Last year was a better than average film-going year for me. There are still a good many movies on recent top-10 lists that I have yet to see. Some of them will have to wait for video as they never came to a theater near me. But of those that did, a few stand out. Some may never make a critic’s list, but I liked them.
Here are a few favorites from the past 12 months:
“The Big Short” – The financial collapse of 2007 not only made understandable, but funny. This gets my vote for best picture of the year. Look for Christian Bale and Steve Carell to get Oscar nods.
“Spotlight” – How the priest sex abuse scandal was uncovered by a team of investigative reporters from the Boston Globe. It is a very good film with a terrific cast.
“The Intern” – Robert De Niro as a bored retiree who goes to work as an intern at Ann Hathaway’s on-line clothing business. This gentle comedy is for everyone.
“Straight Outta Compton” – Well done bio of rap group NWA. The music may not be to everyone’s taste, but the story will explain the anger and frustration fueling the songs.
“Danny Collins” – This is Al Pacino’s best film in a long, long time. It also stars the wonderful Annette Bening and the terrific Bobby Cannavale.
“Love & Mercy” – The story of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Paul Dano as a young Wilson and John Cusack as an older Wilson were both excellent. Co-star Elizabeth Banks deserves an Oscar nomination for her controlled performance.
“Creed” – This is far better than the usual Rocky sequel with a story that mirrors the original Rocky and some of the most brutally realistic boxing scenes ever in a movie.
“Black Mass” – Johnny Depp completely transforms himself into one of the scariest bad men in the movies as he portrays real-life Boston gangster Whitey Bulger.
“No Escape” – An engineer, Owen Wilson, moves his young family to an unnamed Asian country only to get caught in the middle of a violent revolution. This is a tense, heart-pounding movie in which an “every man” and his wife flee blood-thirsty crowds while carrying two small children.
“Run All Night” – This was the ultimate “Friday Night” movie of 2015. A Friday night movie is a picture to see at the end of a hard work week. No deep meaning, no symbolism, just a straight up, non-stop action flick to make an audience forget everything outside the theater. Good performances from Liam Neeson and Ed Harris.