Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire
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, 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.
Not without the tardiness drops the best of 2014, but hastily and without seeing a plethora of this year’s films, my 2015 list is coming up momentarily. Just catching up on the years… that said, having waited awhile before posting this list results in my not really remembering what the best of 2014 was… but from my recollection, here we go:
10. Nightcrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal makes this. With Zodiac and Prisoners, that’s 3 Gyllenhaal performances I dig.
9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Damn dirty apes come up with a good sequel.
8. Edge of Tomorrow – The Groundhog Day of action movies is actually good!
7. Guardians of the Galaxy – After an entire summer working everyday, this was what I did with my first day off, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. My favourite opening sequence of the year.
6. Inherent Vice – Felt more Pynchon than PTA, and I’m still trying to make heads of tails of things here, and am going back fore more.
5. Only Lovers Left Alive – Jarmusch’s best in some time. Great hypnotic quality, great music, and DETROIT!
4. Boyhood – Go Linklater go!
3. Birdman – Go Alejandro go!
2. Foxcatcher – Wow. “Mother didn’t care for horse meat!” Man was this intriguing and well executed. Great performances all around.
- Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes’ best since Tenenbaums makes for the best film of the year. Fiennes is perfectly cast. Dafoe is great as always. Nobody makes European American films like Wes… perfect dioramas. A great culmination of Wes’ bag of tricks.
The man took Sally Menke’s place, that ain’t no light-weight responsibility.
Ridley Scott talks about the end of Blade Runner and how Stanley Kubrick helped him out with some footage. Pretty cool.
Get your light on – not a bad little lighting tutorial:
Calling all Brian De Palma and Phantom of the Paradise fans!!! That means Somebody Super Like You! We’re making a new documentary about the phantastic 1974 movie and Winnipeg’s bizarre fascination with the flick. Did you know that it played for over 12 months in Winnipeg when it was initially released!?!?! That’s longer than Jaws, Titanic, and even Star Wars!!! Say what??! What was in the water?? Well, that’s what we are heading to Manitoba to figure out. Check it out, and help out if you can: Phantom of Winnipeg Indiegogo campaign
I have been a fan of this flick for many years, and am very surprised and excited to be making a movie about it. I will try to post updates about the production here as it unfolds.
Awesome trailer for Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight (aka The H8ful Eight)! Absolutely positively can not wait.
Inarritu’s new flick with DiCaprio and Tom Hardy! Love the trailer!