There isn’t a bad movie in the lot this year, although I don’t know if I would rank any of the nominees over Mad Max: Fury Road or Ex Machina. Jurassic World would probably slide in just under Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- The Lego Movie
I didn’t expect to like The Lego Movie and surprisingly I didn’t (I’m really phenomenal at fooling myself). I found the human voices on Legos immediately jarring (in a way that cartoon aren’t, for whatever reason), and the action sequences were inevitably just boring. On the positive side, Lego Batman stole every scene he was in and the initial conversation between live action Will Ferrell and the kid is hilarious. I may be harboring lingering bitterness from the Lego module in kindergarten being my greatest academic failing.
- Edge of Tomorrow
I am over Tom Cruise. I am so, so over Tom Cruise. Call it Edge of Tomorrow or Live. Die. Repeat.—maybe the problem isn’t the name it’s that Tom Cruise just isn’t a bankable star anymore. Would you rather see a movie with Tom Cruise than a movie with Matthew McConaughey? Chris Pratt? Even Chris Evans? Edge of Tomorrow also suffers from the same sort of boring action sequences as Age of Ultron. On the other hand, Emily Blunt is a revelation and the Groundhog Day problem of having to constantly repeat events is deftly handled.
I want to rank this higher. Interstellar is the sort of movie I want to see Hollywood making. It’s an original science fiction movie. It’s not a superhero movie. It’s not a space opera. (Nothing against either, but the pendulum is rather far in that direction.) It takes the science seriously. And it has Matthew McConaughey. Who am I to stand in the path of the McConaissance? I could perhaps appreciate it more if I watched it again, perhaps with headphones to catch all of the mumbled dialogue, but I think I will just re-watch True Detective instead.
- Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy is poignant (that first. damn. scene.), funny, and blessedly weird in a way that somehow really works. Sure, it’s a superhero movie, and sure, it’s Marvel, but it’s also different than pretty much anything else out there. Best movie featuring an anthropomorphic raccoon in years. We are all Groot.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
How is there not a Black Widow standalone movie in the queue? Seriously, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow pretty much steals every movie she’s in. She has more to do here than in Age of Ultron, and she is the perfect foil for the straight-laced, man-of-a-different-time Captain America. Even if it goes back to a very boring well for its villain, The Winter Soldier borrows from the tropes of Cold War era espionage thrillers to great effect, and the action sequences are absolutely top notch (unlike those of Age of Ultron; I did not care for Age of Ultron).
Scheduling Note: I am taking a break from talking about the Hugo Awards, and next week will be all D.B. Jackson all the time as I review his new book Dead Man’s Reach and the first three books in his Thieftaker Chronicles. I am attending ArmadilloCon next weekend and hopefully will get a post up about that. There should be a long post on the Campbell Award nominees and maybe I will talk about the fan writer nominees. Is there anything else to say about the Hugos? Probably not. Boring, uninteresting, uncontroversial in any way year.