Thursday, 31 December 2015

End-Of-Year Favourites (Film) (2015)


2015 has been a mammoth year for cinema, with an overflow of sequels, prequels, revivals and finales, as well as the odd new film attempting to begin a new franchise, or reel in the Oscar voters. However, while breaking the $11 billion intake barrier for the first time in history may seem like a banner for success,  that result may in fact be a little unrepresentative, as it appears that for every major box office success, others 'flopped' and succumbed to changing habits. The year's five biggest releases - three of which appear on my list - account for 62.5% of Hollywood's intake, showing a major disparity in success.

But, let's not get bogged down in the figures. Instead, let's look at how the 31 films I have seen from this year's cinema releases selection box, and how they stack up against each other. Release dates are according to when they were released in UK cinemas. Some titles are hyperlinked so you can visit a review I have previously published. Also, the main factor of this list is the enjoyment I find within a film, opposed to the quality of it. I think that's all. Here we go...



31. Ted 2 sees so little progression from the laughs of its predecessor - and given the three-year gap between the two - that it is no surprise that the charm has worn off, the laughs are few and far between and the audience has moved on.



30. X + Y’s attempt to be emotional, moving and compelling is all in vein due to a predictable, overdrawn and previously-seen storyline that injects little life beyond that given by the cast.



29. The Woman In Black: Angel of Death is wonderfully atmospheric, but is otherwise void of tension and true scare - an deterioration for a horror franchise that started with so much promise.



28. Taken 3 ends on the sagas lowest note yet, with watered-down action and choppy editing abandoning hope of any excitement and action you’d hope would be recaptured from the franchises first, and still strongest.



27. Sinister 2 isn't a complete failure, but the decision to put the villain's background and history front and centre ruined the impact and mystery of the character that allowed for the intensity of the original film. It would be a shame to see this promising horror franchise end on such a limp note.



26. Spooks: The Greater Good is stylish step into cinema for this once-television series - helped by big names and a great London backdrop - but its negligence to narrative and character leave a lot to be desired and sometimes fails to engage.



25. Avengers: Age of Ultron is a visual treat as is now standard with these blockbusters, and benefit from rich performances from a solid cast – but the trouble we run in to is that all is starting to feel a little too familiar and formulaic now. We need something new injected into these releases.



24. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’s eventually emotional climax is undeniably powerful and moving, but is a clear example of too little, too late, as it otherwise feels superficial, self-serving and unoriginal.



23. Jurassic World is successful in revitalising the franchise with this beast of a blockbuster that proves entertaining and fun, even it lacks imagination and plays out in a predictable fashion.



22. Focus is stylish and charming with two delightful leads and a wonderful setting to boost, but feels too scattershot and lacking a clear direction to be enjoyed for the comedy romp it should be.





21. The Divergent Series: Insurgent is unfortunately a deterioration for what promised to be one of the strongest contenders for the YA crown, as even strong cast performances can't save a weak instalment and muddled plot.



20. Run All Night is directorially stylish and provides another opportunity for Liam Neeson to keep up with his younger counterparts, but feels too formulaic to find true enjoyment in, as the overdone revenge-seeking storyline wears thin with little new life.




19. Still Alice's star player is Jullianne Moore, who elevates with a gripping and empowering performance, without ever quite reaching the emotional heights it so desperately wants.




18. The Lady In The Van's not-so-secret weapon is the scintillating performance that Maggie Smith brings - offering a complexity and abundance of emotions - to a film that is otherwise better-suited to a smaller screen.




17.  The Theory Of Everything is an intelligent biopic-come-love story, elevated by two incredible leads under a strong direction, but feels too contained and unimaginative to truly reaches the emotional heights one would hope for, considering its depiction of such an accomplished and astonishing man.



16. Into The Woods is dramatically dark in comparison to previous Disney offers, but magical acting and musical performances from the ensemble cast doesn’t always distract from the uneven pacing, particularly in the final act.



15. Amy is the undeniably insightful, well-made and compelling documentation of Britain’s most intriguing star’s tragic rise and fall. The main problem with it is myself as a viewer, because I stand a little vanilla regarding the woman of the tale.



14. San Andreas has stunning visuals and special effects, with a strong cast to support, but can’t break free of genre clich├ęs and a weak plot beyond that of sense-shattering destruction.



13. Paper Towns is emotionally-driven and enjoyable film, featuring a breakout performance from Cara Delevingne; but remaining truthful to its source material is perhaps the main problem, as it often feels uneven and, well, a little vanilla.




12. The Gift is a thrilling, taut, tense psychological thriller that manages to grip its audience and keep them firmly on the edge of their seat, even if feels a little miscast with an underwhelming conclusion to the promise we had seen before.



11. Spectre is an engaging and thrilling 007 entry, but unfortunately a victim to its own success, daunted by the Skyfall shadow that looms so large and succumbing to the pressure to better itself from the franchise highpoint.






10. Sicario is unflinchingly taut and tense (thanks to outstanding Oscar-worthy performances for its two leads and the Mexican backdrop it lies in) but becomes too clever to a fault, often leaving you with too many questions to be thoroughly enjoyed as the ideal crime thriller it very nearly is.




 9Pitch Perfect 2 can be considered an improvement on the original in multiple ways – with Rebel Wilson continuing to give a hilarious and sharp performance as the beloved Fat Amy – even if it needs fine-tuning in terms of new characters and music selection.




 8John Wick allows Keanu Reeves to step back into the action genre seamlessly with this stylish and sophisticated thriller, offering a gritty take on a narrative that occasionally feels a little similar and slightly predictable.




 7Kingsman: The Secret Service is bonkers, barmy and bordering on unfathomable, but delivers an intriguing, subversive and tongue-in-cheek spin on the spy genre that you can’t help but enjoy, even if it becomes a little tasteless and unnecessary.





6. Sisters tour-de-force is the incredible Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who elevate the entire film with their effervescent and dynamic chemistry, providing laugh after laugh and managing to lead one of the year’s strongest comedies.



5. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials would benefit from utilisng its strong supporting cast further, but is otherwise a step in the right direction for one of the most promising YA franchises, bringing intensity, excitement and really stepping up the game for its second outing.



4. Furious 7 is the most thrilling, exciting and electrifying entry to the Fast and Furious franchise to date, but it’s the emotional weight and heartbreaking goodbye that resonates with real life that makes the seventh installment a true success.




3. Spy is riotously funny and a brilliant showcase for Melissa McCarthy’s comedic talent, cementing itself as the year’s funniest comedy, whilst also uniting two genres that have rarely worked this well before.



2. Inside Out is poignant, heartfelt and sincere, once again showcasing Disney Pixar’s masterful ability in delivering a stunning narrative in a visually delightful way; becoming one of the strongest offerings we have ever seen from a studio renown for its beauty and standards.



1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part II) is a triumphant finale to an almost-faultless series, delving into the darkest and bleakest corners of the narrative for Katniss’ final swansong, performed seamlessly by Jennifer Lawrence, sparking a more than satisfactory ending to the dystopian phenomenon.


Did you really expect anything else to come on top? Katniss and her final arrow comes out on top as my favourite film of 2015; but with nothing left in her quiver (for the time being, anyway), what will be crowned victor next year? Let me know your opinions on this year in film, and your hopes for what Hollywood brings out next.













No comments:

Post a Comment