With 2015 coming to an end, I wanted to take a look back at the movie reviews I wrote this year. When I counted the reviews I have written this year (=24), I wanted to see what would be my top ten favorites. It was a bit easier to make a “listicle” than in past years, since I did not think this year’s output was as stunning. No film in the same league as “Imitation Game” or “The Theory of Everything”.
With the Golden Globe Awards now announced, I have taken a look back at the movie reviews I have written over the past year, not only this year’s releases. Both television and cinema have continued to produce phenomenal story-telling, but this year did not reach 2014’s pinnacle in my opinion.
The following list is not ranked –only grouped by genre. [Full disclosure: I have not yet seen several being considered for Academy Award nominations –Room, Carol, Brooklyn, Danish Girl, The Revenant, Concussion, and Steve Jobs.)]
INDIES and FOREIGN CINEMA
1) Headhunters (January 25 review)– Based on the 2008 bestseller by Scandinavian novelist Jo Nesbø, “Headhunters” is a crime thriller with more twists and turns than any similar film I’ve seen in the last ten years.
2) Wild Tales (March 2 review) Grudges, minor insults, infidelity, and heinous crimes all lead to mayhem, revenge, and murder on a cataclysmic, sometimes savage scale.
3) Woman in Gold (September 6 review) An appealing film on several levels: as history, narrative, and as emotional gratification that retribution does happen sometimes. Maria’s story is also a poignant one, of memory, family ties, and growing old.
4) Trainwreck (July 16 review) This is the best and funniest rom-com since “Bridesmaids”, another hilarious feminist film by Judd Apatow. The scenes that are the most memorable and vivid, however, are comic fireworks. Written and starring Amy Schumer, “Trainwreck’s” humor is raunchy, pushes the boundaries of conventional one-liners, and is as sexually explicit as Schumer’s Comedy Central TV series.
BIG STUDIO MOVIES:
Political and Sociological
5) Bridge of Spies – To be reviewed on January 4, 2016.
6) Spotlight – To be reviewed on January 10, 2016.
7) Southpaw (September 13 review) Neatly fitting into the mold of Raging Bull, Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, “Southpaw” nevertheless has some interesting surprises, not just a re-tread of previous boxing blockbusters.
8) Muscle Shoals (July 9 review) “Muscle Shoals” is the love story of American music roots in the Deep South. The movie gives the impression that the principals of FAME, the iconic recording studio, were unaware of the significance of their race-neutral music production.
9) Love and Mercy (July 12 review) Based on Brian Wilson’s biography, “Love and Mercy’ tells the horrific tale of a pioneering musician and the wounds which seemed never to heal.
10) Straight Outta Compton (August 30 review) Chronicling the rise of N.W.A. (”niggers with attitude”), this biopic of music pioneers belongs in the company of “Ray”, “Walk the Line”, “8 Mile” “Love and Mercy” and “Muscle Shoals”.