2015 Year-End Recap: Underrated, Overlooked & Random Shout Outs

On January 1st, I will be publishing my Top Ten of 2015 over at Why So Blu? and on this site as well. Leading up to the Top Ten, I will be posting a number of lists reflecting my thoughts on the films from this year. The following post features a variety of films I basically wanted to shout out. They may have been underrated, underseen or just films I believe deserve a little more respect, despite not making my favorite films of the year list (and many of these really are just randoms). So here are some shout outs I wanted to deliver (with review links for each).

99 Homes
The Big Short may have taken a comedic look at the financial crisis, but 99 Homes goes up close and personal on the situation in this affecting drama featuring great performances from Andrew Garfield and the always great Michael Shannon.

After wowing many with A Separation and The Past, writer/director Asghar Farhadi was able to finally see one of his earlier films released. While not as great as the two films mentioned, it is another solid Iranian drama worth seeing.

All Things Must Pass
I did get to see nearly as many documentaries this past year as I would have liked, but I have been looking forward to Colin Hanks Tower Records-based documentary for some time. It turned out to be quite good.

I am not going to say American Ultra is an amazing movie, but I did enjoy it as a weird alternate universe sequel to Adventureland. It's silly, but enjoyable.

Going in knowing only so much about the late singer Amy Winehouse, it was great to see a very compelling documentary that went over the peak period of her life and what led to her untimely demise.

While not an all-time classic Spielberg or even his best from the past few years (I loved Lincoln and Tintin), Bridge of Spies was a solid effort from a master storyteller.

Cop Car takes an incredibly simple premise and does little to expand upon it, but it does allow for a wonderful Kevin Bacon performance and one of the tensest scenes of the years involving kids with guns.

File this under the "where did this movie come from" list. Al Pacino stars as an aging rock star in a fine performance that fits in this entertaining comedy-drama.

Neither Focus or Concussion may be amazing movies, but Will Smith is having a solid year as an actor. Focus does the job, as far as being a fun conman caper flick.

From the start I was interested in what this would be and was quite pleased by the results. Goosebumps took a clever root to bringing this book series to life in a big movie and it works well as a kid-oriented spook-fest

I'm apparently in the group that found The Hunger Games film franchise to be consistently very good and wanted to shout out the final entry that seems to have been overshadowed by other fall blockbusters, despite still making a ton of money.

Mississippi Grind

Another film that came out of nowhere, but delivered. Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds make for a great team in this laid-back gambling drama.

Getting a movie about Bobby Fischer meant having to deal with quite the personality, but I was quite pleased by how this story was presented, complete with fine performances from the talented cast.

The Peanuts Movie hit all the right spots for me, as the animation style, humor, and spirit of Schultz all made for a fun animated film.

People, Places, Things
Jemaine Clement is having quite the year in the world of indie comedies, as What We Do In The Shadows and this film really allow him to show a level of range. People, Places, Things may not be all that original, but it has a fun spirit in this story of a divorced dad trying to get by.

Another comedy that came out of nowhere. Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan star in a film about fitness trainers and relationships. It sounds strange and it is, but it's also pretty good.

Maybe the first film in a while where I wouldn't have minded Meryl Streep getting an Oscar nomination, as opposed to the last several 'just because' nominations she's received.

Given how little I've cared for Melissa McCarthy solo projects, I was quite happy to be so amused by this clever spy comedy, which was especially due to the supporting cast.

One can admire the filmmaking approach (Tangerine was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S), but it helps that this film is a screwball comedy set in a seedy LA world, where strange practices are balanced by friendship.

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts become hipsters in this witty Noah Baumbach comedy that had a lot to enjoy AND Charles Grodin.

I can see the criticisms for this film being too artsy, but I was quite fond of the key performances from Caine and Keitel.

And That's That. Stay Tuned For My Top Ten Of 2015!


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