At this point in 2015, we'd already seen some the top-tier movies of the year with "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Inside Out" and "Love & Mercy." I'm not sure that's the case this year, but here are the five movies I've enjoyed the most.
Honorable mentions: "Green Room," "Deadpool," and "10 Cloverfield Lane"
1. "Midnight Special"
The best movie I've seen so far this year is "midnight Special," a thriller about a father on the run with his son who has mysterious powers various agencies wanna exploit. Michael Shannon deserves Oscar consideration as a protective father, learning how to trust his boy. Writer and Director Jeff Nichols' screenplay is nuanced and intimate, exciting and mysterious. "Midnight Special" is something special indeed.
Just go ahead and give "Zootopia" the animated movie Oscar now, please. This Disney crime caper with talking animals is smarter and funnier than most live action movies we'll see this year. So much of it feels like vintage Disney but with a modern progressive message. It has the potential to be a new standard in quality for the studio.
3. "The Witch"
I'm not a big horror fan because we so rarely see something new or innovative in the genre, which is what makes "The Witch" the real deal. Not only is it gorgeously written and filmed, the dreadful mood is genuinely scary with the power to invade dreams.
4. "Everybody Wants Some!!"
Here is a fantastically funny throw-back to 80s party movies, at least on the surface. But writer and director Richard Linklater is up to something else: a deconstruction of fake machismo hiding deep insecurities.Plus, it was mostly shot in San Marcos, which isn't the only reason it hits close to home. I think I grew up with some of these characters.
5. "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping"
This is an often hilarious resurrection of the mockumentary formula pioneered by "Spinal Tap," but this new movie feels fresh because of its ruthless take-down of modern music and celebrity, where the minimally talented get maximum exposure. Andy Samburg and his Lonely Island team have wickedly funny observations, and the original music is a scream. I saw this twice in the theater.
Acclaimed movies I didn't have time to see because I'm a parent with less time so get off my back: "The Lobster," "Swiss Army Man," "Sing Street," Love & Friendship," "Purge: Election Year"