Sunday, January 1, 2017

Best Films of 2015

This post is a year late, but I wanted to put out a quick list before I post my 2016 list. I liked several films from 2015. Here are my top thirteen:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road. The best (by far) of the entire series, an original vision of the apocalypse with a positive feminist message about the importance and power of women.

2. The Assassin. A beautifully shot and meditative martial arts film by the great Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

3. It Follows. One of the best horror movies that I have ever seen. What makes it great is that it is also an allegory about growing up with the monsters representing adulthood, but the director leaves room for interpretation.

4. White God. A Hungarian drama about a 13-year-old girl and her dog.

5. Sicario. A smart and very dark action genre film that is also a savage criticism on the war on drugs and corrupt government institutions.

6. Arabian Nights. A three-volume, six-hour long collection of both realistic and fantasy stories set in Portugal and very loosely inspired by 1001 Nights.

7. Brooklyn. A beautiful period drama set in the 1950s about an young Irish woman who immigrates to America, falls in love and finds herself conflicted about whether she should return home.

8. The End of the Tour. A fictional film about literary genius and sui generis David Foster Wallace, who took his own life in 2008. It's a touching film about life, love, literature, dogs, finding contentment, and Alanis Morissette.

9. Phoenix. A German film about a Holocaust survivor who tries to recreate her life and finds herself in denial about who her husband really was. You have to embrace the absurdity of the story--it has to do with plastic surgery--but if you can look past that, the film becomes a deep meditation on love and recreating the past.

10. Timbuktu. An African film about a village that is taken over by an Islamic terrorist group.

11. Experimenter. An inventive biographical film about the revolutionary work performed by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, most famous for his obedience experiment in which participants were asked to shock other participants when they did not correctly answer questions.

12. What We Do in the Shadows. A seriously funny vampire movie shot as a faux documentary.

13. Ex Machina. A smart precursor to Westworld.

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