2015 in Words & Stuff

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It’s that time again where I list my top 10 films from this year!!

“How prestigious! But what sort of award is given!?” I hear you say. Well… nothing. Nothing apart from the quiet congratulations from a non-professional writer criticising things from behind a monitor like all good internet users.

So how has 2015 been? Well, apart from comedy films, which have mostly been as funny as spilling red wine on your beige carpet and then trying to soak it up with coffee granules, there have been a lot of good films this year and it looks like next year will be a bumper year as well… at least if you enjoy being a childish nerd who wants to be a superhero like myself.

As always there are rules that must be strictly adhered to in order to have fun.

Rule 1 – This is based on the films I’ve personally seen in 2015

Rule 2 – A number of films have been excluded because I was getting either sunburnt or bitten by mosquitoes somewhere in south-east Asia for 3 months

Rule 3 – This might not be an accurate representation of the score I gave the films during my review because hindsight and reflection are wonderful things

Rule 4 – My original review can be found by clicking the header

Rule 5 – Stop typing, people are getting bored already… so here goes!!! (Insert fireworks here)

The Almost Maybes

Ant Man: Ant Man is like Honey I Shrunk the Kids gave birth to Ocean’s Eleven. Yes, it’s a Marvel film so you probably know what to expect but it’s fun and worth a watch.

Bridge of Spies: A fascinating look into a true story of James B. Donovan a master negotiator at the height of cold war fever. Written by the Coens and directed by Spielberg it’s a solid film.

Crimson Peak: Not the best of films and horrendously marketed this film looks stunning and is probably worth a watch for this reason alone. If you are into gothic romance then this is the film for you.

Everest: Perhaps this will be more impressive on the big screen but I found it truly gripping even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. The scenery is beautiful and terrifying and makes you really appreciate that nature takes no prisoners.

He Named Me Malala: I wish this film had a better story narrative but then again it’s a documentary about one of the most inspirational people of recent times.

Sicario: Still not entirely sure whether I liked this film or not but holy crap! The production values in Sicario are astounding.

Steve Jobs: An amazing script and interesting narrative structure are mixed with some solid performances in Steve Jobs. Whether you like Apple or not this is worth a watch.

The Gift: A bit of a sleeper this one. Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut is not one to sleep on though. Stick with it because it starts real slow but ends in a neutron bomb.

The Good Dinosaur: To be honest there are better films that should have received an honourable mention but the animation in Pixar’s latest is out of this world.

The Walk

A rare film that is definitely worth watching in 3D over 2D. It starts a bit crappy but the more you watch the more you get into it so by the time you see the tightrope walk between the twin towers you’ll start finding chunks of your chair underneath your fingernails!

My Personal Top 10

10. Me Earl and the Dying Girl

A massively underrated indie film about a high school kid who is forced to make nice with a girl from his class who has just been diagnosed with the big C. It’s a really respectful view from the outside in of someone who is dealing with a terminal illness. It comes full of all the joys of an indie film and something that is different to your average Hollywood film.

9. The Man From U.N.C.L.E

I know I’ll be in the minority here by including this anywhere near a top 10 but I like doing stupid things sometimes. The Man From U.N.C.L.E held a special place in my heart so this only had to capture about sixty percent of what made the original TV series great. This is loud, fun and sexy.

8. Ex Machina

Similar in tone to the seminal film Moon, Ex Machina is an excellent piece of cinema especially since it is a directorial debut. This tense thriller can feel a little off paced at times but is beautifully written and acted, constantly subverting who is the good guy in the story. It also probes the question of how far is too far when it comes to technology.

7. Jurassic World

It’s inevitable that the soon-to-be second highest grossing film of 2015 (assuming Star Wars has it’s way) finds it’s way into the top 10 but it’s also totally justifiable because this is a terrific reboot of franchise that is held dear by soo many people. This finally feels like a film that displays a fully functional, living, breathing theme park. It’s not without it’s flaws but it manages to overcome all of them with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What? Only at number six? sacrilege! burn him! But on a serious note it’s a return to form for Star Wars…. finally. Apart from the higher production values you could place this next to The Empire Strikes back and it wouldn’t look out of place because Abrams nails the feel of originals whilst providing enough spectacle to keep you entertained the whole way through.

5. Inside Out

Pixar’s best film yet. Fact. Pixar’s best animation yet. Fiction. The quality of the animation and the entertainment value of Inside Out doesn’t hit the heights of their previous films but it is the most adult, thoughtful and introspective film they have made yet. The concept and the scripting are both brilliant but it’s perhaps only as an adult that you can truly understand the layers of complexity that are prominent throughout this amazingly crafted narrative.

4. Whiplash

This was a bit of a surprise. Whiplash features two incredible performances by J.K. Simmons and Myles Teller. Don’t let the Fantastic Four (Teller’s latest film) put you because this is an enthralling tale of obsession, compulsion and drive. The ever changing dynamic between the two leads is a joy to watch as is the truly brilliant final sequence.

3. The Martian

If this was a bit more dramatic with an extra dose of pure entertainment this would be firmly placed at number one. If you like science fact or fiction this will have you bowled over. The script is so good that there were people coming out of the cinema asking their friends and partners if this was a true story. Matt Damon is a loveable lead and although it’s not exactly rapid in it’s pacing I was never bored and always wanted more problem Martian problem solving.

2. Straight Outta Compton

Check it out, this shiz is dope yo! Hip Hop movies have often been overlooked because they are mostly gigantic turd platters but Straight Outta Compton is as far from this as you can get. Not only does this film portray a fascinating drama about those who pioneered the Ganagster Rap movement it also subtly educates even the keenest classical music fan about why this music was invented and that the lyrics aren’t just “Yeah, bitches and clubs and weed” it’s a lot more than that. Fantastic film. Worth a watch by everyone.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max is mind blowing. I loved the originals because it embraced a sense of absolute madness that is not found in any other film. If the originals were a slice of delirious madness then Fury Road is the whole pie, served by Marilyn Manson, on top of a turbo charged procupine… that’s on fire. The colour work really drives home the emptiness of the post-apocalyptic landscape that only serves to provide logic and reason to the total collapse of any sort of sane society. Imagine your eyes being smashed in by a hammer covered in bees and you are somewhere near the sheer visual spectacle of this master piece.

There you have it. Some super awesome films. Of course not every film has been super awesome, there has been some tripe spewed over the film screens.

The Garbage Collection

Absolutely Anything: This film is like getting celebrity branded perfume for Christmas; full of promise until you see what is actually inside the wrapper. How you can have Simon Pegg, the cast of Monty Python, Eddie Izzard and Robin Williams yet only provide laughs once every… well… once is a total mystery.

Fantastic Four: Don’t let the first 30-40 minutes fool you. It does that. It lulls you into a false sense of security that this might not be quite as rubbish as everyone made out it to be, Then, when you least expect it it steals the money from your wallet, kicks you in the balls and backwashes your expensive Innocent smoothie. Not a pleasant experience

Hot Pursuit: Comedy’s don’t get any more desperate than this miserable attempt to be anything more than just a dull, painful toothache.

Jupiter Ascending: I was actually travelling across Asia when this film came out and now i’ve seen it I was I was travelling across the moon, past venus and mercury and straight into the sun because this is one of the worst films I’ve seen in such a long time. Weirdly the world-building is great but everything else is so bad that it’s hilarious. That’s the point right? To be an ironic pastiche of bad films? No?! Well how was this film allowed to be a thing?

The Transporter Refuelled: Nice try but no-ones going to believe that Ed Skrein is a suitable replacement for Jason Statham. It’s puerile and trashy and lacks any and all the charm of the original. The budgets also been chopped in half so look out for the final fight on the “definitely real rocks” on top of the cliff face. They definitely aren’t small crashmats shaped and coloured like rocks. Bring some sort of eye solution because you’ll get tired of rolling them.

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