Runtime: 1hr 45min
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
What a mess of a movie, but it sure looks beautiful. I can't even understand the point of the movie? It's that Bradley Cooper plays a guy who fucks up everyone's life and then decides to be a good guy for a change and end up with Emma Stone at the end. Forget the plot, Cameron Crowe doesn't give two shits about the plot here - this is all about the character babbling pseudo-intellectual nonsense at each other for almost two hours. And honestly, everyone in the cast is so obnoxiously beautiful and smarmy along with the setting that you end up not caring about anyone or anything here.
Crowe has had a rough few years lately - We Bought a Zoo was mildly entertaining and at least watchable, but he hasn't had a bona fide directing hit since 2000's Almost Famous. Hopefully he'll get his mojo back, but stay away from this one!
RATING: SAY ALOHA (GOODBYE) TO THIS ONE
48. Steve Jobs (R)
Runtime: 2hr 2min
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
I really, really wanted to enjoy this movie as much as Sorkin's last 'biopic', The Social Network. But there's just not enough compelling story behind Jobs for me to really enjoy this three-act movie. The writing is fantastic, the acting is great and Boyle manages to tie things together nicely by focusing on 3 major launch/press events Jobs was a big part of. But instead of connecting the larger issues at hand - Jobs' adoption and his current fatherhood problems - the movie tries to hard to impress upon the audience that this ambitious man who starts out as a big asshole, redeems himself at the end of the movie.
Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of Apple and maybe I know that Jobs was kind of an asshole throughout his whole life that I just can't buy what this movie is selling. I don't see Jobs as a compelling character aside from his big ego. He's certainly a titan in the fact he was a huge part of the technology advancements in the past 30 years, but I just didn't like how the story conveniently had all the same characters show up at all 3 launch events in the movie. It was too nicely wrapped up, I guess.
RATING: iSEE YOURSELF AWAY FROM THIS MOVIE
42. American Ultra (R)
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer: Max Landis
Ugh, another terrible movie. The trailers looked at least mildly cool and I like the dumb idea of a stoner Bourne-type movie. However, American Ultra tries way too hard to be like Bourne, but also be this absurd, Austin Powers-type comedy that it manages to fail on both fronts.
Eisenberg plays basically Jason Bourne who gets reactivated by a rogue CIA agent and all hell breaks loose. But the problem is that the movie treats the program and the plot as too realistic that it's hard to imagine Topher Grace as one of the head honchos at the CIA and that he can order drone strikes on US citizens/towns. That really happened in the movie and it plays it straight, whereas the movie needed to lean heavily on the side of Dr. Strangelove or something akin to that because you don't buy any of the bullshit coming out of this movie. Plus it takes forever to get things going - the first 5 minutes should have seen Eisenberg get activated and BOOM! the shit hits the fan, But this doesn't happen until 20 minutes into the movie. It's dumb and the movie had potential, but wasted away trying to be a cool action flick.
RATING: NOT AMERICAN OR ULTRA ENOUGH TO WATCH
34. The Revenant (R)
Runtime: 2hr 36min
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
Director: Alejadro González Iñárritu
Writer: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro González Iñárritu
I'm writing this review just an hour before the Oscars and this movie deserves all the accolades it's receieved and will get tonight. Much more than Iñárritu's last film, Birdman, which won Best Picture last year. It's a stunning portrait of America's past, a beautiful postcard of the American West and just a compelling tale. DiCaprio will more than likely win his first Oscar for this tale and it's deserved.
The movie is long, but so thrilling and riveting to watch that you'll kinda get lost in Hugh Glass's revenge tale. Mainly because of the way the film is shot - there is barely any dialogue and the film is cut and shot in such a way that you won't want to look away from all the gritty and disgusting parts of the movie. There are cring-worthy parts and I don't remember a movie that left me clutching the arms of my chair as much as this movie did throughout the entire film. It's definitely one of my favorite movies from 2015 and I can't wait to see what Iñárritu does next.
RATING: COZY UP TO THIS GEM
25. Get Hard (R)
Runtime: 1hr 40min
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart
Director: Etan Cohen
Writers: Jay Martel, Etan Cohen, Ian Roberts
Why, oh why do I keep letting these movies slip into my MA lists? I still enjoy Will Ferrell's schtick, but lately he seems to be phoning things in. His last great live-action comedy was Step Brothers way back in 2008. Since then, he's done some interesting stuff (including his great work in the drama Everything Must Go), but I just can't muster up the energy to laugh at the tired jokes.
The basic premise of the movie is based on one joke - prison rape. Which, to be frank, is a tired, dumb joke and most definitely not funny at all in reality. The writers literally stretch this premise out for a whole entire movie and Will Ferrell's character is too dumb to function. He's not funny nor is Hart's corny character, who is not close to being a thug, but pretends to be. I just...I couldn't. None of the jokes landed here and it was all a big load of crap.
RATING: YOU'RE BETTER OFF WATCHING THE PORN PARODY
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13)
Runtime: 2hr 15min
Starring: John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
We're two months removed from the biggest movie in box office history (well, kinda) and what's not to love about this movie? I think most of the negative reviews were pretty nit-picky because there's so much baggage tied to this film/franchise that it's hard not to get emotions mixed up in this. But while there are plenty of general similarities from The Force Awakens and A New Hope, the characters are vastly different in most respects and the ending sets up a direction for this particular trilogy that will more than likely be just as good, if not better than Empire. Blasphemy! I know, but seriously, if you're not excited at all about where Disney and co. are taking these movies, that's fine, but don't make other fans feel dumb because they're enjoying something they really love.
RATING: WHO CARES, RIGHT?
23. Brooklyn (PG-13)
Runtime: 1hr 51min
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domnhall Gleeson
Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby
I will fully admit I'm a huge sucker for romantic movies and Brooklyn fits that bill quite nicely. It doesn't hurt that it's a magnificent, but quiet, film filled with amazing performances and an inspired screenplay.
Ronan plays Eilis, a Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn who finds herself growing up in America. It's a small tale - there's nothing earth-shattering or any twists. It's just a great tale of growing up in the melting pot that is America and Eilis is such a strong female character that makes her own decisions and isn't beholden to any men, even while she's falling in love with a charming Italian gentleman.
Everything about this movie is great - the performances, the direction, the emotional plot - all deserve the accolades it is getting. Sometimes the smaller movies are more profound and it's certainly true here.
RATING: SERIOUSLY, WATCH THIS MOVIE