Countdown to the Best Movie of 2015: #30-21

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

2015 has seen a lot of great movies, and while I didn't make it to the theater as much as I usually do, I've seen enough great movies that I want to share them with you. These movies are ranked according to my personal preference, so you may see some movies with 4 stars ranked higher than movies with 5 stars, for example. The primary factor I judged these movies by in my rankings was how likely I am to want to revisit them.

#30 The Age of Adaline (4 stars)

  • Released April 24.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
  • Audience Score: 67%
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Gross: $57.7 million
  • Everything about this movie was remarkably human. It falls short in presenting a compelling story of mortality, but the characters themselves are quite enjoyable--especially Harrison Ford's performance.

#29 Minions (4 stars)

  • Released July 10.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
  • Audience Score: 50%
  • Budget: $74 million
  • Gross: $1.159 billion
  • I went into this movie with little expectation of enjoying it. I have yet to see the Despicable Me movies from which these characters are drawn, and my only experience with the little yellow buggers is commercials, toys, and marketing campaigns. I expected to find them annoying as hell. Instead, I fell in love with their gleeful (innocence?). They're evil, but they make it look fun.

#28 The Divergent Series: Insurgent (4 stars)

  • Released March 20
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%
  • Audience Score: 60%
  • Budget: $110 million
  • Gross: $297.3 million
  • Lately it seems like there's been an assembly line for dystopian YA book-adaptions. Love them or hate them, they're not all created equal. In a loaded genre that ranges from the critical/commercial bomb that was City of Bones to the behemoth that is the Hunger Games franchise, Insurgent fails to set itself apart as the next big deal, but it does mark a noticeable improvement from its predecessor. It's sleeker, less archetypal, better acted. It's worth your buck twenty-five at redbox.

#27 Cinderella (5 stars)

  • Released March 13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
  • Audience Score: 78%
  • Budget: $95 million
  • Gross: $542.7 million
  • I'm not a big fan of fairy tales, hence why this appears so low on my list. But I don't have to be a fan of the genre to recognize when it puts forth one of its best. In a Hollywood besieged by reboots, this Cinderella is a breath of fresh air in an environment becoming increasingly stale. Cinderella brings forth all the best pieces of the animated classic into a live action format more fit for wider audiences. Your Disney collection will not be complete without it.

#26 Taken 3 (3 stars)

  • Released January 21
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%
  • Audience Score: 45%
  • Budget: $55 million
  • Gross: $326.5 million
  • Easily the worst of the series, but still the best action series and character in recent years. Taken 3 plays more like a "Grand Theft Auto" game than a legitimate plot. It's a mess, but a fun one. The one thing the movie did right? Star Liam Neeson. For whatever reason, this generation relates to him, and he can make any movie work. 

#25 San Andreas (3.5 stars)

  • Released May 29
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50%
  • Audience Score: 53%
  • Budget: $110 million
  • Gross: $473.8 million
  • It's far from the visual masterpiece that was 2012, but it succeeds in the humanity department establishing far more likable characters who gave far better performances. 

#24 Fifty Shades of Grey (4 stars)

  • Released February 13.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%
  • Audience Score: 41%
  • Budget: $40 million
  • Gross: $571 million
  • A cinematic delight, the visual sheen and musical score of this film save it from its substandard story. The adult situations that make this series famous are far from the grotesque horrors that I expected, and are actually far more tasteful than most of what Hollywood's putting out these days. Furthermore the heroin actually stands apart as the true driving personality, not the weak insult to women that "feminists" claim she is. It is the titular character who is the true victim, as, SPOILERS AHEAD, he was subjected to the dom/sub lifestyle as a child and had no choice in the abuse he was subjected to by a grown adult. It is our protagonist who decides exactly what she is for and against and stands up for herself quite readily. 

#23 Focus (4 stars)

  • Released February 13.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%
  • Audience Score: 53%
  • Budget: $50.1 million
  • Gross: $159.1 million
  • The same situation as Taken, it is the actor who sells the plot. Will Smith's star power continues to bring average movies into the spotlight by adding his uniquely lovable personality to roles that would otherwise play somewhat flat. Not that there's anything wrong with Focus. It would be worth seeing regardless of who plays the lead. But there's no doubt that Will Smith adds an extra notch to any movie he graces.

#22 The Duff (4 stars)

  • Released February 20.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
  • Audience Score: 67%
  • Budget: $8.5 million
  • Gross: $43.5 million
  • The Duff will never achieve teen movie greatness on the level of Mean Girls or Breakfast Club, but it's better than the bulk of coming-of-age movies to come out in recent years. Mae Whitman is delightful as ever and the movie is humorous, realistic, and relatable. 

#21 Serena (4 stars)

  • Released March 27.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 18%
  • Audience Score: 24%
  • Budget: $30 million
  • Gross: $3.9 million
  • The storytelling in this had a myriad of inconsistencies, and wasn't exactly a tale that needed to be told. But Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have a proven chemistry that could work its way through anything. 

Check back tomorrow for the next ten best movies of 2015!

View #38-31 here > http://www.sanditepride.com/film/160229moviecountdown