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...
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 Medellín.
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.
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.
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.
Dark Places: The 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.
CAROL: A handsomely shot period film but, seriously, doesn't anyone remember this.
RESULTS: Bujalski's Kevin Corrigan gym rat comedy. No pain...well, no pain.
Best A.I. Foreplay
Best Stop Motion Sex Play
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)
IT FOLLOWS – Tell me, how does jumping in a pool with a toaster break the curse again?
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!!!!!!!!!!!!