Sunday, January 03, 2016

BEST AND WORST OF 2015

"In with the old and out with the new." It's possible I have that backwards. Hard to say with 2015's Best/Worst list, a leaner and most assuredly meaner assemblage of movie likes/dislikes than I've made in quite some time. For this year's list was constructed, first and foremost, with Twitter compatibility in mind. 140 character limit. No pics. Very few external links. There hasn't been a Best/Worst this bereft of visuals since 2007, and my mini-reviews of each film haven't been this scant since the early days, when I used to email the list to a small group of family and friends by way of Yahoo! account. Yes, I actually did that for a spell (they call it the late '90s).

In a sense, embracing the demands and limitations of modern social media has forced me to go back in time. But who I am kidding? It's more half-assed air hug than full embrace. I do still maintain this cinema blog (barely). And I'm still not completely sold on the Twittering thing. Maybe next year I'll go REALLY old school, call up everyone by rotary phone, dictate the list person-to-person. Keep an eye on your smart gadget around January 1, 2017. You may be getting a collect call. At the very least, one EXTREMELY LONG text. If I can fit the whole list into one long hashtag or one giant emoji, I will certainly try.

But enough tech ruminating...let's get to the results. Since there are no pics and the write-ups mercilessly brief this time, you may need to do some extra Googling or Wikipedia'ing to know what the hell I'm talking about. For that, I do apologize. For my overly caffeinated opinions, I most certainly do not. If you'd like to read the list in the most modern truncated manner possible, please go here. If you'd like to do it the old fashioned way, stick around for the below. Of the 90 theatrical film releases I saw in the Year 2015, here's how it all panned out...

THE BEST

10. THE REVENANT: Innaritu's filmmaking audacity alone lands this one on the list. OK, and Leo's seduction by grizzly bear.

9. THE WOLFPACK: And you thought Room was the most uplifting shut-in movie of the year? Check out their cardboard Batman outfit on Netflix.

8. LI'L QUINQUIN: Imagine Columbo with a nervous tick. Imagine Laura Palmer's body inside a cow. Imagine Bruno Dumont and a French Twin Peaks.

7. BEASTS OF NO NATION: Unflinching story of child soldiers in West Africa. Idris Elba's best role since Stringer Bell. Thanks, Netflix!

6. SICARIO: Welcome to Juarez. Nothing is as it seems. Blunt is clueless, Brolin is shoeless, Benicio is hardcore MedellĂ­n.

5. CHI-RAQ: Spike's best since Do The Right Thing – angry, urgent, funny – with musical numbers straight outta School Daze. #nopeacenopussy

4. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: My most anticipated film from 2014 delivers the popcorn and a stealth leading heroine to boot (Furiosa).

3. THE END OF THE TOUR: Fear and loneliness in Bloomington, IL. The impossibility of authenticity w/ tape recorders running. DFW R.I.P.

2. THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY: When indulging your lover's extreme submission fetish becomes a chore, what next? "Pinastri."

1. SPOTLIGHT: Proof that great reporting can be done in a pair of pleated khakis. Check your sources. Then check out this fantastic movie.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

99 HOMES: Sleazy Florida realtor Michael Shannon flipping foreclosed homes, making a killing. Flip side of The Big Short and far better IMHO.

BONE TOMAHAWK: The other loquacious Kurt Russell western. Leaner, better and fresher than QT's latest 3 hour provocation. With troglodytes!

BROOKLYN: Simple Irish immigrant story classically told. Had no desire to see this until a smart lady convinced me. Thanks, Mom.

HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT: Sobering reminder that the '90s NY indie street film is not completely dead. And not everyone in Manhattan stinking rich. According to this wise man, should be on the actual Top Ten list. 

WELCOME TO ME: Bipolar narcissist (Kristen Wiig) wins lotto, creates reality show about self. I think I dated this woman last year, sans lottery winnings.

THE WORST

10. IRRATIONAL MAN: Another year, another inconsequential Woody Allen Dostoevsky riff. More misdemeanor than Crimes (and Misdemeanors).

9. LOST RIVER: Gosling attempts to channel David Lynch, makes ponderous PSA on house fires and urban flooding instead.

8. THE BIG SHORT: Rich source material (no pun intended) wasted on the director of Step Brothers (a film I love). Imagine what Fincher could've done.

7. THE GUNMAN: Sean Penn's agent sends him Jason Statham-Liam Neeson script by mistake. Painful blue state-friendly actioner ensues.

6. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2: Cusack's decision to opt out may have been his wisest career move in a year of wise ones (Love and Mercy, Chi-Raq).

5. THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: Fuck! I could've sworn they said "Age of Voltron."

4. POLTERGEIST: "It knows what scares you." Me too...the original Poltergeist.

3. DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS: Spike's unwatchable Kickstarter vampire flick. Our penance for Chi-Raq being so damn good.

2. ALOHA: Delta Airlines complimentary in-flight entertainment for December. I'd pay first-class prices to un-see it.

1. Terminator Genisys: This Honest Trailer pretty much sums up my thoughts on the aforementioned dreck.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

Dark PlacesThe Gillian Flynn adaptation that isn't Gone Girl and that, for good reason, you probably never heard about.

DON VERDEAN: Poor man's Wes Anderson in Bible Land. (Note that I'm not a huge fan of Wes Anderson...or Bible Land).

ENTERTAINMENT: Heidecker > Hamburger. On Cinema Rating...1 ½ bags of popcorn. Rewatch The Comedy instead.

JOY: A hot mess of a film that no Miracle Mop could sponge up, no JLaw-BCoop pairing can save.

VACATION: Hey, at least it's better than Vegas Vacation.

SUPERLATIVES

Most Overrated

CAROL: A handsomely shot period film but, seriously, doesn't anyone remember this.

Most Underrated

RESULTS: Bujalski's Kevin Corrigan gym rat comedy. No pain...well, no pain.

Best A.I. Foreplay

EX-MACHINA

Best Stop Motion Sex Play

ANAMOLISA

Best Tom Hardy Accent (In Order of Diminishing Returns)

LEGEND (Cockney), CHILD 44 (Russian), REVENANT (Southern?), FURY ROAD (grunts)

Best Use of Poop

THE MARTIAN – "Aw Ma, Pooptatoes for dinner again!"

Best Use of Die Antwoord

CHAPPIE, as themselves basically.

Best Unintentional Intermission

THE HATEFUL 8 70mm projector break at the Alamo Ritz

Worst In-Your-Face Emission

LOVE 3D (Fortunately, I saw the 2D version)

Bad Rulebreaker

IT FOLLOWS – Tell me, how does jumping in a pool with a toaster break the curse again?

Good Rulebreaker

LISTEN TO ME, MARLON – Your subject need not be alive to narrate or star in his own posthumous documentary.

Best Noah Baumbach/Lesser Noah Baumbach

WHILE WE'RE YOUNG / MISTRESS AMERICA

Worse Eli Roth/Worst Eli Roth

THE GREEN INFERNO / KNOCK KNOCK

Best Movie By "White Slavers"

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – Props to Abrams for showing restraint w/ the lens flares. Except for those light sabers.

Most Anticipated Films of 2016

Three way tie: Coen Bros' HAIL, CAESAR, Ben Wheatley's HIGH-RISE, Hillcoat's TRIPLE 9.

Happy 2016, Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

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