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7 Best Movies of 2015 So Far

From postapocalyptic sequels to Pixar movies, Rolling Stone’s film critic picks first half of the year’s must-sees

joy and charlize theron

Joy from 'Inside Out' and Charlize Theron in 'Mad Max.'

Disney/Pixar; Warner Bros.

Where did the time go? The first six months of the movie year have rushed by resulting in the biggest movie opening of all-time (Jurassic World), two smash sequels (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7), successful crapola (Fifty Shades of Grey, San Andreas) and fat flops from first-rate filmmakers — the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending, Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, Cameron Crowe's Aloha, and Michael Mann's Blackhat. Which begs the question: Has 2015 produced any movies so far that could be fairly categorized as award-caliber or memorably good? I couldn't get to 10 — but here's a solid seven.

inside out charlize theron

‘Ex Machina’

Screenwriter Alex Garland makes the directing debut of the year with a sci-fi provocation about a sexy, independent-thinking android (the extraordinary Alicia Vikander) and the tech billionaire (Oscar Isaac, outstanding) who invented her. Everyone I send to see Ex Machina comes back with questions that keep playing in their heads. If you haven't yet seen this brilliant mindfuck of a movie, get busy and get in the game.

inside out charlize theron

‘Inside Out’

Pixar tops itself with an animated movie miracle that take us inside the head of an 11-year-old girl and lets her emotions run wild. They are Joy, Fear, Sadness, Disgust and Anger. And director Pete Docter brings them to life in ways you do not see coming. Just for kids? No way. Inside Out's got all our numbers.

inside out charlize theron

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

George Miller's post-apocalyptic spectacle grows in my estimation each time I see it. (I'm three times and counting.) This baby makes you drunk on movies again. Tom Hardy steps in for Mel Gibson as road warrior Max Rockatansky and rocks it. And Charlize Theron, as rogue warrior Furiosa, gives the best performance by an actress I've seen so far this year. If Oscar doesn't listen, the golden boy is even more of an idiot then I thought. Fury Road is such a visionary explosion of images and ideas, you may feel you dreamed it.

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