Favourite films of 2015

There will be a post to declare my favourite film of 2015 in the next few days. These however are some of my favourites from what has been a decent cinematic year.

What have you watched and enjoyed this year?

Do you agree/disagree with these picks?

 

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Mid term report : 5 of the best from 2015

Ok so it’s that time of year the mid term report for film goers. What have been the stand out films and what has disappointed me the most.

Firstly the rules. 

Some critics see the film year as beginning once the Oscar for best film is handed out. I however have opted for the bog standard 12 month calendar starting in January and based on UK release dates.

Firstly though lets get the big disappointment out of the way.

Mad Max : Fury Road

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This has been a slightly ‘controversial choice’ as the amount of 5 and 4 star reviews exist in great numbers for me however it was all hype and no substance. In coherent at times and two hours of a chase is a bit much to have to endure. My full review gives more detail but I wasn’t impressed as many have been and while I didn’t hate the film I felt the hype somewhat neutered the haile return of the action film.

Ok so that’s the disappointment out of the way. Six months of cinema going so I’m picking out six highlights.

5. Fast & Furious 7 

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I know what your thinking. How can I not like Mad Max and vouch for this, A-Team for the boy racer generation, never ending series. Well let me explain. Yes it has very little substance but it is aware of it’s own stupidity. The outrageous stunts had the screening I was in laughing and gasping in awe. The Fast & Furious series is not attempting to be some artistic metaphorical wonder but it is aware of what works for its audience. The film may be daft in the extreme but the enjoyment I took away from seeing it was a highlight of the year so far.

4. Ex Machina

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A future classic Ex Machina was a definite highlight of the year. Intelligent sci-fi that left you with more questions than answers. What does it mean to be human? As our desire for the most up to date tech grows will we ever reach the point of creating AI on this scale? One to watch repeatedly and still be left with questions always leaving the viewer on the edge. Ex Machina is a definite candidate for film of the year.

3. Whiplash

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 Walking out of Whiplash I was exhausted but wanted to go straight back in. This film ha d a relentless pace from the first minute and JK Simmons gave one of the performances of the year. Another firm favourite the film raised lot of post viewing discussion around the best methods of bringing out talent and the nature nurture debate raged for a while. A previous blog on Whiplash can be found here.

2. The Look of Silence

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In my review of the Look of Silence I described it as ‘difficult but essential viewing’. I still hold that view and many of the challenging sequences from this beautifully chilling documentary have stayed with me long after the projector stopped. Seek out The Look of Silence  and you will experience one of the finest documentaries made on the last 10 years.

1. Selma

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Selma SHOULD have won best picture at the Oscars. I’m not the only one who thinks that right? Well made, well acted, well directed and with a story retold at a very appropriate time in our current history it should have won. Sadly it wasn’t to be be but it’s impact on me as a viewer has been sustained and it’s effect on my own attitude towards politics and social justice have taken a seismic shift from disillusionment to action. Selma really was everything I want from a cinematic experience and to date the best of cinema in 2015.

So these are some of my favourite cinema moments from 2015 so far what do you think? Do  you agree or disagree? Let me know.

Whiplash: Are you rushing or are you dragging?

 

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‘Are you rushing or are you dragging?’ a question screamed by J K Simmons in the face of his drum pupil/protégé repeatedly in Whiplash.

When a line of  dialogue becomes so quotable you have to wonder why. What has made that line stick? What in that particular line has struck a chord with the audience?

This line is used to keep Miles Teller in check to question the validity of his presence in Simmons band, to test his understanding of what he is a part of.

My question then is simple ‘Are you rushing or are you dragging?’ Life can become so busy that we can very easily fill our time day to day with multiple forms of business and entertainment, rushing from place to place to meet different friends that by the end of the day we find ourselves exhausted. By rushing through our days though are we actually doing any good? Those friends/meetings that we flit between do they really get the best of us? Do they get our full attention? Be honest even when we are with others we check our phones for the next appointment, next ‘funny’ tweet or status.

So the question is are we rushing?

The flip side of this though is are we dragging?

Are we dragging our heels, putting off the important things to do the minor task. Are we trudging through meetings / coffee dates when the reality is we would rather be elsewhere because equally these things and these people are not getting the best of us either.

Where do your passions lie?

Where is your time best invested?

Who is your time truly invested in?

At the core of Whiplash is the pursuit and the achievement of brilliance and the fight (literal at times) to achieve this.

Wouldn’t the greater achievement be to do the things we WANT to do WELL?

Who does it benefit to rush or drag yourself through things?

Surely it is better for those around us to experience the best of us rather than a watered down, mediocre, shadow of who we could be?

So I ask again.

Are you rushing or are you dragging?