Let’s be honest, for the majority of cinema fans, 2015 was the year of anticipation for Star Wars, although that doesn’t mean that it was without a number of other highlights. From Spielberg reinforcing his superb directing talent with Bridge of Spies to a new benchmark in the action genre being set with Mad Max: Fury Road, and two exciting titles yet to be released in Australia in The Hateful Eight and The Revenant, there are cinematic moments to remember alongside the journey to a galaxy far, far away.
Of course, there were also some lowlights, being more in the form of disappointments from usually reliable sources than total failures, as well as some moments of reflection when the cinema world lost some of it’s greatest servants.
Eddie has already comprehensively covered the best and worst films of the year here, so instead of tackling a list which would be very similar, here is my alternative take on the best and worst moments of 2015.
Best: It Follows
Horror fans were treated to a terrifying instant classic in It Follows. Boasting an oppressive mood and eerie retro environments, the unqualified success of David Robert Mitchell’s contemporary ghost story lays in its simplicity, as well as the authentic performances drawn from a talented cast headed by the catching Maika Monroe.
Worst: The loss of Wes Craven
Without doubt, among the worst moments in the film world for 2015 was the loss of industry icon and influential writer/director Wes Craven, whose legacy is among the more accomplished ever seen. A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream headline a collection of genre defining films that will live forever, and the thought of no longer getting the opportunity to hear the new ideas of Mr Craven through his creative stories is a sad one indeed.
Christopher Lee is another whose roles and performances have endeared him to many, and who sadly passed away this year.
Best: Resident Evil 6 is being made
My 2013 list for the most anticipated films of the following year featured the final chapter in one of the most critically beloved franchises of all time. 2 years later, and the threat of the Umbrella Corporation is still yet to be extinguished, with actors regretfully not signing on and Paul W. S. Anderson being sidetracked by lesser works and more understandably he and Milla’s new child. But, in good news for classic cinema fans the world over and just in time for the 2018 Academy Awards, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (official title coming, hopefully… and hopefully it remains as unrelated to the events as the other ones have been) is finally being made! With filming taking place as we speak! That is of course unless all of Milla Jovovich’s Instagram posts have been pranks, in what would be the definitive letdown for the series so far.
Worst: The world didn’t get an At the Mountains of Madness Movie, and it got Crimson Peak instead
Guillermo del Toro is a fascinating case study as director. He has made some fantastic fantasies (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 2: The Golden army), but his name is becoming less synonymous with what he has made, and more with what he hasn’t. In the case of the misguided Crimson Peak, this is probably a good thing. While we waited in baited breath for the conclusion of what is hopefully a Hellboy trilogy and the realisation of At the Mountains of Madness, we were introduced to a world as uninteresting as it was devoid of any scares or sense of genuine atmosphere, and in arriving shortly after the gross disappointment of the Hobbit finale, del Toro better hope that his next film, whatever it is, is a good one.
Best: Depp and Heard vs. the Australian Govt.
Johnny Depp has sunk into a seemingly inescapable acting hole, the likes of which we have previously not seen, and ever since making a name for herself as a new talent with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Amber Heard has been scurrying to erase memory of her early good work so as not to upstage him (note, this is only a theory). So then, it’s fair to say that that for the majority of people reading the headlines there is great entertainment to be found in the husband and wife being charged with breaking quarantine laws in May by bringing their pet dogs into the country on a private jet. Heard has now skipped 2 court appearances, but I don’t see this offence disappearing as seamlessly as Depp’s credibility.
Worst: Violence = unbridled entertainment, courtesy of Matthew Vaughn
Violence in movies doesn’t bother me, but squandering a promising premise and relying solely on it, as well as other low denominators, does. Kingman: The Secret Service disappointed me like no other movie this year, as the pieces were all there for a fun spy flick that revelled in a combination of Bourne and Bond with the addition of welcome comedy, but it then abandoned it’s structure entirely to instead decapitate as many characters as possible, as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, and focus of juvenility and shallowness over quality.
Best: Chris Pratt
Jurassic World may have had its issues with linearity and lack of payoff, but one good thing to come from it was the solidification of Chris Pratt as a name to headline a blockbuster. A favourite for years in the brilliant Parks and Recreation, he has a personality all to himself and hopefully he continues in his winning ways.
Worst: People walking out of Knight of Cups
I liked Knight of Cups. I rate is highly as a standalone project that nails its intentions, but not against Malick’s other works, and due to it’s single statement I wouldn’t rush to watch it again. What bothered me most about the screening I attended though was the grand total of 6 patrons, which dwindled to 5 when a lady near the front rushed for the exit with 30 minutes to go. Clearly she was expecting something different. Granted this was only a limited release, but given it’s not expected to be shown in America until March next year, and that it’s the latest film by a visionary director, it was a poor sight to behold.
Agree or disagree with the points listed here? Let us know your thoughts below on the year just gone!
Speaking of the end of the year, Jordan and Eddie is taking a break for the holidays! We’ll start posting again mid January, so until then, and as always, happy watching and a happy new year from The Movie Guys!