The year in movies so far: dinos, disappointments and a dull shade of ‘Grey’

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Dinosaurs and the Fast and Furious and Mad Max ruled the world, Joy and Sadness ruled our hearts and Vinnie Chase is in danger of being forgotten once again.

Seems like only yesterday we were remembering the best and worst movie moments of 2014 — but here we are at the halfway mark of 2015, which means it’s time for our annual mid-term report card.

Deja View

Hardly a week has gone by without a remake, reboot, sequel or TV series adaptation, with the usual and predictable mixed bag of results.


THE BEST MOVIES OF 2015 SO FAR 5. Red Army 4. Love and Mercy 3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2. Mad Max: Fury Road 1. Inside Out


“Avengers: Age of Ultron” was as big/loud/fun as we thought it would be; “Furious 7” racked up huge worldwide box office with a mixture of outlandish stunts and a genuinely moving tribute to the late Paul Walker; “Mad Max” was one of the best practical-effects actioners of the century, and “Jurassic World’s” stunning box-office performance and generally positive reviews proved we’re still fascinated with big hungry dinosaurs.

On the downside, “Entourage,” “Pitch Perfect 2” (which DID do big box office) “Taken 3,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” “Poltergeist,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” and “Ted 2” were 50 Shades of Meh.

Wake Me Up When He Unties Her

Least sexy couple of 2015 to date: Dakota Johnson and that guy in “50 Shades of Grey.” What a dopey, dishwater dull movie. And we’re getting two more? To paraphrase the old country song, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Ben Stiller in “While We’re Young.” | A24

Ben Stiller in “While We’re Young.” | A24

Overlooked But Worth Your Time

The best movies you probably didn’t see:

•“Red Army,” Gabe Polsky’s wonderful documentary about the Soviet Union hockey dynasty. You’ll never think of the “Miracle On Ice” game the same way again.

• “While We’re Young,” Noah Baumbach’s Woody Allen-esque take on a New York couple of a certain age who develop a social crush on a young hipster couple.

• “True Story,” with James Franco and Jonah Hill delivering fine dramatic performances in a true crime thriller/character study.

• “Welcome to Me,” with Kristen Wiig’s brave and raw performance as an unstable woman who wins the lottery and rewards herself with her own talk show.

• “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” a beautiful gem about three high schoolers wholook, sound and act like actual, smart, authentic teenagers. Still playing in some theaters! Check it out!

Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper in “Aloha.” | Columbia Pictures

Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper in “Aloha.” | Columbia Pictures

I Stand Alone

OK, so maybe I WASa little nuts for recommending “Aloha,” Cameron Crowe’s wildly uneven and at times jaw-droppingly weird Hawaiian romance. Lord knows more than a few of you have told me just that.

But I still think Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Alec Baldwin saved the day, if just barely. No I really mean it.

Do I Really Believe “Inside Out” Is One of the Best Films of Any Kind of the Decade?


Emily Ratajkowski with Haley Joel Osment (left) and Adrian Grenier in “Entourage.” | Warner Bros.

Emily Ratajkowski with Haley Joel Osment (left) and Adrian Grenier in “Entourage.” | Warner Bros.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

As Nate Jones in Vulture pointed out, the timeline in the “Entourage” movie makes no sense. The film picks up a short while after the TV series ended in 2011, and then cuts to mid-2012, where the rest of the story takes place.

But … Emily Ratajkowski plays Emily Ratajkowski, and there’s talk of her Sports Illustrated shoot — which didn’t take place until last year.

Russell Wilson plays Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, but the Seattle Seahawks won the super Bowl in 2014.

Also, the Lloyd character gets married — which California law didn’t allow until 2013.

So “Entourage” the movie takes place in … its own time warp, I guess. Whatever the case, it felt dated.

I’m So Disappointed in You

Biggest disappointments of the first half of 2015:

•“Tomorrowland” – George Clooney disappears for half the movie, and we spend a lot more time in Todayland than Tomorrowland.•“The D Train” – Jack Black in one of the creepiest movies in recent memory.

•“Serena” – Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence recapture about 12 percent of their “Silver Linings Playbook” magic.

•“Get Hard” – Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart texting each other would be hilarious. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart walking around and just talking would be hilarious. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in this dud are something quite less than hilarious.

•“Jupiter Ascending” – The Wachowskis take us deeper into the Matrix of Astoundingly Bad Movies.

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