This was the year of the quasi-remake… more like the rebirth. Several large franchises, even the biggest franchises of all time, folded out the same blueprints as their originals, but with new twists. And fans were happy. They didn’t feel like they just got the remake of Point Break or some other terribly foggy notion. An old boxer came out of the woodwork for a friend’s estranged son, dinosaurs got all computer-graphic-y, directors self-referenced themselves, space had daddy-issues, and a female badass tore the barren wasteland of the apocalypse a new one.
Still gotta see a few from this year, most notably The Revenant… but until I also see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Beasts of No Nation, Room, Tangerine, In the Heart of the Sea, Anomalisa, Carol, and a few others, this list is subject to change. For now, without further ado, my favs from 2015:
The Seven-Five – Cops in Brooklyn in the 80s taking dirty money, and telling all. Extremely entertaining. Dealer Diaz is a stand-out.
10. Straight Outta Compton – I had fun. And Cube’s first performance of Gangsta Gangsta is awesome.
9. Inside-Out – Pixar’s best this decade.
8. Sicario – Great cinematography by the endlessly impressive Roger Deakins, and Benicio’s best performance in years.
7. The End of the Tour – reporter David Lipsky goes to interview David Foster Wallace on tour for his colossal book, Infinite Jest. Segel and Eisenberg are both good here. The building of the relationship of the two is very good. Says a lot about who we are vs. how we’re presented.
6. The Big Short – A surprisingly entertaining ride for the end of the economy. Bale rocks it.
5. What We Do In The Shadows – Best comedy of the year, with perhaps the best line, “it would be like eating a sandwich, which would be much more enjoyable if somebody didn’t fuck it first.”
4. Steve Jobs – Sorkin and Fassbender deliver powerhouses here. Jobs was a dick, but sometimes it takes a dick to get jobs done.
3. Ex Machina – the best sci-fi film I’ve seen in ages. Looks great, great performances, flips ya for real.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road – Step the hell out of the way, George Miller is back with a vengeance. This movie makes me think this year was the year of revisitation for revitalization. As this movie is not entirely unlike The Road Warrior, Jurassic World went back to the Park with a slight update, The Force Awakens to bring back the fans of yore with what they loved, wound the scars of the last series, and not without an added dash of newness to keep them salivating, Rocky came back to the life in Creed thanks to Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, and The Hateful Eight even has Tarantino doing the full circle on his career back to the drawing-room burn of Reservoir Dogs, but with a whole new context and level of execution. All of them, if not improving on the original, at least show growth and resuscitation to their respective elders. That said, Fury Road is the best action movie of the year. Everyone works. 100% pure adrenaline, indeed.
- The Hateful Eight – Tarantino doing what he does best, and the most enjoyable movie for my money that I saw this year. A treat for Tarantino fans. With an incredible score, enveloping both Morricone and Kurt Russell once more with the depths of Winter. Jennifer Jason Leigh is a powerhouse in this film. A great ensemble, and a great time at the movies. A slow-burn of a first half, met by an explosive second-half, that keeps you guessing the entire time. Bravo Tarantino! Can’t wait for the next one.