The Year in Movies 2015

It’s that time of year when my fellow critics are putting together their best of lists and the more fun worst of lists.  For me it’s hard to look at the bad movies this year, and there have been a fair amount, but I think it’s better for everyone that we talk about the good, the bad, and the whys, just why?

The Just Whys are the films that you sit there and wonder who the hell gave this thing funding, there are thousands of unproduced scripts floating around in the clouds of future great screenwriters out there and yet there are films like Love 3D, Horse Money, and By the Sea, that get made over and over again.  By the Sea, directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Herself and Hubby Brad was one of the bigger let downs of the year.  It was all about the style of the piece and by the time the reveal came about why this couple were imploding you just didn’t care any more.  Angelina had directed Unbreakable last year, the World War 2 prisoner of war movie, and I loved that, which is why I held out hope for this piece of head scratching nonsense.  But thankfully, for every Just Why, there is a future classic that comes along.

The biggest of these for me, apart from Star Wars, was the Pixar and Disney film Inside Out.  The premise behind the film that we see the emotions of a young girl trying to cope with the changes in her life doesn’t sound like something that would cause me to keep going back to the cinema time and time again.  Everything seemed to fit, the voice cast nailed it, the animation was some of the most beautiful that Pixar have ever developed, and the story just brought you straight in there.  It was also the fact that it thought Children that they could be sad, that it was okay to feel something other than positive emotions.  This was the first film that brought out the perfect score from me.  I know it didn’t exactly light up the box office but for me it was the perfect piece of perfected animation that ever graced the cinema screen.  Star Wars also drew out the perfect score, but I don’t know if that was emotional bias or the fact that it’s the best Star Wars film since Empire.

For me movies are about the emotions that are brought out through the film, the positive, the negative and the ones that scare you to the bone.  Something that scared me and a lot of the other reviewers this year was the film Still Alice.  It’s not a horror, and Julianne Moore won a deserved Best Actress Oscar for a truly touching performance, of a woman slipping away to Alzheimer’s disease.  This disease can hit anyone at any time and affects the whole family not just the person with the illness.  The script and cast here melded together in a way that really shocked you to your core.

There is nothing worse than a film that you don’t feel anything about, you don’t laugh, you don’t care about the characters, and you leave the cinema worrying about how to write a review of a film that you can’t really recall.  Not that your memory is slipping, but the film is just so unmoving that your own memory is saying ‘Yeah, we’re not storing any of that!’  One such film was Inherent Vice, there was not enough breadcrumbs in the world for me to follow that into the woods of storytelling.

What really shocked me this year, shocked is the wrong word, what really ROCKED me this year is the documentaries that just blew me off my seat.  So with that in mind I’m going to give you top fives, top five good, top five bad, and a top five of Documentaries that you should rush out to see.  Remember that these lists are my own thoughts, my own personal loves of the 2015 silver screen adventures.  You are encouraged to write your own lists and keep them to yourselves.

Top Five Movies

  1. Inside Out
  2. Star Wars The Force Awakens
  3. Love is Strange
  4. The Walk
  5. Mr. Holmes

Top Five Documentaries

  1. Precinct 75 (aka The Seven Five)
  2. Cartel Land
  3. The Queen of Ireland
  4. Older Than Ireland
  5. The Last Hijack

Top Five to Avoid.

  1. Love 3D
  2. Horse Money
  3. Beyond the Reach
  4. By the Sea
  5. Fifty Shades of Grey

So now that 2015 is about to draw to a close, and for reasons other than entertainment I’ll be happy to see the back of it, we look forward to the most Comic Book movie year of all time.  Deadpool, Batman Versus Superman, and Captain America: Civil War, along with Suicide Squad will surely be mentioned next year as I write this list at the last-minute again.  But there will always be highs and lows, shattered expectations and eye-opening moments, which is one of the most amazing things about cinema.  It gives us those moments were complete strangers come together, spend their disposable incomes, and unite as one being for the running time of the film.  In a world that is constantly trying to make us fear each other because of our differences, cinema is one place where we find those who share a love for good entertainment, or bring us together in the question ‘What the hell was that?’ either way, good times.

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