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Movie Review: My Recommendation List for Fall 2015
What is this List?
Similar to my list of Summer 2015, I give you, my reader, a quick rundown of the films I've seen of this season and how I rank them, as well as links that further go into how I felt about the film overall. There are no spoilers, only opinions with which you are free to disagree with. I update this list with every new film as the season goes on so feel free to check back every so often to see if there's something new.
After Skyfall, I found myself excited for Bond films and my excitement was at an all-time high for Christoph Waltz. This one was a disappointment. The villain is weak (which is terrible to say for Waltz), a lot of older Bond trademarks are clumsily included (including a villain who says little but has a trademarked way of killing people ala Jaws or Oddjob), and a plot that attempts to use its previous films as cornerstones. Craig perhaps does his best Bond, however, and the film isn't all that bad, only dissapointing.
7. The Scorch Trials
Another entry in a series of young adult novels turned into films, The Scorch Trials got a strong start from its first adaptation. As I discussed in a Page to Screen commentary about it, The Maze Runner clearly exceeds its source material into a thrilling mystery-action film that has nigh perfect pacing.
The Scorch Trials loses almost all of that and devolves back into your standard young adult action film, answering all of your questions in the first couple scenes, leaving it with a thin vanilla plot. Not terrible, but I can't advocate it.
I can describe in few words. It's not bad, but Baby Mama's better. There's a bit of archetype character switching and it feels like a huge love letter from Saturday Night Live. It surprised me in small ways but otherwise it was a solid film without a lot of memorable moments.
5. Mockingjay Part 2
Some people are definitely going to argue with me on this but then again, this is my opinion. There was nothing wrong with this film as it upheld the value you've come to expect from previous Hunger Games films (aside from Mockingjay Part 1 with which this film greatly improved upon) but that's it. It's the fourth film in a good series that doesn't necessarily improve upon its original material and offers nothing new.
4. The Visit
One of the most recent attempts of M. Night Shyamalan's silver screen productions, The Visit is surprisingly good. It takes a concept that hasn't really been addressed before (can old people be scary?) and gives its two main characters massive amounts of humanity and sympathizable strengths. Really, I'd be impressed by this film even if it didn't come out of Shyamalan whose name hasn't held much favor in more recent times.
3. The Martian
A great film, with wonderful visuals, a charismatic hero (who has little interaction with other characters), and a science-fiction spin on your old Robinson Crusoe story. There's not much to hold The Martian down, especially after how much acclaim its source material received. The only real negative I can say about this adaptation is that it's not quite as good as the book, being able to reside in the hero's head as events play out.
2. The Bridge of Spies
It was a film I initially didn't care much for, a historical dramatic piece without action or any particular niche that I held an interest in. Despite all that, The Bridge of Spies not only won me over but kept me enthralled from start to finish. Acting is superb, the plot fantastically paced and engrossing, and not at all held back by the phrase 'based on a true story.' Unless you can't stand Tom Hanks, I'd recommend owning this piece.
1. The Force Awakens
This film promised a lot, and it definitely delivers. It may not necessarily be 100% perfect but it's so much fun, enlightening, and hopeful. If you're a Star Wars fan, you can't be disappointed and if you're a casual movie goer, you'll still want to see this film. Really, I can't think of a specific demographic besides those that irrationally hate the sci-fi genre who I wouldn't recommend this film to. You've probably already seen it at this point anyways.