. The textures, fabric, design, and method of construction conveyed all of the thought and care and time that went into dressing the tragic characters of this movie. The colour story told was powerful, and really connected well to the plot. The effects were stunning – practical effects were used as much as possible, and used well. I am a firm believer that in film-making, practical effects should always be used over digital as much as possible. I also believe that digital effects are are a great way to enhance the practical. This movie combined the practical and digital seamlessly and beautifully. The ghosts in particular were a spectacle to behold, so uniquely designed and strikingly executed on the screen. The story was predictable. This is a complaint I have heard from people who didn’t like the movie, but it wasn’t supposed to be a mystery for the viewer so much as it was supposed to be a mystery for the characters in the movie itself. The entire film was an homage to the genre, and Guillermo del Toro did a really fantastic job making it right. Crimson Peak didn’t need strong suspense or heavy jump-scares to suck the viewers in. That is, the viewers it was intended for. This is not a movie for everyone. Honestly, I have only one friend who I would actually recommend it to. The fans of this movie are niche, and that’s perfectly ok. I’m just so glad I got to see this on the big screen, and I’m already counting the days until the bluray release so I can watch it again.
3. THE MARTIAN – Despite the fact that outer space scares the poops outta me, I really do love space movies. I love Space Cowboys, Interstellar, Alien/s, Prometheus, Gravity, Apollo 13, Galaxy Quest, Star Trek/Wars… The idea of space exploration frightens me and makes me feel claustrophobic, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying movies about it. I read the book first, and it was one that I couldn’t put down. I plopped down on my bed and didn’t get up again until I was done. As such, I was REALLY excited for the movie, and it did NOT disappoint. Matt Damon was perfect. The rest of the casting was perfect. The humour was there, the science was there, the space was there. One of the best book adaptations I’ve seen, and probably one of my favourite space movies now. Matt Damon is also becoming cemented as my favourite actor (move over DiCaprio). Great GREAT movie. One of the best of the year, easy.
2. JURASSIC WORLD – As you may know, Jurassic Park is my favourite movie. I can’t necessarily explain why – I just love it. When I heard they were making a fourth in the series, I had no hesitation in being excited. Even if it was bad, it was still going to be good. Jurassic 3 isn’t very good, but I still watch it all the dang time. Jurassic World was released right around my birthday, so I knew it would be the perfect way to ring in my 26th year. Thankfully, the movie turned out to be good. It was just so much fun! The dinosaurs were cool, the effects were good, Chris Pratt was super awesome, and the return of BD Wong really excited me. I don’t know what it is about dinosaurs, but I just love ’em. I ended up seeing this twice in the theatre in the span of about a week – once with my Bryan and once with a group of friends for my birthday. I enjoyed it thoroughly both times and I have also really enjoyed watching it at home in my living room. Great addition to the Jurassic series, and I really look forward to seeing more! *bought on bluray*
1. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – Star Wars. STAR WARS. A new Star Wars movie. The start of a new trilogy. The return of old favourites. The introduction of new favourites. Classic music. Classic lines. Everything about this new Star Wars movie was great. I can’t even say much because what can you say about Star Wars, really? This might be my favourite out of the 7. I loved Rey. I loved Kylo Ren (shocking because I don’t like Adam Driver). I loved the last two minutes the most. John Boyega is a delightful cinnamon bun. Poe Dameron is just cool. Gah. This movie was just great. Zero disappointment. Only minor complaints that aren’t even worth mentioning. I loved it. Best movie of the year.