Fraley 2015 Movie Guide

2015 MOVIE GUIDE

 

4 STARS 

“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

 

3 STARS 

“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

 

2 STARS  

“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

 

1 STAR

“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:

2017 MOVIE GUIDE

2016 MOVIE GUIDE

2015 MOVIE GUIDE

2014 MOVIE GUIDE

2013 MOVIE GUIDE

2012 MOVIE GUIDE

2011 MOVIE GUIDE

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