Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Best of 2015

Every year when I go to assemble this year end list I tell myself not to lament the current state of film (because I really did enjoy myself at the cinema this year) but 2015 was an especially pitiful year with disturbing, reprocessing trends which should not be ignored. Major studios laughed all the way to the bank this year submitting stale rehashes of past hits (Jurassic World, Star Wars, The Hateful Eight, any Marvel humiliation) for audience consumption and even some critical darlings (The Martian, Creed) were just reinvigorated revisitations of tested and by the numbers stories. Further, monotonous indistinguishable “indies” continued to muddle to market along with an incalculable number of straight to stream projects.
With that being said, the year offered much to appreciate. Mad Max seemingly took everyone by storm early on and it magically perpetuates as an awards favorite. Sicario was a pulse pounding thriller of a different ilk  as was Phoenix, a post WWII thriller done in a much more somber key. Spotlight a powerful newspaper movie with incredible casting. Brooklyn is an old-fashioned romance with a lovable lead performance. Love and Mercy, also a romance plus a dual picture of creation and horror. What We Do in the Shadows was a hilarious vampire mockumentary and Room showed earned uplift in the face of despair. Irrational Man didn’t get a lot a love but was a well-crafted work from an old hand and It Follows showed that horror movies are still capable of being scary, even when they are incredibly stupid. Aside from these “best” pictures, I should mention I had a lot a fun with other action oriented pictures including Kingsman, Blackhat, Chappie, Black Sea, and The Walk, the hindmost which is by no means even a decent picture but one with an extraordinary finale I would equate it to waiting in line for an hour on a hot summer day to ride the Millennium Force at Cedar Point. 
Well that about sums it up. Writing this there are still several movies I haven’t seen, with Joy, The Danish Girl, 45 Years, Son of Saul, and Anomalisa figuring most prominently and I will update as I see them when appropriate. Here is a gathering of my 2015 favorites in pictures:
Supporting Actress (tie)
Joan Allen, Room
Jane Fonda, Youth
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Supporting Actor (tie)
John Cusack, Love and Mercy
Jeff Daniels, Steve Jobs
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Best Actor
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs and Macbeth

Best Actress (tie)
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Rooney Mara, Carol
Best Director
George Miller, Mad Max
Best Movies, Alphabetically
The End of the Tour
Irrational Man
It Follows
Love and Mercy
What We Do in the Shadows