Summer Cinema 2015 In Review

I saw the “Back to School” merchandise on store shelves, I look at the calendar and notice that September is on the horizon and football season is about to start (of which I cannot wait!), so that must mean one thing. As ZZ Ward sang in the chorus of her hit song, “365 Days,”: “the summer’s oh-oh-oh-oh-over.” Truth be told, this entire year has gone by fast, it’s hard to believe it’s almost September. Oh well. Now that the time for hanging at the beach, bingeing on Slurpees at 7-11, wearing tees and shorts is entering it’s twilight, I want to take this opportunity to look at what I thought were the highlights and low points of this summer at the movies.

Surprise of the Summer: (TIE) Dope and Straight Outta Compton

Image by Legendary and New Line Pictures

Going into both Dope and Straight Outta Compton, I didn’t know what to expect but boy was I impressed by both. I credit writer and director Rick Famuyiwa for one of the year’s most original, colorful and lively film I’ve seen this year and I credit director F. Gary Gray and writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff for one of the year’s most bombastic and socially/culturally relevant films released this year. These movies came out in a time where fans such as myself are open to the notion that the industry needs to be more diverse in the films they release; meaning that actors, writers, producers, directors of different races and backgrounds can make films worth watching and worth praising.

Biggest Disappointment of the Summer: Fantastic Four

This wasn’t even close. Not by a long shot. Josh Trank’s reboot had holes in the ship long before he broke the bottle of champagne against the stern to send on it’s maiden voyage only for it to be claimed by the depths of the sea. I feel for the cast, including the main actors Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell because they were and deserved better than what they were given. I can only imagine Marvel feels embarrassed to end 2015 with this after riding a good wave with its other two featured films released this year. Speaking of Marvel and this year…

Best Superhero Movie of the Summer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Image by Marvel Studios

This was also perhaps the only movie I felt that delivered on every promise it owed its audience. Joss Whedon brought the band back together and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put on one hell of a show! A little sensory overload in places but I loved Age of Ultron. This movie set the stage for what is to come in Phase Three of the Avengers Initiative and I am excited for the next few years.

Worst Superhero Movie of the Summer: Fantastic Four

Anyone surprised by this either hasn’t seen this movie or is delusional, but to each his own. I’ve just never seen a superhero movie with so much fun sucked out of the plot and just made the audience so unresponsive before.

Best Visual Effects of the Summer: Mad Max: Fury Road

One of 2015’s most technically adept movies released happens to be one of the most visually gorgeous films of the year. George Miller and the seldom-spoken Road Warrior Max Rockatansky came back with a vengeance running over the box-office in a glorious path to madness. The sandstorm sequence alone, should put Mad Max: Fury Road in the driver’s seat to get multiple awards for its visual effects.

Best Animated Film of the Summer: Inside Out

Image by Disney

Out of all of the movies I’ve seen this year, the one that I think might have the best chance to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture is Inside Out. I may not have given the film the praise others may have, but I do hold it in high esteem regardless and I acknowledge it as one of the most original films of the year, because the concept behind the plot is quite unique. The animation is superb. That should go without saying.

Summer 2015’s Best Motion Picture: Dope

So far, Rick Famuyiwa’s coming of age drama starring Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemmons and Zoë Kravitz ranks as perhaps the best movie of 2015. I felt that the writing was so crisp and fluid with everything coming full circle in the end, the pacing was quick yet coherent, technically sound and everything about Dope was so fresh and vibrant, I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Image by Open Road

Summer 2015’s Worst Motion Picture: Fantastic Four

Image by 20th Century Fox & Marvel

I’m not really sure if anything else needs to be said at this point. Razzie-worthy? Definitely.

Final Summary: The movies this summer were actually really interesting. There were a lot of films that were really fascinating to me that I didn’t have a chance to recognize with this list but there were surprises as much as there were disappointments. Anyway, now that September is staring us all in the face, we may finally start to see some contenders for Award Season come out to showcase themselves. Keep checking my blog for updates, featured films and news in the meantime. Later!

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