Keith's BlogMovie ReviewsBest Movies of Year 1 of

Keith NoakesJune 13, 2016

I didn’t think I would ever get here but here I am, now on the one year anniversary of when I started this site. I’ve done a lot of things over this time but the biggest thing for sure was movie reviews. I’ve written a lot of them over the past year which means I’ve seen a lot of movies over that time. Some of them were great and some of them were not so much. Below are the top 10 movies I’ve reviewed since I started my site. Do not confuse them for a best of 2016 so far list, that one will be coming soon.

10. Love and Mercy (review)

I didn’t get the chance to see it back in 2015 but I saw earlier this year during my quest to see 2015 movies I missed. I’m glad I did but I will say that if I had seen it just a few months earlier, it would have definitely made my list of top 10 movies of 2015. The film features Paul Dano and John Cusack as younger and older version of the Beach Boys member Brian Wilson. The film covered both parts of his life by alternating between Dano and Cusack. Their performances, along with Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks’, made this for me and this my favorite film of all 4.

9. The Lady in the Van (review)

This is not something I would have imagined having here but seeing this movie changed my mind. The story is simple enough with a man named Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman named Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith) living in her van that’s parked in his driveway. Bennett is an eccentric character and his relationship with Shepherd was great but it is Smith’s surprisingly deep performance as Shepherd was very entertaining and the best part of the movie.

8. Deadpool (review)

This isn’t your typical superhero movie and that’s a good thing. I liked this in particular because it took everything we know and love about superhero movies and took it in a completely different direction which was a welcome surprise. Of course the most obvious difference is the R-rating which meant more language, violence, and sexual content. Other than in Watchmen, I’ve never seen anything close to this before and I found this very refreshing. I thought this movie was very funny as well with the fourth wall breaking and the other various superhero movie references. Ryan Reynolds was great here as Deadpool/Wade Wilson and T.J. Miller as Weasel was a formidable sidekick.

7. Captain America: Civil War (review)

I’ve always been a big fan of Marvel movies, especially the Avengers movies (first one more than the second). After the disappointment of Batman v Superman, it was nice to see a superhero team-up movie done right here. While Batman v Superman felt very convoluted, this was better here since all the characters have already been established in previous movies. There was a great balance between all of the characters present here and the chemistry here was great and made it all very fun to watch. The story here was surprisingly good and made sense with what was happening. The performances were great here and the production values were just as high as always. This is definitely one of the best MCU and superhero movies of all time.

6. Ex Machina (review)

I will say that I didn’t know what I was expecting while walking in to see this the first time. I saw the robotic Alicia Vikander in the trailers and I was just curious about how they did that. But there was a lot more to this than that. This is a sci-fi movie, obviously, but the movie was very subtle about it. Nathan’s (Oscar Isaac) lair was very futuristic and its design made it feel very claustrophobic which added to the suspense here. This was why the movie won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.This movie is about people, Ava the AI included. Their interactions is what drove the plot forward and were great to watch because of the actors’ performances and the script which was nominated for an Oscar. Vikander won an Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl but her performance here as Ava should also have gotten consideration.

5. The Martian (review)

Is there anything Matt Damon can’t do? While he already was in a movie in space (Interstellar *cough* *cough*), this one featured him in a starring role. I was not (and still not) familiar with the book in which this is based but the trailers looked exciting. The film had a lot of great effects here but what really tied those together was the story and Matt Damon’s performance as astronaut Mark Watney. Damon’s likeability here made Watney’s many exploits fun to watch. Surprisingly, when the film got too intense, they would try to ease the situation with comedy and it worked for the most part as it did not feel forced and Damon also helped. All the other supporting performances helped as their quest to save Watney was just as compelling.

4. The Lego Movie (review)

This is probably the most surprising addition here but this has definitely earned its place here. Big Hero 6 was a great movie and deserved its Oscar win for Best Animated Feature but this was robbed in that it wasn’t even nominated. The animation was great here with its use of CGI and stop-motion. Everything looked great and the amount of detail here was great too. The best part of this movie has to be the story which just overflows with fun. The best animated films can appeal to both young and old, giving each something to offer and this one did it better than most. This offered crazy, fun characters for the kids while also having a lot of references to keep adults engaged. The voice acting was great as well, featuring Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell just to name a few. I don’t care about the twist. I just haven’t had this much fun in a long time.

3. Steve Jobs (review)

I never saw (and probably never will) the previous film about Steve Jobs featuring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs because the I can not associate myself with something like that. The choice to cast Michael Fassbender as Jobs was a fascinating one but it definitely worked out here since he gradually became Jobs over the course of the movie. While this film is about Jobs, it isn’t a straight biography as it focuses on four big moments in his life which were four big unveilings. The was this worked was that the lead-up too and each unveiling acted as acts to the movie. What I liked was that the style of the film changed in every act as it adjusted to the time period. It doesn’t seem like much but there was a lot going on here as each character had their own issues. The best part here has to be the very Sorkin-esque dialogue and the performances, especially Fassbender who deserved his Best Actor Oscar nomination.

2. Spotlight (review)

This was my favorite (and many others’ as well) movie of 2015. This film was about a team of journalists, called Spotlight, in 2001, who were tasked to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against a priest who was accused of allegedly molesting 80 boys. The film was a glamorization of investigative journalism, in the vein of All The President’s Men (a film that I have still not seen). The Spotlight team’s investigation was very compelling to watch and struck an emotional chord within me with how it exposed the various parties who covered up these crimes for all this time. And seeing how this struck an emotional chord within the members of the Spotlight team was great to watch as well. This was due to the Oscar nominated performances of Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and should’ve been nominated Michael Keaton and the Oscar winning script. The movie was very beautiful and flowed nicely from beginning to end and was definitely something that doesn’t often happen.

1. Her (review)

This was my favorite movie of 2014 and also the only movie I’ve ever given a 10 too on my site. This was for sure the most original film I’ve seen in a long time from the script, which won an Oscar and the inventive production design, which was nominated for an Oscar. For those who don’t know or simply forgot, a lonely writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system who he names Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) that’s designed to meet his every need. The film focuses heavily on the relationship between Theo and Samantha. Even though we never see Samantha, their relationship was great to watch here and was way more convincing than a lot of things out there today. I understand why Johansson wasn’t nominated for anything since she just provided her voice here but I strongly believe that Phoenix got robbed by not being nominated for an Oscar for his performance since he was amazing here. Even after all this time, this is the best movie I’ve ever reviewed on this site and one of my top 5 movies of all time.



  • TheMarckoguy

    June 13, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary! While I haven’t followed you for the longest amount of time, I have really enjoyed reading your stuff. Keep up the great work!

  • The Film School

    June 13, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    Awesome man, congrats! (You definitely don’t need to see the Kutcher Jobs film)

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