Jose’s Top 5:
The Raid 2 did what sequels do best and took the small scale action of the first film and made it bigger and badder. The Raid 2 introduced insane new characters for Rama to fight against and took its inventive action on the road in the best vehicular action set piece of the year thus far. Does it run a bit too long? Sure. But most of that run-time is spent on creative and supremely entertaining action sequences.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is exactly what summer blockbuster season is all about. Director Matt Reeves has put together a thoughtful and entertaining film. Andy Serkis continues to push performance capture forward. He and the other ape characters amaze in this film. The humans do a solid job but the apes steal the show. As Caesar tries to take his “people” forward their struggles are compelling and interesting. Throw some impressive action on top and you have the best blockbuster of the summer.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller have built themselves a strong reputation of taking projects that could be devoid of any creative spark and working them into good and even great movies. The LEGO Movie exceeded expectations and delivered a fun, intelligent, and hilarious take on the source material. Also I’ve had “Everything is Awesome” stuck in my head since I saw the movie in February.
I’m a long time Marvel Comics fan and I certainly have a predisposition to enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Winter Soldier is the third post Avengers MCU film and it continues the trend started by Iron Man 3 of injecting some more individuality into these films. Putting Cap and Black Widow into a spy thriller was a good way to explore the internal struggle of the Captain America character. My favorite part of the movie? The introduction of Sam Wilson and the friendship between Cap and the Falcon.
Chef opened in theaters at the perfect time. The story is simple and straightforward. Chef feels like a true labor of love from Jon Favreau and that love oozes out of the film like cheddar from a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes all you need from a movie is a good time and Chef is really close to being pure joy put on screen. I had so much fun with the cast and the music just soaking it all in that I ended up watching the film in theaters three times. Chef is not full of explosions and it does not hold the secret to the meaning of life. What it does have is solid performances, gorgeous looking food, and probably the most entertaining soundtrack of the summer.