The year is already three quarters in, but considering what the Fall and Winter usually mean for quality films, the best just might be yet to come. Let’s hope so, because there have been a whole lot of okay films, but very few that are actually great. From the first four months or so, there was really only one good film. Kingsmen. It’s a Matthew Vaughn movie, which means you know it’s got to be good, but how long can this guys track record last? It’s him Tarantino and the Coen Brothers on the list of diectors who can do no wrong. Even guys like Wes Anderson and David Fincher have had misfires. The same goes for Paul Thomas Anderson and Danny Boyle. But Vaughn is a rare talent and he has yet to disappoint. Kingsmen is the one movie that made it out of those first few months without barely a scratch.
After that, the other great movies were Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Ant Man, and Jurassic World. If there was a number five movie it would have to be Avengers: Age of Ultron. Oh, and of course, there’s Burnt, (which won’t actually be released until the Fall), the Bradley Cooper, chef in London flick. That might actually be my favorite movie of the year so far. It’s definitely up there.
Another movie that’s got a spot on the list, as of now. The movie Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy. That Paul Feig is another director who really seems to be able to do no wrong. His movie Bridesmaids was in my top three of the year 2011, and then his film The Heat made my top ten of 2013. Spy is not quite as good as either of those films, but it is still a lot of fun.
And then there’s Mad Max: Fury Road, a movie that I didn’t love the first time, but definitely appreciated. This is a movie that I absolutely want to see again and dig into a little more. It’s a movie that will hold a place on my list for now and very likely will end up there, maybe even in a better position on the list, by years end.
That makes eight films already. Now, of the eight, none are terrific. Even still, it’s nice to have a jumping off point, going into the fall and winter seasons.
Here’s the list as it stands right now….
2) Kingsmen: The Secret Service
3) Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
4) Straight Outta Compton
5) Ant Man
7) Jurassic World
8) The Avengers: Age of Ultron
9) Mad Max: Fury Road
By years end, I don’t expect Spy, the Avengers movie, or even Jurassic World to still be on the list. Instead, you can bet The Hateful Eight has a good chance of being on there. Other than Deathproof, I don’t think there’s ever been a year when a Tarantino movie didn’t make the list. And then there’s the new Bond movie, Spectre, which just might be pretty great, considering it was directed by Sam Mendes (the same guy who made Skyfall, which was also great.)
Now, regarding what the year looks like from a financial point of view, so far Jurassic World is the big winner (it is actually the third highest grossing film of all time.) There’s a sequel on the way. Other success stories that already have sequels in the works from this year include The Equalizer and Kingsmen. The Equalizer and Inside Out are both movies that were good, but not great. These are the kinds of movies (and Trainwreck too, I suppose) that were enjoyable, but far from anything that would earn a place on the years top ten list.
Another movie I expect to see on the list by years end is the new Star Wars film, the Force Awakens. As directed by JJ Abrahms, this film looks superb. Abrahms seems to be doing everything right, using practical effects wherever possible, and really trying to capture the spirit of the original trilogy. He is a great filmmaker who has never made a bad film (Star Trek Into Darkness is his weakest, and it’s still pretty good.) Something tells me that his forray into Star Wars will be great!