As usual typing a list like this I get to talk about how I haven’t seen that much. Recent gems like Dope and Me, Earl and The Dying Girl have escaped me so far. But regardless, if any of the films listed below have past you by, I recommend you find some time to catch up with them…
10. While We’re Young (dir. Noah Baumbach)
Two years ago I had my awakening into the world of Baumbach. With Frances Ha I stopped looking at his work as a guy trying really hard to make me find his awkwardness cute. This film isn’t perfect. It isn’t the beautiful fairy princess tale that is Ha, but if I held everything up to those standards there wouldn’t be much else left. I love Stiller’s frankness and watching these ‘old’ people be sucked into this young world. I love how their lives are re-energized just by partaking in the younger ‘stuff’. While Baumbach’s labeling of youth as evil is harsh, but in line with most of his other thoughts.
9. Cinderella (dir. Kenneth Branagh)
Talking about fairy tales, there has been a period of filmmaking of late that hates kindness and love. It despises it and actively tries to punish it. Branagh does his best to bring it back in a way that feels neither cheesy, cliché or old fashioned with this film. If you’re not sold by the time Charming and Cinderella are facing together on the ballroom floor than I doubt you have much heart left.
8. Paddington (dir. Paul King)
I didn’t expect to be as in love with this simple children’s tale as I did. Maybe it’s because beyond all the simple follies that occur around Paddington and the Brown family I felt a deep sense of anti-Caribbean/immigrant feel to this movie that I had never considered as it relates to this property. I had seen the cartoon on and off as a child, but it didn’t feel like this. It makes me want read up more about the creator of the books .
7. Girlhood (dir. Celine Sciamma)
As it relates to people not fitting into the world around them Girlhood has that perfect balance of presenting characters in a world that just doesn’t get them and the safe place (that is with your friends) where you can be yourself and fit in perfectly. From being super “gangsta” to being silly and dancing to music on the train at night this film carries us in a progression of just horrible scenarios that just will break your heart so many times.
6. Kung Fury (dir. David Sandberg)
Kung Fu cop in 80s TV parody short goes on a time travelling journey to rid the world of Kung Fu Hitler…. need I say more.?
5. Kingsman: The Secret Service (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
As you get further and further into the world of film discussion there’s this hover of self importance over your head that becomes more and more obvious. At that time dumb films like Kingsman which where’s its knowingly spoofing a franchise and a style of storytelling that we’ve been enjoying since we wanted to talk about the cold war in film. Kingsman so knowingly wants to mock and love James Bond so much that it never feels mean and I love that about it.
4. Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland)
Robots are taking over. As I type this I sit in a doctors office that I only remembered to go to because my tablet notified me of the appointment. So when we talk about true artificial intelligence its not hard to think that technology wants to take us there. Mix with that some amazing special effects, a dance scene to be remembered and the most wonderous bottle episode you’ll ever watch in a theatre (or at home like I did)
3. Slow West (dir John Maclean)
Westerns are awesome. The problem for most people my age is that we grew up hating westerns when we were young and our fathers would spend Sunday watching Bonanza marathons claiming they were the best things yet, while in reality the westerns of old were really silly. I’ve come to terms with westerns of then vs now, but as it relates to a recent redefinition of the genre, I love it. Slow West plays up all the survival aspects of the wasteland that the American frontier must’ve really been like, with slew of hardened characters that I can’t help but love.
2. It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell)
There are many things I want to say about this movie, many of it I said in this post that I put up a cpl weeks ago. But more than any trite platitudes I can throw at this film I want to say, it woke me from a slumber. For many months gone by I’ve been sleeping on this site and my writing. I’ve regressed somewhat in how I approach the writing, but when I finished watching this movie it was the first time in a long time I immediately felt the need to put my fingers at the keyboard and type out something. Whether you thought that post was pedantic, boring, or just kind of shit; that feeling is what propels this movie above many others this year gone by. And that’s saying something guys.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller)
However, as much praise as I throw at It Follows, it’s hard to defeat the master of the year so far. George Miller‘s return to the Mad Max franchise couldn’t have been better than this. This film not only packs all the action punches the hard core junkie off the street needs, it brings us a world so lovely and dense that everyone else will be talking about it for decades to come. I don’t know if they’re going to keep making more of these movies, I don’t know if it will be as good or as unique as this film is. All I know is that this film may just define a new type of filmmaking in my mind, and that’s beyond astounding.