Finishing Off a Big Movie Year

8 Jan

the-revenantWhile you were out seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens once, twice, three times, or maybe even four, a bunch of other movies hit theaters. Sure, I did already publish my top movies of 2015 blog post, but now that all of these last few have hit theaters nationwide, and since none of them made my year-end list (the good one or the bad one), here are my final movie reviews of 2015.

82. The Hateful Eight. Violent, bloody, profane, overlong, but ultimately satisfying Western thriller, brought to you by Quentin Tarantino. (Who else?) A very cool score by Ennio Morricone augments a great acting ensemble that includes QT regulars like Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson, plus newcomers like burly Kurt Russell. Sure, it’s weird that 70mm cinematography was wasted on a movie that spends most of its three hour running time in one room, but damn, those snowy landscapes in the first third sure do look great. B+

83. Concussion. Will Smith is very good in this fact-based story of a man vs the NFL. A few of the story points (particularly those involving his personal life) are a little too convenient, and they take away from the overall effect, but the film itself is a winner that makes you think twice about the price of playing football. B+

joy-movie84. Joy. What is this movie? Not even writer/director David O. Russell can seem to decide if he’s made a screwball comedy about a dysfunctional family or an inspirational drama about a young woman entrepreneur. The film shifts tones on a dime, and there are whole scenes where Jennifer Lawrence looks like she’d much rather be on a different film set. And yet, despite all that, and its too-long length, the film still manages to be periodically entertaining. So while I may have enjoyed the movie (more than half of it, anyway), it’s certainly not a good one. B–

85. The Revenant. Leonardo DiCaprio sure does endure a lot in this movie, and that endurance makes it look like he’s giving an impressive performance. But the movie itself requires a bit of endurance on the part of the audience. For all its savagery and the revenge-driven story, Alejandro González Iñárritu has essentially made a Terrence Malick–esque Western, complete with ponderous internal monologues and dramatic pauses to admire the landscape (which, it must be said, does look gorgeous; kudos to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for that). The film begins and ends well, and I enjoyed Tom Hardy’s backwoods bad guy, but overall, The Revenant left me kinda cold. (Yes, pun intended.) B–

Yes, I really saw a total of 85 movies in 2015. I think I’m done now. On to 2016 releases!

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