Scale meets substance
2015 was a great year in film, where some of the biggest blockbusters also had some of the biggest heart. Records were set and broken. You know it's going to be a big year when a Star Wars film is released. Listen to our year in film review by clicking HERE!
Movie of the Year: Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road might just be the best action film since The Matrix (1999). It actually could be one of the greatest action films of all time. Many may write off George Miller's latest installment to his Mad Max series as Hollywood cashing in on another established property, and it's hard not to blame them.
Fury Road is much more than a reboot, remake, or sequel. It actually carries over the best features of those things, and leaves the worst features behind. The film very much stands on its own, but doesn't completely negate the previous entries. This movie has actually been in the making for quite some time, but due to multiple economic, political, and Mel Gibson issues, the movie has been delayed for more than 15 years.
Luckily, Tom Hardy does a great job playing the troubled "hero" and Charlize Theron steals the show with her excellent portrayal of Furiosa. The movie has very little offer in terms of dialogue and exposition, the plot is simple, the movie is very much one big car chase, but the action is sublime, and the storytelling is extremely effective in this stylish powerhouse of a film. Fury Road is the perfect example that even blockbuster action films can also be a beautiful piece of art.
Suggested for fans of: Road Warrior, Akira, The Matrix
The Best Shows of 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
At the time that this is initially written, the newest Star Wars film has yet to be released. So, how and why can we justify it being on our list with us having not seen it yet? First off: we will be updating this article after the release of The Force Awakens; giving you our thoughts about the highly anticipated film. Secondly: we can't think of another time a movie has caused this much of a buzz. The last time there was this much excitement for a movie was probably for Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (yikes). With everything we have seen so far, Director J.J. Abrams has us, along with the rest of the world, counting down the days until the movie releases. Joining in the celebration and sheer excitement has been on of the most defining moments of 2015 in regards to film.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is fantastic. It hits every note that you would want out of a Star Wars Film. The returning characters are fantastic, and the new characters stand on there own. We might go as far as to say that this is not only better than the prequels, but might be better than one or two of the originals. JJ Abrams (wisely) plays it safe, while also setting up a new Star Wars trilogy to take risks and continue the story of the light side verses the dark side. Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes up for a lot of bad blood, and we can't wait to see what comes next.
Alex Garland isn't a household name, but it should be. The writer has been heavily tied to the great filmmaker, Danny Boyle, penning excellent screenplays for movies like 28 Days Later and Sunshine.
Ex Machina is Garland's directorial debute, and what a debut it is! The film's approach to sci-fi is unique in it's successful commitment to personal intimacy over grandiose spectacle and scope. While the budget may not have been the largest, it would be hard to tell. The small scale feels like a choice rather than a necessity. The visuals are stunning, that includes mostly flawless CGI and cinematography that speaks as much as the characters do. The performances are all on-point and add well to the sense of wonder and worry. If you're not a fan of tension, STAY AWAY!
Suggested for fans of: 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Blade Runner, Nightcrawler
Despite what other critics and moviegoers have said, we actually very much enjoyed Spectre here in the Fox Radio Network office. Is it the best Bond film ever? No. Is Sam Smith's theme song the most "meh" Bond theme ever? Probably. The worst thing to happen to Spectre was Skyfall. The previous 007 flick was a special film, and most would consider it the best modern Bond film. Comparing Spectre to Skyfall will obviously yield poor results for Spectre, but as a movie on its own, we found it quite enjoyable. We may have the biggest Bond fans here, so feel free to call us "biased," but we're always happy to see the world's greatest spy in theaters!
Suggested for fans of: Casino Royale, Inglorious Bastards
Dinosaurs. DINOSAURS! DINOSAURS!!!! Jurassic World could be the most fun we've had at the movies all year! Honestly, it was a blast to watch at home! The movie works so well as a fun popcorn flick, but it also presents a pretty interesting commentary on the state of film. Everything has to be bigger, louder, funnier, scarier, etc. Jurassic World is wonderfully self aware and doesn't seem to care what you think about it. The first 30 minutes or so are actually quite awful, but when the pace picks up and the dino-poop hits the fan, hang on tight, because the ride doesn't stop until the credits roll.
Suggested for fans of: Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark
The best thing that Selma does, which is saying a lot because it does almost everything superbly, is humanize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's easy to just view the Civil Rights leader simply as a historic figure, but Selma does a great job of remind its audience that he was just a man. This doesn't discredit King Jr., it actually praises his relentlessness in the face of challenges on multiple fronts.
Selma is powerful, and sometimes extremely hard to watch because of its dark subject matter. The movie opens up on an absolutely devastating event and act of hate, and sets the tone for how dire the situation had become. The film is definitely a tear jerker, both for the good and for the bad.
Suggested for fans of: 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire