Saturday, 9 January 2016

Yearly projections 2015

2015 at the movies: dinosaurs roared, the Millennium Falcon soared, spies warred and Marvel... bored.  In no particular order, here's my top 10...

Who wore orange and white best in 2015?

The Kings of Summer 

This small independent film is actually from 2013 - a coming of age tale which not only pokes fun at adolescent awkwardness but, in my case at least, actually encourages tears of laughter.  This is no crass teen comedy though, but a beautifully told story where the humour flows naturally from quirky characters and human interaction in all its glorious ungainliness.  The ’T-shirt scene’ alone is worth the rental.

The Man from Uncle

It’s been a 'spy-heavy' year. However, Spectre was merely good and Kingsman completely lost me in the relentless vulgarity of its last act.  But the Man from Uncle did everything right, from the chemistry of its two stars, the meticulously-achieved period setting and deft balancing of great action and comedy.  Add Hugh Grant’s best cameo ever, and I really want to see more from Solo and Kuryakin.


Remember those Wonderful World of Disney ‘dog stories’ which you’d often get instead of cartoons on Sunday nights? Max is one of those writ large - an old-fashioned, engaging family drama which also doesn’t flinch from the realities of US forces overseas involvement and its wider effects on servicemen and their loved ones.  German Shepherds don’t seem to care for me, but I really liked Max.


This was actually released a couple of weeks before 2015 began.  So much could have gone wrong with this unrequested update of a near-obsolete children's character from a bygone age, but instead Paddington triumphs in every possible area.  A top notch cast combine with a special effect which you instantly accept being as real a person as they are, and then the non-stop fun begins.  A total delight.

Star Wars episode 7: The Force Awakens

Yes, we KNOW it’s largely a retread, reboot, rehash, ‘re-quel’ - but that’s exactly what legends have always been. And we’re now left in very good hands for the new adventures ahead in less than a year’s time.  There’s never been a better time to be a  Star Wars fan - and you guys are still complaining?

Mad Max: Fury Road

Shave her head, smear diesel all over her face, even remove an arm - and Charlize Theron still looks amazing. I think that might be Tom Hardy in the passenger seat.
I heard someone say that this film was like having your face shouted into for a couple of hours.  Yes it was. And their point is?


That rarest of beasts - a film which deserves to call itself a comedy. Barely a single, solitary gag failed to ignite - and there are a hell of a lot of them.  Rose Byrne is a potty-mouthed Goddess.

Jurassic World

I cannot understand all the hate for this film. I bet Marvel couldn’t either when it out-grossed 'Ages of Dulltron'.  Of course it isn’t perfect but personally, it gave me everything I wanted and more - I might have even cheered when a certain star from the first film puts in a late appearance to save the day.

Far from the madding Crowd

I remembered the 1969 version more than I realised when I saw this.  But this adaptation is one of those films so beautifully shot that any random freeze frame would be worth printing.  It’s a sweeping tale with more than it’s share of woe, but that makes the sweeter moments all the more so.


I suspect this cinematography is as close as most of us will ever get to climbing the mountain. And it also pays tribute to a modern Kiwi legend - the story of Rob Hall and his final phone call from the top of the world.  Spectacular and moving, as it should be.

Honorary mentions:
The Martian - for best soundtrack
Mr Holmes - Best performance:would definitely be on this list if we'd been able to see the whole film
Ex Machina - Best eco-home

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