Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Lofgies - 2015 Edition

Hi everyone! Here it is, my top ten films of 2015 (ranked alphabetically). I have to admit, it was a weird year for film and a few of these movies might seem like odd picks, but their presence here is mostly explained by the fact that they stuck with me, making me feel something long after I viewed them. I also agonized a bit over these choices, shifting a few movies between Top Ten and Honorable Mention status.

Here we go…


Anomalisa


There isn't another film out there quite like Anomalisa. It's a bit of a downer, but it's so creative about its depressive qualities that I can't help but forgive it and be a bit haunted by it. The lead character navigates a limited world where every face and voice seems a bit familiar. Then, something changes. Anamolisa is such a weird and thoughtful little film, where every choice is intentional and no moment is wasted.

Bridge of Spies


Bridge of Spies is an old-fashioned, grown-up movie that harkens back to films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, acknowledging how messy the world can be, but giving us faith that it can still be changed for the better with enough backbone. The shots of East Berlin are breathtaking, letting you see the city's dark future being built brick by brick. Mark Rylance gives an excellent supporting performance that helps make the movie. Strongly recommended for history buffs.

Brooklyn


Brooklyn is the beautifully filmed story of a young Irish woman immigrating to the United States. As such, it succeeds brilliantly, showing how it feels to be alone, immersed in a completely different world and trying to build a new life. It's a quiet and lovingly detailed experience that brings the past to life. Saoirse Ronan kills it in the leading role and her shyness and strength help build a portrait of the American experience that is both specific and universal.

Dope


Dope is here because of its rhythm, balance of pessimism and optimism, and the articulate world it creates where the indie film quirks and misadventures might not only ruin your shot at a top college, but could also get you killed. Though the stakes aren't always felt as powerfully as they would be in a more serious movie, Dope paints its central characters clearly and sympathetically. This movie wrestles with some big questions, but it also has a distinct humor and charm.

Inside Out


Inside Out is an amazing gem of a film, dealing with a high-minded, cerebral (ha ha) concept and making it digestible for the tiniest of tots. That doesn't mean it takes the easy way out. This movie maps out the inner workings of the mind, painting it in colorful, imaginative brushstrokes, without trivializing the real pain that comes with growing up. As with the best Pixar films, Inside Out is both fun and silently devastating.

Love & Mercy


I don't like biopics very much. There's such a predictable path to your typical biopic that I tend to get really bored and annoyed. However, I do very much enjoy process-oriented movies. Love & Mercy takes the wise choice of not just following Bryan Wilson around for a while, but instead digging into his struggles and process. It's thrilling to watch familiar musical cues emerge as everyone else scrambles to understand what seems like madness.

Mad Max: Fury Road


Let's all hope that Mad Max: Fury Road revolutionizes the action movie. Let's all hope that action directors are inspirited to let real human bodies fly through the air and be pulled down by real gravity. Let's hope they set aside the same filters, the same music, the same structure that's always kind of worked in the past. Let's hope they start imagining bigger worlds, bolder worlds and weirder worlds. Because now we know what we've been missing.

Shaun the Sheep


Anyone who can watch Shaun the Sheep without smiling is probably a psychopath. I realize that's a bold statement, but I mean it. The care and creativity with which this film was crafted is a real testament to the art of stop animation. There are a million things to look at in any moment and each frame is stuffed with a sense of genuine fun. It's not often we get films that manage to be clever, funny and gentle.

Spotlight


Remember back when I said I love movies about process? Welp, Spotlight manages to tick that box and tick it with vigor. While the topic could be filled with overwrought sentiment and self-righteousness, Spotlight balances the emotional aspects of the sex scandals perfectly, without minimizing the pain of the victims portrayed. It shows the value of challenging the status quo, asking the right questions and amplifying the voices of the powerless.

What We Do in the Shadows


If there's a funny bone anywhere in your body, you need to check out What We Do in the Shadows. There were a few moments when I lost it entirely, which I don't normally do in the theater. But it was okay, because everyone else was losing it, too. Yes, vampires are a little played out, but that just gives more ammunition to What We Do in the Shadows. If I didn't suspect it might result in my untimely death, I'd be so down to hang out with these unconventional flatmates.



Honorable Mentions:


  • Going Clear
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Z for Zachariah


2015 films making a lot of top ten lists that I haven't seen: Room, 45 Years, It Follows, Tangerine, Creed, Son of Saul, Beasts of No Nation

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