I can’t help but feel this was a strong year for mainstream cinema, and while I did not go as often in 2015 as I would have in the past, I don’t think I wasted any of my time at the box office. Unfortunately, large films such as The Revenant and The Hateful (H8ful?) Eight will not be released until 2016 in the UK, so they will not quite make the list – I’m sure they’re gutted. So, to keep things brief, here is my Film of the Year as well as the runners up, who are in no particular order.
Film of the Year – Steve Jobs
A film so in love with its protagonist I couldn’t help but be caught up in awe of the man who changed the world of computing. Combining the zingers and snarky writing of Aaron Sorkin with the camera movements and energy of Danny Boyle’s directing Steve Jobs flies past at breakneck speed, sweeping the viewer away behind the scenes of 3 keynote presentations where something is always going wrong. From broken systems to a rejected daughter, Boyle knows when to make you laugh and when to make you feel something. That something can be any emotion from anger to upset to inspiration, and no matter the controversy surrounding the representation of the film’s characters, the actors all perform to the top of their acting ability, with leads Fassbender and Winslet crafting a very special, intimate an exciting duo. I cannot recommend this film enough – if you loved The Social Network, you will love this too.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
A feast of nostalgia, pandering and new stories make The Force Awakens one of the best films of the year, and definitely the third best Star Wars film, if not second. The new cast breathes life into a story we know and love as returning actors seek to nurture them, curing viewers of the poison they last drank from the goblet of George Lucas. Daisy Ridley’s Rey is a true stand out, as well as her new nemesis Kylo Ren; both characters carrying a temper but one with much more visceral anger and a longing for the dark side. An exhilarating experience from start to finish, I imagine Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be in many top lists this year.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Blistering speeds, hostile environments, fully developed characters, understandable apocalypse and big crazy cars turn the Mad Max franchise into what I can only imagine George Millar intended for back in the day. Wonderfully portrayed characters drive forward this incredibly complex action movie, creating a new hero for cinema in the shape of Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa, and in a similar vein to Pacific Rim, made it much less acceptable to disregard development for action.
Joy is a joy, Sadness is a gem and Anger is hilarious, as Pixar have went above and beyond to create a wonderful world inside our heads where our emotions have emotions. I don’t really have much to say about this one, other than I was smiling from start to end, except the sad parts (but thats okay, because the film says so). Sitting now I am trying to think if I had a Bing Bong when I was a child, but I honestly can’t remember.
Another film in which Guillermo Del Toro convinces us he understands the conventions of genre like no one else, serving them up with a gorgeous colour palette, masterfully crafted sets, and an unsettling score reminding me of his much darker Spanish horror films where he honed the craft. The Gothic Romance is a tale as old as, well, Gothic Horror, and the story of vengeful ghosts is retold every week in the newest ghost train featured in cinemas, but the way in which Del Toro crafts his monsters is what makes them real. The ghosts are tangible, with physical presence as they drip and grab and crawl and wail, making Crimson Peak a very uncomfortable place to be.
– Slow West
– The Song of the Sea
-The Tale of Princess Kaguya
– The Martian