I think I’ve mentioned before on this blog that my health insurance, Prudential Vitality, does an amazing perk of offering its customers a free cinema ticket every single week. It’s only for Cineworld or Vue cinemas but it’s still an incredible offer. It used to be you just got them totally free for doing nothing but now you have to link up a step counter and do a certain number of steps to gain the voucher each week. Can’t argue with that though. I’ve not been utilising the voucher every week, as I have young children I want to get home to see etc, but I have been on average once a month. This year I saw 13 movies in the cinema. Compare that to the last few years where I probably saw maximum 2 per year. And all 13 were free. It’s a really good perk of the health insurance and one I’m trying to make the most of. As a sum up of 2015 I thought I would do a quick ranking of these films that I saw, so here they are, in reverse order.

13. Fantastic Four
Hopefully somebody, someday will make a good Fantastic Four movie. This one really wasn’t great. It started off hopeful, and although they made some bizarre narrative changes to the traditional FF storyline I thought they might have been able to pull it off. But lots of things started to go wrong. They spent too long on the lead up and not enough time with the FF together with their powers. How they got their powers was different but kind of ok but Sue’s didn’t even make sense. I didn’t hate the Victor von Doom character earlier in the film but they totally wasted Dr Doom’s appearance later. The last 30mins of the film was rushed and rubbish and not earned. And the last line of the film was just totally cringe-worthy.

12. Pixels
As a big retrogamer I was a bit confused as to what emotions I was meant to feel about this one when it was announced. Yay, it’s a movie about retrogaming, but on the other hand it’s an Adam Sandler movie. Lots of my retrogaming friends boycotted it after seeing the trailer, and some hated it after seeing the film. But to be honest, I thought it was harmless, was genuinely funny in some places, and I’d rather have a film about retrogaming that my wife can watch with me and enjoy, than have no film about retrogaming at all. Perhaps it was a wasted opportunity, but I still think it’s better than nothing at all.
Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/08/23/pixels-is-not-a-terrible-movie/

11. Jurassic World
I’ve got mixed emotions about Jurassic World. I loved the original Jurassic Park and the whole premise of the storyline. This one didn’t seem hugely original but perhaps they’re just trying to recreate the magic of the first one for a new audience, which is fair enough. Chris Pratt is great but I really didn’t like the character (or the hairstyle) of the leading lady. The effects were great of course and the film was enjoyable but I don’t have it high up on my list.

10. Terminator:Genisys
The next six films are so close it’s hard to rank them. They could all be interchanged in this list depending on my mood. When I saw the first trailer for Terminator: Genisys I thought it looked terrible. Absolutely terrible. The actors and acting looked shocking, the storyline looked bizarre and the quality of the production of the movie and trailer just looked appalling. The subsequent trailers looked a lot better but they then dropped the massive bombshell about John Connor. That had to be a knee-jerk reaction to negative feedback on the first trailer. It must have originally been a twist they wanted to keep for the movie. So going into this movie I didn’t start from a very receptive place. But to be honest I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very surprised. I didn’t like the casting of Kyle Reese at all but I was happy with everyone else. And I was surprisingly ok with the plot. Given that all the Terminator films have messed around with the original plot so much anyway I kind of accept any Terminator plot from now on. And I thought Arnie (old and young) was great. Good Terminator fun.
Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/07/17/my-review-of-terminator-genisys/

9. Ant-Man
Really enjoyed this film. Marvel Studios just seem to be able to nail the right tone for whichever property they are working on. Paul Rudd was a great choice for the sort of character they wanted to portray in this film. Lots of laughs but also done with the usual Marvel action slickness. It wasn’t totally amazing but it certainly makes the middle of my list very comfortably. I look forward to seeing how Paul Rudd’s character integrates with the rest of the Avengers in subsequent movies. He and Robert Downey Jr could have some great banter.

8. The Walk
This was a film that I normally probably wouldn’t have rushed to see on the big screen, but the fact that it was in 3D was the clincher. As it is all about scaling heights and wire walking at the top of the World Trade Centre I thought that I should watch it in the 3D that it was intended for. I’m glad I did. Not only was this a great film but the experience of watching it in 3D was fantastic. This is where 3D really comes into play, when it enhances the film and you have nice slow shots in 3D that really add to the narrative and the experience.

7. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
I did really enjoy this film. I know it gets a bit of a bad press, mostly because it could never really live up to the quality of the first film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It did feel slightly shoe-horned in places but I still thought they had some great character development in it and some amazing set pieces. I really didn’t like the portrayal of Ultron, however, and that was the biggest downfall of the film for me. I felt he came across as too human or something. Loved the introduction of Vision though.
Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/05/01/my-review-of-avengers-age-of-ultron/

6. The Martian
I so, so wanted this film to be better. I loved the whole premise, the storyline and attitude and humour of the main character from the book, but something was just lacking for me after seeing the movie. I don’t think they made enough of the space setting initially, I didn’t like the main female lead, and I didn’t like the visual effects or cinematography of the end sequence. Slightly confusing timeline issues at the very end of the film too, in terms of what all the characters do next. But it was still hugely enjoyable and I thought Matt Damon did a great job. It was amazing how the film came out right in the same week as scientists discovering water/life on Mars too!

5. SPECTRE
For me, this is the best of Daniel Craig’s bond movies. I’m a big Bond guy and although I really enjoyed Skyfall as a movie I felt it broke the mould of Bond films a bit. SPECTRE had a lot more of the Bond formulaic structure, which for me is a good thing. I didn’t quite like what they did with the relationship between Bond and Schwartz’s character though, but upon further research I learnt that it’s not hugely dissimilar to the original Fleming novels. A hugely entertaining Bond film.

4. Mad Max: Fury Road
I’m sure some people will be very surprised I have Fury Road at no.4. This film seems to have people falling at its feet in awe and wonder. I am nearly among them too. I have nothing but respect for what George Miller has done and the style with which he has done it. I just think it was slightly too much in the end or the plot was slightly too basic. I remember loving it whilst watching it and then for the last 30mins I just lost interest a bit and felt the visual style got a bit repetitive. It was slightly missing something at the end for me. But I still think it is a gorgeous cinematic masterpiece in many ways. And the first trailer is something out of this world. I think that trailer is seriously the best trailer I have ever seen. I would happily watch that trailer on repeat in a cinema for two hours. Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/05/22/my-review-of-mad-max-fury-road/

3. John Wick
I thought John Wick was great. The fact that I didn’t really know much about it probably helped as I really wasn’t expecting much. That probably made me enjoy it more and is probably the reason I’ve just squeezed it in ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road (which I know will definitely upset some people). I thought Keanu Reeves was awesome in it, the ’69 Mustang was even more awesome, and the overall style of the film was very cool and well made. Really enjoyed it. Who knows, if I watch Mad Max: Fury Road and John Wick again I may have them the other way round. This ranking is just based on my feelings when I came out of the cinema.

2. Straight Outta Compton
I’m a big 80s/90s Hip Hop fan, so that certainly helped with my enjoyment of this film. But even despite that I think it was really well done and very well portrayed by the actors, in particular the ones who played Ice Cube (his son) and Eazy E. The soundtrack was awesome, as expected, and although the events were obviously embellished and dramatised, it was great to see a bit of the history of this great group. It surprisingly left me very creatively inspired and walking out of the cinema very pumped up feeling like I wanted to take action in certain areas in my life. I think it’s a very good sign when a film can do that. Can’t wait to watch this one again when it’s out. Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/08/28/hip-hop-week-straight-outta-compton-review/

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Possibly no surprise, particularly as it is the most fresh in my mind, but this just has to be no.1. A great film indeed, but made even more great by the whole zeitgeist around the experience of waiting for the film, watching the film and then everyone being careful not to spoil things for people. Not to mention the 30 years of anticipation for it. A fantastic film which totally lived up to the hype. Star Wars is back!
Full review here – http://retromash.com/2015/12/17/star-wars-episode-7-the-force-awakens-review/

2015 was a pretty good year for movies and 2016 is already looking great with all of the following coming out:

  • The Hateful Eight
  • Point Break (hmmm)
  • The 5th Wave
  • Deadpool
  • Batman v Superman
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • X:Men – Apocalypse
  • Independence Day: Resurgence
  • Tarzan
  • The BFG
  • Ghostbusters
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Bourne 5
  • Suicide Squad
  • Doctor Strange
  • Star Wars: Rogue One