This post was meant for the end of December; I can only apologise – I must’ve been getting too much into the holiday spirit! Anyway better late than never…
I was a little disappointed by the fact that, once again, the majority of the films I’ve seen are big blockbusters or stereotypical ‘teen movies’. However this doesn’t reflect all of the types of films I’ve been watching. I just found the concept interesting that despite my efforts to try and watch more unusual, independent and meaningful films, the ones that I’ll actually bother to buy tickets to at the cinema are still the money-making mainstream features.
Anyhow, I’m getting off-topic – the point of this blog post was to share my thoughts on the films that I have bothered to buy tickets to this year and whether or not they were worth the money and effort. So here goes….
- The Theory of Everything – Released 1st January 2015
This film is extraordinary and I recommend to all my readers just because of the beautiful cinematography that is demonstrated throughout the feature. The film is made better still by Eddie Redmayne’s astonishing performance as Stephen Hawking; the way he transforms his figure gradually as the illness takes ahold of him is just fascinating to watch. Overall I have no negative opinions about this film whatsoever, making it a great film to start the year off with.
2. Cinderella – Released 27th March 2015
I’ll admit that it was my friends that dragged me along to see this feature – I had pretty much decided that it was simply another of Disney’s money-making re-vamps of their classic animated feature. I already knew the story too which put me off going to see it even further. However Lily James was perfectly cast as the delicate and beautiful Cinders, winning over the audience with her annoyingly-good looks and singing voice. The special effects team and costume designers also really outdid themselves, especially in the sequence when ‘that dress’ is revealed by the Fairy Godmother’s magic. Overall, even though the plot wasn’t really any different from the 1950’s animated classic – this film did provide some light-hearted entertainment for me and my friends for a couple of hours.
3. Insurgent – Released 19th March 2015
I had been a big fan of the Divergent novel trilogy, however the first film in my opinion was quite a disappointment – in that a lot of the major events written in the novel it was based upon, were incorrect or missed out entirely. Insurgent (the second instalment of the trilogy) was just as action-packed as the first, again with this film the special effects were outstanding in some scenes such as the stand-off between Tris and her ‘other’ self. However, there’s just something about the combination of these effects and the impossibly good-looking cast members, that makes it harder for many audience members (including myself) to properly immerse themselves in the world these characters are trapped in. Overall though, this film does not disappoint if you want a gripping, action-packed feature.
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Released 23rd April 2015
Again I was dragged along to see this feature by my boyfriend; I’ve never particularly been interested in the superhero genre and so it probably wasn’t the best idea to see the second instalment to the Avengers series, having no idea about the characters’ backgrounds or anything about ‘The Ultron Programme’. Despite my lack of knowledge – I can see why it appealed to audiences who were fans of the globally famous Marvel characters. The feature was action-packed from start to finish, containing many epic battles between good and evil forces. In fact (according to my boyfriend) this film doesn’t rely too much on it’s narrative – it’s more the action that creates the film’s appeal. Sorry I couldn’t give much of an opinion for this feature but I generally didn’t have the knowledge to comment!
5. Spy – Released 5th June 2015
Spy is a comedy following ‘Susan Cooper’; an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst and essentially the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner dies during a mission and another top agent is compromised, she volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global crisis. This is another typical Melissa McCarthy feature in the sense that she plays another badass female protagonist; however her partnership with colleague ‘Nancy’, played by Miranda Hart really pulls the film together and gives the film a underlying tone of ‘girl power’. Overall I feel that so long as you don’t find innuendos and lots and lots of strong language you will generally enjoy this film, as no-one can deny that McCarthy is good at what she does.
6. Inside Out – Released 24th July 2015
I’ve always secretly preferred Disney Pixar features to some of their animated classics, as I love watching their original narratives come to life on screen. Inside Out is no different, the concept for the film is based around the idea that the protagonist, ‘Riley’ is guided by her emotions – ‘Joy’, ‘Fear’, ‘Anger’, ‘Disgust’ and ‘Sadness’. The emotions live in “Headquarters”, the control center inside ‘Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. This is wonderful way of explaining to younger children the way in which our emotions work. However I wouldn’t recommend this film if you were older than 12, as I feel that the film doesn’t connect with parents and older children as well as some of the previous features the animation company have created have done; overall though the film is perfect children’s entertainment.
7. Paper Towns – Released 17th August 2015
After the success of “The Fault In Our Stars”, John Green and Jake Schreier worked together to create an adaptation of one of Green’s other successful novels “Paper Towns”. This feature is more about the quest of finding your first love – rather than simply falling deep into it, I was interested particularly to see this feature because I wasn’t a huge fan of the original novel as I felt the ending was inconclusive. However, looking at it visually about a year after initially reading the novel, I can now understand the meaning behind that incredibly frustrating ending. I hope that others my age also take something from this feature; as a generation obsessed with love and relationships, I feel that the message Green is conveying is a very important one.
8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – Released 19th November 2015 *See previous post for full review*
The highly anticipated conclusion for the epic saga that was The Hunger Games did not disappoint. Jennifer Lawrence once again shone as Katniss, the powerful female protagonist and Francis Lawrence never disappoints when bringing the stories to the big screen. His talent for visually creating entire fantasy worlds has been shown before, in features such as ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘Water for Elephants’; both of which are equally entertaining features in their own right. ‘Mockingjay: Part 2’ implies a return to the arena, as ‘President Snow’ plants so-called ‘Pod’s’ all over the Capitol, in order to try and stop the rebellions attempts to invade and take down Snow himself. This was what I felt personally was missing from the previous instalment to the saga; the physical battle sequences and weaponry that was shown in the earlier films. Overall, this conclusion to the saga will – I think – be satisfactory for all fans of the franchise, as Lawrence has thoroughly succeeded in keeping the majority of the narrative accurate to the novel.
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Released 17th December 2015
Without a doubt the highest grossing feature of the year – maybe even the decade? We’ll have to see, but for now here’s my take on the new addition to the huge franchise. Set (also in real time) three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises from The First Order and newcomers ‘Rey’ and ‘Finn’ along with ‘Han Solo’ and ‘Chewie’ are the only ones who can defeat them and once again save the galaxy. When talking to others about the re-boot of the franchise, I think there is definitely a general agreement that this film is already looking more hopeful than the 1990’s trilogy. JJ Abrams decision to use puppets wherever possible and less CGI definitely helps to win over the more stubborn of Star Wars fans. I was most impressed with the fact that ‘Rey’ turned out to be the new jedi and not ‘Finn’ – in fact she was so kickass that most of the time she was the one saving clumsy ‘Finn’ from safety. And even better there wasn’t a gold bikini in sight! I’ll let you decide for yourself whether the other two features to come will be just as good.
Thanks for reading this, admittedly rather long ramble.