My five favorite films of 2015 so-far

    From "Inside Out" to "Jurassic World," the 5 best movies of the first half of 2015

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    Only midway into September and 2015 has already been a great one for movies. Sure there were a few stinkers (a.k.a. “Pixels”), but more than not it seemed that there was always a quality film in theaters. And now the countdown begins.

    Honorable Mentions:

    “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

    “Sinister 2”

    “Ant-Man”

    “The Gift”

    “Kingsmen: The Secret Service”

    1. “Inside Out”

    After two crap fests (“Cars 2” and “Brave”) and one very disappointing sequel (“Monsters University”), Pixar finally got back on track with “Inside Out.” I feel it’s no surprise that the director of the film is Pete Doctor, the man who directed two of Pixar’s best with “Monsters Inc.” and “Up.” While “Inside Out” is nowhere near as good as either film nor as good as any of Pixar’s classics such as the Toy Story trilogy or “The Incredibles,” “Inside Out” is still an extremely well made effort with great music, likable characters, and tons and tons of emotion. “Inside Out” definitely warrants a sequel and I will be glad to watch it in theaters amongst children and their judging parents, wondering why an 18 year old is watching a cartoon. What can I say? The movie was just really good!

    1. “Ex Machina”

    Every once in awhile, a great movie comes out that I don’t get a chance to see in theaters. Unfortunately, this is one of them. This movie is so original, so brilliant, and so creative that I wish more films were made with such love and care. For a movie that literally takes place in a house for about 90 percent of the film, it truly is amazing that it is still very entertaining. Above everything in this film is the incredible acting from Oscar Isaac (the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII”), Domhnall Gleeson (also in “Star Wars: Episode VII), and especially Alicia Vikander (previously seen in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”). This is one of those films that deserves multiple Oscar nominations although it probably won’t receive one as it is a science fiction film and came out way back in March. Oh well, it was still fantastic!

    1. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

    Marvel Studios struck gold twice this year, what with this and “Ant-Man.” While “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is far inferior to its groundbreaking predecessor, the film still manages to differentiate itself from every other Marvel Studios film yet. Marvel has a recurring problem in which most of their films feel exactly the same, a problem “Avengers 2” skillfully avoids. Shallow characters such as Black Widow and Hawkeye are made likable, the film features an awesome villain in Ultron, somewhat of a cross between HAL 9000 and Roy Batty, and also gave us the most personal look at the Hulk yet. This film easily stands out from the annoyingly lazy “Thor: The Dark World,” the absurd Iron Mans 2 and 3, and the very disapointing “Captain America: The First Avenger.” “Avengers 2” now has me excited for the next step in Marvel’s master plan, a plan that for a while I no longer had much interest in.

    1. “Mad Max: Fury Road”

    Nowadays it seems as if sequels are made to 80s and 90s movies left and right, with “Rocky Balboa,” “Rambo,” “Superman Returns,” and even an upcoming sequel to “Ghostbusters.” Rarely, however, are these kinds of films typically any good. Not only was this sequel good, but it was fantastic. It’s easily the most beautiful movie of the year and has such great action that it could give “Aliens” or “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” a run for its money. Tom Hardy takes over the role of “Mad” Max Rockatansky from the incredibly mad Mel Gibson and does a terrific job. The soundtrack by Junkie XL is awesome, the cinematography is breathtaking, and the rest of the cast (mainly Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa) is phenomenal. What a lovely day. What a lovely day indeed.

    1. “Jurassic World”

    And finally, easily my favorite movie of the year so far is “Jurassic World,” the sequel that feels like it was 65 million years in the making. Sure this movie wasn’t “The Shawshank Redemption” nor was it “The Godfather,” but this film capitalizes perfectly on a little friend I like to call nostalgia. it is easily the most fun I’ve had at the theater in years, due to the beautiful and haunting score by Michael Giacchino, the strong performances from Chris Pratt and the rest of the cast, and all the callbacks to one of my absolute favorite movies of all time “Jurassic Park.” The film left me cheering and clapping, hoping for more in the future.

    So far, these are my five favorite movies of the year. While I still haven’t seen a few films such as “Spy” and “Trainwreck,” I doubt any other movie this year could dethrone these five fantastic films. This first half of the year has left me happy, joyous, and excited for more.