Best of 2015 Pt. 1 (Movies)

10 Jan

I’m breaking my ‘end of year’ posts into Part 1 (movies) and Part 2 (everything else). Would love to hear your own favorites in the comments!

MAD MAX

I loved this so much, I did a full blog post on the movie (click link below). Suffice to say, it is still the best movie of the year:

https://onfoodandfilm.com/2015/05/20/mad-max-fury-road/

THE WALK

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Tri Star couldn’t pay people to go see this incredible movie, which is a tragedy. Not the movie! But a tragedy people did not go see it. A glorious return to form by one of our best directors, Robert Zemeckis, who wrote the terrific screenplay with Christopher Browne, this magical, breathtaking recreation of  Philippe Petit’s death defying tightrope walk between the towers of the just opened World Trade Center was many things: a caper picture, an adventure film, a beautiful recreation of 1974 New York City, and a love letter to the buildings we lost on September 11th as well as moviemaking in general. I saw it three time and happily wept three times, particularly during the final moments and images. Made for the biggest screen possible, I can only hope it will work as well at home and that people begin to discover it. This movie fills me with joy.

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SICARIO

Wow. A brutal, riveting thriller from director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan that had my chest tight from the moment it started all the way through it’s devastating conclusion. No director working today… and I mean NO director working today… can create and sustain tension like Villeneuve. I don’t quite know how he does it. Not only is Sicario a superb thriller, it is a deeply complex and thought provoking look at the drug trade, the border, law enforcement, and the human condition. A must see.

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MI:5

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I love a great action movie as much as anyone. Unfortunately, most of the action films that come out are marginal at best. Thankfully, the MI series remains as strong as ever. I wasn’t sure anyone could match Brad Bird’s phenomenal MI:4 but damned if writer/director Christopher McQuarrie didn’t rise to the occasion. Extremely smart and suspenseful, with incredible set pieces throughout, this chapter was elevated further by a star-making performance from Rebecca Ferguson as a woman whose motives are continually difficult to discern. I love watching Tom Cruise, he is as strong and solid as ever in this film. And as Cruise did with Emily Blunt in the equally terrific Edge of Tomorrow (now Live Die Repeat), he gracefully gave this movie to his co-star, Ferguson. If you missed it, watch it. You will have an incredible time.

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BROOKLYN

The phrase “They don’t make them like they used to” seems made for this lovely, beautifully crafted period piece about a young Irish woman immigrating to America in the 50’s. Pitch perfect performances and directing make this one of the best films of the year, as does something else… as ‘old-fashioned’ as the movie seems on the surface, it has a powerful modern-day resonance in its depiction of the immigrant’s life and our country’s magnificent history as an immigrant nation. Without trying to be political at all, this look at the life of an immigrant is, in today’s climate, very political. If that is a deterrent, ignore modern day implications and watch it for the gorgeous depiction of Brooklyn in the 50’s and the romance that is at the heart of the film.

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THE FORCE AWAKENS

Damn, you, J.J. Abrams!

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This is very begrudging. I didn’t want to see it, I even swore I would not see it. The three prequel abominations from the madman at that ranch in Northern California killed my love of the series. I have a hard time watching even the original three, particularly since the madman has wrecked those with stupid changes as well. 

I do love me some JJ, though. I’ve been a fan for a long time. felicity remains one of my favorite TV shows ever, funny, romantic, smart and so filled with magnificent longing. I hesitate to mention LOST as I can go down a rabbit-hole of love for what IS my favorite TV show of all time. His Mission:Impossible kicked ass. And I am a freak for both Star Trek features. Still, I was very pissy about Force Awakens. I never watch trailers, I hate to see anything before I watch a movie… so I watched the trailer, thinking I would not go. When I saw Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford embrace, the damn trailer got me. So I went. And was misty-eyed at least 4 times. 

It’s hard for the to distinguish if it is really that damn fine of a movie or if it is simply genius at using our nostalgia for the originals. Probably a lot of both. Abrams and company should be commended if nothing else for restoring the series from the last three jaw-dropping train wrecks. But they did so much more than that. The Force Awakens is a fun, thrilling, very clever movie that is one hell of a good time. I’ll humbly admit I’m going back. 

ALSO WORTH WATCHING

The Big Short, The Revenant, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Room, Inside Out, Ex Machina, The Hateful Eight, Spy

STILL NEED TO SEE

Spotlight, Anomalisa, 45 Years, Steve Jobs

7 Responses to “Best of 2015 Pt. 1 (Movies)”

  1. Susan E. Isaacs (@susanisaacs) January 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    I liked MI:5, but I thought “The Big Short” was mobetta. I have “Spotlight” on DVD if you need to see it, come on over!

    • onfoodandfilm.com January 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

      The Big Short was great. Amazing way they simplified the whole mess. And very entertaining. Until it wasn’t. It’s apples and oranges with MI:5. I just found MI:5 to be at the top of that genre. I’m kind of dreading Spotlight. Have you watched it?

  2. Mark Stolaroff January 11, 2016 at 3:07 am #

    My favorite film of the year may be “Brooklyn,” (I see so many I hardly remember them all). I’m just kind of shocked it hasn’t done better. It’s a film that everybody likes, (even my brother-in-law, who rarely steps into a theater that isn’t playing something from Marvel), and yet, it just seems to be doing just so-so. The quality that no one seems to mention is the humor. Yes, it’s sweet and sad (it will make you cry), but it’s also very funny, and moving and surprising. I see they brought it back to the Arclight (for a show or two a day). If this is still playing at a theater near you, please, do yourself a favor and go see it. You will absolutely not be sorry you did.

    • onfoodandfilm.com January 11, 2016 at 3:20 am #

      Very much agreed and excellent point about the humor. Hopefully more Best Picture nods will help people find it.

  3. tishdragonette@me.com January 11, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    Great post!

    I agree. Recently saw “The Revenant” and “Hateful 8” on the same day at Arclight. Both were great and beautifully shot. H8 is my favorite Tarantino flick. Love Jennifer Jason Lee. The only one I still have seen was “Me, Earl & the Dying Girl”.

    I know you have a part 2. I also was effected by “The Big Short” and “Suffragette”. Great performances in “Carol”, thought Cate B felt similar to her wound up character in “Blue Jasmine”. Her character arc was left until the very end but so key.

    >

  4. onfoodandfilm.com January 11, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    hey! Wow, Hateful and Revenant on the same day, you must have been exhausted by the end! I found Revenant stunning from a craft perspective but it left me cold, I didn’t get involved emotionally. I loved The Big Short and, frankly, should have put it on the list. It should win all the screenplay awards, for making something so dry so fun and intelligible. I had a blast at Hateful 8. “Carol” also left me very cold and I was really looking forward to it. Again, I just did not much care what happened. Blanchett’s character seemed an ambiguous cross between villain and not. I’d have gone with one or the other. And there was no sexual heat in the movie at all.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Best of 2015 Pt. 2 (Books & TV) | On Food And Film - January 15, 2016

    […] week I posted my favorite films of 2015. Here is part 2 of my ‘best of’ […]

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