By: Bailey Hart
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: This indie-film-that-could surprisingly won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, due to it’s clever camerawork, quirky style, and an admittedly personal approach to deadly illness. However, the film’s positives are overshadowed by its obvious so-unfunny-its-funny humor, a cliched and unrealistic view of high school life, and a wealth of one-dimensional, uninteresting, and poorly developed characters.
Trainwreck: With too few genuine chuckle-worthy moments and consistently conflicting themes, Trainwreck introduces itself as a comedy with a unique perspective, before unapologetically sauntering into well-worn romantic comedy territory.
Terminator Genisys: Terminator Genisys is a film that feels more like lame fan-fiction than a legitimate studio film. Despite solid special effects and a clear adoration for the original James Cameron films, Genisys features poor casting, incomprehensible action, and a screenplay that would perplex even the most diehard fans of the Terminator franchise.
Jurassic World: Jurassic World exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the film industry today: messy screenwriting, obnoxiously obvious product placement, and a complete lack of inspiration. However, the director is impressively adept at creating tension in many dino-packed scenes, and the acting is mostly impressive enough to warrant the price of admission.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: Tom Cruise is at the top of his predictable game in this standard spy caper. Rogue Nation features several well crafted action set pieces, but the plot is especially bland and forgettable, and the characters seem to be restricted to one dimension.
Mad Max: Fury Road: 70 year old director George Miller brings the biggest surprise of the summer with Mad Max: Fury Road, a kinetic and cartoonish thrill ride that features almost exclusively practical effects in its many exciting car chase sequences. Impressively, Miller fills his masterpiece with insightful political and social commentary, as well as exceptional characterization and astoundingly in-depth world building with the absolute bare minimum of dialogue.
Straight Outta Compton: Compton may be flawed, but it certainly is not without ambition. Here is a sprawling yet intimate look at the members of the rap group N.W.A. during political, financial, and personal struggles, that uses genre conventions to its advantage, resulting in a predictable yet undeniably effective biopic.
Love and Mercy: Where Compton succeeds in portraying the history of a musical group over a long period of time, Love and Mercy focuses instead on a single member of the Beach Boys during two specific time periods in his life. Paul Dano and John Cusack show career-best performances as Brian Wilson in a personal, unique, and melodramatic retrospective into the life and mind of a seriously damaged, yet musically ingenious, human being.