With summer nearly in the rear-view, Peter Travers has surveyed the five best and worst films of the season – from Oscar-worthy, post-apocalyptic action (Mad Max: Fury Road) to, well, Adam Sandler's reliably unwatchable attempts at "comedy" (Pixels).
Rolling Stone's critic wields the dreaded Scum Bucket to open the clip, tossing in the awkward, Owen Wilson–starring thriller No Escape. ("I haven't seen a mix of suspense and stereotypes this bad since Michael Bay was a pup," Travers cracks.) He follows with the "garbage" futuristic thriller Hitman: Agent 47 and the fumbling action-comedy American Ultra, which wastes its excellent leads Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart on a tired script. At Number Two is the aforementioned Pixels, which finds "Adam Sandler just going for a record – every time he makes a movie, it's horrible." But even that dud can't match the scumminess of the rebooted superhero bomb Fantastic Four: "I know they just did this eight years ago and it wasn't good," Travers says, "but now it's an atrocity."
Fortunately, Travers also rounds up five films worthy of your time. The first is Amy, the acclaimed biopic chronicling the rise and fall of late musician Amy Winehouse. "We see her develop as a talent; we see her lose everything to drugs and the wrong guys," Travers says. "And it's just perfectly done." Next up is Amy Schumer's sweet-and-sour comedy Trainwreck, the Disney-Pixar collaboration Inside Out and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, which touches a modern nerve with its depiction of police brutality.
But Travers saves his loftiest praise for George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, a posy-apocalyptic head-turner defined by the director's sharp visual style and the scene-stealing presence of Charlize Theron. "I want this movie nominated for a ton of things," Travers says.