Fraley 2015 Movie Guide




“Spotlight” – Boston Globe reporters expose Catholic child abuse in modern ‘All the President’s Men’

“Room” – Brie Larson gives Oscar-worthy performance as abducted mother raising child in captivity

“Love & Mercy” – Paul Dano & John Cusack show tortured genius of Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

“Brooklyn” – Tale of 1950s Irish immigrant to New York is good, old-fashioned storytelling

“Inside Out” – This masterful look at human emotions is one of Pixar’s all-time best animations

“Ex Machina” – Oscar Isaac & Alicia Vikander shine in Alex Garland’s unforgettable A.I. thriller

“Me & Earl & The Dying Girl” – Sundance champ is hilarious, heartbreaking look at teen cinephiles

“Listen to Me Marlon” – Marlon Brando’s lost tapes reveal the fatalistic cycle of fathers and sons


3 1/2 STARS  

“The Martian” – Matt Damon shines on the Red Planet in Ridley Scott’s space comedy-thriller

“The Hateful Eight” – Quentin Tarantino’s violent, vulgar Western Whodunit is bloody ballet

“Mad Max: Fury Road” – Tom Hardy takes Mel Gibson’s role in high-octane George Miller reboot

“Creed” – Director, star of “Fruitvale Station” turn this “Rocky” knockoff into a surprise knockout

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – J.J. Abrams brings George Lucas’ vision roaring back to life

“Victoria” – German flick masters single-take technique with a great performance by Laia Costa

“The Revenant” – Leo DiCaprio should finally win Oscar for role in “Birdman” director’s follow-up

“Steve Jobs” – Boyle & Sorkin focus on the daughter that Apple’s founder refused to admit was his

“Straight Outta Compton” – Compelling N.W.A. biopic is handled with urgency, social relevancy

“Bridge of Spies” – Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks build tension out of Cold War spy negotiations

“Son of Saul” – Hungarian Holocaust drama won Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film

“Carol” – Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara deliver in eloquently-directed tale of forbidden romance

“The Look of Silence” – Oppenheimer doc provides powerful companion piece to “The Act of Killing”

“Winter on Fire” – Harrowing Oscar-nominated documentary charts 2014 Ukrainian revolution

“Trumbo” – Bryan Cranston masterfully plays blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo

“Black Mass” – Johnny Depp stages chilling comeback as Whitey Bulger in true gangster tale

“Amy” – The life, death and genius of Amy Winehouse is explored in this tragic documentary

“He Named Me Malala” – Davis Guggenheim doc tracks Pakistani girl’s famous fight for rights

“Cinderella” – Kenneth Branagh’s old-fashioned flick is refreshing in a revisionist fairytale age

“Trainwreck” – Judd Apatow & Amy Schumer bring warmth to hilarious R-rated comedy

“Red Army” – Documentary explores rise and fall of Soviet hockey team as players jump to NHL



“Concussion” – Will Smith’s best role in a decade has the guts to take on the mighty NFL

“The Big Short” – Star-studded flick breaks down 2008 financial crisis in laymen’s terms

“Chi-Raq” – Spike Lee’s daring new joint adapts Aristophanes’ Ancient Greek play “Lysistrata”

“Crimson Peak” – Guillermo del Toro’s twist is predictable, but gothic visuals are simply gorgeous

“Mistress America” – Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig create screwball comedy in the Big Apple

“Batkid Begins” – Feel-good doc of the summer about Make-A-Wish kid’s Batman for a day stunt

“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” –  Tom Cruise once again shines as action hero Ethan Hunt

“The Last Five Years” – Anna Kendrick musical tells both sides of breakup in opposite directions

“Jurassic World” – Fourth installment revives Spielberg’s dino classic from fossilized amber

“The Walk” – Robert Zemeckis recreates the 1974 high-wire walk across NYC’s Twin Towers

“True Story” – Jonah Hill, James Franco get serious in true-crime tale of accused family murderer

“Cartel Land” – Sundance documentary favorite explores drug cartels on U.S.-Mexico border

“The Danish Girl” – Eddie Redmayne is a convincing cross dresser, but it feels more like Oscar bait

“A Very Murray Christmas” – Bill Murray Netflix special is amusing, but more variety show than plot

“Southpaw” – Jake Gyllenhaal transforms himself into boxer in Antoine Fuqua melodrama

“Spectre” – Daniel Craig’s likely last turn as Bond is solid, starting brilliant, but running too long

“The Age of Adaline” – Blake Lively is forever 29 in this fantasy-romance of an ageless woman

“The Visit” – M. Night Shyamalan gets his suspense groove back by eating grandma’s humble pie

“Black Sea” – Jude Law turns ‘Das Boot’ into ‘Das Loot’ searching for sunken treasure on sub

“Truth” – Cate Blanchett & Robert Redford give great performance in Dan Rather fall from grace

“Furious 7” – The late Paul Walker takes one last ride in the franchise’s seventh installment


2 1/2 STARS

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” – Katniss’ final chapter exposes saga’s seven-year itch

“Joy” – David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” mops floor with this tale of J-Law’s QVC entrepreneur

“A Walk in the Woods” – Robert Redford & Nick Nolte carry a buddy-comedy hike on their backs

“The Intern” – Robert DeNiro & Anne Hathaway shine in above-average workplace comedy

“Goosebumps” – Jack Black charms as children’s author R.L. Stine as his book monsters come to life

“Time Out of Mind” – Script drags, but cool homeless experiment for Richard Gere and director

“Freeheld” – Ellen Page & Julianne Moore play a same-sex couple fighting for pension benefits

“No Escape” – Owen Wilson & Lake Bell show serious side in family survival tale in Southeast Asia.

“Focus” – Will Smith’s most suave, romantic role since “Hitch,” but too many ridiculous twists

“Cake” – Jennifer Aniston tries hand at serious role by playing a grieving, hallucinating addict

“Tomorrowland” – Brad Bird & Damon Lindelof team for a complex live-action Disney fantasy

“Entourage” – Won’t win any converts, but fans of the TV show will likely enjoy this movie version

“The Longest Ride” – Scott Eastwood flick will please Nicholas Sparks fans, but won’t win converts

“Ted 2” – Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy sequel pales to the original, but has its hilarious moments

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” – Marvel sequel will be a Hulk Smash, but this time, doesn’t deserve it



“Fifty Shades of Grey” – E.L. James’ erotic S&M novel not sexy enough on the silver screen

“Aloha” – Cameron Crowe’s Hawaiian romantic comedy gets lost in confusing vanilla sky

“Get Hard” – Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart are funny, but the prison-rape premise is not

“Fantastic Four” – Superhero flick wastes talented cast with too much setup, not enough payoff

“Chappie” – Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi flick is confused in tone: cute robot in a cruel world

“The Boy Next-Door” – Jennifer Lopez has dangerous, over-the-top affair with young neighbor


1 1/2 STARS

“Terminator Genisys” – Fifth installment proves the franchise needs to be terminated.

“Pixels” – Adam Sandler goes for “Ghostbusters” charm, but is eaten alive by arcade aliens



“Vacation” – Griswold family reboot misfires with jokes and lacks heart of Chevy Chase original

“Jupiter Ascending” – Mila Kunis & Channing Tatum star in overblown Wachowski sci-fi flop

“Paranormal Activity 6” – Sixth installment “Ghost Dimension” ironically has no dimension at all

Review from Past Years:








Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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