Hi, guys. I’m back! First off, Happy New Year. 2015 was such a great year for me because 1) I got my laptop and so I can watch unlimited amount of movies again 2) lots of great movies were released that year. 3) the universe gave me time to watch them all despite the busy graduating life. (I think no one’s that busy. If it’s a priority, then it is given time)
So let’s look at my top 14 movies that I’ve watched in 2015 (slow drumming sounds please @ my band). This is part 2 of 2, I’ve already posted half of it last year, check it out.
14. Gone Girl (2015) by David Fincher
First of all, the cinematography’s extremely sharp and beautiful and swift and elegant. David Fincher is definitely the director. The story is also a fun concept: girl disappears, husband gets blamed. Despite Ben Affleck’s penis cameo, Rosamund Pike stole the entire movie. She is bae. She is the cool girl we all want!
The sound score is also very important, making the mystery/action/romance movie more eerie. I think it’s one of the things that contributed to the movie’s eerieness.Love it to the bone, watched it twice.
13. I Killed My Mother (2009) by Xavier Dolan
It’s Dolan’s debut film and it is one where he stars as the lead. I am basically a Xavier Dolan because I want to be in charge of everything. As his debut film, he gets extremely excited and does all the work (or most of it technically) My goal in life is to write, direct, produce and star in my own TV show, hopefully semi-autobiographical and critically-acclaimed. I just think TV shows breed more loyalty to its audience because of its episodic nature. In 2009, Xavier Dolan did that with a film. I’ve told you: Dolan is the Canadian-French version of me.
Now the movie is personal to Dolan and it also becomes personal to us. More importantly, I love the close-up shots very much and how some scenes are balanced. To be honest, I think this could easily be my own film in terms of technique. In terms of content, a son who has a terrible relationship with his mother, I’m not really for it. If you’re going to watch this, watch his later, more successful movie Mommy afterwards and compare them.
Edit: I do have Mommy issues and I could see how it is such an important movie as a coming-of-age and killing your mother (which sort of means growing up).
12. The Duchess (2008) by Saul Dibb
I am in love with Keira Knightley, oh my freaking god, you have no idea. In this film, her character is the Duchess who made the mistake of marrying a horrible Duke played by Ralph Fiennes. What I love about this movie is how it is subtly and ultimately a feminist film. I’ve realized a lot of things in the movie. It’s an eye opener. One of them is how silence could be a weapon. Some feminists think that being silent means defeat but it’s not. Timing is everything and one should only stay silent if it is a strategy and it is for the better good in the meantime. It’s the only subtle feminist that seemed to represent the concept well and can be discussed thoroughly in class as a literary theory.
Keira Knightley in period clothes, British accent and all, and the subtle Feminism = A+
11. Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No-Good, Very Bad Day (2014) by Miguel Arteta
It’s not difficult for movies from Walt Disney to make me cry. This is what happened to me at the beginning of the year and at the near end. Even if I try not to get into the entire movie, my eyes would instantly tear up in one immediate scene.
I like movies that are set in a small length of time. It’s realistic and we all catch the action and identify characterization quickly. This movie was set in two days. One where we see Alexander having his usual terrible day before his birthday and another where he wished that for once everyone in his family would have a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day so they would realize his pain as middle-school grader.
At the mention of the name Steve Carell, I would probably jump on my bones. He’s such a great actor (recently watched The Big Short which I hated because I didn’t understand a shit) and I love him. I love him in The Office. He played one of the greatest icons in comedy. But what would you do if you knew Jennifer Garner was there too? It’s a powerful, simple film and one that is warm to the heart. I’ll probably use the phrase ‘warm to the heart’ many times in the next 10 like the colors in its costumes and set are warm to the eyes. A perfect Disney film!
10. Wild (2014) by Jean Marc-Vallee
It’s easily one of my favorite movies of the year and one that is very memorable. Reese Witherspoon was the reason I watched this movie because it was said it was her return to ‘great movies’ or ‘critically-acclaimed performance.’ This journey of Cheryl Strayed, which is based on her memoir, is powerful. I love that we see her journey in the trail and the journeys of her life that got her there. Ultimately, it was a journey to survive her grief. Not only because of the death of her loved ones or her marriage, but also because some part of her died and it needs to be reborn.
For me, going alone on a trail with nothing but your thoughts is torture. I’ve lived a life of distractions–social media, arts and lifestyle networks. It’s the greatest emotional and mental pain of all—realizing everything, having thought about it, and not knowing what to do with them. I’m not sure why this movie is listed at number 10 when it could easily be in my top 3. (i just couldn’t put them all in my top 3) 9. Transit (2013) by Hannah Espia
Congrats Hannah Espia and writer Giancarlo Abrahan (whom I’ve seen in real life!) You are the only Filipino movie that made my list and you made it to my top ten. The movie is layered with immigrant experiences of one family. It’s an examination of the generational and cultural differences in an immigrant family—all of them struggling with their identity and the consequences of living abroad illegally. This movie is perfect as a postcolonial material for class or peer discussions.
The movie was just brilliantly woven. I love it. I love it. I really like the concept of home and losing and searching for it. It’s a making sense of the self, says my teacher:
8. The Black Swan (2010) by Darren Aronofsky
I have postponed watching this whenever I catch it on HBO some random time of the year but one night I decided to watch it and daaaaaammmnnn, powerful movie, man. It’s as powerful as Requiem for a Dream. It’s mindfuck. It’s a kind of what-the-fuck-is-happening film. I have no words for this but it’s a movie about madness. Madness, I tell you. Natalie Portman is the queen. The Swan Queen!!!
7. Boogie Nights (1997) by Paul Thomas Anderson
I’ve always thought that Mark Wahlberg was a loser. An old hag that Hollywood and young people today has forgotten or dismissed only because I haven’t seen him in a good role. Then I realize some actors just really need good writing material, a great director and an opportunity to showcase it to become really great actors. It’s a hard collaborative art—movies. And this is perhaps one of the movies that portray the effects of fame. And you know I love matters about fame and also sex—the movie’s about a guy in the porn industry. It’s a classic and I definitely do not need to hard sell it. If you haven’t seen a Paul Thomas Anderson, this should be your first. Then my recently watched Magnolia which is a little Pulp Fictiony but set in a short period of time.
6. The Imitation Game (2015) by Morten Tyldum
Benedict Cumberbatch’s jump from TV (Sherlock, duh, guys) to movies (the incoming Doctor Strange, ahhh!) or even to theater (Hamlet, what the fuck talented, right?) is sweet transition. He had made great decisions and chosen the greatest roles ever. In this film, Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing who has a secret that will hinder his freedom and has an ability to change the world. Spoiler alert: he’s gay and he basically invented computers and he saved a lot of people during the war and hate forced him to be a creep but he still did win a lot of hearts.
Of course, let us not forget the charming Keira Knightley! She is enough to make you want to download the film as soon as possible! Do it!
Also, the screenwriter’s Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay’s speech moved me.
5. Spy (2015) by Paul Feig
Melissa McCarthy is a recent discovery. Maybe because she just rose to fame in Bridesmaids. She’s the diva of comedy and could easily be the funniest woman of the decade so far. This movie was the only comedy movie this year that made my tummy hurt from laughing and made me tear up. It’s hilarious and it’s ridiculous. Everyone should check this out, it’s standing so near to the 4th place which is a masterpiece and groundbreaking cultural phenomenon.
Also, Jason Statham in a comedy? Weird but it’s hella funny.
4. Birdman (2015) by Alejandro González Iñárritu
–Won Best Picture amongst other things
–Seems shot in one take
–Meanings and debates regarding what the fuck is this movie and who Bird Man is among my friends are hot
–Michael Keeton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan
–It’s so meta
3. The Matrix (1999) by The Wachowskis
I’m just going to leave you hanging. And not say anything about it. Because the two words: The Matrix is enough.
2. Before Trilogy (1995, 2004, 2013) by Richard Linklater
Stranded in a friend’s dorm because of flooding and because we were seven in a tiny room with only two beds (a bunk bed) I’ve decided not to sleep and watch the first two films in the trilogy, just in time for sunrise and for the flood to drain. This happened on mid-December on the last week of exams.
It’s unfair that I compressed all three movies as a single entry, I know, so I just boosted it to number two since they are that good. They are all of my friends’ highly recommended films.
The first film is how they met, the second is how they are reunited and the third is how much they grew up apart. That is my spoiler-less description of every movie. Every movie has its own charm in it and a special place for it. The last movie has to be the heaviest of them all, now that they’ve gotten really old, issues and conflicts abound. But what it taught me is that to never be afraid of conflicts. People fight because they have strong feelings regarding something and that they are different and they choose to try to fight for their own feelings.
I’m rooting for a fourth one in 2022. They’re probably what in their 50’s? This is a signature of Richard Linklater, long-term projects with the same actors which breeds loyalty for fans and the actors.
And the movie of the year goes to…
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) by George Miller
Holy shit, this film, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. And on the night I watched the two Before films, we watched Mad Max: Fury Road twice consecutively or at least I did—the others fell asleep upon realizing there is no way in hell we were going to wade in that flood.
The movie is action-packed, the moments when you can pee is limited and are always when a character laments on something which is as important as the action scenes. It’s beautiful CGI. I tried taking a peak of the older version of the film to which this was remade from where Mel Gibson starred and guys it looked pretty different but it was probably a gem during that time even when weirdly it’s the same director. Anyway, I can’t really judge. I think it’s the reinterpretation of the world of the old movie that made it more beautiful plus the recent developments in special effects sprinkled with feminist and philosophical themes. It should be on everyone’s top movie of the year.
And that’s it you guys. We finished my favorite films that I watched in 2015 list. Movies are a huge part of pop culture and culture in general. It’s a wonderful escape from our own miserable lives. Join me later this year! Good night.