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Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 IN REVIEW - The Year In Movies

Today is the day we begin our look back at the year that has almost gone by.

It's hard to believe that 2015 is nearly over.  With just a few days left in the year, 2016 seems like a year of great promise and joy.

And, like I've done the last few years in this blog, it's time to look back on some of things that made 2015 a year to stand out.

First up in this retrospective is our look back on the silver screen - 2015 style.

You know, I have to say that after the disappointing year of movies that 2014 brought us, 2015 seemed a little bit better in comparison.  Sure, there were some turkeys, and an awful lot of sequels...but at the very least, these sequels were just as great as their parent movies, and even a few of the original productions were creative and well-received.

So, what were the top 10 movies of the year?  Well, this is the list as of December 27, 2015, so it could be subject to change as we get closer to the new year...but as of now, this is the list.

1.  JURASSIC WORLD - $1,668,984,926
2.  FURIOUS 7 - $1,515,047,671
3.  AVENGERS:  AGE OF ULTRON - $1,405,035,767
4.  MINIONS - $1,157,275,017
5.  STAR WARS:  THE FORCE AWAKENS - $1,090,573,329
6.  INSIDE OUT - $851,633,930
7.  SPECTRE - $850,149,955
9.  THE HUNGER GAMES - MOCKINGJAY Pt. 2 - $616,803,061
10.  THE MARTIAN - $593,913,224

Okay, so we have six of the ten films being sequels to original films, one a prequel, one a continuation of a long running film series, and only two original films.  And yet, this is one list that I can't disagree with. 

Obviously, the Minions and Star Wars were quite dominant this year.  It seemed almost impossible to escape those little yellow guys speaking gibberish and eating bananas.  2015 seemed to definitely be the year of the minion.

But how about the seventh Star Wars film becoming the fifth most successful film of 2015?  Amazing, given that it debuted worldwide just TEN DAYS AGO!  Goes to show you that the appeal of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker is still evident some thirty-eight years after the original film was released.

I'm also not surprised that Furious 7 did so well on the big screen.  It is the last film to feature Paul Walker, who was killed in a car accident two years ago, so the film did offer up a nice farewell to the actor, along with a memorable piece of music (which I'll talk more about in the music portion of the retrospective). 

And Chris Pratt continues to be a high demand actor.  With The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy being huge box office bonanzas for him in 2014, Pratt's performance in 2015's Jurassic World has seemed to make him a high demand actor for years to come.

Kudos to Inside Out and The Martian for bucking the trend, and coming up with creative and original plots to stand out in a year of sequels and remakes.  I especially want to single out Inside Out for continuing to make the Pixar-Disney collaborative team just as strong as they were when they made Toy Story some twenty years ago.  And, that scene with Bing Bong still breaks my heart today.

Okay, so now that you know what the top grossing movies of the year were, we should also find out what movies were considered the best of the year.  Unfortunately, this year's Academy Awards aren't slated to air until February 28, so it's hard to say what films will take the honours this year. 

But I do have the list of winners for the previous year, for the ceremony that aired on February 22, 2015.  Let's have a look at some of the more notable categories, shall we?

BEST DIRECTOR:  Alejandro G. Innaritu - Birdman
BEST ACTOR:  Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
BEST ACTRESS:  Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:  "Glory" from Selma

Again, no real surprises.  In fact, there are a couple of these awards that I feel were well deserved.  For one, even though it was sad to see Michael Keaton lose the award (which he had written an acceptance speech for), I have to say that Eddie Redmayne absolutely deserved the award.  He really brought Stephen Hawking to life, and the movie itself was phenomenal.

Though, I don't feel too bad for Keaton...the movie he starred in won Best Picture.  Not bad for a guy who spent part of the film in his underwear!

It was really awesome to see Julianne Moore finally win an Academy Award.  This brilliant actress had been overlooked so many times, I would have thought she was in line to be the Susan Lucci of the Oscars.  But this former soap star never gave up and was finally rewarded for her stellar performance in Still Alice.

And hooray to Big Hero 6 for winning best animated feature!  Big Hero 6 is my second favourite Disney film of all time (first being Aladdin), and the entire film from start to finish is pure eye candy.  Absolutely recommend this one if you haven't seen it yet.

On the flipside, the Golden Raspberry Awards were held on February 21, 2015, honouring the worst of film...and here are the results from that ceremony.

WORST PICTURE:  Saving Christmas
WORST ACTOR:  Kirk Cameron (Saving Christmas)
WORST ACTRESS:  Cameron Diaz (Sex Tape)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  Kelsey Grammer (Expendables 3)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
WORST DIRECTOR:  Michael Bay (Transformers:  Age of Extinction)

Are we really surprised that a uber-religious film starring Kirk Cameron of the Growing Pains/Growing Ego movement did so badly in both the box office and in public view?  It is easily one of the worst movies of 2015 (if not the entire 2010s decade overall), and it's easy to see why it won four Razzies.  Oh, and on Rotten's one of the few films to have a 0% Fresh rating!  Ouch!  Of course, Kirk blamed atheists for purposely posting fake reviews.  Yeah, sure, Kirk.  Keep telling yourself that.  That lie is so bad, even Julie McCullough is laughing at you.

Not surprised that Megan Fox won for Worst Supporting's an award she was nominated for during her Transformers years.  Though it was the only Razzie that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot won.  Truth be told, I kind of liked the remake of the Turtles.  Not as good as the 1990 film, but I can sit through it anyway.

And, really...Expendables 3?  They should have stopped at Expendables 1.  Expendables became predictable long ago, and frankly they bore me to tears.

Some other miscellaneous notes.

Pixels was one of those movies that started out with a good idea, but ended up being a complete disaster.  Granted, I will single out Josh Gad for at least trying his best to save the picture, but barring him dressing up like Olaf and singing "In Summer", I don't think anything he did would have helped.  And to think that this movie was directed by the same man who brought us Home Alone and the first few Harry Potter movies!  For shame, Chris Columbus!

One movie I'm surprised to see not make the top 10 list is Pitch Perfect 2.  The original film became a surprise hit, and the sequel was just as fantastic.  It was such a hit that nobody really cared that Rebel Wilson revealed that she was really closer to 35 instead of 30!

You will also likely see Amy Schumer a lot more in 2016.  This comedienne has exploded in 2015, and her film Trainwreck was a huge hit at the box office, cementing her as one of the newest "it girls" that we should keep looking for.

You want to know what WAS a trainwreck though?  The film version of the book Fifty Shades of Grey.  While most women seemed to drool over the film, it actually wasn't that good.  In fact, many would say that the film version was a huge disappointment.

Though, I suppose they would also say the same thing about Magic Mike XXL.

Finally, if there is one movie that I feel should be worth getting an Oscar nomination or two, it's the film Spotlight.  It's the movie that took a look at the Boston Globe and how they were the first newspaper to out the scandals of the Catholic Church.  While Kirk Cameron probably wouldn't endorse this film, I am.  Seriously, check it out.  It is very powerful indeed.

Well, as they say in the movie business, that's a wrap for today.  I'll be doing a Tuesday Timeline for the next entry, but come back on Wednesday where I will have a look at some of the fads that made 2015 a year to remember!

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