December 2015 Movie Roundup

Remember when I only watched four movies in November and lived in shame for a month until I watched almost twice as many in December to make up for it?

This past year ended with a bang, and with seven trips to the theater under my belt (well, eight if you count the fact that I saw Star Wars twice) this is gonna be one hell of a roundup.

I should mention that some of these were pretty difficult to put into categories. To be honest, Creed held on to the top spot right up until Star Wars came along. But let’s be real — what was going to upstage Star Wars?

If you need a refresher of the categories, click here!

Anyway, without further ado — here is the final roundup of 2015:

The Golden Goal
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Was this one of my most anticipated movies of the year? Yes. Did I go in completely biased? Probably. Have I already seen it three times? Maybe. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that all things considered this really was a great film. To be sure, it has its plot holes and issues — but keep in mind this is an epic space opera with two more movies lined up to wrap up loose ends (and come on, it’s not like the other Star Wars movies are plot-hole free). With three refreshingly different leads, the most adorable new droid, and a genealogy mystery already sparking theories and counter-theories, I found The Force Awakens to be a fitting kick-off to a new trilogy. The storyline does follow a similar structure to New Hope, but that is a conceit of the genre. Here’s hoping the format works as a set-up to an interesting shake-up in the forthcoming sequels. Can May 2017 hurry up already?

Hat Tricks
This was my first movie of December, and if it wasn’t for Star Wars, it would have easily taken the title of my favorite from the month. Put aside the fact that I am a HUGE fan of Michael B. Jordan and that I absolutely loved the collaboration between him and director Ryan Coogler in 2013’s Fruitvale Station. Even without that predisposition, it’s hard to overlook how well they work together in this film. A reboot that could have easily fallen flat on cliches and repetitiveness, Creed surpassed all of my expectations. It tapped into the underdog passion that made the first Rocky so successful while still maintaining that touch of refreshing originality. Definitely in my top favorites, and I can’t wait to see what the Coogler/Jordan duo tackle next.

This was a hard one to categorize. It’s an extremely niche, arthouse film that I would definitely not recommend to everyone. However, the phenomenal acting from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard combined with the stunning photography and production design just made it too good for the Bicycle Kick. So while it may not be everyone’s “must-see” (hat trick) it also won’t be a “mainstream” hit (bicycle kick). That said, if you are a fan of Shakespeare in any form and have the patience and desire to see a truly well-done adaptation of a classic tragedy, this is the movie for you.

Bicycle Kicks
The Big Short
With a cast as fantastically talented as this, The Big Short was always going to play into the awards conversation. Personally I liked it. Didn’t love it. Though I enjoyed the originality of the script and the acting was great (Steve Carrell in particular was stellar), the details of the subject matter did fly over my head a bit. Luckily the person I saw it with is quite knowledgeable and was able to give me a rundown of the parts I hadn’t fully grasped. But that just leaves me wondering. Despite all the celebrity cameos to explain the financial nitty-gritty, did the film successfully deliver its message across to a wider audience? I don’t know but regardless, it is definitely worth a watch.

I don’t need to tell you how much I adore Tina and Amy right like that has been long established. I have been waiting for this movie for so long, and it was everything I dreamed and more. The world needs more female-led comedies, and there is such a wealth of talent out there to pick from. Sisters is right up there with Bridesmaids and Trainwreck, and sure the storyline is pretty basic and maybe not EVERY joke landed, but you can’t deny the incredible comedic talent of the leading ladies. Buoyed by some amazing co-stars (Maya Rudolph KILLED it), this is one my sister and I will keep coming back to for a long time.

Yellow Card
The Danish Girl
To be honest I still haven’t nailed down my thoughts on this one. And I wasn’t really sure where to categorize it. But when it comes down to it, I have to recommend it with a word of caution. I like Eddie Redmayne. He’s a fine actor. Is it his fault that he is gaining that perception of over-acting? This is his third “serious” role in as many years. Are we just tired of seeing him try so damn hard? If it wasn’t for Les Mis and Theory (both of which I enjoyed), would I be so critical? I don’t know. This is a complex, delicate story to tell. As a cis female, I cannot comment on the transgender experience and whether this story was told in a respectful and accurate way (the camerawork in particular had me pretty critical). What I can comment on: Alicia Vikander is probably the only sure thing in the entire movie. She is phenomenal. She steals every scene and I can’t wait to see what she does next. The final scene was uncomfortably cheesy. Visually stunning. I apologize for the stream of consciousness reaction but I really can’t make up my mind about this one.

Why everyone seems so taken with this movie is beyond me. Bryan Cranston’s understated performance is definitely the best part of the film. But it walks a fine line between urging the audience to root for this sympathetic hero and skating over that what he’s standing up for is Communism. To be sure, the Blacklist was one of the darkest periods of Hollywood, and it’s a fascinating story. Not sure if this movie did it justice, but it is gaining serious buzz. I guess Hollywood really loves movies about itself, even when they’re not cast in the best light. So bizarre.

And there you have it. 2015 ended with a bang and 2016 has already hit the ground running. On tap for this month: The Revenant (my bby Leo FINALLY), Carol, Joy, Concussion, The Hateful Eight, and Anomalisa if I can manage it.

Not to mention GOLDEN GLOBES on Sunday night and OSCAR NOMINATIONS on Thursday morning.

What a time to be alive.

So be sure to follow my live-tweets and stay tuned for another month of loud opinions and louder sobbing.

Happy watching!


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