2015 is shaping up to be the biggest blockbuster year is film history. Luckily for moviegoers, week after week many of these gigantic moneymakers are also quality films.
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Successfully sequelizing what is arguably the best superhero film ever made is no simple feat, and while “Age of Ultron” doesn’t quite hit the same high marks as its predecessor, it does take a well-deserved second place. With another sharp-as-ever Joss Whedon script and his directorial flair, “Age of Ultron” never disappoints on an emotional or visceral level.
After a few critical false starts, Disney’s live-action fairytale adaptations finally hit their stride with “Cinderella.” With a beguiling performance from Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”), an utterly evil stepmother in Cate Blanchett, and a star-making turn put in by Lily James, there isn’t a bad actor to be seen in this film. Its earnestness, however, is what makes this film a refreshing respite amongst a tide of gritty reboots and revisionist retellings, with all due credit going to veteran director Kenneth Branagh and future “Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One” writer Chris Weitz.
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Based on the “Secret Service” comic miniseries written by the frequently adapted Mark Millar, “Kingsman” blends the suaveness and mild camp of classic Bond films with a touch of Edgar Wright’s comedic sensibilities for a humorous and action-packed thrill ride that entertains from start to finish. Anchored by the consistent great Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson and bolstered by breakout young stars Taron Egerton and Sophie Cookson, “Kingsman’s” performers never fail to impress.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
Thirty years after Mad Max traveled beyond the Thunderdome, director George Miller brings moviegoers back the Australian wasteland of the future for the long-awaited return to his most popular franchise. Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson in the title role, although the story focuses more on Charlize Theron’s equaling interesting Furiosa. Even with her great show of emotional range (with little in the way of dialogue to work with), the true star of the movie is Miller himself. Brutal action, pulse-pounding car chases, and tons of practical vehicular destruction effects make this film a must-see on the big screen.
5. Inside Out
“Inside Out” may not be the complete return to Pixar form it has been touted to be, but the film still has plenty of wit and heart to stand above most other animated fare. Filled with plenty of big ideas and intriguing interpretations of the mind’s inner workings, this movie still manages to bear the celebrated studio’s production logo with dignity. Featuring a quintet of talented comedians as the young main characters emotions provides “Inside Out” with dozens of hilarious one-liners, and while it does suffer from a weak second act, the film is solidly bookended by a fascinating beginning and a heartwarming conclusion.