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My Top 10 Films of 2015

Howdy people of the internet, the year is pretty much over and I think it’s about time that I give you my top 10 list of my favourite films of 2015. Before I get into this list I have to explain a few things:

  1. As per-usual I DO NOT include 2015 films that got released in 2015 here in the UK, so films like Big Hero 6 and some others that were originally released in 2014 for me they don’t count. I only list films that are new and were released between the start and end of this year.
  2. The following films aren’t the best critically received films, the reason I’ve listed them is because of my personal enjoyment, the quality and the re-watch value.
  3. This list was constantly shifting over the last month and in the end at least the first four films are solid, but other than that everything is sort of up in the air.
  4. Oh and there were some great films that didn’t make the list like the lovely Cinderella, the thrilling Sicario and the fun and imaginative Inside Out.

With all that in mind let’s begin shall we?

10. Ant-Man

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This was the Marvel film of 2015 that I thought I’d end up just liking, however in the end I liked it way more than Avengers: Age of Ultron and I never thought I’d feel that way earlier in the year. But this Peyton Reed-lead film was incredibly funny, action-packed, refreshing and reminded me of why I appreciate the solo adventures in the MCU over the connected stories. Paul Rudd owned in the lead role, and Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Pena were some of the other highlights in the cast. And while the MCU villain issue reminds and the way Hope was handled could have been better, in the end this was another solid entry in this film universe and I can’t wait to see the sequel in a few years time.

9. The Martian

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I thought The Martian would be good, and I hoped it would be good, but damn it was a lot better than I expected it to be. Thankfully Ridley Scott found his way back to greatness with this sci-fi adventure very much focused on this one man’s survival on the planet Mars after being left by his team. This film could have easily been very boring and conventional, but luckily it was very engaging, dramatic and surprisingly funny. The central performance from Matt Damon was awesome and I also appreciated the focus on the characters on Earth as well too.

8. Black Mass

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Black Mass was an intense, dramatic and engaging film about power and how its use had major ramifications for everyone involved. The film dealt with manipulation, influence, corruption, and the moral and ethical issues that could be used for good or bad when it came to law enforcers and the criminals. I liked the non-linear style applied to the story and seeing certain characters recall their interactions with Jimmy and the use of different time periods detailing the rise and fall of Jimmy’s power. This was return to form that I’ve always wanted from Johnny Depp as he was incredible, but on top of that Joel Edgerton was brilliant and I also really liked appearances from Jesse Plemons, Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Scott too.

7. Mad Max Fury Road

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Now this is where the controversy will probably kick in. For a lot of people, this was one of their favourite film of the year because of its unique style, insanity and use of practical effects. For me the fourth entry in this franchise was really impressive and had so many characters and moments of badassery, and some of those action sequences were just amazing. That being said, the film was overhyped before I saw it and I don’t believe it met the high expectations that many people had thrown out online, plus there were elements from Road Warrior that missed too. But make no mistake I still enjoyed this film a great deal and I thank George Miller for coming back to this series after so long.

6. Amy

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I only saw this film a little while ago, however, it was certainly one of 2015’s most impactful films in my opinion. Just like Senna, director Asif Kapadia crafted a documentary that was incredibly insightful, dramatic, in-depth and heartbreaking. While I’m not the biggest fan of Amy Winehouse or her music, but I did like some of her material and because I was so familiar with her success and talent as a musician it made the rise and fall all the more tragic and painful especially when I saw her creative process and the way she was treated by certain individuals close to her.

5. Straight Outta Compton

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This was not a film I was expecting to like as much as I did, I’ve seen a few music biographies in the past, but only a few of them capture the spirit and drama of the real events, but luckily everyone was on-point and crafted a really compelling and fun film. Now obviously certain elements were left out or dramatised for the film, but at the end of the day the film was effect in display the highs and lows of NWA during the formation, success and disbandment with awesome performances from O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell.

4. Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

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This is the fifth entry in Mission Impossible franchise and most films by this point would have sucked terribly, however Rogue Nation is to some the best entry in the series and for good reason. The stunts and action sequences were of the highest quality and were shot really well, we got to see Ethan Hunt in his most difficult position yet physically and mentally, but we also got more from the returning characters Benji and Brandt, but also got some interesting new characters in the form of the sexy/badass Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). This new entry definitely improved on a few of the elements from the last entry, but I feel like there’s a sense of fun and style missing from Ghost Protocol, but besides that I really enjoyed this film.

3. Ex Machina

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In a way this may still be my favourite film of the year. Back in January I expected this film to be a good watch, but I had no idea that I’d enjoy Ex Machina as much as I did. I love a good thriller and with the sci-fi elements incorporated it was just so compelling to watch. The themes, tone and style of this film made every scene feel relevant, interesting, tense and not boring at all. I adore the main performances Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac as each of their characters were engaging and different.

2. Kingsman the Secret Service

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I had a lot of hope for this film considering that it was another comic book adapted film from Matthew Vaughn, but it ended up being far better than I had hoped. Kingsman was the most exciting, humourous and violent material I’ve seen in the spy genre for a while. This film felt classically infused with the best codes and conventions of the spy/action genre paying homage and referencing films that have come before. From the snappy dialogue to the crazy violent action sequences, this film has everything, and I loved the performances from Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong and Sofia Boutella.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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It feels like a cheat to have The Force Awakens as my number one considering it’s issues and similarities to A New Hope, but fuck it, no other film has made me feel a sense of delight quite like this new Star Wars film. Of all the films year, none have given me that feeling of joy and magic that this one had. Part of that was the nostalgia factor that this film provides so well with the return of classic characters, music and use of practical effects, but in addition to that J.J. Abrams has brought a new sense energy with the pacing, humour, visual style and cinematography. All of the new characters, Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8 and Kylo Ren had interesting new personalities, motivations and chemistry, and there were also great returns for Han Solo, Leia and few others. The best aspects of the film for me was the new lightsaber duels, the drama between certain characters and the sense of magic and connections to the Original Trilogy.

Conclusion

In the end 2015 was a pretty good year for films, sure there was plenty of disappoints films, but there was also a great deal of surprises and certain films that delivered their promise of awesomeness. With 2016 around the corner we’ve got the likes of Batman V Superman, Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Jungle Book and Suicide Squad being some of the heavy hitters, it’ll be fun to see how next year pans out.

So how do you feel about my list and are any of your favourites on here? Also do you feel like some of these entries are wrong? And in general what were you favourite films of 2015? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see yaΒ on the next blog post, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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I got emotional in this Amy review

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a film review and today I’m catching up on one of the many films I missed in the cinema this year starting with Amy. I missed this in the cinema because of a lack of time while working and its limited release around my area, and I had heard so many great and emotional reviews from critics and people I knew who saw this documentary, but I wasn’t sure if it would evoke the same emotional response with myself, but I watched it yesterday before I went to work and it was definitely something worth watching and I’ll explain why in this review.

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The premise is described as the following:

“The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.”

There is so much I could say about this film, but I shall try to condense my thoughts as much as possible. In short, this documentary is awesome. And that should come as no surprise considering the director is Asif Kapadia, the man who crafted the brilliant Senna back in 2010 (2011 for its UK release). There are many comparisons that I found to Senna in terms of:

  1. It was very informative and gave a more detailed and personal account of the subject matter than anything documented before.
  2. The film had no standard face-to-camera interviews and instead were verbal only over the footage on-screen.
  3. Most of the visual footage was archive-based with certain shots of modern-day locations mixed in.
  4. There was an emotional resonance that could not be ignored.

Kapadia just knew how to craft a story, using the right video clips intercut with certain interviews or sound effects or photos with dramatic playing with it, the man knew exactly the kind of response he wanted to get out of the audience. He wanted you to feel, not only that but to understand that the events in Amy Wineshouse’s life were not doom and gloom, but also beautiful and yet tragic.

This film shows Amy’s life from beginning to end and while there were certain details that were touched on but never fully detailed (like the involvement of people like Russell Brand and Pete Doherty), there were plenty of people in Amy’s life to provide certain facts and tidbits from whether it be producers like Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, Mos Def, her parents Mitchell and Janis, her bodyguard Andrew Morris, or friends Juliette Ashby, Lauren Gilbert and Nick Shymanksy, along with a list of many other famous and close associates. I never knew her connections were so wide and that she had the love and respect of so many people. Amy really was such a great talent, she was beautiful, quite funny, and behind all the music, fame and media she was just a regular, down-to-earth kind of girl and it truly broke my heart to see such an amazing person get mixed up with the wrong kind of people, lose herself in the world of alcohol and drugs, and get swallowed by the media. I never knew so many of the key events in life, good or bad, took place over such a short space of time, that specific period between 2004 and 2007 was such a successful, turbulent and dangerous point in time period. It was interesting to hear her say in an interview that she didn’t think she’d be famous and that she’d go mad from fame, it unfortunately sounded like foreshadowing her future. I remember hearing about her in the news every so often once when the drugs and alcohol kicked in, but I never knew how much of a media frenzy she was stuck in with constant swarms of paparazzi, verbal jams from famous figures in the media and never having the opportunity to give her side of events because of her father and constant state of struggle with substance abuse. While not on the same scale or circumstances, Amy’s troubled life reminded me of the chaotic times of Michael Jackson during his difficult time with media attacks.

Now Amy’s life was anything but pretty, but once she became famous things got ugly and to see/hear about her getting so skinny and frail, not being to perform to the best of her abilities, going in and out of rehab, having interventions from her friends, getting into drugs and stuff because of her husband Blake, and the fact that her parents, especially father Mitchell did nothing and practically forced her to continue her music-based commitments was ridiculous and hard to watch. Now not all blame was on her friends and family, she needed to help herself frist and foremost, though, you could see at least two or three points when someone could have intervened and things could have turned out differently for sure. I mainly couldn’t stand her then-husband Blake, he was dodgy from the beginning and his world of drinking and drugs was the start of the dark days, also blinded by love those two ended up messing each other up. But Mitchell also bugged me too. From the he was introduced he sounded like an asshole, and the information that followed about him having an affair, not being around for his family and eventually leaving Amy’s life, he felt like the catalyst for both Amy’s positive and negative attributes and it continued into her music career as well. And the fact that he only came back into her life while she was famous, did nothing to help his daughter in relation to the over abundance of live shows and drug use is nothing short of disgusting.

Beyond that I loved seeing Amy’s early years, writing music, doing her smaller live shows and just showing off her gorgeous vocals. This woman was a great lyricist and learning about how dedicated she was to music, whether it was admiring people who came before her or making sure she was creating music that she was satisfied with made me love her. I’ve never been her biggest fan, but I would never deny her talent and hearing “In My Bed” was awesome because it’s one of my favourite songs. And hearing some of her other famous songs with the significance behind them being revealed during the film, I had a greater understanding and respect for them.

In the end Amy was a beautiful and heartbreaking look at such an amazing woman who was corrupted and consumed by those around her and couldn’t be saved. While some may not change their minds about the former singer, I have such a newfound level of respect for her when it comes to her music, creativity and normal/humourous persona when the media weren’t involved. This film was well-directed, very informative and hit all the right emotional notes and I couldn’t recommend it more.

Rating: 8.5/10

So did you see Amy and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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