State of the Movie Union 2015: The Surprises, the Overrated and the Underrated

We always spend the first few months of the year seeing leftover Oscar films that are trying to reach a wider audience, while gunning for golden statues. They are often the highlights in the bleak early months at the movies. Sometimes, a movie or two can surprise early on and be the one that makes it all the way to the Dolby Theater the next year. There really hasn’t been anything like that quite yet but few films have managed to surprise and entertain and came without much notice or fanfare. Some movies this year have found critical and audience approval alike, but left me wondering why. Here is a look at the surprises, overrated movies and underrated movies of 2015, so far:

The Movie I Was Most Surprised By:

11191223_oriJurassic World: It’s a valid question to wonder if we really needed another movie in the “Jurassic Park” series. Director Colin Trevorrow (who previously directed the wonderful “Safety Not Guaranteed”) delivers a thrilling and entertaining summer blockbuster with the franchise’s fourth installment. “Jurassic World” certainly isn’t high cinema – and never tries to be – but it succeeds at giving summer audiences what they are looking for in a movie without ever pandering and throwing special effects on screen for the sake of throwing special effects on screen. The story is a mess but you go for the dinos and it delivers.

The Most Overrated Movie of 2015, so far:

11189501_oriKingsman: The Secret Service: The thing about “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is that it is quite fun for a stretch of time. Unfortunately, it’s dazzling energy dries up quick and the movie becomes exhausted and it really shows on screen. Once the film reaches its numbing and repetitive conclusion, I was long checked-out of this one. People seemed to like it, however, as it sits at a 74-percent critic score and 86-percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Matthew Vaughn was on to something here but I wasn’t buying it for very long.

The Most Underrated Movie of 2015, so far:

11190643_oriRun All Night: In the most reductive sense, “Run All Night” is just the next Liam Neeson kills everyone movie. Not since the first “Taken” has one of his movies been so enjoyable. “Run All Night” is stylish – sometimes a bit too stylish – and pulpy thriller. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (who directed Neeson in “Unknown” and “Non-Stop”) has crafted a tension-filled movie but one with surprisingly weighty drama. I walked in to the movie expected another routine Neeson picture but got one of the most entertaining movies the first half of the year has given us.

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