2015: The Year that Was


2015: The Year that Was


2015: The Year that Was


TIER THREE: MAINSTREAM MADNESS


2015 was not 2014.

There were a lot of disappointments in cinema last year. The great news, however, is that we still couldn’t help but find gems all over the world to have released within the year to make a top 30 list, which has been divided into three parts. While the first tier covers the best of ’em all and the second tier scours through the best independent and world movies, this tier takes everyone through the best of the biggest features to hit the cinemas within the entirety of the year.

From the world of boxing to the world of spies this list covers it all—even sheep (no kidding). Inclusive of stories of people risking enemy lines and trapped in alien planets, among others, this covers the final of the big list of films that made it last year.

Let’s get some honorable recommendations that couldn’t make this list out of the way first:

  • Lee Toland Krieger’s The Age of Adaline, a flawed but fascinating fantasy of the cons of immortality;
  • Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, a classic take on a classic story directed with focus and passion;
  • Pete Docter’s Inside Out, an animation movie that attempts to break psyches of human beings down;
  • Nancy Meyers’s The Intern, an old-fashioned, but wonderfully heartfelt, comedy drama; and
  • Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, a masterful, breathtakingly filmed movie that truly exploits the IMAX experience

10. SPY

Spy Review Thumb2015 had some pretty fantastic spy movies, and Mellissa McCarthy was in one of them. Directed by Paul Feig, Spy focuses on (surprise, surprise) your fat protagonist who’s legitimately lost at life, and can’t get the man she’s been in your good ole unrequited love with. But that, fortunately, is just the beginning of it all—and we all have our stars to thank, especially considering Ben Falcone’s Tammy. McCarthy’s not your usual sloppy fat woman; hell no. She’s got the skills, and when she’s in action, there’s no stopping her. The feminist commentary blends in all too well with the parodic situations the makers have successfully pulled off. And to top it off, you’re given the most amazing supporting cast ever. Viewers witness the existence of Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Statham (oh what an absolute surprise he is) and Rose Byrne, among others. And with them around, there’s little that can go wrong, is there?

9. CRIMSON PEAK

Crimson Peak Review ThumbDel Toro’s latest is probably the most incredible mainstream supernatural drama I’ve seen in a while. This gothic romance blends within itself a beautiful love story with dark, sinister undertones. Heavy on expressionism as an art form, Crimson Peak makes fantastic use of every single technical filmmaking weapon the director’s been provided with to work on to actually further the narrative. Everything from the archways to the lighting form symbols and subtext to the plot. Understanding the unwritten language of the universe’s vicinity, Guillermo Del Toro nails  the atmosphere and the film’s overall image system. Add to that some of the most incredible performances in the audience will have seen throughout the movie’s runtime, and you’re in for a sweet deal. Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska provide incredibly layered performances in a film that may not be for everyone but is worth a single try, if not anything else.

8. CREED

Creed Review ThumbAll of us needed this movie. Creed is a rather well-made sports drama that has the advantage of being both a successor to a legendary franchise (Rocky) and a soft reboot of it, leading the story to a completely new direction. Keeping the commendable act of Sylvester Stallone aside, one needs to understand just how incredible Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), who plays the eponymous character, are as actors. If one diverts from the comparatively shorter runtime of Thompson’s character, they’d find enough exuded effortlessness to treat her as a human. And then, of course, there’s the spirited Jordan, who is an absolute force of nature. But then, none of this would be possible without the incredible direction by Ryan Coogler, now, would it? Give this a try, even if you’re not a fan of the franchise. Who knows, you might find another movie to fall in love with.

7. EVEREST

Everest Review ThumbHow can one appreciate a film based on a story everyone has access to the end of? One must tell it without all the tropes that form usual biographical dramas, of course. And Balthasar Kormakur knows it. Now while Kormakur doesn’t entirely rid the film of those tropes—there’s a pregnant wife et al—what he does do well is grip the audience by means of complete focus to the lead-up to the incident, and the incident itself. Everything, from the conversations the characters have to the hardships they face, means something to the plot of the movie. The storytelling has a sort of frankness; an unpretentiousness in its telling. This is what makes the film a cut about the many biographical dramas or movies based on true events. Trump this up with an incredible cast and fantastic cinematography and production design, and you have yourself a straightforward, unstoppable thrill-ride.

6. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

Kingsman Review ThumbYet another film about spies, this one takes the flavorful route of vintage James Bond—only the villain here is no heavy-accented English speaking Russian or Asian. The antagonist here is a Big Mac hogging American dude who can glib-talk his way out of almost any situation. Prior to Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn’s already proven himself with the likes of Layer Cake, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Not surprisingly, his latest is a piece’o cake, where he goes on a gorgeously gory rampage of flawlessly executed action set-pieces that would make any viewer giddy with (an almost delirious form of) happiness. Aside from being one of the coolest big-screen experiences, this is also a film that pays attention to character establishment. Taron Egerton is an incredible actor, but his earnestness is given a deserved backing through the fantastic writing. If you haven’t watched Kingsman, watch it—if only for that amazing church-set action set-piece.

5. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Reviuew ThumbWriter-director Christopher McQuarrie understands rhythm, movement and razor-sharp focus, and this is what makes him perfect for the Mission:Impossible franchise. While Brad Bird’s brilliant execution of the nail-biting action couldn’t pan out toward his focus on narrative, McQuarrie doesn’t give up on either. Rogue Nation receives a chilling antagonist, performed brilliantly by Sean Harris, and a rather investable-in femme fatale, brought to performative life by Rebecca Ferguson. Nail-biting action sequences and a breathlessly moving narrative aside, one must stop and admire McQuarrie’s stand on the female character here, who’s given so much space to build the role she plays through her skill-set. She’s a gorgeous woman, but the film builds her up as a character who’s no less skilled than Tom, gender no bar. This probably affects Renner’s visibility (as compared to his involvement in the previous film), but what the hell! This needs to be seen to be believed.

4. SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

Shaun the Sheep Movie Review ThumbI did NOT expect to love Shaun the Sheep Movie. I didn’t. That was probably the best thing because this Academy Award nominated film stole my heart away. Without a single word spoken by anyone, this movie strongly relies on technique, writing and emotion. Sure, it starts off passively (and this could probably be because of my ignorance of its television lineage), but without exposition of the wrong kind—and considering this is a kid-friendly animation film, it’s usually forgiven—the movie manages to say a lot more than you’d expect. Additionally, there’s the benefit of some fantastic emotional relevance. The antagonist has no justification of being antagonistic, but the very fact that his character still matters to viewers gives the movie some much-deserved brownie points. But I think the best part of this film is that it’s perfectly self-aware of the kind of film it is, and that makes all the difference.

3. THE MARTIAN

The Martian Review ThumbA story of a man trapped in Mars, while astronauts and other officials in NASA are looking for ways to rescue him is perfect fodder for a highly serious rescue drama. Except, The Martian is not. Andy Weir’s sharply funny book receives a terrific screen adaptation, directed with unsurprising finesse by Ridley Scott. Scott, who’s fresh out of the brickbats of a mixed Prometheus, a shaky Exodus, and a widely misunderstood The Counselor, is back in form, as he understands the rhythm and flavor of the movie perfectly. And with Matt Damon around, it’s almost easier. He’s a terrific actor, and an even better screen presence. His mixture of humor, vulnerability and sadness come together to bring Weir’s Mark Watney to life. Above it all, though—above everything that makes this movie pretty awesome—it’s the excellent balance of simplicity along with the wits that this movie consistently whips up and blends within itself.

2. BRIDGE OF SPIES

Bridge of Spies Review ThumbSteven Spielberg isn’t highly regarded as a filmmaker for nothing. As is very relevant throughout the filmmaking of the movie’s runtime, Bridge of Spies retains a deliciously classic flavor to a fault. Never relying solely on technique, however, Spielberg makes brilliant use of Joel and Ethan Coen’s fantastic screenwriting abilities to bring forth his own nuanced, emotionally relevant trademarks through it. It could be said that his filmmaking doesn’t break any new ground, which is quite possibly true. It should, however, be noted that all the apparently classic rules he’s made use of might just be the ones he broke of what used to be considered Filmmaking 101 then. Leaving any argument aside, however, the movie is rife with a lot more conversation than action, and every word holds weight equivalent to the price of gold. And if there’s nothing else, Tom Hanks’ brilliant performance and Thomas Newman’s heartbreaking score should suffice.

1. THE BIG SHORT

The Big Short Review ThumbThe world saw the financial meltdown cast a rather dark could over people around the world, causing waves that still affect significant portions of the economy all over, even today. The Big Short, thus, continues to be relevant. What Adam McKay—usually comfortable with directing some (admittedly sharp) comedies—has managed to do with it, however, is what brings it a cut above the rest. With the help of towering performances, a fantastic screenplay, and brilliant editing, the film manages almost to do the impossible—make an incredibly intelligent film with insane, massy street-smartness. Watch Steve Carrell’s heartbreakingly authentic performance, and McKay’s usage of pop-culture references to explain complicated financial terminology like an absolute boss. And, more than anything else in the movie, watch out for how an incredible awareness of the craft and its business allows makers to provide its audience with the best of both worlds.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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TIER THREE: MAINSTREAM MADNESS


2015 was not 2014.

There were a lot of disappointments in cinema last year. The great news, however, is that we still couldn’t help but find gems all over the world to have released within the year to make a top 30 list, which has been divided into three parts. While the first tier covers the best of ’em all and the second tier scours through the best independent and world movies, this tier takes everyone through the best of the biggest features to hit the cinemas within the entirety of the year.

From the world of boxing to the world of spies this list covers it all—even sheep (no kidding). Inclusive of stories of people risking enemy lines and trapped in alien planets, among others, this covers the final of the big list of films that made it last year.

Let’s get some honorable recommendations that couldn’t make this list out of the way first:

  • Lee Toland Krieger’s The Age of Adaline, a flawed but fascinating fantasy of the cons of immortality;
  • Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, a classic take on a classic story directed with focus and passion;
  • Pete Docter’s Inside Out, an animation movie that attempts to break psyches of human beings down;
  • Nancy Meyers’s The Intern, an old-fashioned, but wonderfully heartfelt, comedy drama; and
  • Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, a masterful, breathtakingly filmed movie that truly exploits the IMAX experience

10. SPY

Spy Review Thumb2015 had some pretty fantastic spy movies, and Mellissa McCarthy was in one of them. Directed by Paul Feig, Spy focuses on (surprise, surprise) your fat protagonist who’s legitimately lost at life, and can’t get the man she’s been in your good ole unrequited love with. But that, fortunately, is just the beginning of it all—and we all have our stars to thank, especially considering Ben Falcone’s Tammy. McCarthy’s not your usual sloppy fat woman; hell no. She’s got the skills, and when she’s in action, there’s no stopping her. The feminist commentary blends in all too well with the parodic situations the makers have successfully pulled off. And to top it off, you’re given the most amazing supporting cast ever. Viewers witness the existence of Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Statham (oh what an absolute surprise he is) and Rose Byrne, among others. And with them around, there’s little that can go wrong, is there?

9. CRIMSON PEAK

Crimson Peak Review ThumbDel Toro’s latest is probably the most incredible mainstream supernatural drama I’ve seen in a while. This gothic romance blends within itself a beautiful love story with dark, sinister undertones. Heavy on expressionism as an art form, Crimson Peak makes fantastic use of every single technical filmmaking weapon the director’s been provided with to work on to actually further the narrative. Everything from the archways to the lighting form symbols and subtext to the plot. Understanding the unwritten language of the universe’s vicinity, Guillermo Del Toro nails  the atmosphere and the film’s overall image system. Add to that some of the most incredible performances in the audience will have seen throughout the movie’s runtime, and you’re in for a sweet deal. Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska provide incredibly layered performances in a film that may not be for everyone but is worth a single try, if not anything else.

8. CREED

Creed Review ThumbAll of us needed this movie. Creed is a rather well-made sports drama that has the advantage of being both a successor to a legendary franchise (Rocky) and a soft reboot of it, leading the story to a completely new direction. Keeping the commendable act of Sylvester Stallone aside, one needs to understand just how incredible Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), who plays the eponymous character, are as actors. If one diverts from the comparatively shorter runtime of Thompson’s character, they’d find enough exuded effortlessness to treat her as a human. And then, of course, there’s the spirited Jordan, who is an absolute force of nature. But then, none of this would be possible without the incredible direction by Ryan Coogler, now, would it? Give this a try, even if you’re not a fan of the franchise. Who knows, you might find another movie to fall in love with.

7. EVEREST

Everest Review ThumbHow can one appreciate a film based on a story everyone has access to the end of? One must tell it without all the tropes that form usual biographical dramas, of course. And Balthasar Kormakur knows it. Now while Kormakur doesn’t entirely rid the film of those tropes—there’s a pregnant wife et al—what he does do well is grip the audience by means of complete focus to the lead-up to the incident, and the incident itself. Everything, from the conversations the characters have to the hardships they face, means something to the plot of the movie. The storytelling has a sort of frankness; an unpretentiousness in its telling. This is what makes the film a cut about the many biographical dramas or movies based on true events. Trump this up with an incredible cast and fantastic cinematography and production design, and you have yourself a straightforward, unstoppable thrill-ride.

6. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

Kingsman Review ThumbYet another film about spies, this one takes the flavorful route of vintage James Bond—only the villain here is no heavy-accented English speaking Russian or Asian. The antagonist here is a Big Mac hogging American dude who can glib-talk his way out of almost any situation. Prior to Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn’s already proven himself with the likes of Layer Cake, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Not surprisingly, his latest is a piece’o cake, where he goes on a gorgeously gory rampage of flawlessly executed action set-pieces that would make any viewer giddy with (an almost delirious form of) happiness. Aside from being one of the coolest big-screen experiences, this is also a film that pays attention to character establishment. Taron Egerton is an incredible actor, but his earnestness is given a deserved backing through the fantastic writing. If you haven’t watched Kingsman, watch it—if only for that amazing church-set action set-piece.

5. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Reviuew ThumbWriter-director Christopher McQuarrie understands rhythm, movement and razor-sharp focus, and this is what makes him perfect for the Mission:Impossible franchise. While Brad Bird’s brilliant execution of the nail-biting action couldn’t pan out toward his focus on narrative, McQuarrie doesn’t give up on either. Rogue Nation receives a chilling antagonist, performed brilliantly by Sean Harris, and a rather investable-in femme fatale, brought to performative life by Rebecca Ferguson. Nail-biting action sequences and a breathlessly moving narrative aside, one must stop and admire McQuarrie’s stand on the female character here, who’s given so much space to build the role she plays through her skill-set. She’s a gorgeous woman, but the film builds her up as a character who’s no less skilled than Tom, gender no bar. This probably affects Renner’s visibility (as compared to his involvement in the previous film), but what the hell! This needs to be seen to be believed.

4. SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

Shaun the Sheep Movie Review ThumbI did NOT expect to love Shaun the Sheep Movie. I didn’t. That was probably the best thing because this Academy Award nominated film stole my heart away. Without a single word spoken by anyone, this movie strongly relies on technique, writing and emotion. Sure, it starts off passively (and this could probably be because of my ignorance of its television lineage), but without exposition of the wrong kind—and considering this is a kid-friendly animation film, it’s usually forgiven—the movie manages to say a lot more than you’d expect. Additionally, there’s the benefit of some fantastic emotional relevance. The antagonist has no justification of being antagonistic, but the very fact that his character still matters to viewers gives the movie some much-deserved brownie points. But I think the best part of this film is that it’s perfectly self-aware of the kind of film it is, and that makes all the difference.

3. THE MARTIAN

The Martian Review ThumbA story of a man trapped in Mars, while astronauts and other officials in NASA are looking for ways to rescue him is perfect fodder for a highly serious rescue drama. Except, The Martian is not. Andy Weir’s sharply funny book receives a terrific screen adaptation, directed with unsurprising finesse by Ridley Scott. Scott, who’s fresh out of the brickbats of a mixed Prometheus, a shaky Exodus, and a widely misunderstood The Counselor, is back in form, as he understands the rhythm and flavor of the movie perfectly. And with Matt Damon around, it’s almost easier. He’s a terrific actor, and an even better screen presence. His mixture of humor, vulnerability and sadness come together to bring Weir’s Mark Watney to life. Above it all, though—above everything that makes this movie pretty awesome—it’s the excellent balance of simplicity along with the wits that this movie consistently whips up and blends within itself.

2. BRIDGE OF SPIES

Bridge of Spies Review ThumbSteven Spielberg isn’t highly regarded as a filmmaker for nothing. As is very relevant throughout the filmmaking of the movie’s runtime, Bridge of Spies retains a deliciously classic flavor to a fault. Never relying solely on technique, however, Spielberg makes brilliant use of Joel and Ethan Coen’s fantastic screenwriting abilities to bring forth his own nuanced, emotionally relevant trademarks through it. It could be said that his filmmaking doesn’t break any new ground, which is quite possibly true. It should, however, be noted that all the apparently classic rules he’s made use of might just be the ones he broke of what used to be considered Filmmaking 101 then. Leaving any argument aside, however, the movie is rife with a lot more conversation than action, and every word holds weight equivalent to the price of gold. And if there’s nothing else, Tom Hanks’ brilliant performance and Thomas Newman’s heartbreaking score should suffice.

1. THE BIG SHORT

The Big Short Review ThumbThe world saw the financial meltdown cast a rather dark could over people around the world, causing waves that still affect significant portions of the economy all over, even today. The Big Short, thus, continues to be relevant. What Adam McKay—usually comfortable with directing some (admittedly sharp) comedies—has managed to do with it, however, is what brings it a cut above the rest. With the help of towering performances, a fantastic screenplay, and brilliant editing, the film manages almost to do the impossible—make an incredibly intelligent film with insane, massy street-smartness. Watch Steve Carrell’s heartbreakingly authentic performance, and McKay’s usage of pop-culture references to explain complicated financial terminology like an absolute boss. And, more than anything else in the movie, watch out for how an incredible awareness of the craft and its business allows makers to provide its audience with the best of both worlds.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

TIER THREE:
MAINSTREAM MADNESS


2015 was not 2014.

There were a lot of disappointments in cinema last year. The great news, however, is that we still couldn’t help but find gems all over the world to have released within the year to make a top 30 list, which has been divided into three parts. While the first tier covers the best of ’em all and the second tier scours through the best independent and world movies, this tier takes everyone through the best of the biggest features to hit the cinemas within the entirety of the year.

From the world of boxing to the world of spies this list covers it all—even sheep (no kidding). Inclusive of stories of people risking enemy lines and trapped in alien planets, among others, this covers the final of the big list of films that made it last year.

Let’s get some honorable recommendations that couldn’t make this list out of the way first:

  • Lee Toland Krieger’s The Age of Adaline, a flawed but fascinating fantasy of the cons of immortality;
  • Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, a classic take on a classic story directed with focus and passion;
  • Pete Docter’s Inside Out, an animation movie that attempts to break psyches of human beings down;
  • Nancy Meyers’s The Intern, an old-fashioned, but wonderfully heartfelt, comedy drama; and
  • Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, a masterful, breathtakingly filmed movie that truly exploits the IMAX experience

10. SPY

2015 had some pretty fantastic spy movies, and Mellissa McCarthy was in one of them. Directed by Paul Feig, Spy focuses on (surprise, surprise) your fat protagonist who’s legitimately lost at life, and can’t get the man she’s been in your good ole unrequited love with. But that, fortunately, is just the beginning of it all—and we all have our stars to thank, especially considering Ben Falcone’s Tammy. McCarthy’s not your usual sloppy fat woman; hell no. She’s got the skills, and when she’s in action, there’s no stopping her. The feminist commentary blends in all too well with the parodic situations the makers have successfully pulled off. And to top it off, you’re given the most amazing supporting cast ever. Viewers witness the existence of Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Statham (oh what an absolute surprise he is) and Rose Byrne, among others. And with them around, there’s little that can go wrong, is there?

9. CRIMSON PEAK

Del Toro’s latest is probably the most incredible mainstream supernatural drama I’ve seen in a while. This gothic romance blends within itself a beautiful love story with dark, sinister undertones. Heavy on expressionism as an art form, Crimson Peak makes fantastic use of every single technical filmmaking weapon the director’s been provided with to work on to actually further the narrative. Everything from the archways to the lighting form symbols and subtext to the plot. Understanding the unwritten language of the universe’s vicinity, Guillermo Del Toro nails  the atmosphere and the film’s overall image system. Add to that some of the most incredible performances in the audience will have seen throughout the movie’s runtime, and you’re in for a sweet deal. Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska provide incredibly layered performances in a film that may not be for everyone but is worth a single try, if not anything else.

8. CREED

All of us needed this movie. Creed is a rather well-made sports drama that has the advantage of being both a successor to a legendary franchise (Rocky) and a soft reboot of it, leading the story to a completely new direction. Keeping the commendable act of Sylvester Stallone aside, one needs to understand just how incredible Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), who plays the eponymous character, are as actors. If one diverts from the comparatively shorter runtime of Thompson’s character, they’d find enough exuded effortlessness to treat her as a human. And then, of course, there’s the spirited Jordan, who is an absolute force of nature. But then, none of this would be possible without the incredible direction by Ryan Coogler, now, would it? Give this a try, even if you’re not a fan of the franchise. Who knows, you might find another movie to fall in love with.

7. EVEREST

How can one appreciate a film based on a story everyone has access to the end of? One must tell it without all the tropes that form usual biographical dramas, of course. And Balthasar Kormakur knows it. Now while Kormakur doesn’t entirely rid the film of those tropes—there’s a pregnant wife et al—what he does do well is grip the audience by means of complete focus to the lead-up to the incident, and the incident itself. Everything, from the conversations the characters have to the hardships they face, means something to the plot of the movie. The storytelling has a sort of frankness; an unpretentiousness in its telling. This is what makes the film a cut about the many biographical dramas or movies based on true events. Trump this up with an incredible cast and fantastic cinematography and production design, and you have yourself a straightforward, unstoppable thrill-ride.

6. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

Yet another film about spies, this one takes the flavorful route of vintage James Bond—only the villain here is no heavy-accented English speaking Russian or Asian. The antagonist here is a Big Mac hogging American dude who can glib-talk his way out of almost any situation. Prior to Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn’s already proven himself with the likes of Layer Cake, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Not surprisingly, his latest is a piece’o cake, where he goes on a gorgeously gory rampage of flawlessly executed action set-pieces that would make any viewer giddy with (an almost delirious form of) happiness. Aside from being one of the coolest big-screen experiences, this is also a film that pays attention to character establishment. Taron Egerton is an incredible actor, but his earnestness is given a deserved backing through the fantastic writing. If you haven’t watched Kingsman, watch it—if only for that amazing church-set action set-piece.

5. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie understands rhythm, movement and razor-sharp focus, and this is what makes him perfect for the Mission:Impossible franchise. While Brad Bird’s brilliant execution of the nail-biting action couldn’t pan out toward his focus on narrative, McQuarrie doesn’t give up on either. Rogue Nation receives a chilling antagonist, performed brilliantly by Sean Harris, and a rather investable-in femme fatale, brought to performative life by Rebecca Ferguson. Nail-biting action sequences and a breathlessly moving narrative aside, one must stop and admire McQuarrie’s stand on the female character here, who’s given so much space to build the role she plays through her skill-set. She’s a gorgeous woman, but the film builds her up as a character who’s no less skilled than Tom, gender no bar. This probably affects Renner’s visibility (as compared to his involvement in the previous film), but what the hell! This needs to be seen to be believed.

4. SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

I did NOT expect to love Shaun the Sheep Movie. I didn’t. That was probably the best thing because this Academy Award nominated film stole my heart away. Without a single word spoken by anyone, this movie strongly relies on technique, writing and emotion. Sure, it starts off passively (and this could probably be because of my ignorance of its television lineage), but without exposition of the wrong kind—and considering this is a kid-friendly animation film, it’s usually forgiven—the movie manages to say a lot more than you’d expect. Additionally, there’s the benefit of some fantastic emotional relevance. The antagonist has no justification of being antagonistic, but the very fact that his character still matters to viewers gives the movie some much-deserved brownie points. But I think the best part of this film is that it’s perfectly self-aware of the kind of film it is, and that makes all the difference.

3. THE MARTIAN

A story of a man trapped in Mars, while astronauts and other officials in NASA are looking for ways to rescue him is perfect fodder for a highly serious rescue drama. Except, The Martian is not. Andy Weir’s sharply funny book receives a terrific screen adaptation, directed with unsurprising finesse by Ridley Scott. Scott, who’s fresh out of the brickbats of a mixed Prometheus, a shaky Exodus, and a widely misunderstood The Counselor, is back in form, as he understands the rhythm and flavor of the movie perfectly. And with Matt Damon around, it’s almost easier. He’s a terrific actor, and an even better screen presence. His mixture of humor, vulnerability and sadness come together to bring Weir’s Mark Watney to life. Above it all, though—above everything that makes this movie pretty awesome—it’s the excellent balance of simplicity along with the wits that this movie consistently whips up and blends within itself.

2. BRIDGE OF SPIES

Steven Spielberg isn’t highly regarded as a filmmaker for nothing. As is very relevant throughout the filmmaking of the movie’s runtime, Bridge of Spies retains a deliciously classic flavor to a fault. Never relying solely on technique, however, Spielberg makes brilliant use of Joel and Ethan Coen’s fantastic screenwriting abilities to bring forth his own nuanced, emotionally relevant trademarks through it. It could be said that his filmmaking doesn’t break any new ground, which is quite possibly true. It should, however, be noted that all the apparently classic rules he’s made use of might just be the ones he broke of what used to be considered Filmmaking 101 then. Leaving any argument aside, however, the movie is rife with a lot more conversation than action, and every word holds weight equivalent to the price of gold. And if there’s nothing else, Tom Hanks’ brilliant performance and Thomas Newman’s heartbreaking score should suffice.

1. THE BIG SHORT

The world saw the financial meltdown cast a rather dark could over people around the world, causing waves that still affect significant portions of the economy all over, even today. The Big Short, thus, continues to be relevant. What Adam McKay—usually comfortable with directing some (admittedly sharp) comedies—has managed to do with it, however, is what brings it a cut above the rest. With the help of towering performances, a fantastic screenplay, and brilliant editing, the film manages almost to do the impossible—make an incredibly intelligent film with insane, massy street-smartness. Watch Steve Carrell’s heartbreakingly authentic performance, and McKay’s usage of pop-culture references to explain complicated financial terminology like an absolute boss. And, more than anything else in the movie, watch out for how an incredible awareness of the craft and its business allows makers to provide its audience with the best of both worlds.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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