The Batch of 2015

(Image of the cast of Spotlight debating the stylistic choices of The Big Short)

 

Prologue: Bad haircuts and bad posters, dodgy haircuts and dodgy posters. I mean the cast is great but why do they have to look like that? And why’s Adam McKay, a guy who’s spent his life doing comedies with Will Ferrell, at the helm of this movie which is about the 2008 financial crisis? Oh lord, I have so many questions. I feel like one of the cast of Spotlight.

You know it’s been a thin year for movies when Leonardo Di Caprio is running away with Best Actor even before the nominations are out. The argument normally employed against people complaining about lack of good movies in any particular year is “You just haven’t seen enough.”

Well mister, I have seen [redacted] of them this year, that’s a whole lot of movies, you better get your facts straight. Haven’t you learnt anything from Spotlight? (Psst, don’t dwell on that number, don’t make me regret divulging that information, forget you’ve seen that number, just remember that I’ve seen enough number of movies to hold a meaningful opinion.)

The favorites decent ones: Big Short, Spotlight, Ex Machina, Bone Tomahawk, Slow West, The Lobster, Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, The Voices, Tarantino’s eighth The Hateful Eight and Magic Mike XXL.

The half-decent ones: Mistress America, The Forbidden Room, 45 Years, Brooklyn, Sicario, Shaun The Sheep, A Bigger Splash, 99 Homes, Digging For Fire.

The ones I’m eager to strike off my watchlist: Carol, Macbeth, Phoenix, Son of Saul, Mustang, James White.

Caution: The Voices and The Forbidden Room are especially eccentric picks.

The breakdown:

3 animated features – Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the sheep.

3 Westerns – Bone Tomahawk, Slow West, The Hateful Eight.

3 Oscar contenders – Spotlight, Big Short, Magic Mike XXL Brooklyn.

Almost all indies.

Have a soft spot for Brooklyn as it’s one of those tasteful adaptations of a book I’ve read. I’m not one to pay attention to costume design any more than the next person but the costume design in this movie caught my eye. I hope it catches the academy’s too. Ps: Do films set in modern times ever get recognition for costume design? That seems unfair.

I am biased towards The Big Short for two reasons. 1) It believes majority of people are idiots and 2) It’s about finance and false incentives. If The Big Short is about the onset of the financial crisis, 99 Homes explores how it affected the everyday man.

Slow West has a thrilling climax (and Michael Fassbender) and Spotlight will make you appreciate the field of journalism. Spotlight is also what’s going to win the Best Picture Oscar this year, and it seems fair. I say that with no disrespect to Rooney Mara’s Carol, which I haven’t yet seen.

Ex Machina is Elon Musk’s favorite movie of the year (I’m guessing) and Bone Tomahawk has all of the ingredients to be a direct-to-video b-grade film but is instead one of the year’s finer efforts.

If you’d said to me at the beginning of the year that two westerns starring Kurt Russell would be making the list, I would’ve said, “I don’t see anything unusual about that.” “But dude, name at least two good movies of his that you’ve seen.” “Hmm, Death Proof and… that’s it. I think you’ve got a point. I haven’t see The Thing or any other John Carpenter films he’s been in.”

Mistress America is Noah Baumbach’s follow up to Frances Ha and Sicario is all about Roger Deakins, the ace cinematographer.

The Martian is a movie that isn’t to be found anywhere on this list and The Peanuts movie forms a nice psychological double-feature along with Inside Out.

Previous editions: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Wow, this is the 7th year! (in case you can’t count)

 

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