- Bridge of Spies – A Movie Review
- The Martian – A Movie Review
- Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – A Movie Review
- Spotlight – A Movie Review
- Star Wars The Force Awakens – A Spoiler Free Movie Review
It’s hard to count how many movies The Cinnamon Girl and I saw this year. Perhaps in the new year, I’ll keep track of them (and, likely, be shocked at how many we end up seeing). We love movies and love to see them in the theater.
2015 was a year of a lot of big films and we saw almost all of the “big ones.” But not all movies are created equal, that’s for sure, and many of the big ones do not make my list of my favorite movies of the year.
Why was it a favorite? Who doesn’t love a Cold War spy thriller? If you say that you don’t, please avoid Bridge of Spies. This fifth Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg collaboration is so good, and, given its pedigree was expected to be so good, that I think many people may have overlooked it. That’s a shame because it’s a terrific movie. I am hopeful that a good run of nominations for big awards this year will bring the movie the attention it deserves. Hanks is brilliant. The movie is deep and affecting and the themes are pretty damned timely.
Why was it a favorite? I may have liked this movie the most out of my whole list. As much I as was dying to see The Force Awakens, I was very excited by the prospects of The Martian. Having read and loved the book and knowing what a great cast was assembled for this, I was eager to see how the movie would play. It played very, very well, thank you. Inspiring and smart, The Martian made me want to shake the US Budget upside down to find money for space exploration. It’s a great big universe out there and it’s inspiring. Let’s find our way back out into it. The Martian is something of a propaganda film for NASA and I hope the propaganda works!
Why was it a favorite? I love Tom Cruise and I love the Mission: Impossible movies. This one, the fifth installment, was absolutely the best. Innovative and exciting and boasting a plot that made some sense (not something all Mission: Impossible movies can say they share), this movie was terrific fun. No, there’s not too much to think about and, no, the themes are not particularly consequential but, as a summer thrill ride with a great cast (Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin and Jeremy Renner) I saw many movies this year that wished they were half as good as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. As I said in my review, bring on the sixth MI movie!
Why was it a favorite? Powerfully written, powerfully acted and powerful in its message, Spotlight was the most important movie I saw this year. Shining light on an institution I love – the Catholic Church – Spotlight reminded audiences that corruption can spread like wildfire when unconstrained and that systems that build themselves on secrecy and silence must hold themselves to the highest standards of behavior. When they do not, as in the case of the sexual abuse scandal, they are ripe for a massive fall.
This movie boasts the best ensemble acting of any movie this year. Each actor in roles big and small is on point. Frankly, the movie is breathtaking. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
Why was it a favorite? JJ Abrams accomplishes something in The Force Awakens that George Lucas himself wasn’t able to do in the prequel trilogy: Abrams made a Star Wars movie that felt like a Star Wars movie. Though the film has been almost universally praised, some comments note that it plays like a remake or a retread of some of the original films. To those people I say, of course it does. That’s the whole point. These movies tell a story that, like great myths, repeats itself over-and-over.
We shouldn’t miss the fact that the movie deftly introduces a compelling new set of characters that stands right beside our old favorites. The Force Awakens is a rousing, exciting movie. It was the movie I saw the most times this year (and will, no doubt, see again.)