Sarah Knight Adamson is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and a voting member for the Critics Choice Awards for Movies.

Sarah Knight Adamson and Jessica Aymond are both Members of the Chicago Film Critics Association

Film Rating Code:

★★★★ Outstanding Film- Run, don’t walk to the nearest movie theater.

★★★½ Excellent Film- Highly recommend seeing the film in a movie theater.

★★★ Very Good Film- Recommend seeing the film in a movie theater.

★★½ Good Film- Wait for the DVD, the film is still worth viewing.

★★ Wait for the DVD and proceed with caution.

★½ Wait for the DVD the film has major problems in most areas.

★ Can’t recommend the film.

Top 20 Movies of 2015 and More!

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Sarah Knight Adamson − Member Broadcast Film Critics and Chicago Film Critics        Photo Credit: Patrick Pike Studios ©2015 Mariposa, California

Top 20 Movies of 2015−In Order of Favorites-Starting with #1

1. Spotlight Drama, based on true events. Director & screenplay credit, Tom McCarthy, Screenplay, Josh Singer. An all-star cast, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci and Liev Schreiber. The setting is the year 2001 when a shocking newspaper story by the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team caused a crisis in Catholic Church.
“They knew, and they let it happen! It could’ve been you, it could’ve been me, it could’ve been any of us,” said news reporter Mike Rezendes (Ruffalo).

Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci star in "Spotlight." Photo Credit: Open Road Films

Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci star in “Spotlight.” Photo Credit: Open Road Films

2. Mad Max: Fury Road Science Fiction, Action. The fourth film in the series by Director George Miller and screenplay credit. Stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. The setting is 45 years after the last film (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1985) in a Post-Apocalyptic Australian desert wasteland. Mad Max (Hardy) believes the only way to survive is to wander alone until he teams up with Furiosa (Theron).
“As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy…me or everyone else.” said Max, the hero of the film.

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Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron star in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Photo Credit: George Miller

3. The Martian Science Fiction, based on a book of the same name by Andy Weir. Ridley Scott directs a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Matt Damon stars as Astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead after a violent storm and left behind by his crew while on Mars. With only meager supplies, Watney must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to survive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the martian” home.

It features a star-studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

Mark Watney quotes: “In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option, I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

“I admit it’s fatally dangerous, but I’d get to fly around like Iron Man.”

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Matt Damon stars in ‘The Martian’ Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

4. Inside Out Is an animated film by director Pete Docter. Riley, an 11 year old girl is uprooted from her Minnesota home when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Her emotions; Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind. Her emotions struggle to adjust to her new life in San Francisco, causing turmoil in Headquarters.

The film starts with the clever line, “Did you ever look at someone and wonder, what is going on inside their head?”

Sadness says,“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.”

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‘Inside Out’ Photo Still: Disney/Pixar

5. CreedDrama, based on the previous six Rocky films. Ryan Coogler has director and screenplay credit. Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis (Donnie), Apollo Creed’s son. In what can be called “Rocky 7,” Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) trains Donnie to box for the Heavy Weight Championship of the World. Tessa Thompson costars as Donnie’s girlfriend and Phylicia Rashad as Donnie’s mom.

Rocky Balboa, while pointing toward Adonis’ reflection in the mirror says, “That’s the toughest opponent you’re ever going to have to face.”

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Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone star in ‘Creed’ Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

6. The Big Short– Written and directed by Adam McKay based the film on Michael Lewis’ best-seller of the same name. The film stars Christian Bale who plays the real-life person Michael Burry. Steve Carell also stars. Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt costar. With Melissa Leo, & Marisa Tomei.

The Big Short tells the story of the housing market crash of 2008. Following three different groups and one individual who saw a way to ‘short the market’ which is basically the betting against mortgage loans.

Jared Vennett says, “Tell me the difference between stupid and illegal and I’ll have my wife’s brother arrested.”

"The Big Short" stars Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale (not pictured). Photo credit: Paramount Pictures.

“The Big Short” stars Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale (not pictured). Photo credit: Paramount Pictures.

7. The Revenant Drama, the setting is the American frontier in South Dakota in 1823 and tells the epic tale of an incredible legendary fur trapper, Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The director is Alejandro Iñárritu, who won the Oscar for Best Director last year for Birdman.

Glass faced all kinds of dangers in the harsh world of trapping, and we see most of them in this film. For starters, he’s attacked by an enormous grizzly bear, and left for dead by a fellow trapper played by Tom Hardy. He didn’t die. Consequently, the majority of the film is viewing DiCaprio’s determination and courage to survive so he can avenge not only being left for dead but the death of his son.

“I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’d done it already,” said Hugh Glass.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in "The Revenant." Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in “The Revenant.” Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

8. JoyComedy/Drama based on the true story of Joy Mangano, who invented the “Miracle Mop, ” Jennifer Lawrence stars as Joy and Robert De Niro as her father. The story is told through Joy’s grandmother (Diane Ladd). She tells Joy she’s going to grow up to do great things. The film follows Joy, a single mother of three children, through four decades as she builds her business empire in the 90s after creating the Miracle Mop and demonstrating it on the Home Shopping Channel.

Virginia Madsen plays Joy’s mother. Edgar Ramirez plays both Joy’s husband and ex-husband. Isabella Rossellini is Robert De Niro’s girlfriend. Bradley Cooper plays an executive with the Home Shopping Network.

Joy says, [after her sister attends a meeting without consent] “Never speak, on my behalf, about my business, again.”

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Jennifer Lawrence stars as Joy. Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

9. Bridge of Spies A Drama, based on true, historical facts. The director is Steven Spielberg. The setting is the cold war of 1957 through the 60s. Tom Hanks stars as James B. Donovan, an American insurance lawyer who becomes an unlikely hero. He’s asked by his supervisor to defend Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) who is accused of being a Soviet spy. When he’s found guilty, Hanks advises the judge to keep him in jail rather that give him the death penalty, because he sees him a chance for a prisoner exchange in the future in case the soviet’s catch a U.S. spy, which does happen three years later.

James Donovan (Tom Hanks) “Aren’t you worried?”
Rudolf Abel “Would it help?”

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‘Bridge of Spies’ stars Tom Hanks. Photo Credit: Dreamworks

10. Love and MercyDrama based on true facts of the musical group The Beach Boys. The director is Bill Pohlad. The film centers on Brian Wilson the singer, the songwriter and the “tour de force” leader of the group. It’s divided into two-time frames; the 60’s Wilson is played by Paul Dano when the band rose to fame, and the 80’s Wilson is played by John Cusack; who was truly suffering. Wilson suffers not only from mental illness but from the 24-hour care of therapist Dr. Eugene Landy played by Paul Giamatti, who’s an abusive father figure. Wilson’s life changes when he meets his second wife Melinda Ledbetter played by Elizabeth Banks; serendipitously while he was buying a new Cadillac.

Younger Brian Wilson says, “We’re not surfers, we never have been, and real surfers don’t dig our music anyway!”

Older Brian Wilson says to Melinda Ledbetter, “I want you to leave, but I don’t want you to leave me.”

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Paul Dano stars as Brian Wilson in ‘Love and Mercy’ Photo Credit: Roadside Attractions

* All of the following movies I highly recommend.
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Posted in Celebrity Photos & Events, Movies 2015, Photos, Red Carpet and Events, Red Carpet and Events, Reviews

The Revenant (R) ★★★½

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in "The Revenant." Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in “The Revenant.” Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

The Revenant is a Grizzly Adventure Epic To Be Experienced

The word revenant is defined as someone who has returned from the dead, which is a fairly good indicator of what’s in store for Leonardo DiCaprio in his new film. The Revenant is set in the 1820’s in the unsettled territory on the US/Canadian border.  The story, inspired by true events, has several interesting historical elements, but is really at its core a revenge story. Although audiences may find the film slow at times or even too gory, the fantastic action sequences, visually stunning sets, camerawork, and the performance by DiCaprio make up for its shortcomings.

The story centers on Hugh Glass, a fur trapper played by DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street, 2015). He is joined by his son, a young Native American named Hawk (played by Forrest Goodluck in his first screen appearance). They serve as scouts for a company of American soldiers and fur trappers and after returning to camp after a hunt, find their colleagues under attack from Pawnee warriors.  Although they try and stand their ground, the American company is quickly overwhelmed and must retreat to their boats dodging arrows along the way. As the dozen or so survivors set up camp and take stock of the remaining furs, the audience learns that Glass and Hawk are no strangers to violent raids as they were the lone survivors of an attack on their Indian village which also claimed Hawk’s mother. Although the circumstances of the attack are murky, it’s clear that Hawk is what Glass values most about in the world. Most of this backstory comes in the form of vague flashbacks from Glass and from insults from another trapper named Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015). Fitzgerald, who has a scarred head from a scalping attack, directs much hostility to Glass and his “half-bred” son as he bears hatred for the Native Americans.

The next day, as the Company heads back to their fort, Glass while on a scouting mission, accidentally stumbles upon bear cubs and is savagely attacked by an adult grizzly. Although he manages to kill the bear, he is left with severe wounds and his men are in disbelief that he’s still breathing. Captain Henry (Domhall Gleeson, Brooklyn, 2015), who respects Glass’s contributions, has his men haul Glass rather than leave him to die, but the severe weather and mountainous terrain make this nearly impossible. Rather than putting Glass out of his misery, Captain Henry leaves Glass’s son, two volunteers, Fitzgerald and a young soldier to take care of him until help arrives (or bury him if doesn’t make it). The next day, Fitzgerald starts digging a grave, tries to smother Glass, but instead eventually kills Hawk, who intercedes to protect his father. Fitzgerald then flees the camp after convincing the young soldier that Indians are close by, and Glass cannot be saved. We now find Glass lying motionless in a dirt hole next to his dead son. Over the course of the film, Glass refuses to give up and struggles to survive in the wilderness to find the man who killed his son and left him for dead. Read more…

Posted in Movies 2015, Reviews

By The Sea (R) ★★½

Angelina Jolie-Pitt and Brad Pitt star in "By The Sea." Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Angelina Jolie-Pitt and Brad Pitt star in “By The Sea.” Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Don’t (Always) Judge A Film By Its Trailer

It’s been a decade since the last on-screen Pitt partnership in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005). The real-life power couple’s latest venture, By The Sea, takes on a completely different tone.

The setting is the mid-1970’s in the French Riviera. Former dancer, Vanessa (Angelina Jolie-Pitt, Maleficent, 2014), and her writer husband Roland (Brad Pitt, The Big Short, 2015), travel the country together. Any onlooker would agree that this American couple seems to have it all – the looks and lavish lifestyle. Upon further examination, however, it’s more like the opposite. After 14 years, they seem to be growing apart. When they decide to book an extended stay in a quiet, quaint, seaside town, they notice themselves growing closer to the more lively newlyweds next door.

Angelina Jolie-Pitt (first time billed with this name) tries a hand at directing, writing and starring in this romantic drama and definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to the couple’s entrance. The beginning of the film pans through the stunning Mediterranean countryside and soon catches up to the small, silver convertible with Roland behind the wheel and Vanessa at his side. Both of them don hats – him a porkpie and her in a large brimmed sun hat coupled with large-lensed sunglasses – these, of course, don’t move a muscle despite the sea breeze against their faces. Their arrival was so picturesque it might as well have been a behind-the-scenes clip from a Vogue shoot. Perhaps this picture-perfect set up was a juxtapose for what was ahead.  Read more…

Posted in Movies 2015, Reviews

The Good Dinosaur (G) ★★★½

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‘The Good Dinosaur’ is a fantastic family film. Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar

Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2015, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

Joy (PG-13) ★★★★

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Jennifer Lawrence stars in ‘Joy.’ Based on the life of Joy Mangano Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

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Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2015, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

A Very Murray Christmas ★★★½

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Bill Murray stars in a Christmas Special, directed by Sophia Coppola Photo Credit: Netflix

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Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2015, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

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