Journal: 2015 in Film Jan 3, 2016 14:23:48 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jan 3, 2016 14:23:48 GMT -5
Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen in Steve Jobs.
My Favorite Films of 2015:
1. 99 Homes: The most underrated, unseen, and under-appreciated film of the year is also the most significant film about the housing market and the effects of the global financial crisis alongside The Big Short. 99 Homes came out in the beginning of the year with no buzz, a slight marketing campaign, and two actors that are on the teetering edge of household names and still cannot bring people into theaters based on their names alone. In addition, being that this is a film about a man, his mother, and his son being evicted from their home and the man subsequently going to work for the same man who evicted him, this pessimistic story is probably the story of many people post-2008, so it's understandable as to why a couple wouldn't want to make their Saturday night at the movies revolve around this particular film. Nonetheless, this is an intense and incredibly acted film, with tour-de-force performances by both Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, my favorite actor working today who wins Best Actor at the Oscars this year, in my mind, for one of the most menacing performances of the decade.
My review of 99 Homes, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/4936/99-homes
2. A Girl Like Her: It wasn't until I had dinner with a friend one day, and was recommending her some of the year's best films, that I saw a commonality with my first three picks and that is they were all films that entered theaters under the radar and bombed for one reason or another because of circumstances beyond their control. A Girl Like Her should've been a huge hit, judging by its premise alone, but after receiving a modest 1,000 theaters opening weekend, it quickly lost them to Furious 7, which opened a week later. The film opens with a young teenage girl taking enough pills to put herself into a coma after experiencing relentless bullying from a fellow classmate. While she lies in the hospital with her condition uncertain, we, the audience, watch all the footage her and her close friend managed to capture of the bullying occurring, thanks to small, discrete cameras placed on her blouse and glasses in efforts to document the continuing harassment. Halfway through this film, you think of the young woman doing the bullying as a contemptible monster, but it isn't until you see her side of the story at the end that you at least get her human side on display. Films concerning bullying usually never get this level-headed, nor as honest or as well-acted as this one either.
My review of A Girl Like Her, influxmagazine.com/a-girl-like-her-review/
3. Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs is a symphonic blend of biting dialog and character interest, Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs also found itself lost in the shuffle of what was a busy fall season for adult dramas, in addition to being victim of apathy amongst potential audience members with the ubiquity of Steve Jobs information following his death. Nonetheless, that doesn't disregard the sheer magnitude of this film as a truly immersing work of dramatic entertainment that details Jobs' characteristics and personality through three of the biggest and most revolutionary press conferences he ever gave in his life.
My review of Steve Jobs, thebaconation.com/review/steve-jobs-2015/
4. Road Hard: Adam Carolla's Road Hard is a wonderful testament to the idea of being "functionally lonely," as I call it, or starving for something more, in addition to being a hilarious dark comedy. Somewhat based on Corolla's life following The Man Show, his breakout program with Jimmy Kimmel, who went on to be a successful late night talk show host, while Carolla became a less popular name, this is a film full of humor and pain, blended so elegantly that you might not obtain it all on the first watch.
My review of Road Hard, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/4630/road-hard?page=1&scrollTo=26059
5. Spotlight: Spotlight is the first film on my list so far that is a great, important film that people are actually going to see. This shouldn't change in coming months, as it's still the film with the highest odds to win Best Picture at the Oscars this year, and is damn worthy for that title. This is a film that shows the layered and tireless side of investigative journalism, including the interviewing process and the pursuit of leads and stories in a way that's energetic and lively. Boasting an ensemble cast and seriously emotional scenes that aren't played for cheap pathos, it's one of the most airtight examinations of the press and its public duty that I've yet to see.
My review of Spotlight, thebaconation.com/review/spotlight-2015/
6. Irrational Man: In present-day, Woody Allen has fallen greatly from the mainstream light, entering another one of his cycles where the ordeal between him and his daughter circumvents into the news cycle just because - it doesn't have any new developments or new voices, it just finds a way back into the public eye. As a result, Allen's, who's personal life I know nothing about, along with Bill Cosby's, Roman Polanski's, and so forth, latest movies suffer, and after no one saw Magic in the Moonlight, a terrific film, in 2014, nobody saw Irrational Man this year, either. Again, Allen brings out the best in a quirky pairing of actors, this time Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a drunk philosophy professor, and Emma Stone, who plays an optimistic student intent on picking his mind for everything it's worth. Uproariously funny and delightfully acted, it also becomes a mystery about self-worth and personal validation in true Woody Allen fashion.
My review of Irrational Man, influxmagazine.com/irrational-man-review/
7. Love & Mercy: Biopics have such a negative connotation in America - likely why David O. Russell's new film Joy is doing everything it can with its trailers to hide the fact that it's about Joy Mangano, the queen of QVC - that it's almost as if, going forward, directors will have to find new and more abstract ways to tell otherwise conventional stories. By juxtaposing different time periods, focusing on mental states rather than physical states, and including the music and the aura of an era, director Bill Pohland makes Love & Mercy, a film about Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, an uncommonly effective experience by way of its emotional powerhouse and remarkable character actors - everyone from John Cusack to Paul Giamatti is Oscar-worthy here.
My review of Love & Mercy, influxmagazine.com/love-mercy-review/
8. The Hunting Ground: Kirby Dick - one of the new muckraking journalists/documentarians working today - takes his trademark investigative camera lens to college campuses with The Hunting Ground, a documentary exposing the way colleges today help coverup or sit idly by while rampant sexual assaults and rapes occur under their watch. There are many reasons to love this film, but my ultimate reason is the way it exposes the biggest lie ever perpetuated on college campuses, even more-so than the idea that "college guarantees you a good job" - fraternities and sororities. Dick shows these cutely named havens as nothing more than what they are - dens of raping, drugging, drinking, and unscathed reputations thanks to the financial backing from legacy families. It's wonderful to see these organizations exposed, but it's also nice to see a thoughtful documentary on the athletic powerhouses that also prevent many of these rape cases from seeing the light of day, or worse, blame the victim rather than the rapist.
My review of The Hunting Ground, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/4913/hunting-ground-2015
9. Straight Outta Compton: A close second for the best biopic of the year is Straight Outta Compton, which leaves the average audience member "stompin'" as they walk out of the theater after having seen an engrossing and uncommonly entertaining two and a half hour film. Buoyed by strong performances from a wealth of talented newcomers and N.W.A. music from the early years of their inception, it's hard to find a film this long that's consistently entertaining, as well as an emotional rollercoaster involving high highs, low lows, and commentary about systemic racism and police brutality sprinkled in that couldn't have been more timely if it tried.
My review of Straight Outta Compton:, www.rocknreelreviews.com/review/straight-outta-compton/
10. By the Sea: Few films have made me think for so long upon seeing them as much as Angelina Jolie Pitt's latest film, By the Sea. On the surface, no pun intended, and judging by the trailer, this looks like a film that's a self-parody of independent films and the French New Wave. As a whole, however, this is a sad, mellow, and meditative contemplation on marriage and the possible inevitability of all relationships. It's more than Brad and Angelina Jolie Pitt wallowing in misery, and that's all one can hope for after seeing the trailer.
My review of By the Sea, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/4992/sea-2015
Honorable Mentions: Inside Out, The Hateful Eight, and Chi-Raq.