It’s that time of the year again. Hope you liked my list of the top ten indie films. And now, for the Hollywood output:
Ridiculous filming conditions, introspective atmosphere, and powerhouse acting result in a film that must be experienced.
PIXAR’s comeback after several years, and now being hailed as their masterpiece. INSIDE OUT uses animation to give us a new perspective, not only on the difficulties of adolescence, but of the human condition in general.
Making up for the first Jobs biopic, this one uses Sorkin’s writing to its advantage, making a commentary on the digital world we live in. One must act on every idea at the right time before the opportunity slips away. It’s also a film that makes us examine our live’s choices.
It’s nice to see a return to classical filmmaking and plain elegant filmmaking. At its heart, BROOKLYN is a love story and doesn’t cover anything new, but its love of history, of New York, Ireland, and just plain being a beautiful film, elevate it to a higher level.
As everyone has said, this franchise started at the bottom and slowly has begun to gain respect, before pulling off its biggest installment, which is surprisingly emotionally resonant. Paul Walker got a better farewell than many of the great actors in film ever got. Also notable for being one of Universal’s biggest films in years.
Depending on who you talk to, this is either a disappointment or the best Bond film of the entire series. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. But in what is likely to be Daniel Craig’s farewell entry, this is elegant filmmaking, courtesy of Roger Deakins.
4. ROOM (dir. Lenny Abrahamson) Not to be confused with THE ROOM, Holy Shit this film is powerful. It takes what could have been a generic kidnapping story and structures it from the inside, and lets us see the aftermath. Much of it is seen from a child’s eyes, but it’s Brie Larson’s performance that is a wonder to behold.
Like the entire world, I found this film visually-stunning, a mix of previous MAD MAX films with Baz Luhrman-style editing and Michael Whelan-style landscapes. There is so much on the screen, such unique set design and stuntwork, that the film is impossible to ignore. With that said, is this film really as deep as everyone made it out to be? I don’t know if I’d go that far. But Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are great, there is a wonderful subtext. The film infamously ends with a quote that has left many talking and debating how to interpret the film. As someone who wasn’t really a MAD MAX fan, this is the best in the series.
Spielberg gives us a little piece of history that many have forgotten. To today’s youth, the Cold War seems like ancient history, and the Berlin Wall may seem bewildering, but this film has a level of detail that resonates. It doesn’t just capture a time; it captures an ideology. It also feature a great supporting performance from Mark Rylance.
…and the best film of 2015 was…
In the end, this had to be #1, simply because it was the best viewing experience I had of the year, seeing a 70mm film in a roadshow presentation. Tarantino goes back to his roots, getting away from the self-referential farces of his last few outings and instead making a character driven hard-boiled crime story like his first three films. Using a slower pace and longer runtime than usual, he delves his wonderful groups of characters, giving us a Hitchcock western with Sam Peckinpah level violence. Is this movie deep or profound? No. But it truly is a Movie Movie. It’s a film that is pure cinema, in how it’s shot, in how it’s scored, how it’s acted. It’s an entertaining cinematic experience that celebrates both the making of and the viewing of movies.
…and the worst film of 2015 was…
1000. FANTASTIC FOUR (dir. Josh Trank) It was probably between this, PIXELS, and TERMINATOR: GENISYS. But only this film truly made a director’s career implode. At the end of last year, we started to see audiences getting fed up with superhero franchises and serialized storytelling. Now the downfall begins. This film was universally hated, and even more so, Trank’s attitude and his Twitter postings lost his directing gig on the next STAR WARS. Will Trank ever direct again? As of this writing, nothing is confirmed. I suspect his career may have just hit rock bottom.
Have a great 2016, everyone, and be sure to check back in once the Oscar nominations are announced!