Disclaimer: for this article, I’m completely setting aside the critic in me and writing it from a fan’s perspective. This is all about which movies this year provided me the most pleasure as a fan of movies. Sure, some on this list may have flaws, but that’s no matter, because I loved each of them.
So read on to see my 5 Favorite movies from January to June of this year!
Disclaimer: I’m a sucker for a baseball movie. I love the game, and it’s definitely the sport that translates to film the best. There have been so many incredible baseball movies, and while 42 doesn’t quite reach the level of the all-time best, it is still a very good movie.
Chadwick Boseman kills it as Jackie Robinson. That’s a tough role to take on, but he deftly captures the icon in a way that few actors, even more established ones, would be able to. I don’t doubt he’s been getting a whole lot of calls since 42 hit the big screen.
But the performance that really stands out to me is Harrison Ford’s. Han Solo plays Branch Rickey, one of the most iconic front office men ever to grace the great game with their presence, and he is incredible. He’s hardly recognizable, and it’s wonderful. Ford may be getting older, but his abundance of years hasn’t led to any decline in talent.
4. Man Of Steel
I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder’s work and a giant fan of Christopher Nolan, so I figured going into Man Of Steel that I was going to enjoy the film, despite not being a huge fan of Superman in the past. And I was absolutely right. Not only did Henry Cavill bring new life into the character, the movie was great from start to finish.
It wasn’t just Cavill who delivered an excellent performance, everyone in the cast was top notch. Russell Crowe especially stood out as Jor-El. I loved every scene Crowe was in, and he’d be my pick for my life’s narrator (sorry James Earl Jones). Michael Shannon’s performance is incredible as well. Every time he speaks it’s terrifying, and he’s become one of the best villains in Hollywood.
The action in the movie was thrilling. The first scene when Superman learns to fly gave me the worst case of goosebumps in a while. And don’t even get me started on that final fight between Zod and Superman. I’m very optimistic about the rest of this rumored Man Of Steel Trilogy.
3. The East
There are few espionage thrillers with the amount of substance that The East has, and the film greatly benefits from it thanks to sharp directing, a tight script, and an all-around intense story. The film will have you on the edge of your seat, and there really isn’t much more you can ask for from a thriller.
Brit Marling is phenomenal throughout the film, but honestly there isn’t an actor in the cast who disappoints. Ellen Page continues to prove that she’s more than the girl from Juno, and Shiloh Fernandez, who I loved in Evil Dead, was excellent in this as well.
For more of an explanation as to why I loved this film, feel free to check out my review.
2. Now You See Me
A movie about magic is always one that grabs my attention, so I’ve just about seen them all. They’ve ranged from the somewhat disappointing (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) to the absolutely phenomenal (The Prestige). And then there’s the most fun movie about magic, or about heists, or about Jesse Eisenberg being a jerk ever. And that movie is Now You See Me.
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for everything Woody Harrelson and Mr. Eisenberg do (Zombieland is one of my favorites) and I had just finished Arrested Development season 4 so I was on a bit of an Isla Fisher high, but Now You See Me completely blew me away. I walked out of the theater, and my first thought was that I just recieved a refreshing reminder of why I love movies so much. Yes, a long, dark story can be extremely enlightening and satisfying to watch, but on occasion you just need a movie that’s a blast to watch.
Now, I don’t mean fun in the sense that it’s mindless. Make no mistake, Now You See Me is an edge-of-your seat thriller. I was glued to the screen wondering what would happen next. The acting is awesome from top to bottom, and it’s a great story. What more could you want?
1. The Great Gatsby
It’s very rare that a film can live up its hype in my mind, especially when it gets pushed back five months, allowing even more time for that hype to build. I was absolutely ecstatic about The Great Gatsby when I first heard Baz Luhrmann would be adapting the novel, but I had no idea just how incredible of a movie it was going to be.
Leonardo DiCaprio is perfect as Jay Gatsby. Absolutely perfect. If he’s ever deserved an Oscar nomination, this is it. He properly captured one of the most iconic literary characters of all-time, while still making the character feel fresh and modern. The only problem with Carey Mulligan is she makes Daisy too adorable. The Daisy in the book is loathable, but Mulligan’s Daisy is the sweetest character in the world, and that almost makes the story all the more enjoyable.
The visual effects are beautiful. This movie truly makes me want to go to the East Egg of the 1920s. Some people complained about the soundtrack. Those people are wrong. The soundtrack works extremely well for the film, showing that the story of Gatsby isn’t as much a period piece as it is a phenomenal story about love and hope. And every single detail plays into that message. I’ll be amazed if there’s another movie this year that I love as much as The Great Gatsby.