There were some solid pictures that I reviewed from May through August like “Southpaw” and “Straight Outta Compton,” however, none were better than the sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina.” Director Alex Garland, with the help of great performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander, was able to create a fantastic mind-bending story that keeps one guessing.
This one was pretty obvious, it’s hard to go against Pixar. The film didn’t just win by default, though. “Inside Out” was a great movie with a lot of heart and energy. Like most Pixar films, the movie was able to have a fun, adventurous plot while at the same time explore real life experiences.
Melissa McCarthy has had her ups and downs in Hollywood, but she knocked it out of the park with the comedy “Spy.” The film was able to balance out its slapstick comedy with witty humor and good satire on the spy genre which really made it work more than just an average comedy. McCarthy was great in the lead role and Jason Statham was surprisingly hilarious in his part.
“Jurassic World” narrowly beat out “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” for the top spot for my favorite summer action film. Simply put, I had much more fun with “Jurassic World.” It was great to revisit the Jurassic universe again and see a true successor to the original. The film was helped by a great performance from Chris Pratt, some good humor and an amazing climax.
Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
While “Southpaw” was a bit clichéd, there’s no doubt that Jake Gyllenhaal delivered a phenomenal performance as the boxer Billy Hope. The character goes through an intense emotional roller coaster through the whole picture and Gyllenhaal displays all of it, the rage, the sadness, the passion, it’s all there. So far, it’s one of the best performances of the year.
Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
Part of what made “Ex Machina such a strong film was Vikander’s performance as the robot Ava. Her performance was able to perfectly display the thin line between simply a machine and a self-aware being.
Best Supporting Actor
O’Shea Jackson Jr. – Straight Outta Compton
“Straight Outta Compton” followed multiple people’s lives and many of the performances were spot on. None were better, though, than O’Shea Jackson Jr. who played his father Ice Cube. As a rapper, Cube brought a lot of fire and passion to his music and Jackson captured this very well in his performance. Jackson was able to display his character’s anger at his surroundings and his energy that he brought to the N.W.A.
Best Supporting Actress
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Talk about stealing the show. While the film is called “Mad Max,” Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa captured the spotlight for most of the runtime and will likely be an icon for years to come. It’s for good reason, too. Theron’s Furiosa was a tough, passionate and driven character who carried the movie through certain portions.
Best Action Scene
T-Rex/Raptor Tag Team – Jurassic World
This was probably the easiest choice to make. Despite going up against competition like the Avengers vs. Ultron and the action sequences in “Rogue Nation,” the final battle in “Jurassic World” still came out on top. The whole climactic scene was loud and intense, exactly how a ‘monster’ battle should be. It was the perfect way to end a fun summer blockbuster.
I considered putting either “Aloha” or “Vacation” in this spot, however, I think those films at least had more effort than “Pixels.” Adam Sandler’s latest comedy attempt just felt lazy. The idea itself was interesting, but it didn’t seem to utilize to its full potential. On top of the lame usage of a good idea, the movie had other negative qualities like the fact that it was straight up sexist in some parts.