1 The Hateful Eight
Another homerun for Tarantino. It takes a talented writer to make a group of despicable characters likable, and Tarantino shows his gift for these types of characters in The Hateful Eight.
2 Steve Jobs
Director Danny Boyle may have been behind the camera of this gently fictionalized account of Apple’s visionary co-founder, but it’s Aaron Sorkin’s brisk, witty reported between attractive people that makes this movie so interesting. (And a quick appearance by The Simpsons bumped it up a place in my final ranking. ) I loved how Job’s life unfolds in the moments before three of his keynote speeches, and Seth Rogan’s casting Steve Woznick was brilliant!
3 Ex Machina
This movie was the one real surprise for me this year. Oscar Issac and Alicia Vikander’s performances are spot on, and play into the tense isolation of the remote setting.
4 Avengers: The Age of Ultron
Cap gets the team back together to solve an evil, wonderfully voiced by James Spader, problem of Tony Stark’s own design. The Hulk vs. Iron Man scene alone brings unlimited joy to my 8 year old self, and we get to see some hints where this movie series is heading in the next phase.
5 Star Wars – The Force Awakens
I went into this movie with low expectations, and left the theater elated. I got to catch up with characters from my childhood, and it was a pretty good story to boot.
6 Goodnight Mommy
Not the movie that was advertised in the trailer, but a well done, clever violent thriller anyway. I couldn’t get this movie out of my head for a few days, thinking about if the movie cheated the audience or if it really works, and I’ve decided it does.
Oh My God! It’s a Heist Film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Evangeline Lilly is in it!!!
8 The Final Girls
A fun revisit to the horror films from the 70’s and 80’s that I grew up with. Movies that turn the horror genre on its head seem to pop up more often since the release of Cabin in the Woods, but I liked the characters being aware of the difficulties of surviving a horror film.
Hands down, the funniest movie I saw this year, on a weeknight, for free. It might have been panned by the critics, and most of the general public, but I find myself still belly-laughing even during my third viewing. From the strange Albanian car, to the great cameos and homages to the original film, I found so many things to love about this movie, Zach can suck it. (Although I did appreciate the tickets, Buddy!)
It’s hard for me not to like this love letter to classic arcade games, even with Adam Sandler and Kevin James trying to ruin the film. Josh Gad steals the show from these two big names, and provides the best gags in the movie.