I saw more movies this year than in most previous years – a lot of it stemmed from not having to take children with me, and not having to go to kids’ movies; but much of the blame goes to a bunch of fun and entertaining films being released in 2015. I don’t want to get into the cinematic merits of this camera shot or the egregious error of that plot point – I just want to tell you what I, and several of our other Three If By Space staff members, had a good time watching this year. So if you haven’t been a regular movie-theater goer this year (and Bri Earl, one of our wonderful writers, and a movie theater employee, wants to know why not), here’s our non-comprehensive list of what, for lack of a better word, I’ll call “the best 2015 movies list.” If you want to read the entire review published here on Three If By Space for a particular film, click on Our Review at the end of each film discussion. (And warning, this whole article is one big spoiler, if you haven’t seen one or more of these films – the movie names will be big and in color; if you don’t want to know something about a particular film, go read our article on best upcoming shows of 2016, which won’t spoil anything for you.)
First, let’s get the juggernaut in the room out of the way:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Did you have a good time at the movies? Did you enjoy watching ships and bad guys having temper tantrums and brushing up on your Wookie? Or just brushing your Wookie? Then that’s enough. Yes, the plot sounded familiar, but frankly, I really enjoyed it. And from the box office receipts in the 2 weeks it’s been out, so have millions of other people – over and over. And probably one more time. I doubt that any but the most die-hard fans have a complaint about the film – the rest of us happily settled our butts into our seats, munched on our buttered popcorn, and cheered. If you haven’t seen it, go.
Mad Max Fury Road
Our managing editor, Robert, loved this film. I didn’t go to see it, so here’s what he says: Fans of the original films went to the movie with some expectations of call-backs to the original films, while those too young to remember the originals came in expecting nothing. What George Miller managed to do with Fury Road was give both the uninitiated and the long time fans something to be excited about. From a cinematic standpoint, it is clear that George Miller was given the authority to do everything and anything he wanted with this film. The shots were beautifully done and the way scenes were speed up or slowed down allowed the viewer to catch every little detail without lingering on the screen too long was genius. Some of the CGI left you snapping out of the mind-set that you could be in some place real with the over the top sand storm that was too far-fetched to accept. However, Overall the rest of the sequences were nothing short pure adrenaline fun.
Spectre and Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The latest installment in the James Bond franchise, and the first in the planned UNCLE franchise are being lumped together, partly because they’re both really not our genre, partly because I saw and reviewed them both, and partly because it just makes sense. Bond takes itself seriously, with often spectactular results, and UNCLE just doesn’t, but it was funny and exciting anyway. While I didn’t think that Spectre (and several people pointed out to me that I wrote it “Sceptre” more than once) was the best of the four Daniel Craig Bond films – in my mind, that honor goes to Skyfall – I still thought it was exciting, beautifully shot, and a worthy entry in the long-running series. And Henry Cavill in UNCLE was a debonair, ladies’ man spy. If you like this genre, I’m willing to bet that you saw Spectre and missed UNCLE, but find it and check it out!
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel is really pushing lately to get EVERYTHING out of their closet and onto the screen. It’s kinda fun to see them falling all over themselves to get these films out, with some mixed success, but this year’s Avengers film was much more hit than miss. I’m not a big fan of Cap, but I do love Iron Man, and I’m an unrepentent Jeremy Renner fan, so giving him a bit more screen time was just fine with me. Next year, we get Civil War, and I’m looking forward to that, but like I said, not a huge Cap fan, so I’m going out on a limb and saying that I’ll predict I liked this one better.
And in conclusion…
Of course, I don’t want to completely ignore some of the other films I enjoyed – the finale of The Hunger Games (Mockingjay Part 2), which I liked better than Part 1, but not by much; the second in the Divergent series, Insurgent (but honestly, I’m more than a little apprehensive about this year’s installment, Allegiant, since I thought that book was by far the worst in the series), and of course, Minions.
One thing that I would like more of is more small, independent sci fi films to come our way. Everything I’ve talked about in this piece is part of a franchise, a big-budget film with an established audience. If you know of some smaller, terrific recent sci fi movies that deserve a plug, please let us know! And if you’ve got a suggestion for something coming out in 2016 that you’d like to see reviewed, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com – I’ll be happy to add it our list!
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