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Top 10 Films of 2015

It was tougher than I thought it would be narrowing down my top ten films of 2015. The year started out pretty slow, but ended very strong. Here are my top 10 films of 2015.

Honorable Mention:  Bridge of Spies, Ant-Man, It Follows, Sicario, Peanuts, and Steve Jobs.


10. The Big Short-The film took a darkly comic view of the 2008 economic collapse. The film had me laughing while getting angry at the same time. The performances are great with the standout in my opinion being Steve Carrell.



9. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation- This franchise keeps getting better and better with every movie. I thought it would be impossible(pardon the pun) to top Ghost Protocol, but Rogue Nation does just that upping the ante on the action, humor and story. I loved every minute of this film and eagerly anticipate the next one.



8. Mad Max: Fury Road- This is not a film I thought I would of enjoyed let alone be on my top 10 list when I heard about this next installment in the Mad Max Franchise, but I truly had a great time with this film. The film is basically one long action sequence, and is full of a colorful array of characters that make the film very unique.


7. Creed- is another film I wouldn’t think I would like enough to be in my top 10, but again it surprises me. Taking the Rocky Franchise in a completely new direction and breathing new life into the franchise. Michael B. Jordan in the title role give a performance that will hopefully give him the recognition he deserves, and Sylvester Stallone give his best performance probably since the original Rocky film.


6. The Martian-Yet another film where Matt Damon need saving is thrilling, smart enthralling, and surprising funny, and is fulled with a top notch cast, and quite the crowd pleaser.



5. Inside Out- Pixar usually knocks it out the park with their movies, and Inside Out is no different. after a run of sequels Inside Out is a Pixar original full of heart, humor, and nostalgia. Also bring tissues because you will need them.


4. The Revenant- I’m glad I waited to make this list after I saw this movie. The film is gorgeously shot, engrossing from start to finish, and has one of the most terrifying scenes of 2015. Leonardo Dicaprio gives a truly mesmerizing performance that will hopefully garner him his long over due Academy Award.


3. The Hateful Eight- If Quentin Tarantino releases a film theres a good chance it will be in my top 5 of that year, and The Hateful Eight is no different. It’s classic Tarantino with great dialogue, performances and storytelling.


2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens- This film was the greatest film going experience I had in not only 2015, but probably in my lifetime. I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole, but This was the first Star Wars film I saw on the big Screen as I was too young for the original trilogy, and I don’t count the prequels. This film is everything that made me a Star Wars fan and more. filled with great action, humor, and seeing Harrison Ford as Han Solo on the big screen is an incredible sight to see. There wasn’t a moment of the film I didn’t love and want to see over and over.


1. Spotlight- As Star Wars was my favorite experience in film this year Spotlight was easily the best film I saw this year. Filled with the best ensemble of the year with the always great Michael Keaton at the for front.  The film is unflinching at it scope of scandal in the Catholic church, and is just as thrilling and engrossing as any big budget film in 2015.


My Top 10 Films of 2014

It’s that annual time once again of formulating my top 10 film from the previous year. I know I’m a bit late, but never late than never.

Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie, Foxcatcher, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Locke, Neighbors, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

10. 22 Jump Street– I had my doubts with this film, but they were put to rest. This was the funniest film of the year for me. The chemistry of both Tatum and Hill is great, and them being in the joke is what makes the film work in the first place.

9. Nightcrawler-  Its hard to talk about about Nightcrawler and not first talk about Jake Gyllenhaals incredible performance. Gyllenhaal is memorizing as the lead character who will stop at nothing to make it news profession. Its hard to look at his performance and not my parallels with DeNiro’s Travis Bickle.

8. Enemy: My Second of 2 Jake Gyllenhaal movies. Enemy is a nice Mind *Bleep* of a movie with great Direction from Denis Villeneuve and great performance by Jake Gyllenhaal play two very different characters. It’s a taut, tense film with one hell of an ending.

7. The Drop: The Drop marked James Gandolfinis last film, and he was great in it. Along with Tom hard make this film a top 10. It’s a slow burn, but when it matters the film delivers the good and then some.

6. Boyhood: Yes, Boyhood is an ambitious film,being shot for 12 years with same boy as it’s subject, But that’s not why this film is on my list. This film has a lot of heart, and make you look back on your life as Mason plays his out.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy: Watching this films was the most fun I had at the movies this year. I didn’t know much about the Guardians of the Galaxy, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this incredibly  fun film, with great characters, music and top notch action scenes.

4. Birdman: Birdman is another film that is full of great performances, but the performance that outshine them all was that of Michael Keaton in a great comeback role, and one that I hope garners him the Oscar.

3. Gone Girl: I knew before seeing this film that it would find its place on this list. I loved the book it’s based on and one of my favorite directors, David Fincher was making. Fincher takes all the tense moments from the the book and places them on the screen beautifully. Rosamund Pike gives the performance of her career, and Tyler Perry makes you forget that he’s Madea.

2. American Sniper: American Sniper was the most tense I remember being while watching a film. Powered by great film making by Clint Eastwood and a gripping performance  by Bradley Cooper.  American Sniper makes you proud to be an Americans. Haters be damned.

1. Whiplash: Going into 2014 I’ve never even heard of Whiplash, but after seeing it I won’t soon forget it. Filled with some of the most tense scenes of 2014,Whiplash goes places you won’t see coming. The factor that really elevates Whiplash above other films are the performances from Mile Tellar and J.K Simmons who are giving a clinic here.

The First Time


Title: The First Time

Starring: Britt Robertson, Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Justice, Christine Taylor

Written and Directed by Jon Kasdan


Year: 2012

Plot: Two high school kids meet and strike up an unusual friendship that turns into something they might not be ready for.

Most high school films of late are about nothing but getting laid and getting drunk with raunchy and raucous outcomes so the film The First Time is a new change of pace in the high school genre and also a nice throwback to John Hughes Films.

The film starts out with Dan( Dylan O’Brien) in an alley outside a party talking to himself about his crush the unattainable Jane (a much more adult Victoria Justice then were used to) when Aubrey (Britt Robertson) interrupts him. She’s dating Ronny( James Frecheville) a wannabee musician with only one thing on his mind regarding Aubrey.

Dan and Aubrey instantly connect and have no problems talking about everything and everything even intimate matters. He walks her home and she invites him in her house. We instantly know where all this is heading but the two leads are very good with great chemistry and we as the audience want to go along with them. When the time comes for Dan and Aubrey’s first time its feels just as awkward and real as it probably is in real life ( I know I had flashbacks to my first time and the awkwardness of that situation).

Writer director Jon Kasdan( son of the great Lawrence Kasdan) has managed to take a sweet realistic story and give the audience a true depiction of not only high school life, but what goes on with teenagers when they discuss having sex. In less capable hands this film could of been another teen sex comedy currently in rotation in film.

Rating: 7/10

Identity Thief

ImageTitle: Identity Thief

Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, Robert Patrick, T.I, Genisis Rodriguez, and Eric Stonestreet

Writer: Stephen Conrad

Director: Seth Gordon


Year: 2013

Run Time: 111 minutes

Plot: A man is subject to identity fraud and it ruining his life so he takes he goes cross country to get the person responsible for the theft.

I loved this film the first time I saw it when it was called Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Midnight Run, and to a much lesser effect Due Date.

Identity Thief doesn’t really know what it wants to be a road trip movie a heist film or and action flick, and sadly it fails on all counts.

The film tells the story of Sandy Bigelow Patteron (Jason Bateman) a sad sack who takes crap from his boss (Jon Favreau) and keeps he his pregnant wife and two daughters from the poor house.

Sandy gets an opportunity at a new job but its put in jeopardy when he’s the object of identity fraud from Diana (Melissa McCarthy) a Florida resident who took Sandy’s unisex name and went to town with his credit cards.

The police offer to do nothing so its up to Sandy to go to Florida and clear his name. When the two first meet its not good nor is it very funny which is how its suppose to come across. The laughs feel forced between the two and that shouldn’t be the case when you have two very funny people in Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.

Half way through the film a bounty hunter(Robert Partrick) and two assassins (Genisis Rodriguez and T.I) show up and the movie turns into a action film for really no reason I could see. I feel the movie could of worked as just a road trip picture it didn’t need to add the extra characters whose resolution by the way is just horrible and makes you think why have them if that what your going to do with them.

The films biggest downfall is Melissa McCarthy, she was so great in Bridesmaids and in this film she is anything but, she comes across mean spirited and not very funny and towards the end were suppose to feel sorry for her well I didn’t. Jason Bateman does the best he can as the straight man like he is in most film, which is why I would love to see him take more of a risk then playing veriations of his Michael Bluth character from Arrested Development.

Identity Theft in the end is taking the identity of many better films and walking around as a much worse film and that’s the true crime




Celeste and Jesse Forever


Title: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Eric Christian Olsen, Ari Gaynor, Chris Messina, and Emma Roberts.

Writers: Rashida Jones and Will McCormack

Director: Lee Toland Kreiger


Year: 2012

Run Time: 95 minutes

Plot: A couple going through a separation struggle to remain friends.

Romantic comedies these days all seem to be the same with not really a whole lot to say or add to the medium. Celeste and Jesse Forever thankfully is not that kind of movie and its a breath of fresh air to see something new.

Rashida Jones not only stars in the film she also co wrote it with(Will McCormack) offers a fresh love story with believable characters and situations.

This is a great breakout role for not only Rashida Jones, but also Andy Samberg. These two not only have great chemistry and we know these two are great at comedy, but its the dramatic scenes that both actors really shine.

The film opens with Celest and Jesse still very much in each others lives even though they have been separated for 6 months. Celeste is a headstrong media consultant while Jesse is unemployed. The two very much act like a couple even going as far as Jesse living in a bungalow behind her house. Over time Jesse realizes that nothings going change between he and Celeste so he decides to move on with his life. Over time Celeste realizes she might of made a mistake when Jesse is in a committed relationship and knows its really over with him. Celeste starts showing cracks in her demeanor in both hilarious and sad ways. In the end both characters show change in realistic and grounded ways that aren’t your usual Hollywood gestures that you find in many other Romantic comedies.

The film also has a great supporting cast with Eric Christian Olsen and Ari Gaynor playing Celeste and Jessi’s friends Tucker and Beth. As well as Eijah Wood who has fun Celeste’s gay co worker and Chris Messina as Paul a would be suitor for Celeste.

Celeste and Jesse Forever is what I want most Romantic comedies to be funny yet grounded in reality.


Rating: 8/10

Top Ten Films of 2012

2012 was a great year for film and it was not easy to put together a top ten list. I penciled in and scratched out so many films, but finally I sat down and came up with my definite top 10 films of 2012.


10. Killer Joe

This darkley comic tale is full of great performances lead by Matthew McConaghy who is putting the rom com guy in the rear view mirror and that last scene that will not only stay with you but question the next time you get KFC.

Image9. Les Miserable

I’m glad I held off on making my top ten until I saw this film. Being that I’m not the biggest fan of musicals this film grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career and Anne Hathaways rendition of I Dreamed A Dream left me in tears.

Image8. Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is one of the most fun I had at the movies this year. It was filled with great performances namely Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken doing his best Christopher Walken. The movie is never dull and full of great moments of comedy, violence and action.

Image7. Moonrise Kingdom

I haven’t always like Wes Andersons films since Royal Tennenbaums but Moonrise Kingdom quickly changed that. This quirky romantic comedies about two twelve years old is more effective then any big budget rom com to come out in a long time. Filled with great performances not only from the young leads Jared Gillam and Kara Hayward but from Bill Murray, Frances Mcdormand and Bruce Willis.


6. Silver Linings Playbook

a very smart romantic comedy that has serious elements of drama with two strong leading performances with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence who have great chemistry together. Also Rober DeNiro give one of his better performances in a long time.


5. Zero Dark Thirty

This is a Gripping, brilliantly crafted film by Katheryn Bigelow filled with great performances led by Jessica Chastain and those last thirty minutes are quite the nail biter even though we all know what happens.


4. Looper

Looper is a smart and original science fiction film that not only lays on the action but also a very good story filled with great characters and great performances from Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt.


3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

John Hughes would be proud of this coming of age high school drama. Once I saw this gem of a film I knew it would be on my top ten and here it is. filled with great performances from its young leads Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. The film is not only funny, heartbreaking, but also very true to what its like growing up and being in high school.

Image2. Django Unchained

Being that I am a huge fan of Taratinos films I was really looking forward to this movie and it delivered and then some. This may be the third favorite of Tarantino’s films behind Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs. This film is not only violent and full of the stereotypical Tarantino dialogue, its also one of the funniest films I saw in 2012.


1. Argo

Once I saw this film I knew it would be number one on my list and here it sits at number one. Ben Affleck is turning into one of the better directors working today and with Argo proves that he is getting better and better behind the camera. Argo is a tense and often comical film filled with great performance led by Ben Affleck and in supporting roles John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston. I can’t wait to see what Ben Affleck has in store next.

Honorable Mentions: End of Watch, The Avengers, Dredd 3D, The Grey, Liberal Arts, Sleepwalk With Me,The Sessions.

Here’s hoping we have just as good a 2013 that we had in 2012.



Gangster Squad


Title: Gangster Squad

Actors: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sean Penn

Writer: Will Beall, Paul Leiberman

Directer: Ruben Fleischer


Year: 2013

Run Time: 113 Minutes

Plot: In 1940′s Los Angeles a rogue group of cops ban together to take down Mickey Cohen a ruthless mob boss.

Set in 1940′s L.A Gangster Squad tells the story of mob boss Mickey Cohen and the men who took him down. Josh Brolin plays Sgt John O’Mara a no nonsense cop who takes down one of Cohens operations alone. This catches the interest of Chief Parker ( Nick Nolte) who asks O’Mara to put together a rogue team to stop the mob.

One of the bigger problems for me with the film is Sean Penn. His performance is so over the top as Mickey Cohen that you can’t really take him serious let alone menacing, and his make up looks like he wandered from the Dick Tracy set. Also Emma Stone is wasted as Goslings love interest. Her and Gosling have great chemistry and all but she really has nothing to do but stand there and not only look pretty, but also bare a striking resemblance to a live action Jessica Rabbit.

The biggest problem however with the film is that it borrows to shamelessly from other L.A noir films. Most notably The Untouchables. Both films have a hard nosed lead Characters hell bent on justice, real life over the top villains, and a climatic scene involving a flight of stairs.

Gangster Squad was a film I was looking forward to that ultimately wastes it potential and winds up becoming another forgettable January release.

Rating: 5/10