The Oscar nominations are out. I am pretty passionate about films. After all, I did choose to study film at college. For some reason I feel like this wasn’t a very good year for films though, nor for actors in general.
There were many movies that should’ve been good considering the cast but were really not. Not sure what happened. Nonetheless, I did see some amazing films, which apart from a handful, most didn’t get nominated. Here is my list:
1. The Revenant (2015)
It is intense and you might have to look away a few times (I did). If you watch at a full theater you will often hear collective gasps from the audience. But this film was in-cre-di-ble. Iñárritu (director) and Lubezki (cinematographer) as a pair are a league of their own when it comes to filmmaking. (Did you see “Birdman”?) The effort and technicality and realness that went into making this film cannot go unnoticed.
Sure the story itself may have not been great, but the rest of it outbalanced it for me.
Iñárritu refused to use a green screen or any post-production special effects. The film was shot chronologically and entirely with natural lighting which allowed them only a few hours a day of filming. The whole crew and cast had to live through freezing temperatures for months and get out the best of their effort without lots of time to get the right shot. That’s just a few of the incredible facts that went on.
DiCaprio is a vegetarian and had to bite a piece of raw meat in a scene. He was given a fake piece of meat by the prop department and after trying it, he asked for a real piece of meat. He didn’t think the prop looked real enough. The director left DiCaprio’s real reaction in the shot when he takes a bite. You will see in the film. It was little things like these that made this an out of this world film, and which HAS to win not only the Oscar for best movie but for many other things too.
2. The Martian (2015)
Although I gave The Revenant top film of the year, The Martian is the one I enjoyed the most. I just loved everything about this film. I got so immersed in it, believed it and loved the writing and humour of it. The author of the book really did a good job at that, as well as getting the facts pretty close to plausibility; extra points for that.
3. Brooklyn (2015)
Many who have moved to a different country may identify with this movie but it hit home for me pretty hard in so many ways! I felt like it was a parallel universe of my life. When you can identify with a movie in such a big way, it stays with you for a while. Plus, the movie itself is really good!
4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
Touching, sweet, and funny! I would also describe this film as quirky, which like mentioned, usually goes well with me. There are obvious lessons to be learned and so thoughtful.
5. McFarland, USA (2015)
I’m not that into sports, but I do love a good sports movie. I especially enjoy movies when they are based on true stories, like this one is, about a cross-country team in a Latino community in California. I enjoyed the cross-cultural and compassionate notes of it.
6. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)
I’m a sucker for Mission: Impossible films, and this one did not disappoint. Did you know that the first scene where Tom Cruise is hanging on to the side of an airplane taking-off is real? He did the stunt himself.
7. While We’re Young (2015)
Noah Baumbach (director) is known for its quirky and unique movie writing. And I usually dig that. This movie is about a middle-aged married couple who’s stuck in a rut and befriend a younger spirited couple. It didn’t get the best reviews but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the writing, and the funny witty lines.
8. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Honestly, this movie wasn’t that great, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The first one was way better but I just love movies like this one where they are so colorful and immersed in cultures, especially the bright, unique, and joyful culture of India.
9. Minions (2015)
I also watched some films this year that weren’t released this year but I have to include them because they were amazing.
1. Zero Motivation (2014)
A foreign film about female Israeli soldiers. I enjoyed this movie a lot. It felt so real that at times you might even think it’s a documentary but the artistry is still in a narrative film style. It was Talva Lavie’s (director) first feature film and she did one hell of a job. This film has a lot of funny notes to it, it’s not about the war side but the drama and desires of these women soldiers.
2. Phoenix (2014)
This film is unlike any film I’ve seen. It’s genius it’s what it is. Not for those who just enjoy superficial films or summer blockbusters. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a while, it produced all kinds of emotions in me. A critic says: “Never less than intriguing, coolly intelligent and flawlessly paced, “Phoenix” often feels trapped in the logic of its conceit.”
The Hitchcock influence is obvious in a masterful way. And the ending was just plain perfect.
This is what it is about in a few words: “After undergoing reconstructive surgery, a concentration camp survivor tries to find out if her husband betrayed her to the Nazis.”
3. What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
I am not into vampires nor zombies, but this movie sure was a delight! It’s a comedy about vampire housemates who try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being undead. Hilarious. Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Concords (director and actor) is a comedy genius in my mind.
4. Bride & Prejudice (2004)
I watched a lot of Bollywood on Netflix this year. This 2004 film is a Bollywood-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen where you can find all the Bollywood magic: comedy, drama and lots of singing. Very enjoyable if you’re into this stuff. Chick-flicky.
5. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)
This Swedish film is another genius film I saw this year. Quirky (once again), and hilarious, and even thought provoking; this movie could be named: “Old People Behaving Hilariously and Innocently”, but the original title is way better. It’s about an old man, an explosives expert, who escapes from a retirement home. Loved it.
It actually got an Oscar nomination this year and I’m confused about it because it’s a 2013 film. Whatever, it’s awesome.
6. How to Die in Oregon (2011)
On a more dramatic note, this documentary is about real life responses to Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act,” the first law in the U.S. to allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to the terminally ill. Kind of obscure but fascinating.
What do you think of my list? Do you agree? Would you include or exclude some films?