Sunday 10 January 2016

2015 in review: Best Films

So last year was something of a hit and miss year for me stage and screen-wise. I went to a LOT of films, especially in the first half of the year, and a decent amount of stage shows. I barely watched any TV, partly because most of what I did watch completely failed to hold my attention - until relatively late in the year, when I discovered a few things I really enjoyed. For films and stage shows, I didn't see much that was really bad, but there was a fair amount of things that I found fairly boring. There were others, though, that really stood out - here's my favourite 12!

I've split into Good, Great, and Film Of The Year, then in alphabetical order in each section. Stage and TV posts to follow, by the way.


52 Tuesdays - could've lived without the subplot of the main character filming her new friends having sex, but a really interesting coming of age drama about a teen dealing with her mother's gender transition. Gender non-conforming actor Del Herbert-Jane, who went from being the film's adviser on gender transition to playing the role of the mother, is magnificent.

Far From The Madding Crowd - Wasn't sure whether to watch this as I was expecting it to be hugely depressing, Caitlin persuaded me it wasn't and I ended up really loving the chemistry between Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts, in particularly. Also gorgeous sets and costumes!

Girlhood - I know this had mixed reviews but I REALLY liked it, I thought the main girls were brilliant and the scene with them lip-syncing to Diamonds is one of my favourites of last year.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - I thought that this was a great adaptation of a really wonderful book (it's also nice to see some new actors in a YA adaptation rather than the same ones who seem to star in the majority of them!) Funny and moving, great script.

Trash - Another adaptation, this time of Andy Mulligan's MG novel, this stood out because of outstanding performances from the central trio of boys. I also thought it was really feel-good overall, which I like.


Mad Max: Fury Road - Oh wow, FURIOSA! I'm not generally big on action movies but the great reviews got me to give it a try and I absolutely loved. Tom Hardy is maybe my favourite actor of the past couple of years, but as good as he and Nicholas Hoult are, this is Charlize Theron's movie and she is PHENOMENAL in it. Just so, so great.

Selma - Loved this, a really moving and dramatic film, with David Oyelowo stunning as Martin Luther King. This felt like a powerful call to arms, praising King and his legacy while also underlining just how far we have left to go.

Slow West - I wish I'd seen more people talking about this because it was one I loved! A young Scotsman journeys to America to seek his love and employs a bounty hunter who has an agenda of his own for protection. This is incredibly violent in places - not something I'm usually a fan of - but there's some great moments, the cinematography is outstanding, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the young man, Michael Fassbender as the bounty hunter and Caren Pistorius as the love interest are all fantastic. (It's currently on Netflix UK, btw!)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - By far the best of the Star Wars movies I've seen, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are an incredible trio, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are great, and I loved the humour as well as the action.

Theeb - Another massively underrated one, this Jordanian World War One drama about a Bedouin boy chasing after his brother as he leads a British officer to a water well is visually stunning and brilliantly acted. A mainly amateur cast, with Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat in the title role, are superb, while the story was completely gripping.

Special mention

Pride - I don't really feel I can put it as my film of the year as it wasn't actually released last year (and it was my film of the year for 2014, so to name the same thing two years in a row seems strange!), but I saw it for the second time when we went to a special screening followed by a Q and A with members of LGSM and it was just as wonderful second time around.

Film of the Year

The Martian - So, quite a few brilliant films, but this one - adapted from Andy Weir's novel - was the one which blew me away. I wasn't bothered until Debbie and Caitlin raved about it and I went in with low expectations simply because it's not my usual kind of film at all, but Damon is great, there's a wonderful mix of action and comedy, and it's so, so tense. Truly superb.

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