Not Yet Rated’s Top 10 Movies of Summer 2015

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron

After the original Avengers broke countless box office records, expectations were incredibly high for the sequel. While Age of Ultron did not match the box office success or critical acclaim that its predecessor had, it was still a great movie, an amazing visual spectacle full of hilarious moments, and a more character-driven installment than the first. It’s always great to see the Avengers interact with each other, while James Spader’s Ultron was a fine adversary. Scarlet Witch was a memorable new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while The Vision easily steals the show. The movie also does a decent job setting up other movies in Marvel Studios’ Phase Three. Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron is yet another winner for Marvel. Bring on Infinity War. – Paul Romano

9. Slow West

Slow West is a great under the radar indie from first time director John Maclean. Kodi Smit-McPhee stars as Jay, a young Scottish boy who travels across America to find the woman that he loves. When he realizes that he can’t make it through the west alone, he must team up with a bounty hunter named Silas played by Michael Fassbender. Slow West is a short independent film but it uses every minute to progress the story. Maclean created a smaller scale western that feels like it could have been directed by Wes Anderson. I would highly recommend you give it a watch because it is a fresher take on the western genre that we haven’t seen in many years. – Colin M.

8. The Gift

Somehow one of the best films of the summer of 2015 was a low budget, intelligent, psychological thriller, called The Gift. Unlike most of the “thrillers” to come out this year The Gift actually was unpredictable, thrilling, and original. The less said about the actual plot the better, the trailers already give too much away, but Edgerton’s performance and direction are both impressive. Rebecca Hall is fantastic and Bateman’s casting was perfect. The jump scares in the film are cheap shocks but still work because the eerie music saws away, subtly rising, and our uneasiness is ratcheted up so slowly that we need these (false) reliefs. That being said The Gift managed to leave an impression on me I won’t forget anytime soon. – Shane Pasz

7. Jurassic World

Most of us would agree that Jurassic World wasn’t perfect. It had its problems, as it was definitely a film that required quite a bit of logic to be thrown out the window (I’m still wondering how a chick in high heels could outrun a dinosaur). That being said, it was one of the most entertaining popcorn blockbusters of the Summer. Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) reminded us that he’s one of the most likable actors working in Hollywood today, charming the audience with his wicked charisma, while Jurassic World reminded us how cool, yet frightening dinosaurs can be on the big screen. It even made us emotionally attached to a trainer (Pratt) and his computer-generated raptors, a feat that was easier said than done to pull off. It took us 22 years to get a worthy successor to the original Jurassic Park, but thankfully, we finally got it with Jurassic World. – John Mathews

6. Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton tells the story of NWA and its members as they rise from poverty and obscurity to international fame as the inventors of gangsta rap and as voices of the people. The film earn itsspot on this list because of its fantastic direction from F. Gary Gray, amazing performances from the cast, and wonderful storytelling. F. Gary Gray does an excellent job of portraying Compton as it truly was in 1980s. He goes on to paint a pretty accurate and human image of the members in their lives just after NWA split. Acting performances were so good that at least one of them (O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube) is deserving of a best actor nomination from the Academy. – Ben Martinez

5. Ant-Man

Ant-Man

Many peopled doubted that Ant-Man could be anywhere near good after Edgar Wright left and some of the cast dropped out. However, it is one of Marvel’s most unique and interesting films in a few years. Paul Rudd was perfect casting for the role of Scott Lang and Michael Douglas was great as always as an older Hank Pym. Director Peyton Reed created very original concepts for the shrinking and growing aspects of the titular hero. It will be interesting to see how Ant-Man plays into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but after this film, I’m very excited to see how they use him. – Colin M.

4. The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour serves as a portrait of an artist, the artist being David Foster Wallace. Jason Segel is revelatory as the troubled writer seeking something pure and spiritual. He gives one of the best performances of the year. He’s a gentle giant who could lash out at any moment, but Segel give an understated performance that invites the audience into his headspace. Jesse Eisenberg is also terrific as Dave Lipsky, the Rolling Stone journalist who struggles with his own writing. The End of the Tour is one of the best films of the year with some of the finest acting seen on screen in a while. – Shane Pasz

3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

The Mission: Impossible series has been going since 1996, and while most franchises tend to slow down by their fifth installments – if they make it that far – Rogue Nation only proves that there is still plenty of life in this saga. The outstanding stunts are taken on a whole new level, from Tom Cruise hanging off the side of a plane to an epic motorcycle chase sequence. The plot is complex and thrilling, while the acting is top-notch. Also, Rogue Nation features actress Rebecca Ferguson in a star-turning performance, as she absolutely steals the show. Overall, Rogue Nation is perhaps the best Mission: Impossible yet. I can’t wait to see the sixth installment. – Paul Romano

2. Inside Out

Pixar, the company behind instant animated classics such as Toy StoryThe Incredibles, and Finding Nemo, had lost a bit of their touch with their previous three films (Cars 2Brave, and Monsters University), which had lots of moviegoers scratching their heads. Thankfully, they regained their touch with Inside Out this Summer. The whole concept of showcasing five different emotions that exist in a human’s head (joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) was a brilliant one, and Pixar knocked this genius premise out of the park in their execution of it. The voice talent was perfectly cast (especially Lewis Black who was priceless as Anger), and the animation was beautiful. Inside Out, a movie about various kinds of emotions, had me feeling various kinds of emotions while watching it. The main one I felt walking out of the theater, though, was joy knowing that I spent my money on another masterpiece from Pixar. – John Mathews

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

There hasn’t been a summer blockbuster this explosively entertaining, passionately written, and cleverly filmed since… ever? This summer, George Miller took us all to school with Mad Max: Fury Road: a gutsy follow-up to the original trilogy, which seamlessly utilizes practical effects, masterful editing, and colorful cinematography. With blockbusters getting more and more generic and mopey, Fury Road comes roaring in with a burst of energy that sets it apart from any other $150 million sequel. It’s remarkable how untouched by the studio the whole thing seems. Miller had a clear vision for this story, and it was perfectly executed. As the titular character, Tom Hardy is great, but it’s Charlize Theron who steals this show as one of the strongest female leads of the year. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Furiosa becomes as iconic as Mad Max himself. Nothing this summer came close to George Miller’s magnum opus, and it could be several years before any film can match up to summer 2015’s best movie. – Jeff Kemp

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