SPECIAL: The Best Movies of 2015

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Chris Luckett

Last year, in my Best Movies of 2014 article, I commented on how weak a year we’d had. If only I’d known what 2015 would be like!

For the first time since I launched The Apple Box in 2011, I don’t have 25 movies to strongly recommend. I’ve always said the only movies that deserve to be on a “Best of the Year” list are 4½- and 5-star films, and standing by that, that leaves me with 17. Just 17 movies last year, out of the nearly 150 that I saw, were good enough to write home about.

There were far more average or mediocre movies compared to great ones last year, but that doesn’t mean 2015 was a wash, by any means. These 17 movies, in fact, feel all the more special by being surrounded by weaker fare than usual. These films reminded us all that no matter how bad a year’s cinematic crop, there will always be brilliant movies. Continue reading

BAFTA AWARDS 2016: The Winners

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

There are dozens of movie awards shows, and dozens more that don’t even have broadcasted ceremonies. While the Academy Awards may be considered the pinnacle here, every country has their equivalent, and arguably no country’s comes as close to Oscar’s prestige as the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards.

In the wake of Valentine’s Day yesterday, many missed the late-night headlines of the winners at last night’s awards ceremony, generally considered to be the best prognosticator of the eventual winners of the Oscars (if you take the Guilds out of the equation). Curious about what to put down for your Oscar pool next week? Until my final predictions are posted, these results may be your best bets. Continue reading

REVIEW: The Force Awakens

Chris Luckett

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When it was announced to the world that the director of the seventh Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, would be J.J. Abrams, it made the most sense of anyone imaginable. The task of continuing arguably the most beloved film saga of all time — while also redeeming the collective disappointment of “the prequels” — was a fool’s errand, after all.

Of course, so was rebooting Star Trek in 2009, which Abrams handled with such deft aplomb that it resurrected the entire franchise. Abrams showed the perfect flair for paying respect to a series’ roots (which a new Star Wars movie is required, by nature, to do) while also being unafraid to take bold chances (which the three most recent Star Wars movies largely failed to do).

Perhaps most anticipated about The Force Awakens has not been what the exact plot would be or how new and old characters would intertwine but how well Abrams would do with the torch that Disney passed on, after George Lucas finally released his grip. The world can now release its collective breath. J.J. Abrams’ hugely successful rescue of the series represents the truest new hope for the saga since 1977 — and in more literal ways than you may expect. Continue reading