[2015 Film Roundup]

Total: 208 (full list here.)
…plus 8 other (NT Live & Doctor Who)
Revival: 45
SIFF: 63
Free: 81 (+ festival)
…all told I paid $587.75 in total for movies in 2015, giving us an average ticket price of $2.83, almost a buck more than last year. I blame Cinerama.

Films of my heart: Carol, Crimson Peak, and Sworn Virgin

Very close runners-up: 99 Homes & Spotlight, both of which are hard to watch at points, but always incredibly important. Also, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy*

Most feminist films that are also terrific genre pictures: Ex Machina, Spy

Most indescribable film: The Forbidden Room

Favorite performances: Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Nina Hoss in Phoenix, Teyonah Parris in Chi-Raq, Juliette Binoche & Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria, Elisabeth Moss & Katherine Waterston in Queen of Earth, Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies

Favorite queer films: Appropriate Behavior, Grandma, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, The New Girl, Tangerine

Favorite popcorn movies: Mission Impossible (for Ethan Hunt becoming the sidekick of his own picture), Furious 7 (for everything, but especially the Rock), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (for the two straight guys next to me who went “awwwww!” when Poe said “it suits you”)

Favorite sweet, old-fashioned romances: Amira & Sam, Brooklyn, I’ll See You in My Dreams

Favorite animated films: When Marnie Was There, Inside Out

Favorite horror movies: Goodbye Mommy (far and away my favorite), also It Follows & We Are Still Here. And Deathgasm, for doing exactly what it said on the tin

Best vampire movies: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (also best cat on film since Inside Llewyn Davis), What We Do in the Shadows

Best Noah Baumbach film: Mistress America

Favorite musical: Liza the Fox Fairy

Favorite teen movie: Seoul Searching

Best foreign court double feature: GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem & Court

Favorite documentaries: The Wolfpack, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock & Roll, Tig, One Million Dubliners, All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture and Turkish Pop Cinema

Best revival experiences: The Old Dark House (which was just a blast, and a clear influence on RHPS), the glorious restored Apu Trilogy, Silent Movie Mondays (as always!), Spartacus, Flowers of Shanghai, and Tom at the Farm

Non-film stuff that made me happy: limited comic series Giant Days (first trade paperback available now), Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Hamilton obviously (you know if you have Prime you can download it to your offline library?), Jane the Virgin, The Wiz live and just Uzo Aduba in general, the mobile game Monument Valley, Master of None, Younger (think Gilmore Girls meets Sex & the City, and watch it all online before it comes back in mid-January), The Brothers Sinister series (I’m trying to make them last), the final season of Hannibal, Transparent, The Seattle Process comedy show, Sydney Lucas performing “Ring of Keys” at the Tony Awards, our social media watchalong of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, Eileen Myles reading at Elliott Bay Books, NSYNC performing “That Thing You Do!” (from ages ago obviously but I just found out about it this year), the library’s summer reading program #BookBingoNW.

Things I’m still waiting for: mostly just Anomalisa to be honest.

How about you? What did you love? What did I miss?

* I recently came across the “Wonderwall” scene on YouTube and accidentally watched it three times in a row, though the way the light works in the cinema on that scene alone is an incredibly strong argument for the theatrical experience. Dolan’s work with aspect ratio makes my toes curl.

4 Replies to “[2015 Film Roundup]”

  1. The movie’s that rocked my world this year certainly included A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Dope, Crimson Peak, Tangerine, The Danish Girl, It Follows, The Babadook, What We Do in Shadows, Macbeth, Ex Machina, The Martian, and Fury Road. I’ll confess: Star Wars:, The Force Awakens is the first film in that franchise I’ve actually enjoyed.

    2015 was a memorable year for horror–or horror – inflected films in other genres.

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night probably stands as my favorite film of the year, for its perfect black and white cinematography, feminist revenge fantasy, tightrope romance, and delicate timing, to say nothing of the remarkable cat wrangling.

    It Follows frightened me, but in a satisfying way like The Shining or Alien. I won’t soon forget those images of suburban Detroit, degraded sexuality, the sense of contagious doom.

    Crimson Peak offered a beautiful Gothic, replete with horror, satirical comment on class and gender, and gorgeous imagery, but few memorable scares.

    The Babadook made me laugh and stuck in my head for ages, but never scared me. I’d watch it again in a minute to get wound up and say “Babadook” again.

    Mommy terrified me in ways that horror movies rarely do. I don’t think I could watch it again.

    In other genres: I could quote Tangerine’s delicious trans street arguments all day. It reminded me a little of of Midnight Cowboy, but with a 21st century style, humor, and vitality.

    The Danish Girl’s ptincipal performances actually choked me up quite a bit. I’m troubled that the film for reasons unknown to me understated the extent to which Lili and Gerta lived together as a gay couple in Paris, and Danish and German law rather than any personal splits I’ve read about dissolved their marriage. Still, amazing performances.

    Yet more amazing that the strong, emotive, sincere Gerta was played by the same actress who delivered the remarkably controlled performance as the A.I. in Ex Machina, opposite Oscar Isaacs’, megalomaniac tech billionaire and… that kid.

    I loved Dope’s tale of black geek empowerment, it’s sense of subcultures, its low opinion of white professional respectability.

    I totally fell for the “science the hell out of it” can-do spirit of The Martian, as I know we were all meant to. I listened to the audio book, first, becoming quite swept up in it. I thought Matt Damon conveyed the stubborn stranded astronaut well. I appreciated little changes that the film made, making the mission commander who lost Diamonds character take hands-on control of grabbing him, at the end. I loved the look of the Martian desert, the claustrophobic sense of survival in pressure suits, tents, and rovers. And, all things considered, much more convincing than most other recent science fiction films.

    In Fury Road, the post-apocalyptic broken world shows signs of climate change as well as other catastrophes. Mad Max is no longer the Road Warrior so much as an addled, guilty wanderer; Furiosa is the Road Warrior. And the wars are primitive Post-apocalyptic ones over dwindling water, fuel, and flesh. Descriptions of Fury Road as a “feminist film” were of course ridiculously overstated. It’s an apocalyptic action movie starring Charleze Theron. The question “Who wrecked the world?” seems pointedly aimed by women at the testosterone crazy war boys and their warlord, Joe, though. Few characters are drawn with any great subtlety. But the imagery of a world broken, depleted, superheated, desertified by male – designed systems national and corporate competition stays with me.

    The Force Awakens: what can I say? It’s a pastiche of prior Star Wars movies, but I like the new characters–Rey, Finn, Maz, Poe–better than the old ones. Rey effectively replaces both Han and Luke, and I’m OK with that. Finn and Poe have a mad bromine. Maz, if she’s still alive, knows you better than you do. Finally, Han gets his long-delayed death scene. Leia fits more naturally as a general than a princess. Luke … Well, who knows. Don’t really care, as long as he doesn’t get in the way of the new characters. I enjoyed the scale, the sense of consequences. This is my preferred version of the Star Wars legend. I only missed Alec Guinness, wished that Max von Sydow had another scene or two.

    1. Oh, yes, and if I’m going to watch a movie of Macbeth, I think Fassbender and Cotillard are my go-to portrayals, now.

    2. Forgot: What We Do at Night takes the cake for best comic horror. Good year for horror tropes, like I said.

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