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Top 10 Movies I’m Looking Forward to the Most in What’s Left of 2015

2015 has already been a great year in film. This summer has had some of the biggest blockbuster hits of all time.  Movies like Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7 have smashed box office records and brought in ridiculous amounts of money. We’re barely halfway through the year and there have already been 15 movies to gross over $100,000,000 in the US alone.

This year hasn’t been just about big budget blockbusters though. With films like Ex Machina, Dope and Mad Max: Fury Road there has been no shortage of quality film-making in 2015. Things have been great for fans of film this year, and what’s even better is that the year is not over yet!

So looking ahead, I’ve decided to compile a list of the 10 movies that I’m looking forward to the most this year (that haven’t come out yet). I’ve decided to Include only films coming out after August since I feel like August is still the summer, so that means that even though I am beyond excited to watch Fantastic Four, Vacation, and Straight Outta Compton I’ve unfortunately had to leave those films off the list.

So without further adieu here are the 10 movies I’m looking forward to the most in what’s left of 2015:

#10 Sisters

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest people alive. I love all their work, and I’ll watch anything that they’re in. Sisters looks like a hilarious movie with a great cast. I just don’t see how this movie isn’t laugh out loud funny. I wouldn’t expect anything else from those two ladies.

Director: Jason Moore

Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena

Release Date: December 18th

#9 Legend

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I’m very intrigued by this movie. It’s going to be interesting to see how Tom Hardy pulls of playing both of the main characters in a movie. He’s a fantastic actor, and the plot of the movie seem very interesting, not to mention it’s supposed to be based on real life. Judging from the trailer there should be more than enough action, comedy and drama to go around.

Director: Brian Helgeland

Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis

Release Date: October 2nd

#8 Joy

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Joy is director David O. Russell’s latest film. In the past few years he has made some of my favorite movies of all time (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) so I’ll pay to see any movie he makes. The film has a fantastic cast (as all his movies do) and Jennifer Lawrence looks great in the trailer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Academy Award nomination for her come 2016.

Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez

Release Date: December 25th

#7 The Revenant

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie, but it seems as if it was worth the wait, because The Revenant looks like a great film. Leo is one of my favorite actors of all time, plus he’s joined by fellow superstar Tom Hardy in what looks to be a dark gritty drama that is sure to be nominated for plenty of awards come next year. Not to mention the fact that the movie is directed by last man to win the Oscar for best Picture and Best Director.

Director: Alejandro Iñarritu

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

Release Date: December 25th

#6 The Martian

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Now this is a movie that I do not want to miss! The Martian is based off of the best selling novel written by Andy Wier. This movie has arguably the best cast out of any film this year. It’s almost impossible to name all the big name actors that are going to be in this movie. Add a fresh, unique story and a renowned director and you’ve got the recipe for a great film.

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast:  Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover

Release Date: November 27th

#5 Black Mass

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I feel like it’s been a while since Johnny Depp came out with a great movie. Well it looks like the streak is going to be broken, because Black Mass looks absolutely amazing. Depp’s performance as Whitey Bulger looks chilling. I’m a big fan of mob/gangster movies, and this film seems to follow in the steps of other great film’s in the genre like Goodfellas, The Godfather, and the Departed. I can’t wait to see it!

Director: Scott Cooper

Cast:  Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon

Release Date: September 18th

#4 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

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The first movie in the Maze Runner series took me by surprise. I was not at all familiar with the novels and I absolutely loved the movie. I thought the acting was excellent, the visuals and cinematography were breathtaking, but most of all I just really liked the film’s plot. The Scorch Trials picks up right where the last film left off, and I can’t wait to see it. I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen, but I know I’m going to love it.

Director: Wes Ball

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee

Release Date: September 18th

#3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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This is the final film in the epic Hunger Games series, and all signs point to it being the best one of them all. I personally thought the last Mockingjay movie was superb so I’m quite excited to see this one. I’ve never read any of the books, so I have no idea what happens, which just makes me want to watch the movie even more, just to see how the story of Katniss Everdeen ends.

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast:  Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Clafin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Donald Sutherland

Release Date: November 20th

#2 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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It is finally here, The Force is awakening!! The Star Wars franchise has one of the biggest fan-bases in all of pop culture. It’s been a decade since that last Star Wars film came out in theaters so it’s understandable why so many people are so excited about it. Personally I have very high hopes for this movie, I’m a big fan of director JJ Abrams (I really like what he did with the Star Trek films), and judging from the trailer it looks like a stunning movie. I’ll be honest it was tough for me to rank this  #2 seeing as how its arguably the most anticipated movie of the year, but there are simply too many questions about this film and how good it will really be. As excited as I am about this movie coming out, I’m even more excited about the next film on the list.

Director: JJ Abrams

Cast: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Release Date: December 18th

#1 Spectre

So here it is, the movie I am most looking forward to in 2015 is Spectre. The latest installment in the fantastic Daniel Craig James Bond series. The previous 3 films in the series have all been superb (Casino Royal and Skyfall are 2 of my favorite films of all time), and all signs are pointing to this movie being even better. The trailer alone looks amazing, I really like the direction the story is headed in and everything looks simply stunning. The main reason why I’m so excited for this movie though has to be Christoph Waltz. Not only is he one of the greatest actors alive, but in my mind he seems like the perfect person to play a bond villain. I can’t put into words how excited I am to see this movie. I want it to be November 6th already hahaha.

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast:  Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Dave Bautista, Ralph Fiennes

Release Date: November 6th

So there it is, the 10 movies I’m looking forward to the most in the rest of 2015. I put a lot of hard work into this so I hope you enjoyed reading.  So what do y’all think? Do you guys agree with my list? Please don’t forget to like, comment, and share!!

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Movie Review: Dope

4 Dope (2015)

This review is a few weeks late since I saw the movie back in June, but better late than never! This movie is so good it deserves to be talked about more. Dope has a mostly unknown group of actors but it is such a great movie. It has an excellent performances by the cast, a fantastic soundtrack, and a a hilarious yet thought provoking plot.

The film’s story is very original, it does gets a little too far fetched sometimes with the character’s schemes and their use of technology, but the film is so enjoyable to watch that I give the filmmakers a pass.Even though its technically a high-school movie, Dope is very different from any other “high school movie” that I’ve ever seen been before. For one the film takes place in Inglewood, California in a neighborhood referred to as “the bottoms”. It’s not often that you see major motion pictures set in the hood, where the main characters aren’t gangsters, rappers, or thugs. What makes Dope unique is that the 3 main characters are all nerdy kids that want to go to college. Dope is both a hilarious and dramatic film that pays attention to an often ignored side of our society, and does an excellent job at telling an original story.

There are plenty of things to like about this film. It’s beautifully shot, and edited. The film has a fantastic soundtrack, great visuals and very well made montages. The dialogue is very funny and witty too. What made the movie for me though had to be the performances by all the main characters. Shameik Moore (who plays the main character Malcolm) in particular gave a superb performance, I see a bright future in the movie business for him. There is one scene in particular where he finally stands up to his tormentor that was so good it gave me chills. Tony Revolori & Kiersey Clemons were excellent as well, they both did great jobs at making their characters funny and relate-able at the same time. I also enjoyed the supporting role performances by Blake Anderson (of Workaholics fame) as well as rapper A$AP Rocky‘s  first big role in a motion picture.

Another great thing about the Dope is all the questions that it raises. There aren’t too many films out there that focus on high school kids that go to school in the ghetto, Dope does an excellent job at telling a unique story that focuses on an ofter ignored minority in our country. The film deals with themes like drugs, violence, bullying, gang mentality, pressure from society, and what it means to be black nowadays.

Dope is a far from perfect film, but it’s refreshingly original and it breaks the mold of what a high-school/coming of age movie is supposed to be like. Dope isn’t scared to ask hard questions, and shine a light at some ugly aspects of our society. It is a very thought provoking film, but it is also very funny and so enjoyable to watch. I don’t know much about director Rick Famuyiwa‘s work but I’ll be sure to check out his future projects. Dope is an amazing movie and it deserves all the praise it gets. if you haven’t already done so, go see it! 4/5

Movie Review: Jurassic World

3.5 Jurassic World (2015)

I finally got around to watching Jurassic World this week. I knew the movie was going to be a big hit, but I had never imagined it would be such a huge commercial success. I was pretty shocked when I found out it had already made more than $200million in the domestic box office on opening weekend. I already wanted to watch the movie, but knowing this made me want to watch it even more. I wanted to see if the hype was warranted. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can see what the hype was about, and why it’s been such a massive success. At the same time however I left the theater feeling a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Jurassic World was a great movie, and I was thoroughly entertained, but this is definitely one of those movies that while good, could have been so much better.

First off, the things I liked about the movie. Obviously the main reason people want to watch this movie is all the action sequences and the dinosaurs. Jurassic World more than delivers on both. This movie has some of the best CGI I have ever seen. The dinosaurs look very very real, it’s amazing how far technology has advanced in the 20 years since the first film in the series came out. The action in the movie is fantastic as well. There are a ton of fights between man and dinosaur and even between dinosaur and dinosaur. The best parts of the movie definitely revolve around the dinosaurs and the mayhem they create.

Chris Pratt was his usual awesome self, he nailed his character as the tough guy badass, and he was also quite funny in the few scenes where he actually had comedic dialogue. The rest of the cast was nothing special, but It was great seeing Jake Johnson (New Girl) as one of the Jurassic World employees. I will say however that I was thoroughly impressed by the fact that Bryce Dallas Howards character wore high heels throughout the entire movie. She runs in heels better than most people do in running shoes, it really is an amazing feat.

The main thing that I disliked about the movie was the fact that it was painfully predictable. The movie was pretty straightforward, nothing really surprised me. I was even able to predict exactly how certain characters would die, which is never a good sign when it comes to a movie like this. Pretty much all the characters were one dimensional. You could tell who the good guys and the bad guys were right from the start and those roles didn’t change at all throughout the film. Everything was a little too obvious for my taste. I never really felt scared for any of the main characters, which is a bit sad considering the type of film Jurassic World is.

Not only was the movie predictable, but the number of plot holes was pretty obvious as well. I can overlook a certain amount of plot holes, particularly in summer blockbuster type movies, but Jurassic World had just too many to ignore. There were far too many lucky coincidences for my taste. Also, most of the dialogue in the film was pretty cheesy. I wouldn’t really say the acting was bad, I just think the actors didn’t have the best dialogue to work with.

I know I’m being pretty harsh on this film, and that’s probably due to my high expectations going in. The thing about Jurassic World that upsets me isn’t that it’s a bad movie, I would actually say It’s a pretty good movie, it’s just that it could have been so much better. At the end of the day Jurassic World is not the smartest or well thought out movie, but it is entertaining, and it more than delivers on the action side of things. I wish it would have been better, but I would still recommend watching it. For all my criticisms I still left the theater in a good mood, and feeling entertained. 3.5/5

Movie Review: Mad Max Fury Road

4.5 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The other movie I saw this weekend was Mad Max: Fury Road. As I’m sure most of you know it has gotten almost unanimous rave reviews by movie critics and I have to agree with them. Mad Max is a non-stop pulse pounding thrill ride and it just might be my favorite action movie of 2015.

Right away the first thing that caught my eye about the movie was the fact that it was visually stunning. From the setting, to the landscapes to the crazy vehicles everything in the movie looks great. It has some of the best stunt work I’ve ever seen in a film. The entire movie is basically just one long chase scene and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Everything is meticulously and expertly choreographed. Some of the action scenes had to have needed such a high level of coordination, it really is impressive what the filmmakers were able to pull off. And it all looks so good too.

The movie is so fast paced I felt like I needed to catch my breath when it was all over. George Miller did such a fantastic job with this film, it almost feels as if the audience is part of the chase scene as well. It is all just non-stop action and super tense battle sequences. I am not kidding when I say that I was on the edge of my seat during the whole movie, I probably only blinked a handful of times hahaha.

The film is set in a very weird and interesting world. The story is very engrossing and you definitely get heavily invested in the main characters. What makes Mad Max great isn’t just the action (because let’s face it, there are tons of movies with great stunts and action sequences), but rather the superb performances delivered by the cast. Charlize Theron is simply perfect in her portrayal of the deadly Imperator Furiosa. Not much is known about her character’s back-story but in the few lines of dialogue that Theron has you find out all you need to know about her. It really is one of the best performances of her career, and that’s saying something.

Nicholas Hoult was amazing as well playing Nux, a sort of brainwashed warrior that is part of a cult-like society. He does an excellent job at portraying his character’s crazy psychopathic side, but at the same time he shows flashes of genuine human emotion that makes his character so much more interesting and relatable.

Another fantastic aspect of the movie has to be the soundtrack. Those pounding drums and sick guitar riffs perfectly complement the action and the drama in the movie. The music and the visuals just go together beautifully.

There are a few things that I didn’t like about the film though. For one I wish they would have gone into a little bit more depth into the back story. Mad Max is set in such a cool and interesting place I would have loved to have found out how things got the way they did. There are so many weird and fascinating characters that are just so interesting to me, that I wish they would have shown how they got to be the way they are. To be fair I never watched any of the original Mad Max films, but still I feel like this movie should be able to stand on its own and there were far too many unanswered questions for my liking.

I’m also not a huge fan of Tom Hardy‘s performance. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, in fact I thought he did a great job at portraying a man who is very badass but clearly damaged. Again I would have liked to have known more about his back story, but I understand that sometimes being mysterious has its appeal too. It’s hard to say exactly what I didn’t like about his performance, I guess it had to do with his delivery of certain lines. Honestly I’m probably just nit-picking here.

Oh and another issue that I had was that some of the dialogue was hard to understand. I don’t know if it was due to the accents or the facial gear that some of the characters had to wear but there were definitely some lines that were almost incomprehensible, which is a shame.

All in all though, these were just small issues in an otherwise fantastic film. Simply put Mad Max: Fury Road is an excellent and original film. It is without a doubt one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. If you like action then you’re going to love it, and even if you’re not the biggest action fan I would still recommend watching it for the actor’s performances alone. Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece and I highly recommend it.

4.5/5

Movie Review: Furious 7

4 Furious 7 (2015)

I finally got around to watching Furious 7 the other day. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I liked the first 2 movies, but I’ve enjoyed the movies less and less as they’ve gotten bigger, more exaggerated, and way less believable. I know movies aren’t supposed to be exactly like real life. Especially with action movies there has to me some sort of suspension from reality but even so I found the last 3 movies in the franchise less and less enjoyable to watch. With that being said Furious 7 is without a doubt the best installment of the series. It’s even bigger and more extreme than its predecessors but it also has certain elements that make it better than any other Fast and Furious movie ever.

As expected the stunts and actions sequences are amazing. It has superb fight scenes and some of the best chase scenes I’ve ever seen. The Fast and Furious franchise is known for its automobile action and stunts and this movie cranks it up to the next level. It really is a non-stop action thrill ride and I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Furious 7 in my opinion also has a much better plot than the previous movies in the series. There are still plenty of plot holes and its all relatively predictable, but the filmmakers did a good job in creating drama and tense situations that kept me interested throughout the film. As most people know by now Paul Walker tragically died before having finished filming the movie. I thought the director did a fantastic job at keeping the audience at the edge of their seats in regards to Paul’s character and whether he would perish in the film as well.

My favorite thing about the film was probably the main villain Deckard Shaw (played by the always great Jason Statham). He is without a doubt the best antagonist the Fast and Furious franchise has ever had. I absolutely loved the way the character was introduced. The opening of the movie might just be one of the best character introductions that I’ve ever seen. The filmmakers did an amazing job showing just how powerful and dangerous this new adversary really was. Statham‘s character walked the walk more than he talked the talk, he was fast, ruthless and very good at what he did. All very important traits to a good villain. I hope Shaw’s character continues to be a part of the franchise somehow.

My second favorite character would probably be Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese). He didn’t have the biggest role in the film, and served mainly as comedic relief but he did that job masterfully. I was laughing at every single one of his lines. For a musician/action movie star he really has a gift for comedy. I also liked Kurt Russell‘s character Frank Petty, he is definitely another great addition to the series.

I didn’t really like how much like its predecessors, Furious 7 still has a ton of cliches and simply ridiculous scenes (Vin Diesel picking up an armored car anyone?). I didn’t really like the whole “God’s eye” part of the film, it felt waay too unbelievable. The movie makes hacking seem like something anyone can do with the simplest of electronic devices. There are certain scenes that are straight up laughable because of how exaggerated or ridiculous they are. The movie has very cheesy dialogue and not the best acting, but really that’s ok considering the type of movie it is.

What I disliked the most about the movie (which is the same as with the previous 3 films in the series) still has to be Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel). I like Diesel as an actor but he is simply terrible in this one. He has awful dialogue (which he always seems to deliver in the lowest possible tone of voice) and awful one liners like “The thing about a street fight is that the streets always win” (What does that even mean?!?). The acting isn’t what bothered me the most though, it had to be the fact that by this point Toretto is pretty much a super human being. He never seems to get hurt, never gets bruised or cut despite doing things that would surely kill any other human being on earth. He has somehow developed superhuman abilities. He’s now able to lift armored cars, survive fatal car crashes and do other terribly ridiculous things. The entire character is just too unrealistic/exaggerated to be taken seriously and that to me makes the film less enjoyable.

In the end though, what made me give the movie 4 stars instead of 3.5 had to be the beautiful ending and homage to the late Paul Walker. It really was so well done, it almost had me tearing up. For all the explosions and action, at the end of the the day the movie is still only as good as the characters (and the actors who play them) in it. Furious 7 may not be the smartest or the best written movie out there but it is still so much fun to watch. It’s non-stop action and amazing stunts and driving sequences. It may be a little hard to watch at times but it is still without a doubt the best film in the franchise and one that I would very much recommend watching. 4/5

Movie Review: Ex Machina

4.5 Ex Machina (2015)

I watched Ex Machina yesterday. Going into the theater I was very curious to see what the movie was going to be like. The film’s trailer had piqued my interest, it seemed like a pretty creative film and I was very interested by the subject matter. I had heard great things about the movie and I knew that it had received excellent reviews from the critics. When I walked out of the theater, there was no doubt in my mind that Ex Machina is one of the best films of 2015.

There is something very unique and appealing about Ex Machina. It is unlike any other movie I’ve seen in recent memory. It has a very small cast (there are only really 4 characters in the movie) and the entire film takes place in one location. It is easily one of the most interesting and well-made thrillers that I have ever seen. The film is beautifully shot, I loved the contrast between the futuristic look of the compound and the beautiful green landscape and lush nature that surrounds the building.

One of my favorite things about the film was the great performances by the three main leads. Oscar Isaac gave yet another fantastic performance, this time playing an eccentric billionaire who always seems like he’s hiding something. Domhnall Gleeson gave a great performance as well, he did a really good job in portraying his character as the charming and somewhat innocent man who gets flown into a secluded complex with a mysterious job opportunity. I loved watching the transition his character made as the film went on, how his expressions and mannerisms changed as he found out more and more about the mysterious compound. With that being said, my favorite performance had to be from the film’s breakout star, the relatively new Alicia Vikander, who plays the beautiful, sentient robot at the center of it all. Vikander did an absolutely superb job playing a machine acting human. She did such a good job with the subtle facial expressions. Her eyes alone were able to convey such powerful emotions without even uttering a single word. She made her character both charming and mysterious, scary yet vulnerable. She did such a fantastic job, I see bright things in her future in the entertainment industry. All these performances were made even better thanks to the great cinematography of the film. The director did a great job of getting in up close to the actors faces during tense or emotional moments so that the audience could get a full appreciation of all the great performances by this very talented cast.

The film deals with what I personaly consider to be a very interesting subject matter. Without giving too much away the movie deals with the creation of Artificial Intelligence, the future of technology and its role in our world. There are so many fascinating conversations and discussions in the film and even more fascinating questions that arise from them. If you have any interest in technology and its future then I guarantee that you will like this movie.

What makes Ex Machina such a great movie is the fact that it is brilliantly suspenseful, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I never knew what was going to happen next. I pride myself on being able to see plot twists coming in movies and this movie had me guessing so much that I wasn’t even close to seeing any of the plot twists coming in the film. Ex Machina has twists on twists on twists that make the film extremely captivating. It really is a roller-coaster ride, going up and down and side to side always keeping you on your toes and never sure of what is going to happen next. I think a sign of a great movie is when it is able to surprise you. Ex Machina was such a pleasant surprise, and then some.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I really can’t think of anything major that I didn’t like about it. It really is a brilliantly unique film that is creative and exciting to watch. The performances by the cast were exquisit and the plot is so engrossing that you won’t even want to blink. I can’t reommend this movie enough, if you’re a fan of science fiction, thrillers, or just great movies in general you have to see Ex Machina. 4.5/5