Monday, December 21, 2015

Top Ten for 2015.

2015 Year in Movies.

Not the most disappointing year in movies for the weird, but a little light in the realm of Horror. It’s been a big year for blockbusters and several highly anticipated reboots and superheroes and sequels and a whole lot of Disney dominance of the Silver Screen. Last year I never even bothered to write a top ten list since I’d been busy with other things and nothing really stood out as being incredibly awesome.

2015 may be a little more interesting?

Without further ado.

1.      Mad Max: Fury Road-
Released under a bunch of nonsensically false controversy with regard to the fabled “Mens Rights Activists” (IE, morons whining on the internet), Mad Max was a brutal thrill ride of a film that boiled down the language of film to its most basic components for a truly incredible spectacle. Action rather than corny dialogue propelled the simple plot forward, practical effects added weight and kinetic energy to the chase, and what little CGI was used was done to enhance what was already on the screen. Add in a stand-out performance from Charlize Theron and you have a modern classic brought to life.

2.      Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Keeping in mind that I would’ve LOVED to put this movie at the top of the list immediately upon viewing, the truth of the matter is that I think it’s the second best film I’ve seen all year long and that it may change in years to come as I go back and watch again and again. It’s  my favorite in the series since Empire Strikes Back and I can’t wait for the others- but it’s only part of a larger saga and there just weren’t enough conclusions to really make it a fully encapsulated story of its’ own.

3.      Crimson Peak - 
A dark and gothic romance/horror film with some great visuals. Guillermo Del Toro definitely delivers again with a hugely impressive display. Definitely a film for fans of classic films and genre films.

4.      Kingsman:
This satirical super-spy action comedy was one of the best times I had at the cinema this past year.

5.      Green Inferno –
Not the best movie with regards to quality, but a fun little gorefest with plenty of practical effects. The plane crash alone was worth the price of the ticket and I really just had a fun time with this little flick- Eli Roth delivered the Grue!

6.      Ex Machina:
Probably one of the better sci-fi films I’ve seen in recent years. This is an interesting story that, on the surface, explores Artificial Intelligence… and more specifically explores human thoughts, desires, temptations, and manipulation. Very well done.

7.      It Follows:
Struggled a bit with the general pacing of the film, but it’s a terrific concept that brings a whole new sense of terror to ones budding sexuality. The story involves a supernatural creature that only those afflicted can see- and the only way to relieve yourself of the curse, at least temporarily, is to pass it on to someone else before it eventually comes back to you. Great premise, some great performances. Worth watching.

8.      Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
This odd little series of films just seems to be getting better and better with each successive film- an oddity in cinema in that it’s usually the first film that’s the best and the others are just sequels making an odd attempt to recapture the brilliance of the first. This series keeps going on, each film getting better in quality over the first and Tom Cruise’s “Ethan Hunt” character matures with each installment and mission.

9.      Victor Frankenstein:
This will probably be the most tragically underrated and underappreciated film of the year due to the poor marketing and it’s attempt to saddle the stars with an unnecessary burden. The movie works as an adaptation of the Frankenstein story from the point of view of his assistant and it works as stand out performances from the films stars, but it should never have been promoted as a vehicle for either man and much more attention should have been given to the actual premise of the story. Worth seeing.

10.   Jurassic World:
This is pretty much my popcorn muncher film- and it brought back the M’F’in’ T-Rex!!! It wasn’t very good, but it was very fun.

Honorable and dishonorable mentions: Super Hero films were all over the place this past year, but none really seemed to rise above expectations or really deliver anything new and engrossing to the bloated genre as it currently stands. “Age of Ultron” had a great voice performance from the title character, but the heroes all seemed to be going through the motions and worked toward setting up the next Avengers film without caring about where the story currently stood. Ant Man felt like a traditional throw-back to the original story we’d seem time and again with a little of a “Heist” film thrown in the background- had the movie focused more on the “heist” and less on the “redemption of untapped potential” I may have been a little more invested.

We also had a slew of “Paranormal” horror flicks- A lackluster Poltergeist remake, The latest Paranormal Activity film, the Gallows, and so on so forth etcetera and beyond- the recent glorification of renowned con-artists and proven frauds continue to flood the “Based on a true story” horror market and then there was rinse/repeat cycle of sequel dregs.

Then there are the films I missed- Bone Tomahawk is the horror/western featuring what many are saying was THE performance of the year from actor Kurt Russell. Krampus was released to some critical praise, the Christmas-themed horror film bringing a sense of pop-culture recognition to what many believe is the “anti-Santa”. Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” is supposed to see a small release before the new year, with a wider release directly afterward so it may have to wait for the 2016 year in review.

What to look for in 2016-

The big tent-pole film is supposed to be the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie; fans rejoice and get set for that one. The trailer more than teases the conflict between Kent and Wayne and introduces a typically neurotic Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Lex Luthor… the arrival of Doomsday, Wonder Woman, a promised appearance by Aquaman, and possibly other Heroes in the DC Universe which is all supposed to set up the eventual Justice League film. Also, from DC, we get introduction to some of the Warner Bros. villains in the form of the Suicide Squad which had a slightly less spoiler-filled trailer to tease the arrival.

On the opposite side of the comic hero spectrum we have Captain America and the new Civil War story Arc for all the Avenger films. What kind of affect this may have on the upcoming Doctor Strange film has yet to be revealed, if there is any affect. With a  number of projects in development, Marvel Studios rushes into Phase Three of their film universe.

Then in the horror realm we have classic literature battling zombies, another year of another promised Friday the 13th and Halloween films, and really nothing that I can think of off the top of my head.

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