As the year draws to a close, LUNKHEAD’s Will Cross reveals his ten best films of 2015. Head to the comments section if you want to praise, question or chastise him.
10) The Gift (dir. Joel Edgerton)
An excellent offering from the ever-expanding Blumhouse productions, slowly but steadily bringing us back multiplex horror. Joel Edgerton directs and stars in this twisted revenge thriller where the past just won’t go away, complete with a shocking nasty end twist. A true date movie gone wrong.
9) Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (dir. Brett Morgen)
Controversial and disturbing, this unconventional look at one of the most famous music icons of all time (not that he’d want that said, maybe), coloured by uncomfortably real video and voice recordings and incredible animation, is unlike any other documentary you’re going to see.
8) Inside Out (dir. Pete Docter)
Pixar’s best film in years and years. A charming, multicoloured and genuinely moving look at the literal growing pains of moving from childhood to adolescence and the changes that come with it. Better than everything apart from the Toy Story trilogy and A Bug’s Life. Job done.
7) Me And Earl And The Dying Girl (dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Maligned by some for its Sundance ethos but loved by others for its poignant look at young relationships and how outside factors can bring them together and break them apart. This is a brilliantly acted breakout in the vein of Juno and Ghost Land.
6) Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller)
It’s number one on pretty much every other list – not here, but it’s still brilliant. An action movie in the purest sense, full-throttle, akin to seeing bands like Slipknot and Letlive. up close and personal, and largely real in its effects, looking better than every other action movie in ages.
5) Whiplash (dir. Damien Chazelle)
An unremitting, unmerciful and claustrophobic meditation on whether pressure can truly be the birth of greatness. A world-class performance from JK Simmons as the ambiguous Terence Fletcher: genius or abusive monster? Full-throttle and thought-provoking.
4) Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland)
Frightening in its very real depiction of android technology, the idea of man vs machine potentially no longer a pipe nightmare. But this is more than that, and is powered by a threeway method acting tour de force: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander are all magnificently multi-dimensional. Also features the best dance scene in a long long time – big up the Isaac.
3) Eden (dir. Mia Hansen-Love)
A luminous and haunting film, Hansen-Love tells a very real tale of the DJ and the passing of time, focusing on the revolutionary Paris EDM scene beginning in the 90s. Paul Valee forms a DJ duo called Cheers with his friend Cyril, eventually taking him to New York, while his friends Thomas and Guy-Man form Daft Punk. Moving in its look at the human idea of dreams and fascinating in its snapshots of a cutting-edge music scene. A maskless Daft Punk not being allowed into afterparties at various points in the films is also a genius touch.
2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (dir. J.J. Abrams)
The biggest pay-off in cinema promises this year, J.J. Abrams did the unimaginable and saved Star Wars after saving Star Trek. Faithful to the classics in feel and soul but with a fresh approach and a sterling new cast of bright faces, Abrams restored Star Wars to the biggest and most exciting cinema event of the year, in the truest sense – an unavoidable talking point and something literally everyone can enjoy. The best art never compromises either, and it fell into that category no argument. THAT scene, no spoilers. A genuine triumph.
1) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Criticised by some as pretentious, for others this was a true emotional and moral mind-fuck of a film. After beating out the locked-on Boyhood at the Oscars for best picture, intrigue was at pinnacle point and this was simply the most thought-provoking and striking film of 2015. Shot in one continuous take and featuring out-of-nowhere touches of magical realism put against deep method acting (which the film is simultaneously examining the effects of), Michael Keaton’s burnt-out ex-world famous movie star tries to hold together a Broadway adaption of a Raymond Carver short story, while also trying to hold together his fragile family and colleagues, and further than that, his fragile ego and sanity. The final frame is one of those moments where you’re left stunned and with a billion questions.
That’s your viewing sorted. Now check out Will’s countdown of the best albums of 2015.