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Time for an assessment of the year in movies so far
He said he'd be back! Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in "Terminator Genisys." - photo by Chris Hicks
Now that June is over and July is upon us, its as good a time as any for a halfway-through-2015 movie review. By my count, some 140 new titles have made stops at Salt Lake theaters so far this year.

But before we get into the six-month numbers in earnest, heres a question: How many of those 140 movies have you seen? In a theater, that is?

People still ask me all the time about movies that are playing locally, and sometimes theyre surprised at what Ive skipped. Spy? No thanks. Pitch Perfect 2? I dont think so. Insidious: Chapter 3? Youre kidding, right?

Then I ask them how often they go out to a movie and the most common answer is, Hardly ever.

By my admittedly very unscientific polling, a frequent moviegoer might see one or two a month, 12 to 24 a year. How about you? Do you go to that many?

Thats what I figured.

Of course, theres a certain contingent out there mostly teenagers and young 20-somethings unencumbered by the distracting responsibilities of real life that goes to the movies a lot, and often returns to the same pictures over and over, making megahits of the fantastic fantasies and crass comedies that rule the cinematic universe these days, to the exclusion of most everything else.

Well, except for cartoons. Most of those also do well.

As for me, Ive seen about 50 movies so far this year not counting the classic revivals that have become so common lately. If you count those, its maybe 70. (I saw Jaws at a Cinemark theater last week and Double Indemnity is coming up; heaven.)

Thats a lot, no question. Not up there with the 250 I saw each year during my film-critic tenure, but its actually an uptick from the past few years. And, predictably, I am often disappointed.

But apparently, disappointment hasnt discouraged my going. And thats because every time I go, Im still hopeful even when the marquees seem more nostalgic than current.

Terminator, Mad Max, Poltergeist really? Are we back in the 1980s? Jurassic World? OK, the 1990s?

It was back in the 1980s that movies became infected with sequelitis, which only increased through the 90s and into the 21st century as comic books and youth novels were adapted as hit films, which in turn spawned sequels and more sequels, and clones and more clones, and sequels to the clones.

And simultaneously an awful lot of filmmakers began to equate freedom from censorship with lazily shocking the audience into submission with both words and pictures. And the rising quality of special effects made it easier than ever before to dazzle rather than engage the audience.

Let's get back to the first half of 2015 and the 140 movies weve seen so far. Theyve included 14 sequels, four remakes and a TV show spinoff. By my count, 56 were rated R and 40 were PG-13. There have been 10 PG films so far and one G. (And a number that went out unrated.)

As for box-office success to date, heres the top 10 domestic hits of 2015s first six months: Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7, Cinderella, Inside Out, Pitch Perfect 2, Home, Fifty Shades of Grey, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Sequel, sequel, sequel, remake, cartoon, sequel, cartoon, whatever-this-one-is, cartoon and sequel.

Worldwide, the top 10 shifts a bit: Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Fifty Shades of Grey, Cinderella, San Andreas, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Home, Mad Max: Fury Road and Taken 3.

Sequel, sequel, sequel, whatever, remake, looks-like-a-remake, a sequel is coming, cartoon, sequel and sequel.

Of course, those hit lists will change in the weeks to come, especially for Jurassic World and Inside Out, which are still earning big bucks and are early in their respective theatrical runs.

And a few top 5 challengers are still to come, including the new Terminator film (which opened this week), the cartoon Minions, the latest Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible flick, the final Hunger Games entry and no doubt some surprises.

But its still pretty obvious what kind of films will top out at the end of the year.

And every year for the foreseeable future, I guess.
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