Every year, I reflect on what entertainment from the previous year I enjoyed the most. I do this so that others may find something they didn’t previous know about or wasn’t sure it would be worth their time. I, of course, didn’t see every movie, watch every TV show, or read every comic. With that disclaimer in mind, here are my favorite movies from 2015.
(5) It Follows – I’m not a big horror movie fan. In fact, I see very few a year. I typically find them formulaic to a fault or just after shock value. It Follows is a movie that feels new and what the horror genre strives to become. It kept me guessing throughout and I never knew where it was going. More than anything, for me, horror movies need to leave a mark on the viewer. The most successful horror movies are ones that, after watching, make the viewer think about it long after the credits roll. It Follows made me look over my shoulder for days!
(4) Ex Machina–Half sci-fi and half horror, Ex Machina takes a look at the future of artificial intelligence technology and asks the question,“Are we going too far?” It examines what it really means to be human and the human trait of selfishness. Oscar Issac, who seems to play a role in all the top movies this year, stars as a Steve Jobs type who is pushing the limits of A.I. Alicia Vikander stars, in her breakout role, as Ava the A.I. droid. Both are fantastic along with Domhnall Gleeson (yes, Bill Weasley himself for you Potterheads...10 points to Gryffindor!), as Caleb, a young man who visits Issac’s character at his compound after winning a “contest.” Ex Machina is a visually remarkable movie for its low budget and one I would highly recommend checking out but don’t read too much about it prior.
(3) The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, The Hateful Eight, is one of his best. For this film, Tarantino used Panavision anamorphic lenses with an aspect ratio of 2.76:1, a very widescreen image that was used on some films in the 1950s and 1960s. The Hateful Eight was the first movie with a wide release on 70mm since 1992. This crates gorgeous, wider-than-normal shots. The visuals are not the real standout though; it’s the verbal sparring. Tarantino is known for his great use of dialogue and it is on full display here. I highly recommend checking this movie out in a theatre so you can get the full benefit of the visual format, as we may never see another release like it again.
(2) Inside Out – When I first heard about the concept for Inside Out, I didn’t think Pixar would be able to pull it off but, thankfully, I was so wrong. After Cars 2 and Brave, I was worried Pixar had lost its magic but they are back in full force. Inside Out was heartwarming, hilarious, and imaginative. It had the most adult underlying themes since Up. It really focuses on parents and the mark they leave on their kids. I was brought to tears multiple times and laughed out loud throughout. In my opinion, Inside Out is one of two masterpieces released this year.
(1) Mad Max: Fury Road – Mad Max: Fury Road is the other masterpiece. I was completely gob smacked and in awe throughout this film. George Miller is one of the great directors of our time and Mad Max: Fury Road is a master class in how to make an action film. He used little dialogue and narrative to explain the world, but instead visually displays and explains the post-apocalyptic environment on the screen. Charlize Theron shines as Imperator Furiosa. It is a travesty she hasn’t received more accolades for her performance. Mad Max: Fury Road is one memorable scene after another. It set a new bar for action films and we will be referencing it for years to come.
You’ll notice there is no Star Wars on this list. I do think it was one of my top 5 movies of 2015; however, I didn’t put it on the list because all of the world has seen it already. I would rather highlight some films that didn’t get the same level of publicity.
Come back next week, as I turn my focus to comics from 2015.