With the year drawing to a close and these lists springing up everywhere, I thought why not get on the band wagon (and potentially be the straw that broke the camels back).
FULL DISCLOSURE: I haven’t scene Star Wars yet or the Oscar race films such as Spotlight, Danish Girl and the Revenant which are not out in the UK yet.
Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Spectre (reviews in hyperlinks below)
Ant-Man was a breath of fresh air into the MCU; small scale, charming and genuinely funny and entertaining.
Age of Ultron (MCU’s main poster child for the year) was a good solid entry into the Marvel cannon. Great performances and cast additons and an entertaining story. The main problem was the expected overcrowding and (what I suspect) are extra bits stuffed into the film at the studios request. Everything was done well, just not as well as the original.
I feel like taking the best elements of Skyfall and Spectre would make a near perfect movie, sadly separately they are both just good. Spectre also criminally underused Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, a missed opportunity if there ever was one.
These films were all good, just not quite enough to make it into the top 10.
Onwards and upwards:
10) It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)
There is a full review to come with this one but to summarize… a brilliant and original concept which sheds some interesting light on modern day attitudes towards sex and sexuality. Couple that with a very creepy, John Carpenter-esque score, great acting and some genuine scares makes for one of the best horror/thriller films in a long time.
I couldn’t choose between these next two and couldn’t leave them out (hence my failure at objectivity).
9)…B) Macbeth (Justin Kurzel)
Possibly the most picturesque and beautiful film this year? Either way it is a masterpiece in cinematography and the rest of the film ain’t too shabby either.
9)…A) Slow West (John Maclean)
Maybe this film coud revive the dying Western genre? All I know is that its slow build, short run time, pointed dialogue and brilliant characters make for wonderful film.
FUN FACT: This is the 2nd best tourism add for New Zealand behind The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.
Click here for my full review!
8) Beasts Of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga)
Brutal and beautiful visuals, difficult subject matter and some astounding acting. This really was the best way Netflix’s original movie platform could have started.
Here is my full review.
7) Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow)
My second failure at objectivity. Jurassic Park is one of my favourite films of all time, as I am dinosaur obsessed. Jurassic World, although not as good as the original, certainly lived up to the hype and was thoroughly entertaining. Took me back to when I first saw Jurassic Park.
Here is my full review.
6) Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie)
Somehow the 4th and 5th entries of this franchise are arguably on/above-par with the original. This is certainly helped by the continually growing all-star cast and a sensational performance by Rebecca Ferguson. Ludicrous stunts, a clever plot and a good story make this one of the best action films of the year.
Full review here.
5) Brooklyn (John Crowley)
This film, based on Colm Toibin’s book, is really a show case of Saorise Ronan’s ability. Despite her young age, she delivered an exceptional performance with depth and subtlety; she says more with one look than most can with a conversation. The screenplay is great and bolstered by a strong supporting cast and direction. This is a great film and deserves all the praise it is receiving.
4) The Martian (Ridley Scott)
Once again we are off to save Matt Damon (see Interstellar, Saving Private Ryan etc)! This is funny, smart and brilliantly helmed by Damon as stranded astronaut Mark Watney. A scene stealing performance from Donald Glover as the scientific whiz kid back on Earth is also worth a nod.
This scene says it all:
3) Carol (Todd Haynes)
This film is a beautiful piece of art. Haynes completely immerses you in this gorgeous 50’s world allowing you to focus on the truly remarkable performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. This film could have very easily become politicized, after all it is about a tale of love between two women in the 1950’s and the difficulties they face and could well still face today. Instead, however, gender doesn’t feature into this, it is just a story about two people falling in love and trying to make it work. Making it all the more beautiful.
2) Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
The directorial debut from the writer of 28 Days Later is impressive to say the absolute least. A thought provoking, stylish and clever Sci-fi film; it deals with complex subjects and doesn’t dumbdown or spoon-feed the audience as is so common in cinema today. Many films try and tackle artificial intelligence and, aside from 2001: A Space Odyssey, I cannot think of any other film that deals with it so originally, intelligently and tensely. All in all a resounding success.
1) Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
George Miller returns to his Mad Max franchise with a huge victory for pracitcal effect and story telling in general. This movie is one long exhilarating ride, with barely time to catch your breath; it is incredible to watch. Rarely do films show such a single-minded dedication to an idea but I’m glad this film does! The title may suggest otherwise but Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the real main character, and this is not the only female empowerment you’ll see during this film.
It was hard to choose between this and Ex Machina; but through sheer ferocity and excitement Mad Max won out for me.
1)The success ofAlicia Vikander’s as Ava and Charlize Theron as Furiosa should surely prove now that women can lead critically and commercially successful films of any genre: Action, Sci-Fi not just love stories! Also a well deserved not too Emily Blunt for Sicario and Rebecca Ferguson for MI: Rogue Nation.
2) I regret not being able to see these movies so far this year and will have to catch up in the New Year: Trainwreck, Sicario, Crimson Peak, Legend, The Lobster, Diary Of A Teenage Girl, Black Mass, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.
Well that’s all folks. Please let me know what you think of this list in the comments: Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? Either way, let me know.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading!