1- MAD MAX FURY ROAD
After a 30 years break from the latest episode of his famous Mad Max Franchise (Thunderdome was released in 1985), George Miller comes back, at 70, and he has something to offer : the most visually impressive and blow-minding movie of the year ! A 2-hours incredible car chase, Mad Max : Fury Road doesn’t bother with boring dialogues (Max is almost mute in the movie) or long exposition. Everything, from the back story to the character’s evolution, is part of the action. And with 80% of real & amazing practical effects, this Fury Road is a huge slap in the face of the 250 million CGI blockbusters mass-produced in Hollywood each year. Hail to Miller !
Our Number 2 in this top 2015 movies is a first movie. And what a piece of work ! Alex Garland is not a newbie in cinema : he wrote the novel « The Beach », adapted by Danny Boyle in 2000 for the screen with Leonardo DiCaprio, and is behind the script of 28 days later, Sunshine (for the same director), Never Let me go and Dredd. With Ex-Machina, Garland introduces us to a genius but bizarre billionaire (Oscar Isaac), who invites to his villa / lab one of his employee (Domhnall Gleeson) in order to administer the Turing Test (ability of a machine to show human-like performances) to the latest version of the company’s android (Alicia Vikander). Not only the actor trio is tremendous, but the atmosphere, combination of a delicate and dark cinematography, of impressive visual effects, and of a stratospheric music, bring the film to an-almost-dreamy level. Real science-fiction movie, deep philosophical story (which reminds us Philip K.Dick’s Blade Runner, or Isaac Asimov’ I,Robot reflections), Ex-Machina is a total success. We are looking forward seeing the next project of Garland, adaptation of the award winning Sci-Fi novel Annihilation.
3- WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
What we do in the shadows is the funniest movie of the year. Nothing to add. Written, directed and played by Jemaine Clement (one half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (who will direct Thor 3 : Ragnarok), this New-Zealander Mockumentary introduces us to the daily life of vampire roomates in the city of Wellington. Screened at the 2014 Sundance festival, What we do in the Shadows is hilarious, from the beginning to the end, with tons of already-cult scenes (the fight with the werewolf being one of the stupidest AND brightest moment of the movie). A must-see.
4- MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Once again, mission accomplished for the immortal Ethan Hunt, who, for his 5th mission, saves (one more time) the world from another evil bad guy. Sounds boring ? Do not mistake, MI5 is visually very impressive and surprisingly fun. Tom Cruise, now 53 and still in a shape anyone would love to be at 35, knows his job by heart, and the audience’s taste in matter of action movies even better. With Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, yet another excellent Tom Cruise movie) behind the camera, the most constant actor and producer of the last 3 decades seems to have found his new partner in crime : together, they are already on the job for the next Mission Impossible. And the incredibly beautiful and until-then unknown Rebecca Ferguson, revelation of this MI5, will be with them !
5 – VICTORIA
Alejandro Innarritu is not the only director capable of making a one-shot movie, like he did with Birdman. Sebastian Shipper, German actor and director, shows his talent, awarded at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival with Victoria. In one two-hours single continuous take, Victoria is not only a technical feat. It also allows the characters (all played by young and very talentuous actors) and the story to slowly but firmly evolve, immersing the viewer in the action so deeply that it seems like we are part of the movie. Very impressive.
6- STAR WARS / EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS
The most anticipated film of the year (The decade ? The century ?) kept all its promises. Director J.J. Abrams, almost officially the guy in charge of adapting famous franchises for the big screen, managed to satisfy the old guard of fans, with just enough references and come backs (hello Han Solo !) needed, without spoiling the necessary introduction of young, credible and fun new characters. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac are just perfect in their (highly risky) roles. Just add the John Williams score, great visual effects and a rhythm without any pause, and you will (almost) forget the few script shortcuts and improbabilities. A must-see too, but who hasn’t ?!
7 – INHERENT VICE
For his 7th movie, Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA for the family) brought together one of the most impressive cast of the year. Joaquin Phoenix leads this « stoner crime comedy-drama », with co-stars Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, the newcomer Katharine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short. Stoner is the movie, but stoner is also the viewer when he sits in front of this movie. Following the always incredible Joaquin Phoenix, who never appears with the same haircut, we are immersed in the cool, smoky and dizzy atmosphere of the early-70’s LA. Light, music, dialogue, everything is there to make everyone relax and realize that, after all, you know, peace man.
8- CRIMSON PEAK
This year, the always too rare Guillermo Del Toro delivered his masterpiece (so far). Visually astonishing, Crimson Peak is more a dark love story than an actual horror movie. Helped by a Mia Wasikowska more beautiful than ever, Del Toro gives us the best of the Victorian costumes and sets seen for long. As for bro’ Hiddleston and sis’ Chastain, they are the perfect choices for the ambiguous and mysterious character of Thomas and Lucille Sharpe. Scary but esthetically perfect, Del Toro’s Crimson Peak leaves us with only one unsolved mystery : why has it been absolutely ignored by the 2016 Academy Awards Members ?
9- BONE TOMAHAWK
Second first movie of this best of the year, Bone Tomahawk, directed by cinematographer – musician – novelist – scriptwriter S. Craig Zahler, is a western like you have never seen before (and like you will probably never see after). With a classical beginning (a group of cow-boy try to find the wife on one of them, kidnapped by mysterious indians), Bone Tomahawk never ceases to surprise. The characters are strongly written, and never as simple as they appear. The rhythm is as slow as the landscapes of the west are wild. The casting, by the way, is great : no doubt you can miss another western with Kurt Russell ! And the story, yet simple, is not afraid to tackle the question of what makes a civilisation : are this pioneers as civilized as they claim to be ? What about the impressive tradition of those strange indians ? Is that worse because we don’t understand it ? No spoilers here about the second half of the movie, but beware, Bone Tomahawk contains some of the most shocking scene recently viewed on a screen. Another reason to add it to your to-watch-list.
10- KINGSMAN : THE SECRET SERVICE
Kingsman : The secret service, directed by Matthew Vaughn is a spy-movie that wants to renew the spy-movie genre, nothing less. And, really, it works ! Adaptation of a famous comic book, Kingsman succeed in both making fun of James Bond, Jason Bourne and other Jack Bauer, while taking all the « cliché » of the genre (the gadget, the training, the bad guy really not nice, etc.) into account to give birth to a brand new kind of movie : the flashy-but-old-fashion spy movie. Add a 4 stars casting (Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, la crème de la crème of what the british have to offer), a Samuel L. Jackson as a memorable bad guy, and a rising star, Taron Egerton, and you will have the recipe of one of the most entertaining movie of the year !
Catégories :Cinemoustache's chronicles