Talking movies, music and other close encounters of the social media kind.
Nearing the end of 2015 – I’ve chosen my Top 5 films this year. And one worst. And surprise surprise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not on it. It’s probably number six, but hey let’s stick to the rules eh?
So here they are and in no particular order:
BIRDMAN or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)
This movie is so original. Filmed like it’s done in one-seemingless continuous shot, you get a crazy and desperate performance from Michael Keaton, and an even crazy one from Edward Norton. When they’re on screen together it makes for some hilarious acting.
Alejandro G. Inarittu is an amazing director and I cannot wait to see his new film ‘The Revenant’ starring Leonardo DeCaprio & Tom Hardy. Birdman won best film and best director at this years’ Oscars, and while it’s not everyones’ cup of tea – to me it’s an amazing and creative film with bold camera work and brilliant acting – and it dares itself to be different than the others. And it flies.
After the disappointing run of ‘Prometheus’, ‘The Counselor’, ‘and ‘Exodus: Gods & Kings’ – my favorite director Ridley Scott finally gets his mojo back on planet Mars with this space film. Matt Damon has never been better. Or funnier. (Lets forget that cameo he did on ‘Interstellar’ just for a second). I enjoyed the scenes where the NASA engineers jump over a number of difficult hurdles to try and bring Damon safely back home – who’s busy trying to figure out how to grow potatoes to last three years on a desolate planet with the crews’ excrement – in his words; ‘Science the shit out of it’. A great ensemble cast (Jeff Daniels, Chiwtel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Sean Bean and Jessica Chastain) support Damon with great wit and humor. And conducted by Ridley Scott – It’s all done with good heart. How refreshing. And it even has a disco soundtrack that makes even listening to ABBAs song ‘Waterloo’ bearable.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
I listened to a lot of NWA and Public Enemy while studying at University, so it was great to see this depiction of the iconic rap group on the big screen. Like rap itself – the movie is loaded with street cred and attitude – brought on by their upbringing and the continuous police oppression they received. So by the time you get to the scene where they decide to play “Fuck the Police” at a concert, knowing they would be arrested if they did so – you also want to jump in and join their battle-cry. The relentless drive of the film stops somewhat in the last half-hour, but despite that it’s one of the better music biopics I’ve seen since the Jamie Foxx movie ‘Ray’.
It’s a drama. But for musicians, and especially drummers, it’s a full-scale horror film. And it makes for compelling viewing. JK Simmons channels the Military Sergeant character from ‘Full Metal Jacket’, and his portrayal of a brutal music teacher is just plain-out scary and at the same time, oddly exhilirating. My old drum teacher is Mother Theresa compared to this guy. Simmons totally deserved the Oscar this year for best supporting actor. It’s also a chilling portrayal of the price of trying to attain perfection. The price? Your soul. You don’t have to be a fan of Jazz music, this movie rocks with a swing and swagger under the heavy-weighted hand (that closes to a fist) of Simmons. Grab the drum sticks. Start drum roll and hit the crash cymbal. But expect your hands to get bloody. Because it’s a bloody good film.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Big Truck goes down the dusty road. Turns around. Goes back the same way.
That’s the whole plot of this action movie.
But man, it’s one hell of an action movie.
Charlize Theron as Furiosa is the real Mad Max here – with not more as a grunt coming out from Max himself (played by Tom Hardy). But really, nothing needs to be said. Because it’s your eyes that get the full heavy metal treatment. It’s a visual masterpiece of motorised mayhem by George Miller, who also directed the previous Mad Max films with Mel Gibson.
The fact that the stunts were done for real, and no CGI was used makes watching this movie even that more extraordinary and for me, the best action movie of the year.
So there’s my top 5. Other close considerations were:
Love & Mercy, Creed, American Sniper, The Walk and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
And now the worst. And I have only picked one.
I can see those air-head studio and marketing executives talking at the meeting when they thought about making this film:
“Ok, let’s rehash the original 1984 version and add the cop villain of the second film. And instead of one timeline – let’s have six, hey – better yet lets have the old Arnie fight the new Arnie. Oh, and while we’re at it let’s make John Connor a terminator as well! And Kyle Reese is now some muscle-bound thug who can’t act! And let’s get that girl who from Game Of Thrones and make her Sarah Connor! And then she can call the old Arnie his “Paps”! Wow! that’s a brilliant idea!”
Let me throw up now.
This film was horrible. In all seriousness, they should’ve stopped after the second film. When the film ended, the people in the theatre, me included, had the facial look that we’d all been slapped in the face, twice, because we had just been suckered into wasting two hours watching a polished turd.
They’re now releasing ‘Terminator 2 Judgement Day’ as a 3D release – most probably to get rid of the feeling of ill-will this current film has caused.
And on that note, it’s farewell to 2015.
Hasta La Vista…baby.