Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Films, 2015

An international film star looking for inspiration, a young girl whose village is ravaged by AIDS, a 40-year-old ox living out his last days in the Korean countryside--these are just a few of the characters I found memorable in movies I saw this year. I'm happy to share with you my favorite films of the past twelve months. As always, the list can include movies from any year. Although my top ten are mostly non-2015 releases, I did watch many reasonably good movies released this year (Sicario, Mad Max, Room, Brooklyn, The Martian, The Big Short, etc., etc.). All worth a view but missing that special subjective something that would land them on my list. Probably my favorite end-of-year watch was Spotlight, which was entertaining throughout with some great performances. My most-anticipated for December was Youth, and so probably, the most disappointing although it had many good points. And I retain high hopes for 45 Years and Anomalisa, both of which haven't made it down to our neck of the woods yet. But here are the films I did watch, and love, in 2015:

Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

The tragic love story of Elise and Didier, one of the best I've ever seen. Also, great bluegrass music throughout.


A Simple Life (2011)

When a family's faithful servant of sixty years falls ill, a bachelor son decides to take care of her. A poignant drama about relationships and responsibility, and the bonds between all of us.


Amy (2015)

The intriguing and ultimately, tragic story of Amy Winehouse. An intimate, unapologetic look at a remarkable talent.


Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

The mind-twisty story of an aging actress who sees herself in a current role. A clever play on art in life starring Juliette Binoche, whom I could probably watch eat cheese.


Seraphine (2008)

The incredible story of the French painter, Séraphine de Senlis, and a film in one of my favorite genres: tortured, misunderstood artist.


Life, Above All (2010)

12-year-old Chanda fights to keep her family intact after the death of her baby sister. Set in modern South Africa, this film is an intense and unforgettable experience.


About Elly (2009)

An award-winning film from Iran that finally got its US release this year. A thriller about a missing kindergarten teacher that I watched from the edge of my seat. Literally.


Ex Machina (2015)

This provocative drama about man's evolving relationship with technology succeeds in many ways Her didn't. It took a silly turn at the end, but I didn't care.


Old Partner (2008)

A story about an elderly farmer and his wife, and the ox that's been in their family for 40 years. Contemplative and unforgettable.


Spy (2015)

The most I laughed in a theater this year, and that has to count for something. In the right hands, Melissa McCarthy is hysterical; she is here.


As always, I'd love to hear your movie recommendation and comments! What were your favorites?


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka