By my reckoning, it's already been a pretty good year at the movies with two that I'm ready to call classics that we'll be talking about for years to come. Let's just hope the Oscar voters have especially long memories this year.
Here's a look at the five best and three worst movies I've seen so far in 2015.
1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" A new action classic, and a movie that made me feel drunk on the power of cinema both times I saw it. Director George Miller's vision is eye-popping and thrilling, and the movie is a blazing streak of feminism that scared the crap out of macho alpha male bloggers.
2. "Inside Out" A deep psychological dive into the mind of a teenage girl struggling with a very common childhood experience: moving to a new place. I think "Inside Out" is a new Pixar classic, and a movie that can help both adults and kids understand their emotions a little better - especially the necessity of sadness.
3. "Love & Mercy" Another trip inside someone's head, who just happens to be one of the most fascinating minds in rock music. It takes two actors to paint a portrait of Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys (Paul Dano in the 60s, John Cusack in the 80s), and it's one of the most fascinating, incisive bio-pics I've ever seen.
4. "Ex Machina" Writer and Director Alex Garland has created a brilliant sci-fi, like a modern day "Frankenstein" that examines the nature of humanity, and what makes us different from programmable machines. Performances by Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander and Domhall Gleeson are all superb.
5. "Cinderella" About as perfect of a remake as one could hope for, this update on "Cinderella" is lovingly traditional and an absolute delight. The script by Chris Weitz makes us care about these characters as people rather than archetypes, and director Kenneth Branagh knows how to handle classic material.
Other acclaimed movies I haven't seen yet: "Dope" "It Follows" "Trainwreck" "Slow West"
1. "Chappie" Writer and director Neill Blomkamp, who showed such promise with "District 9" and (to a lesser extent) "Elysium," has made a movie without a specific audience in mind, and therefore, it doesn't work for anyone. The story of a robot given human emotions and taken in by a gang of thugs is too cheesy for adults, too violent for kids. It's a disaster.
. 2. "Get Hard" I'll admit to laughing a few times at this comedy, but the repetitive jokes about rape, race and homophobia grow pathetic in a hurry. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart are gifted comedians and deserve so much better. So do we.
3. "Terminator: Genysis" Don't be back, Arnold.
Other panned movies I missed: "Age of Adeline" "Aloha" "Hot Pursuit" "Paul Blart 2" "Poltergeist"