I think I might have skipped doing a general 2015 film round-up last year, which is a shame (though I did do a version on films we watched for the Great Blog Collab, which still counts). 2014’s is here.
I’m going to try and keep this more concise than former years because I do have a tendency to go off on one. The following are the films that have stood out the most this year for different reasons (some are technically 2015 movies but I watched them this year, so sue me).
I don’t always choose my favourites based on brilliant film making/acting/technical achievement, etc. Sometimes it makes the list for pure enjoyment, hence the inclusion of a film that reallllllly pissed off some men. Enjoy!
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is a high-octane fight to the death, literally. Full of energetic performances, young talent and truly gruesome imagery. If you like your entertainment ultra-violent and sick af, then you’re in the right place. I think this is made all the more poignant by the loss of Anton Yelchin earlier this year, just after this film saw its UK release. Sucks.
My review here.
I was a big fan of The Lobster, a pitch black comedy set in a not-too-distance future where single people must stay at The Hotel and find love or else they’ll be turned into an animal. Of their choice, though so it’s not all bad. The premise, as you can imagine, leads to some interesting scenarios for our anti-hero, played by a plump Colin Farrell. It’s all fun and games as he navigates new relationships, fake love and then real love and self-sacrifice – and it is very, very funny. In a twisted way, naturally.
My review here.
What makes this film incredible is the fact that it’s shot in one continual take, which at 2 hours 18 minutes is no mean feat. The story itself is quite straightforward: a Spanish woman, new to Berlin, starts talking to a group of men in the early hours after leaving a club. Enjoying a flirtation with the ringleader, she finds herself involved in dramatic events that will change her, and her life, irrevocably.
Proof you can get a lot of shit done in 2 hours if you get off your arse and turn off Netflix, eh?
Such a sweet, hilarious romp with a wonderful central performance by Julian Dennison, there’s nothing negative to say about this film. Other than I would have liked more Rima Te Wiata. Taika Waititi‘s films have a tendency to look at darker themes with a unique sense of humour and this is no different, as unwanted tear away Ricky goes on the run in the wilderness with reluctant foster-father, Hec (Sam Neill). I couldn’t love it more.
This sure as hell angered a lot of people (men), didn’t it? I enjoyed myself immensely and although I could easily find fault with some aspects (as with most blockbusters), I choose not to. I wanted a comedic romp with some of my favourite ladies and a couple of new ghosts, and that is what I got. Good times.
My review here.
For me this is Greta Gerwig’s best role to date. I loved this movie for all its awkwardness and relatable struggles. Right, like I’ll ever have to worry about adjusting to life in NYC as an academic or a hipster would-be restaurant business owner, but you know what I mean. Brooke in particular had me howling with laughter at her appalling behaviour on more than one occasion. A fun and sometimes agonising look at getting older, maintaining relationships and finding your place in the world.
I watched this recently expecting it be okay. What I actually got was so much better. The story of a father genuinely trying to do the best for his family whilst simultaneously fucking it all up, Viggo Mortensen really is fantastic in this role, making you flop-flop between pure sympathy and frustration. The kids are brilliant, particularly eldest son, Bo who knows everything there is to know from a book, but has no clue about natural adolescent behaviour. It’s sad and uplifting and funny and hopeful – and it is very very good. Plus, Viggo’s junk gets an airing. Again.
This movie is a genuine masterpiece and tells the tale of Michael Stone, a customer services expert unimpressed with the mundanity of life. Until he has an encounter that looks set to change his worldview forever, that is. But will it really? As an animated feature, this is stunning and elegant. As a tale, Anomalisa is heartbreaking and bleak. I won’t spoiler it, just get involved, yo!
I love me a little Denis Villeneuve, I won’t lie. Arrival is one of his strongest pieces of cinema imho, which focuses on linguistic professor, Louise Banks who is called in to assist the military when 12 mysterious spacecraft appear suddenly around the world. Amy Adams is lovely as Louise, it looks great, makes you think – and even Jeremy Renner can’t spoil it with his big meaty face. Recommend.
As if I was going to leave this magnificent cinematic experience from the list. I was extremely satisfied with Rogue One. Following the intergalactic japes of a bunch of rag-tag rebels, led by Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor as they infiltrate Imperial territory to steal the plans to the brand new Death Star, it’s the perfect blend of futuristic technology and old school Star Wars iconography. There’s so much more to say but I promised I would be concise, remember?
I’ve seen a lot of awful films this year but I have two stand outs, both of which I viewed at the cinema with my movie buddy, Lauren. I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me for the shark movie, but to love me is to accept my love of shark movies, what you gonna do?
I read somewhere that this was a decent movie and it had a shark in it, so I was sold immediately. I also had high hopes for Blake Lively as the pretty much solo lead character. I guess one out of three ain’t bad? (There is a shark in it). Lauren is still not amused that I wasted her time (and money) on this dross and as a result, I am now contractually obliged to sit through the live-action Beauty & the Beast as punishment. It so wasn’t worth it. Watch literally any other shark movie instead.
This wasn’t even bad, just bat shit crazy. That’s all I can say without spoiling it. It’s creepy obviously but half way through the film all hell breaks loose and I’m still not sure if I just imagined it. Another black mark against my name with Lauren. Oops.
My Film of the Year
I’ve chosen my FOTY based on how nuts it is. I can’t even claim to have enjoyed it that much, it’s a hot mess. It still makes me giggle when I think about certain scenes and I see it as the antidote to so much soulless Hollywood drivel. Plus, it’s a big favourite of the podcast.
Absolutely not for the faint of heart or delicate of stomach. I’m not going to say much more, just if you’re a lover of trash movies, get on this. It’s the trashiest of trash but darkly funny, unique and surprisingly touching at times.
Which movies have you enjoyed this year? Hit me up! ❤