Here we are, nearly three months into 2016 and I’m yet to post my “Best Films of last year” list! Shocking! In fact, I am WELL behind on posting on here. I blame a lot of that on my activity on Next Gen Gaming Blog where I’ve been a busy beaver reviewing all sorts of things. Still, that’s no excuse and I’m hoping, as always, to find some time to post some more general topics on here. That may or may not happen but, if you’re coming back here to read this list, I thank you for bearing with me!
Anyway, onto the 2015 best films. I’m taking a slightly different tack with this as I’m not going to be focussing on JUST films released in 2015 (although some of them have made the list) but on the films I watched for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed. I’m splitting it into a month-by-month list which I’ve been able to curate from my Entertainment Log (yes, I’m still keeping that! It’s proven handy for things like this!) and picking a best film as well as a runner up from each month. I’ll talk a little about what I liked about each one. The bests tend to be the films that have stuck with me over the months, the ones I’ve recommended to others. I’ve also made a top five “near misses” list, of films that didn’t quite make the cut but deserve mention anyway. I’ve also made a small list of “worst” films. I have fairly low standards so these films did truly suck.
I’ve split the list up into separate articles for the year, starting with January to March. Basically I didn’t want huge swathes of text so this keeps it concise. I’ll be publishing the articles over the next week so, eyes peeled! The last article will also have the “worsts” list in it for fans of stinky cinema.
I unashamedly love me a big monster movie and they don’t come any bigger than Godzilla. A very different beast to Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort, Gareth Edwards film is a far more serious affair sporting not only an excellent human cast but some superb creature effects and manages to capture the spirit of the earlier Toho films.
Honourable Mention – Only Lovers Left Alive
The first vampire movie on this list, Jim Jarmusch’s dramadey focusses on the existential angst of an undead musician, his far more upbeat yet equally ancient girlfriend and her self destructive younger sister. Superb photography and sound design sit nicely alongside a whimsical script with strong performances from leads Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton and Mia Wasikowska.
More deep whimsy as Spike Jonze explores love and artificial intelligence. Joaquin Phoenix plays an introverted and socially awkward but brilliant young man who begins to form a meaningful relationship with his phone’s operating system, voiced brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson. Both incredibly funny and deeply melancholic, Her will leave you pondering the importance of human emotion.
Honourable Mention – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum to Her, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a huge triumph for me. Massively derided on release, I found it to be a film which comes as close to emulating the fun of the 1990’s cartoon series as any previous releases in the series. While it changes some elements of the story up it also gets a shocking amount right and is enough fun that younger viewers will have a great time with it, despite the unnecessary 12a rating.
Loosely inspired by the life of Chris Sievey, aka Frank Sidebottom, Frank is a hilarious exploration of independent music, the false economy of the internet, artistic madness and mental illness. Bittersweet with some great music (all performed by the cast) and an electrifying lead performance by Michael Fassbender, Frank is essential viewing.
Honourable Mention – Possession
Andrezj Zulawski’s 1981 horror is a gut wrenching watch. Starring Sam Niell and Isabelle Adjani as a couple experiencing the extremities of a fraying relationship, Zulawski visualises their emotions as a horrifying sequence of distressing body horror, leaving the viewer to guess whether it’s real or all in their heads. Snagged up in the early 80’s video nasties controversy, Possession is worth hunting down for fans of Cronenberg or Lynch.
Well, that’s it for now! Join me later in the week for Part 2!