Thursday, January 7

Best of 2015: Film

2015 was a good year for film, and I certainly saw my fair fill. I wanted to share a few of my personal favourites.

Ex Machina: One of the first films I remember seeing this year was Ex Machina. A brilliant SciFi/Thriller starring two of my favourite actors; Alicia Vikander and Domnhall Gleeson. I love the fascinating scenes exploring Vikander's AI character and the subtle threads of unease that run throughout the film contrasting with bursts of hilarious comedy. The dance scene is one of the single best scenes I've watched all year.

The Theory of Everything: Another film I saw early on in the year and stars more of my favourites; Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Both produced emotional performances portraying the life of Stephen Hawking and those that surrounded him in his struggle with motor neurone disease. The Theory of Everything is equally inspirational and sad and definitely worth a watch.

Ant Man: This Marvel film is one I resented for a long time because I couldn't see why Marvel needed to produce yet another male lead film with a new hero when they could be producing a Black Widow stand-alone. Honestly I still resent them for this but I did really enjoy Ant Man. As with all Marvel films it's very funny and full of action but I particularly loved seeing Paul Rudd embrace the tiny hero. Evangeline Lilly provided an intelligent and serious contrast to Rudd's comedy and I look forward to seeing a little more of her in the future.

Inside Out: A lovely heartwarming tale of emotions depicted as tiny people inside heads. The Numskulls was always my favourite strip in the Beano but hiding behind the guise of a children's film Inside Out gives so much more than light comedy. You'll need to ready a box of tissues for this wonderful story of depression but it's so worth it.

The Man from Uncle: Moving back onto action with the brilliant 1960's spy film directed by Guy Ritchie. For me this felt a lot like classic Bond (more on that later), but a lot better and without the outrageous sexism. The Man from Uncle doesn't take itself too seriously and thus contains some laugh out loud funny scenes but it realls works so well thanks to the visually brilliant action scenes that are mixed in along the way. The plot details are a little fuzzy at points but it's totally forgiveable especially as Henry Cavill, Arnie Hammer and Alicia Vikander work so well together on screen. Also there is another hilarious dance scene.

Spectre: In January 2015 my partner and I began watching all of the 26 James Bond films from start to finish. I really enjoyed this even though they don't stand up as pinnacles of movie making 60 years on (let's try to forget this death scene), but because through their flaws they have a wonderfully nostalgic charm. This gave a nice background before seeing the latest Bond release in October. I really enjoyed Spectre, there were lots of lovely throwbacks to early bond films as well as some intense action and emotion that we've come to expect from Daniel Craig's Bond. Lea Seydoux was also the strongest Bond girl yet - which isn't hard honestly, but is nice to see.

Brooklyn: I have been waiting for the release of this romantic drama for such a long time. The original novel by Colm Toibin is one of my favourite books so I was really excited to see it on screen especially as Domnhall Gleeson was playing the part of Jim Farrell. Overall I think that Nick Hornby did a good job on the screenplay (very little was left out), the costumes and scenery were beautiful, the music too and the actors all did well portraying characters that I was already in love with. However, reading fiction is a really personal experience and inevitably there were a few things that didn't play out as I had hoped. Don't let that stop you seeing it because it's a wonderful film - but read the book too because it's brilliant.

Star Wars The Force Awakens: Another film that I'd been eagerly anticipating for months was the long awaited seventh instalment in the Star Wars franchise. I dearly love the original trilogy so this had a lot to live up to but J J Abrams pulled it off on the most part. The new heroes are all brilliant, immediately loveable and far more complex than the original three. The action is great and overall the plot is good too but it doesn't quite have the same nostalgia as episodes four, five and six. I don't think I'll be able to watch it over and over again without getting bored like I can with the originals but in all other aspects it's very, very good and leaves a lot of promise for episodes eight and nine.

Gone Girl: I know I'm late to the party but I wanted to mention a couple of films I've watched at home too. Gone Girl was something I'd been meaning to watch for ages and finally got around to a few months ago. This is a seriously gripping thriller with superb acting on all accounts. There were a few scenes I had to shut my eyes for but it's worth it for the compelling plot.

Pride: At the opposite end of the scale this is a sweet telling of a group of lesbian and gay activists helping families affected by the British Miners Strike in 1984. This is a really lovely drama with some really touching scenes. Worth a watch even if only for Dominic West dancing unapologetically to Shame, Shame, Shame.

There are ten of my favourite watches of 2015 then. If I had to pick two, they would be Ex Machina and The Man From Uncle. I'm very much looking forward to everything I'll be watching in 2016. Captain America Civil War and Batman vs Superman are two that I've been awaiting for a long time. For now though I'm off to get another fix of Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl. 

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