Tod Haynes’ beautiful 50’s melodrama. My thoughts are here already but it really is magnificent.
Probably Disney Pixar’s greatest film to date, this is a profoundly moving and very funny tale of childhood, family and sadness. The fact that it’s technically a children’s film which features a scene around “abstract thought” and which doesn’t cringinly pander to adults is the simple genius of Pixar.
Love is Strange
A quietly lovely drama, with charming, affectionate performances from Alfred Molina and John Lithgow, a witty script and a gorgeous portrayal of residential New York.
2015 was a fantastic year for documentaries, with Best of Enemies and Going Clear also being great highlights. This intriguing depiction of a group of siblings kept indoors for most of their childhood and using pop culture to connect with the outside world, was hilarious, shocking and thought provoking with likeable, charismatic subjects at its heart.
The Lady in the Van
Only Alan Bennet and Maggie Smith can create the special type of guffaw which quickly follows the quiet melancholic sobs abundant in Nicholas Hytner’s adaptation of the stage play. Brilliantly British and scathing in all the right ways.
As an Aaron Sorkin fan I was predisposed to love this. I’m not sure what went wrong with the marketing as it seems to have flopped despite the excellently stylish direction from Danny Boyle and the perfect performance from everyone’s favourite art house darling, Michael Fassbender, as the cold hearted selfish genius. With stand out supporting turns from Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogan, it’s the kind of slickly written, acerbic, dialogue heavy drama I always hope to get from Sorkin.
A long time ago… Back in the early part of the year, before the world went galactically mental for both Oscar Issacs and Domnal Gleeson in The Force Awakens came this dark, sleek British sci-fi. Also starting Alicia Vikander, writer Alex Garland’s directorial debut is a small film with big ideas, like all the best science fiction. It’s themes of AI, gender and morality aren’t particularly ground breaking but it’s thoughtfully acted and shot and the minimalist scani style design looks great.
Asif Kapadi’s follow up to Senna is intelligent, gripping and heartbreaking whether or not you’re an Amy Winehouse fan. A documentary with no talking heads, Amy’s closest friends and her own lyrics tell the story of her rise and sadly, inevitable fall.
An excellent French drama set in the urban projects of Paris about a teenage girl, her new gang and the identity she craves. It is incredibly touching and insightful, with honest portrayals of friendship and youth from the four young performers scouted by director Céline Sciamma directly from the streets.
Mad Max: Fury Road
For pure insane cinematic greasy stylised madness. The most fun I’ve had at the cinema all year… The Force Awakens midnight screening being a very close second of course.
Other films of note:
- Jurassic World
- A Girls Walks Home Alone at Night
- Big Hero 6
- Pitch Perfect 2
- Jupiter Ascending
- John Wick