• Tag Archives films
  • Film Review of 2015 – Drama

    Drama is where the bulk of films lie. Trying to tell the most interesting stories without any flashy gimmicks. This is where most of the Oscar nominated films end up, concentrated in both films released at either end of the year. It can be hard evaluating films like Selma, Birdman and Whiplash when they were seen so long ago but the best films tend to stay with you.

    Michael Fassbender has had a fantastic year, appearing in the top two films on this list, something I have only just noticed. Aaron Sorkin continues to be one of the top two writers of dialogue in the business as Steve Jobs shows again. Slow West was a Coenesque western that was worth the effort to hunt down in the cinema.

    Straight Outta Compton was a powerhouse of a film with an riveting central performance by Jason Mitchell as Easy E. Expect him to be overlooked in the upcoming awards season.

    Another film that was barely on the screens was Good Kill, continuing Ethan Hawkes’ own renaissance. Hunt it down on Netflix now.

    While I admit I didn’t follow a word of it, Macbeth (more Fassbender) goes down as the most beautiful film of the year. Every frame was breathtaking.

    Not too many disappointing films this year but both musical documentaries (as opposed to biopics) The Wall and Cobain: Montage of Heck both left me cold,Munich is a shame as I’m a big fan of both Pink Floyd and Nirvana respectively.

    Steve Jobs
    Slow West
    Straight Outta Compton
    Inherent Vice
    The Duke of Burgundy
    The Dressmaker
    Good Kill
    Love & Mercy
    The Theory of Everything
    Still Alice
    The Program
    Black Mass
    While We’re Young
    A Most Violent Year
    Bridge of Spies
    Paper Towns
    Force Majeur
    Mr Holmes
    True Story
    The Water Diviner
    The Gambler
    American Sniper
    Roger Waters: The Wall
    Cobain: Montage of Heck

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  • Film Review of 2015 – Sci-Fi

    Ahh Sci-Fi and fantasy. My Achilles heel and a good place to fit those films that don’t quite fit elsewhere. Another strong year with several of this years blockbusters continuing to blow me away on many repeated viewings. Despite it’s flaws Jurassic World was the biggest surprise for me as despite not looking forward to it and thinking the trailers dull, it was just so entertaining I ended up going back again and again.

    Another film I wasn’t looking forward to was the follow up to The Avengers. The trailers looked dull and uninspired, like Marvel were finally running out of ideas. And on first viewing I wasn’t that taken with it. But I put that down to being too tired for the midnight showing and repeated showings have shown lots of depths, heart and loud exciting action. As usual the 3D on Marvel films is also top notch here.

    The Good Dinosaur was a late entry and turned out to be be best Pixar film of the year. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you different.

    Ex Machina was a great surprise and the start of the year but shouldn’t have been as Alex Garland wrote Sunshine, one of my favourites. It was also great to see Dohmnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac together before their other starring hit of the year.

    Star Wars is back and despite fears it was too late to make my Top Ten of the year list it turned out not to trouble. Tremendous fun but incredibly flawed film where the bad parts come close to over shadowing all the good. Yet the pure nostalgia factor puts it on top of the rest.

    Most overlooked film of the year goes to the Maze Runner sequel The Scorched Trials. Not a film I think many were looking forward to, it managed to put both Insurgent and The Hunger Games to shame.

    Talking of shame, two franchises were hopefully put out of their misery by the shambles that were Terminator: Genisys and Fantastic Four. Josh Trank’s rapid plunge from indie prodigy to Alan Smithee rival was only beaten by Neil Blombkamp’s fall from grace with the lamentable Chappie.

    The Martian
    Jurassic World
    The Good Dinosaur
    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Song of the Sea
    Ex Machina
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
    Into The Woods
    Big Hero 6
    The Last Witch Hunter
    Project Almanac
    The Tale of Princess Kaguya
    Seventh Son
    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
    Terminator Genisys
    Jupiter Ascending
    Fantastic 4

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  • Film Review of 2015 – Comedy

    Comedy is subjective. Sometimes all a good comedy has to do is make you laugh, which is something both Ted 2 and Sisters managed to make me do even if they didn’t tickle many other critics. Great comedies even make you think, like The Lady in the Van or Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. Others don’t even try like the outrageously entertaining Magic Mike XXL.

    Then there are the comedies that forget they are meant to be funny and leave out all the jokes, something that happened to Unfinished Business, Absolutely Anything and Man Up, which goes to show Simon Pegg and Nick Frost really need Edgar Wright to make them funny. Which is a shame as I honestly do like them.

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
    Magic Mike XXL
    The Lady in the Van
    Pitch Perfect 2
    Inside Out
    Ted 2
    A Walk in the Woods
    The DUFF
    The Legend of Barney Thompson
    The Wedding Ringer
    The Walk
    The Interview
    Get Hard
    Man Up
    Unfinished Business
    Absolutely Anything

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  • Film Review of 2015 – Introduction

    So back with another review of the year in film. As with previous years, I have sorted all the films I have seen this year into 5 categories – Drama, Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi and Horror. This helps to compare like with like and avoids putting films like Magic Mike XXL against films like Selma when judging their relative merits. The cream of these lists will then be skimmed off the top to make up my Top Ten of the year. I’ve seen 116 films so far this year and I’m sure that will go up before the end of the year (and these lists will be updated). Re-releases don’t count (So no Back to the Future) and all of these films were released in 2015 according to Launching Films so any films released last year but seen this year also haven’t been counted. All except a handful were seen in the cinema, which is the only place to watch and judge a good film.

    This method can often lead to some unbalances, both with the number of films per category and the strength of all the films on the list. There is no bell curve and this year has been another incredibly strong year for films. So just because a film is near the bottom of the list it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad film. I have however moved to a 5 star rating:
    Green – Fantastic. This is what film should be about. Either technically perfect, or more likely just very, very entertaining.
    Blue – Very good. Enjoyable and impressive but just short of being fantastic, which is often a result of my nitpicking.
    Yellow – Good. Most films will fall into this category. Nothing wrong with the films in here and this is where you can find many films which are cheesy fun.
    Brown – Mediocre. Pretty average and nothing distinguishing about it, but at least it’s competently made. Probably quite forgettable.
    Red – Avoid. There is so much wrong with these films. Shouldn’t have seen the light of day (or the inside of a movie theatre).

    As with all top ten of the year lists, this list is totally subjective. Films are ranked in order and can rank higher just for being totally enjoyable, or lower for being reprehensible (American Sniper) despite the technical quality of the film making.