Bandrew's Top 5 Films of 2015

This was another great year for film. Lucky for me, and you, there was a tremendous amount of great Science Fiction. Before we get into it I want to include the disclaimer that this is based on the films that I have seen. I know that there are some amazing films out there that I simply did not have time to catch. With that being said, let's go ahead and look at my Top 5 films of 2015.

5. Chappie

This is the latest film from Neill Blomkamp, and it was amazing. It seems that a lot of critics were not fans of it, but I found almost all aspects of this film to be excellent. There is some very strong social commentary about being forced to adopt traits to survive depending on your socioeconomic surroundings. On top of this important message, I found the acting to be superb. Die Antwoord did a great job in this film (although I wasn't surprised because their roles in Umshimi Wam were flawless) and the VFX department did amazing work with Chappie. The only thing that left me wanting more was Hugh Jackman's character. I felt like his story line was a bit rushed, but over all, this film has a really great story with an important message, and it is an all around a fun movie to watch.

4. Jurassic World

Come on. Of course this film is going to make it on my list. This is another film that I have heard people say some bad things about. I think that those negative nellys just missed the point. If you watch this film and realize that the entire film is a self satire, and that it is just making fun of itself and the executives that green lit this project, then you will walk away with a newfound appreciation and love for this film. On top of the fact that the writers were able to get away with this premise, Chris Pratt nails it. That dude is way too charming. But seriously, if you did not enjoy this movie the first time, re-watch it now and realize that they're just talking shit about the film that they're making. It's so meta that it's like a Dan Harmon script. 

3. The Martian

What an ambitious film. If you read the book, you know that it was a tremendous undertaking to try and adapt this source material. Somehow they did it...oh yeah...they did it by getting Ridley FREAKING Scott (although some people would say his stock has lost value following prometheus, I would tell them to shut their stupid cake holes and enjoy the hell out of this movie). I'm going to go ahead and say it, Matt Damon is not the star of this film. The star of this film is Mars, and it is awesome. The shots of Mars (yes I know it's not really mars) are some of the most gorgeous pieces of film that I have ever seen. I legitimately thought that I was there for a second while I was watching this in the theater. All around this film is great, but I would recommend reading the book first. 

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I finally am able to understand what it was like to be alive and attending the premiers of the original trilogy. I experienced the feeling of walking out of the theater with your jaw on the floor, and wanting to turn right around and see it again, and again and again. But I digress. Yes. I know that a lot of the tropes are borrowed from previous Star Wars episodes, but that's not what's important in this film. What's important is first off, the characters, and secondly, restoring our faith that Star Wars films can be good. And guess what, they nailed both of those important factors. The new characters in this film are just amazing and I cannot wait to see how they grow over the next few films. There is also some really interesting points that we can speculate about which is great because we can talk about it for the next two years while we wait. Regarding the second factor, I don't think many people can walk out of that film and say "yeah...Star Wars is still dead to me", and if they do, then we know that they are secretly a heartless Robot. If you have not seen this film yet. GET ON IT AND GO WATCH IT!

1. Ex Machina

I love robots. I love beautiful scenery. I love amazing acting. I love stories so good that they can be told with only 3 actors. This film meets all those criteria. Not only did I enjoy this film so much that it made my top spot of this year; I enjoyed this film so much that it is easily one of my favorite films of all time. The premise is that a guy is brought to a CEO's secluded home to help conduct the Turing test on an AI. But there is so much more than that, and I do not want to spoil anything for you. Suffice it to say, craziness ensues. If my poor summary of this film didn't get you excited, let me use the cast to sell you on this film...it has Oscar Isaac & Dohnall Gleeson. Two characters from the new Star Wars film! So these two guys made my top list twice! I just want to tell you that if you have not watched this film, then you need to go buy it, or rent it, or borrow it right now. Once you see it, let me know what you thought of it because I'm pretty sure you're going to love it.


What do you think the top 5 movies of 2015 were? Let us know in the comments down below! And here's to another year of AWESOME films!

What's In Your Bag: Santa Fe Comic Con Edition

I just got back from Covering Santa Fe Comic Con, and I figured I would do a video of "What's in Your Bag?". I will link each item and let you know how it functioned in the convention setting.

  • Timbuk2 TSA Messenger Bag - This bag has yet to let me down once. Highly recommend it.
  • Zojirushi Water Bottle - Another item that has yet to let me down. It is a bit expensive but it will keep you hydrated and not ruin your computer/camera gear. 
  • Field Notes - Even if you are not going to a con, you need to have one of these in your pocket. You never know when you need to take notes, or write a to-do list, or have a brilliant Idea. I always have one in my back pocket.
  • Fisher Space Pen - This is my favorite pen and it always goes with me. Super small and reliable. And this is a custom version to commemorate hitting 100 subs on my youtube channel.
  • Google Acer Chromebook - I am a big fan of this laptop, and I use it more than my Macbook Pro, however, you do not need to take a computer to a convention unless you know you're going to be doing writing throughout the day. This was unnecessary. 
  • Neewer Lav Mic - These things cost about $7, and you get three of them for that cost. HOWEVER, this mic shorted out and yielded almost all my footage from the convention useless. If you are going to get these, be careful, and make sure to check the recordings and make sure they are working before recording anything important.
  • Zoom H1 - I love Zoom's recorders and this is no exception. I got so much use out of this thing. I set it on autogain, tossed it on the table at panels and hit record. It worked like a charm and it's small and portable. One of the most useful things I brought with me.
  • Emergency Battery - Lucky for me, I did not have to use this. But, I always keep it in my bag with an extra iPhone cable. 
  • Go Pro Hero 3 - This is another one of those devices that you just can't go wrong with. I love this thing and I filmed almost all my footage with this thing, however, the lav mic caused all of it to be useless. Not the GoPro's fault though. I do with there was a way to monitor microphone levels though.
  • Samsung NX1000 - This camera worked alright. In lowlight, it struggled, and I started to get some noise when I was in low ISO's, so I'm not sure if this is a great option for conventions. I didn't use the kit lens either. I did take a lot of photos, but many of them didn't turn out well. I blame my amateur photography skills for that, and not the camera.
  • Samsung NX 16mm LensThis is a great lens, but just not for my needs. This is a lens designed for beautiful landscapes, and I'm sure it can kick butt at those. I will have to test that out and get back to you. 
  • Samsung NX 45mm Lens - This lens is the sex. That's what the kids are saying, right? Well I love this lens. It is beautiful, provides great DOF, and a big aperture and just all around great! I took the majority of my photos with this lens, and some of them look spectacular. When there was enough light, the photos turned out great. I have included an image taken with this camera, above.