Well, that time has arrived again, an opportunity to tell you readers my favourite films of 2015. Though I guess it is a personal critic of what I watched at the Cinema and on Download (How modern). As an avid cinema goer I love to compile my favourites of any given year, but to share them with the global cinema crowd adds that extra touch. As these are my personal take on the Cinema of last year I hope you might agree with some of my views, if not, well, not to worry. Sit down, relax and have a read…
1. Mad Max Fury Road (2015) Director George Miller
This film, written by George Miller in collaboration, has had a long and oft troubled production history, with Miller stating that ‘15 years in production was way too long…’ but the finished production, a two hour car chase ac cross the desert is simple in it’s plot, fantastic in it’s visual landscape and the minimal CGI is a breath of fresh air to this old Cinema goer, so yes the throw back to the 1980’s is a fantastic treat for those film fans yearning for the old school action films of yesterday.
2. Inherent Vice (2014) Director Paul Thomas Anderson
A great little detective movie from an American director known for his nuanced character driven movies. I enjoyed this film for the performances from Joaquin Phoenix as the laconic, dope headed detective Larry “Doc” Sportello searching for his former girlfriend amongst the drug pushers and pimps of downtown Los Angeles during the 1970’s. Based on a novel which was said to be un-filmable (which I have not read) I thought this was a cool movie, great soundtrack and some nice cinematography capturing the 70’s vibe.
3. Steve McQueen The Man And Le Mans (2014) Director Gabriel Clarke
I really enjoyed this film which I reviewd here:https://wordpress.com/post/cultofthecinema.wordpress.com/336 which has now become my third favourite film of 2015, this is a biased choice and I do not really care. It has Steve McQueen which is a huge plus side and the unearthed footage of the trouble production of his film Le Mans is fantastic.
4. Amy (2015) Director Asif Kapadia
At the time of writing this list, Channel 4 UK had just aired this Documentary which made it a timely re-watch. It is still a fascinating documentary about the very talented Amy Winehouse and her whole world of beautifully crafted music and her entourage of people who had their own self interests at heart. It is still a sad movie to watching knowing the untimely ending. Very moving.
5. Macbeth (2015) Director Justin Kurzel
This adaption benefits from some of the most beautiful cinematography I have seen in a long while. The story is old enough and adapted enough to not warrant a synopsis, butb the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Coulitard is enough to make you want to watch this version. Atmospheric to the max a fantastic film to watch.
6. Legend Director Brian Helgeland
Take one American writer/director, a classic British true life gangster story, a stand out double performance from Tom Hardy and you have the film that is Legend. Not a film that was supposed to work, but it does. It has it’s flaws but they are out weighed by the performances and the sense of it’s period.
7. Far From The Madding Crowd Director Thomas Vinterberg
I liked this adaptation for all the reasons the other films are on this list, the performances are again excellent especially Carey Mulligan, the cinematography is excellent, capturing the beautiful countryside of old England wonderfully and the whole film has a dated feel which I truly felt at home with.
8. La French aka The Connection (2014) Director Cedric Jimenez
Yes when it comes to crime films, the French have a certain way to tell their stories, whether Jean-Pierre Melville hard boiled crime flicks, or the charms of Alain Delon, French crime films have always had a sense of style, intelligence and a wit that l always enjoy. La French (The Connection) based on the same stories as the French Connection has Jean Dujardin as a crusading youth judge turned criminal investigator who wants to arrest drug kingpin Giles Lellouch. These two men cross paths and their lives slowly disintegrate as the the reach their inevitable conclusion. A classic.
9. Scario (2015) Director Denis Villeneuve
Villeneuve is a director I have admired since watching Incendies (2010) and reeling at the shock conclusion to that film. Prisoners (2013) was another taut thriller which had a downbeat ending which was again fantastic. Scario is a excellent for a strong performance by Emily Blunt, with nuanced support from Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin with a really a tonal soundtrack which I enjoyed very much.
10. Wild Tales aka Relatos Salvaje (2014) Director Damián Szifrón
What my intial eye about this film was the extended trailer/featurette showing one of the stories set on a plane, which as the story unfolds, each passenger had a link to an unseen main character. Eventually said plane begins to nose dive taking it’s passengers with it as it is about to hit the house of the unseen protagonists parents! Excellent. With an opening story, this collection of revenge and counter revenge is a great little feature from Argentina, well worth seeking out and enjoy the visual ride.
11. Timbuktu (2014) Director Abderrahmane Sissako
‘A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives, which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith, abruptly disturbed.’ I really enjoyed this drama and learnt a little about another culture which is always cool in my book. Sissako delivers a powerful snap shot of life under a Jihadist rule book and how ordinary people live in fear of being forced to adopt a way of living removed from what they truly believe in.
12. Straight Outta Compton (2015) Director F. Gary Gray
This is the authorized biopic of Dre Dre and Ice Cube’s rise to Rap super-stardom with Niggas With Attitude (NWA). Superbly directed, well acted and great to see Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller, their manager and sometime mentor in a spot on role for him. The music, if you like Rap, is superb, the actual story is pretty well crafted wether wholly true is probably not relevant, it works well all round.
13. Black Mass (2015) Director Scott Cooper
This film is one for cinema goers who have forgotten that Johnny Depp can really act. Based on the true story of notorious Boston gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his violent double-life as an FBI informant. Depp steals all the scenes, has a cool time being the villain and is so very menacing. Excellent.
A personal favourite of mine, this British made, London set police crime film is full of nasty coppers, even more nasty gutter gangsters and corruption aplenty, all set against the rain soak London streets. Nasty, visceral and aptly named, not a film to shy away from. This was also recommended to me by @HeidyMo when it played at the Toronto Film Festival.
15. Girlhood aka Bande de Filles (2014) Director Céline Sciamma
This film I enjoyed because yet again it is a cool slice of French urban life with the right amount of drama, pathos, humour and street-smarts to engage the audience. You do care what happens to the characters. Considering hardly any of the main actors were professionals, Sciamma manages to gain some strong performances from her leads. a highly recommended drama.