Best and Worst of 2015
2015 strikes me as a particularly bad year for film. Not necessarily for the entirety of film culture and criticism, but for me personally. First, unlike in 2014, the selection of films screened at Galaxy Cinemas in Peterborough, Ontario, was dreadful. Until December, there really wasn’t anything that got me excited like 2014’s selections. Second, the comparatively limited selection of films I was able to view outside the theatre didn’t deliver much either. Now that critics are releasing their lists of 2015 favorites, I have a lot of catching up to do, in both viewing and writing.
Peterborough simply lacks new quality films, particularly films outside of Canada and the US – from what I saw at ReFrame Film Festival to the modest selection available at the Public Library and everything in between. On the plus side, I’ve included a few more television series than last year in the list (I only had one in 2014). The comic book films disappointed me as usual and the praise for The Martian (Ridley Scott) confounds me.
A few films really did stand out, so I’ll note those here: World of Tomorrow (Don Herzfeld), Unfriended, The Duke of Burgundy, Son of Saul (Laszlo Nemes), White God.
The rest in no particular order:
Cineplex/Large-Format Theatrical Releases
Spectre (Sam Mendes), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams), The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu), Sicario (Denis Villeneuve), Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller), Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson), Diary of a Teenaged Girl (Marielle Heller), Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
Home, TV, and other theatrical viewings
Clouds of Sils Maria, Mistress America (Noah Baumbach), Slow West, Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg), Two Days, One Night (Dardenne Brothers), Stray Dogs & Journey to the West (short) (Tsai Ming-liang), We’ll Find Something (Casey Gooden, short)
The Jinx (Andrew Jarecki), Citizenfour (Laura Poitras), Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Alex Gibney)
A Special Day (Criterion Collection, 1977), Blind Chance (Criterion Collection, 1981/1987), Angst (re-release, 1983)
South Park Season 19 (Matt Stone and Trey Parker), Rick and Morty Seasons 1 and 2, Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 (Sam Raimi et al), The Knick Season 2 (Steven Soderbergh)
The Martian (Scott), Ant-Man, The Avengers Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon), Daredevil Season 1 (Drew Goddard et al), Jurassic World, Kumiko The Treasure Hunter, Hot Girls Wanted