Favorite Original Score of 2015:
The Hateful Eight by Ennio Morricone
Mad Max: Fury Road by Junkie XL
Favorite Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of 2015:
These are the films that never really saw their worthy light of day. Whether it was due to an unfairly lame box office performance, a violent barrage of negative reviews that was completely uncalled for, or a limited release that just wasn’t enough, these five movies struck a chord with me and deserve much more attention and appeal.
I saw San Andreas in a D-BOX seat. So when downtown Los Angeles began to crumble, I was in the eye of the storm. It’s the coolest disaster movie I’ve seen in quite some time.
I WAS THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED
We Are Your Friends is by no means the year’s worst offering as this box office information may lead you to surmise, but it certainly isn’t that great of a film either. A strangely moody attempt to bring the style and substance of Trainspotting to the world of EDM, this Zac Efron vehicle was better left off of the BPM charts.
Because assembling a Top 10 list is a very volatile operation, and the spillage has to land somewhere.
Spring is by far 2015’s best “less you know the better” recommendation. A naive courtship becomes an honest romance which becomes…well, I’ll stop there. But the picturesque scenery and Hilker’s wonderful performance add rich flavor to Moorhead & Benson’s unique love story.
Leads & supporting players, males & females, and old & young are all included.
TOP 10 FAVORITE FILMS OF 2015:
Bahrani, once identified by Ebert as “the next great American filmmaker,” demonstrates his ability to pull intelligent suspense and compelling drama out of an ongoing American crime. The tragic story of the financial crisis is made palpable and endlessly relatable by Shannon and Garfield’s searing performances.
A gold medalist in using film as a visual storytelling medium, The Tribe is an engrossing crime saga that shoves the comforts of dialogue, subtitles, and familiar scenery into a toolshed and throws away the key.
Wunderkind Dolan’s melodrama makes several bold choices, including but not limited to an unusual aspect ratio, its creative song placements, and a rolling current of emotional substance that doesn’t let up. It may sound cheeky, but Mommy is a pleasant reminder that sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses.
If I had my way I would never leave
Keep building these random memories
Turning our days into melodies
But since I can’t stay
I’ll just keep playing back
These fragments of time
Everywhere I go
These moments will shine
Daft Punk, “Fragments of Time”
Smooth, confident, unmeasurably tense, and stirring—all without the slightest shadow of violence. Edgerton’s directorial debut is a rock-solid work that aims to snap scissors at the string we call “trust,” which, it seems, can often be too thin.
It’s fascinating that the lead characters of one of this year’s most rewardingly human stories aren’t people, but the button-pushing emotions themselves. Inside Out is a rich journey through the architecture of a young girl’s feelings, loaded with zeal and the urge to teach us all that feeling conflicted, unwelcome, or left behind is sometimes a healthy necessity.
Five-year-old Jack, newly welcomed into the world of a loving family after being born and raised in terrifying captivity, meets a dog. When his heart swells with discovery, ours melts with compassion. This moment of character evolution is one of many in a film that begs us to appreciate what’s most valuable to us.
Aristophanes’ Lysistrata proves to be timelessly applicable with Lee’s stunning urban satire. Equal parts hilarious and devastating, Chi-Raq’s irreverent style helps to establish it as the preeminent artistic outcry at the many injustices affecting our nation today, whether they be interpersonal or broadly political.
Demange’s shocking you-are-there atmosphere meshes with a political climate as palpable as the embers floating through Belfast’s cold night’s wind. ’71 touches on a piece of European history that deserves more retrospect, and does so with disquieting immediacy.
In his review for Lance Hammer’s Ballast, Ebert wrote “I always say I hardly ever cry at sad films, but I sometimes do, just a little, at films about good people.” I have been affected by plenty of films, but few sequences have grabbed me more cathartically than the final exchange between Furiosa and Max. The moments that lead to the end of their tale of liberation and new beginnings are operatic and emotional. It’s one of the best films of my lifetime.
Everything else I saw in 2015:
Taken 3 / Black Sea / Mortdecai / Kingsman: The Secret Service / Everly / Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau / Run All Night / Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief / It Follows / Furious 7 / Lost River / Slow West / Tomorrowland / Entourage / Spy / Jurassic World / Dope / The Overnight / Ant-Man / Trainwreck / Southpaw / Cop Car / Straight Outta Compton / The Visit / Goodnight Mommy / Black Mass / Everest / The Martian / Steve Jobs / The Final Girls / Crimson Peak / Beasts of No Nation / Spectre / The Peanuts Movie / Macbeth / Spotlight / Evolution / Disorder (Maryland) / Legend / Youth / Krampus / The Big Short / In the Heart of the Sea / Joy / Anomalisa.