This was a great year for movies, so let's just get into it.
1. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Was this the year the death knell sounded for the origin story? In addition to the usual dumb remakes and pointless prequels, this year we got three films that continued stories from old, beloved products rather than re-began anew. Both “Creed” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” saw aging characters passing the baton to the new class. But the best was the fourth “Mad Max,” which jettisoned the verboten Mel Gibson for Tom Hardy but did bring back genius series director George Miller. With the series’ original post-apocalyptic entries, Miller basically invented the language of the super-kinetic action film, and no doubt he was pissed that the genre had been taken over by the chaotic, stuff-comin’-at-ya style of Michael Bay et al. So Miller, who is 70, showed you how you make a real action movie, and he did it without a pace-dragging, unnecessary backstory. Even better, he did it while crafting an angry feminist salvo about old dudes trying to take back their country from independent women. Hardy’s mumbling Max wasn’t even the real star; it was Charlize Theron’s aptly named Furiosa, she of the one arm and thousand-yard stare. It’s a big, beautiful behemoth that never stops moving and a masterpiece of pure action cinema, shiny and chrome. (Our review)