While the film thematically fits very snuggly with the remainder of Crowe's past work and it has much more on its mind than just existing as a standard romantic comedy, the problems with "Aloha" are considerable. First of all, the romantic comedy element of the film was Crowe's least convincing cinematic romance to date, a surprising flaw considering how beautifully he has mined the highs and lows of the human heart in the past. Returning to Emma Stone, her actual performance felt awkward and unconvincing, a rarity for an actress so solid. Mostly, it felt as if the studio re-edited the film to death, thus sucking any life out of the proceedings because for all of the story threads and themes, "Aloha" truly felt as if there was a greater, longer film within the material presented. But beyond any possible studio tampering, it was just a film that endured a painful, lengthy gestation and perhaps the stars simply were not aligned for this project. Very sad, since it felt to be as passionately pursued as anything Crowe has ever done before.
But then there are the bad ones, the ones that really let me down, from the ones that could have had some potential but failed to the ones that just need to have the stuffing beaten out of them one last time.
5. "Rock The Kasbah" Directed by Barry Levinson
(Originally reviewed October 2015)
4. "Spectre" Directed by Sam Mendes
(Originally reviewed November 2015)
3. "Mistress America" Directed by Noah Baumbach
(Originally reviewed September 2015)
2. "Ricki And The Flash" Directed by Jonathan Demme
Originally reviewed August 2015)
And for me, the worst film of 2015 was...
1. "Jurassic World" Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Dear readers, I know that you have seen it, perhaps several times. I also know that many of you have loved the film but even while it is a glistening production, visually seamless and so sleek that it could nearly pass for one of Executive Producer Steven Spielberg's own directorial efforts, such a shame it is that the movie is actually terrible. I hated "Jurassic World" so passionately because it only confirmed my worst fears about it before seeing it: that there is no reason for the film to exist...other than to cash in upon nostalgia. It is, simply put, a stupid film about stupid people who do stupid things just to get themselves chomped by rampaging dinosaurs.
I know that having strong human characters has never been the strongest suit of this series and that the dinosaurs are the real stars but Chris Pratt, the improbably high-heeled Bryce Dallas Howard and everyone else are completely wasted in an effort that has seemingly pretends that the other three films in the series don't exist (while also serving nostalgic nods to the original 1993 film) and so, we witness human characters making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Therefore, we have a film where there are no real thrills, excitement, awe, terror, thrills or anything that would make us give a damn about anything that ever happens within the film.
Vaguely sexist, gratuitously violent (the extended, mean spirited and unnecessary dinosaur killing of a minor female supporting character was truly the year's ugliest sight to me) and again, without even one brain cell in its pretty head, "Jurassic World" was definitely bigger and louder than ever before. But it was so big and so loud that it stomped out any sense of creativity and imagination altogether.
(Originally reviewed July 2015)
STAY TUNED for PART FOUR-MY TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF 2015!!!!!