2015 was a great year for film. As usual, I missed a lot of big ones, some of which haven’t been released yet and may make my 2016 post. Those include 45 Years, Embrace of the Serpent, The Club, The Lobster, The Revenant, The Tribe, Mustang, Arabian Nights, The Forbidden Room, 99 Homes, The Kindergarten Teacher, and Ixcanul.
Those notwithstanding, here are the best that I saw, in no particular order:
Hard to get much better than this Todd Haynes gem. Cate Blanchett is outstanding as always, and the film is so measured and controlled, while still surprising.
So energetic, often hilarious, and really, really colorful. I liked this one a lot.
The most mysterious film on this list is also one of the prettiest. Weerasethakul’s movie is playful and moody.
I’m pretty surprised at how much I like this Sorrentino film. Sure, maybe it’s an 8 1/2 knockoff, but it’s a glorious one.
This movie is precise and methodical. Its no-frills, old-school approach pays off.
Thank god for Roy Andersson. The third film in his trilogy is darkly comic and nearly perfect if you’ve got the patience and sense of humor.
This is in contention, probably with Girlhood, Carol, Clouds of Sils Maria, and Li’l Quinquin for my favorite of the year. This feels like new-New Wave.
My favorite big budget director working. This one’s suspenseful as hell.
I was lucky to catch this at the Philly Film Festival. One of those “stranger than fiction” documentaries that’s pretty affecting.
My favorite from the Philly Film Festival that I think got under-hyped. Just good characters, a bit of social commentary…and dogs!
The last of my favorites from Philly. This one’s simple and feels like the Dardenne brothers (always a good thing).
After his last two films I’ll watch anything else Peter Strickland makes. This film is enigmatic. It reminds me a bit of early Polanski, perhaps crossed with The Servant.
Probably the funniest film I saw all year. If reality TV was like this I might watch reality TV.
Second funniest film of the year? I know this is technically a mini-series, but Bruno Dumont outdoes himself here.
I thought I’d see Cristian Petzold’s film on more year-end lists. This is a hell of a slow-burn. Yeah, its style is (very) muted, but that just adds to the terrific performance from Nina Hoss.
Such a memorable film! Fresh new performances and a pulsing style. One of my favorites of the year.
This would be right out of my top 5. A powerful, menacing film.
I can’t really explain why I like this film so much. A friend told me that only an older director could have made it, and somehow he’s right. Also, Juliette Binoche.
The Big Short
I didn’t get a chance to blog on this one, but I just caught it. There’s some risky direction in here that pays off – it’s a director’s film. The movie is really funny and really depressing at once.
With Meet The Patels, these two films could make me believe in reality TV…not really. This is a surprising, strange film, unlike much else I know. Love the 16mm photography!
I Also Really Liked
Beasts of No Nation
My Favorite Films that I saw for the first time in 2015, not made in 2015
I do this list every year and this was the hardest year for me. I saw so much great stuff. So, somehow this list doesn’t include Despair, $, Bitter Moon, Garden of the Finzi-Continis, The Entertainer, El Norte, Il Sorpasso, The Wind Journeys, Peppermint Candy, Mother Joan of the Angels, or Lola.
Although, honestly, in a few days this entire list of films could switch and re-order. That said:
14. Straight Time
13. Wake in Fright
12. La Promesse
11. Tito and Me
10. Save the Tiger
7. Deep End
3. The Hill
1. The Joke
I don’t usually say much about TV, but I watched three things this year (none on an actual TV) that are awesome:
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
A friend turned me onto these five short episodes. I haven’t seen much like them before. They’re fantastic, hilarious, and terrifying. They also give some credence to the good old fashioned low angle shot.
Master of None
Lots of stereotypes being called out here! Really enjoyed the writing on this show, especially the flashbacks to the parents.
Some of the best acting I’ve seen in a series in awhile. I’m not done season 2 yet, but this show is pretty perfect.