Mad Max: Fury Road
Wow. A thrill ride in every sense. Great action, great characters, great word building, great cinematography and direction. Not a shot wasted. Simply great. Movie of the year.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This movie brings Star Wars out of the 80s, while giving out generous high-fives and slaps to the face of the best and worst of the fandom. A perfect movie? No, there's borderline excessive fan-service and that ending scene could've been like an hour shorter. A perfect Star Wars movie? Yes, inarguably so. It's every bit the myth, updated to a modern pace. I'm champing at the bit for the next film in this new trilogy.
Seriously, though, how many shots of staring at each other do we need? Only to add a helicopter shot of them still just standing there? So glad JJ isn't directing any more, lest he let his personal flairs out more.
You need to watch this movie. All I am willing to say is that the entire movie is filmed in one continuous shot. Not like last-year's Birdman, but one take and realtime. It's like you're spending the movie's duration right there with the characters, and what it accomplishes is extraordinary. Don't watch a trailer or read anything else about Victoria. This is a movie that you need to fully experience.
Magic Mike XXL
Magic Mike XXL is a perfect road trip movie. The more I think about it, the more I fall in love. I'm not saying it has the most innovative, intricately woven, or even solid plot structure; the plot is nothing more than a striptease itself. I'm saying this movie sets out to have fun, poke fun, be fun, without putting anyone down. Too often "comedies" these days are all "It's funny because she's fat! It's funny because he's handicapped! It's funny because we're racist-homophobic-mysoginistically-judgmental prats™!" Magic Mike XXL says "let's just have fun with it." Every characterization and interaction is highly refreshing.
XXL posits that women can consider male strippers as both object and person, while I doubt masculine culture even bothers to consider female strippers. I can't deny that Magic Mike XXL is a simple road-trip comedy with it's fair share of problems, but it's this movie's exuberance of fun and giving that make it worth seeing.
Rey - Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Stop holding my hand!
She's badass, capable, determined, has little-to-no concept of Earthly gender norms, adorably as excited and fangirl-ish as the rest of us, and a total mystery. I can't wait to see her (and Finn and Poe and BB-8!) again. Possibly the best part of The Force Awakens was getting to meet new characters and knowing that there's more to their story that we haven't yet seen.
Also, where are the Rey toys? She's the star of the movie and there's NOTHING. Just Kylo Renn this and BB-8 that. Disney knows girls can be cool and marketable even if they aren't wearing ball gowns, right? Rey's stuck on the bench with Black Widow for whatever odd Dumbsney reason.
We'll see each other again. I believe that.
Imperator Furiosa - Fury Road, AVA - Ex Machina
Both Furiosa and Ava are trapped in male fantasy worlds, and use the men's expectations to find their freedoms. Charlize Theron killed it as Furiosa, carrying all of the emotional weight of the movie. As for Ava, it took a while for the ending to click for me, because I was stuck in the dudes' perspective as they "tested" her AI. Turns out, she was testing their empathy, and they failed.
Rick Ford - Spy, LeBron James - Trainwreck
Jason Statham and Lebron James parody themselves and are the highlights of these movies. That is all.
Sadness - Inside out
First there's Joy, then there's Sadness. We think we see our heroine and her foil, only to slowly realize that while Joy claims to understand that the other emotions have a purpose. Through Sadness, Inside Out demonstrates that we shouldn't look for happiness from itself, but rather from empathy and emotional maturity.
A hip-hop musical telling a story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. I put off listening to the soundtrack, mostly out of ignorance. Don't make the same mistake. Listen ASAP.
Bushes of Love
Song of the year. Need I say more?