|I think there's something in my blind spot.|
The Oscars are Sunday and thus, I return to you. I actually made it an entire year without writing a single word, which coincides with my realization in November that I'd only seen a handful of 2015 films. I kept waiting for the barrage of theatrical must-sees. Then I realized that essential Hollywood was largely taking the back half of the year off. Don't let my pessimism get you down though, because I made up for lost time and saw a lot of good films in 2015. I'm just crabby because I liked 2014 too much, and nothing in 2015 blew me away like The Guest did. Before we get to my arbitrary ratings, let's hit some honorable mentions and talk about the movie I feel required to mention—even though I really don't want to.
STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS - The Elephant in the Room
THE TRIBE - Honorable Mention
The MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E - Honorable Mention
And now for our annual countdown...
10. The Forbidden Room
this scene. You're welcome.
9. Wild Tales
8. It Follows
7. The Revenant
6. What We Do in the Shadows
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. The Big Short
Chi-Raq is an adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata, in which the women of ancient Greece go on a sex strike in protest of the Peloponnesian war. In Chi-Raq, Ancient Greece is replaced by modern-day Chicago, and the Peloponnesian war is replaced by gang violence in the south side. Like it's source material, Chi-Raq is written largely in verse, but it's all phrased in a modern vernacular and chock full of cultural references. To simplify things, it's mostly slam poetry about guns and sex. The dialogue is smart and sharp, often making use of pop culture, current events and ridiculous metaphors. And while the film is incredibly funny, it's also incredibly serious about gang violence. The focal point of the film is the death of a seven-year-old girl shot dead by a stray bullet. There's legitimate dramatic impact as we see a mother scrubbing her daughter's blood from the sidewalk, and while some of the dramatic moments are borderline farcical, there are others that make an impression.
Unfortunately—and understandably, some of you will be put off by the film's politics. It is, after all, a satirical and simplified narrative pertaining to a very complex problem. Sometimes it preaches, sometimes it doesn't say enough. The film begins and ends with the message, "This is an emergency." And while a sex strike isn't the real solution, the film certainly provokes a dialogue; and that's all we need cinema to do.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - I confused this with The Kingsman until 30 minutes in.
Ex Machina - This has also been my experience with women.
The Gift - Unexpectedly good, even with the predictable ending.
Room - If they were in the room any longer, I would have lost it.
The Martian - Matt Damon's stand-up comedy show.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence - Delightfully strange.
The Tribe - Every ginger gets his day.
Appropriate Behavior - Trainwreck for Middle Eastern lesbians.
Youth - A delightful film about nothing and everything. But it's still not The Great Beauty.
White God - #DogLivesMatter. That is seriously the gist of the movie. Pictured at the top of the post.
Sicario - Can we give Benicio Del Toro Best Supporting actor? What is this Stallone nonsense?
Trumbo - Another film to make you mad at the government. There were a lot this year.
The Duke of Burgundy - 50 Shades of Gay. Lesbians who like moths and masochism.
Steve Jobs - No one cares about Steve Jobs. Why was this made and why was it good?
Crimson Peak - It was a good horror film that developed into a weak mystery.
Bridge of Spies - Tom Hanks just doin' Tom Hanks things.
Beasts of No Nation - I liked it until it turned into Apocalypse Now.
Creed - This was a good Rocky movie. But it's still just a Rocky movie.
Far From the Madding Crowd - Another period piece I didn't hate. The woman made the men feel bad for a change, thank God.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl - Eric Northman has a mustache. Alert the media.
Victoria - This was actually filmed in one take. Take that, Birdman.
Carol - The Duke of Burgundy without the moths or the cinematography.
The End of the Tour - Jason Segal is the man I hope to become.
Pitch Perfect 2 - A sequel that had no business being good, but was anyway.
Paper Towns - This was top ten worthy until the third act.
45 Years - Old people being mad at each other.
Sleeping With Other People - Your Romantic Comedy of the Year.
Ant Man - Even the minor superhero movies are going to wear out their welcome soon.
Inside Out - Better than Frozen. Still overrated.
Bone Tomahawk - The hills have eyes. And throat whistles.
Mississippi Grind - Ryan Reynolds and an old guy play poker.
Infinitely Polar Bear - Mark Ruffalo is bi-polar and his kids call it polar bear. Stupid kids.
Maggie - Arnold Schwarzenegger watches his daughter die. She wants to eat him.
Truth - This is why journalism barely exists now.
Spotlight - Engaging, but it takes no risks and the ending is too tidy.
Slow West - Slow walk. There's a really bad visual joke at the end that made me giggle.
Clouds of Sils Maria - Woman is sad she's getting old. Other woman gets sick of hearing about it.
Song One - Short-haired Anne Hathaway meets a cute boy because her brother is in a coma.
The Overnight - This is surprisingly dark, creepy, and good.
Mistress America - Noah Baumbach misses. Also, I'm still not sold on Greta Gerwig.
Predestination - So bad, but so good. Gattaca meets Inception and has a sex change before meeting Back to the Future.
While We're Young - Old people idolize young people and then realize that they're actually dumb.
Mommy - This is why you don't have kids.
Sisters - I'm still holding out that adult parties will revert to this.
Trainwreck - Someone get Lebron James an Oscar.
Chappie - I'll watch Die Antwoord do whatever. Better than Elysium no matter what you say.
Results - Another amusing dark comedy for you.
Tokyo Tribe - A ludicrous musical that I enjoyed, but I expect more from Shion Sono.
Avengers: Age of Ultron - The first one was enough.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - I would watch all these kids' home movies, but not this movie.
Jurassic World - The story of Hollywood. Bigger, faster, meaner, and completely lacking characters.
I'll See you In My Dreams - Old people get sad.
The Hateful Eight - The Painful Wait...for the movie to get good. It did eventually.
Welcome to Me - A weirdo wins the lottery and becomes Oprah.
The Last Five Years - A random musical that was decidedly Meh.
Jupiter Ascending - Channing Tatum flies through space.
Office - A Chinese musical that needed to be campier.
Love - The romantic Nymphomaniac.
The Danish Girl - Not as bad as Theory of Everything. That's still not praise.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - Better than Episode 2. Maybe 1.
Irrational Man - I need another Midnight in Paris from Woody Allen before he dies.
The D Train - James Marsden sleeps with whomever he wants.
Anomalisa - Baby's first Kaufman movie. I liked the concept, not the execution.
Queen of Earth - Elizabeth Moss having a mental breakdown is not entertainment.
Straight Outta Compton - The first hour was good. Then the screenplay turned into Ice Cube and Dre tooting their own horns and trying to make themselves look like the good guys.
AND THE UGLY:
Manglehorn - Al Pacino does some old guy things and no one cares.
Southpaw - Jake Gyllenhaal mumbles some stuff.
Legend - I thought two Tom Hardys would guarantee success. Not even close.
Joy - Or the absence of it. Jennifer Lawrence is surrounded by horrible human beings.
Fifty Shades of Grey - It wasn't even funny. Just really bad.
Tangerine - Stupid people yelling at each other in a donut shop.
The Ridiculous 6 - Everyone involved in this should be ashamed and leave the entertainment business for good.