Top 10 of 2015 – Craig Huntley
My 2015 was all about one film. Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Anything else was extra. I was pleasantly surprised though that some films that I had no expectation of, made my Top 10. A large proportion of well known reviews/podcasters always downplay how much of a bad year each and every year is, I like to stay positive and look at the good and great rather than the bad. Every film in my eyes has a positive, here are my Top 10 of 2015. Its in no way a definitive list, this is my list, film is subjective, there are no wrong answers. Enjoy.
I didn’t know much going into this apart from it starring Arnie and Abigail Breslin and it involved zombies. We all know that Arnie although highly charismatic cant act his way out of a paper bag. It doesn’t matter what character he plays, he is essentially playing himself to a certain degree. For the first time that I can remember Arnie strips all artifice and ego aside and shows his emotional side. He plays Wade Vogel, father to daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) who has slowly started to succumb to a viral outbreak that has decimated the world. Most Arnie films you expect to go in knowing there are going to be one liners galore and lots of comedy. This is the polar opposite of that, Maggie is slow, character based, scrip heavy and is all the better for it. A big big surprise for me and one in which I hope Arnie does more of in the twilight of his career.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Apart from the abysmal M:I 2, the Mission: Impossible series has always entertained me. From De Palma’s initial offering to JJ Abrams third instalment to the previous instalment Ghost Protocol, they have all had me itching to see when the release date rolls around. Crusie is still at the top of his game even at 50 something. What mad stunt he decides to pull off next is anyone’s guess. Rogue Nation is again, on point, Its an entertaining romp through various set pieces with nothing feeling tired or rehashed. I’ve heard it from other reviews and fully agree, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is the best Bond film of 2016.
FAST AND FURIOUS 7
A little back story if you will. The first F+F film came out way back in 2001 when this reviewer was a fledgling usher at my local multiplex. Nobody and I mean NOBODY saw this film coming. Everybody was talking about it in the weeks after, and although far from the roots of the 1st film F+F 7 is a fantastic action film tinged with sadness. Vin Diesel in his press interviews goes on about the cast and fans being ‘family’, now I’m not saying in anyway that I feel that more than anyone but it feels good to know that I have followed this series from the 1st instalment up till this 7th outing and have seen the characters grow and develop together. With the death of Paul Walker in 2013 the series looked to be coming to an stop, but this films moves forward, honouring Paul Walker and his character and moving to the future. I am cautious about an eighth instalment but will still be there on day one.
Nowadays in horror most plots or stories have been done to death, literally. It Follows feels like a breath of fresh air. A cast of unknowns and a little known director this film came out of nowhere to scare the viewer to once again hide behind the sofa or look through the fingers on your hand. I didn’t watch this film until long after it had come out so I went into it knowing a lot about how people had perceived it. I loved this film and the way it was filmed on a minimal budget using the viewers own perceived nightmares to heighten the mood. Highly recommended.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
I know little to nothing in terms of hip hop/rap and the 80’s/90’s scene. I’m more of a metal head through and through. Give me Metallica over N.W.A any day. BUT what I would say is I LOVE music history. Elvis, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan music bores me to tears, but if I read a book or see a documentary about why they wrote a song or when they wrote a song and the story behind it and I am hooked. Same goes for NWA and the 80s hip hop explosion. I loved diving into a world of gang culture, drugs and black expression. A film like this can live or die n the performances. Each and everyone of the cast excels and I was engaged with the film for the lengthy 2 ½ hours runtime.
Ridley Scott is easily in the top 5 of my directors, the guy is in his mid 70’s and is a machine. Churning out big films ever couple of years, each and every one I am excited for. The Martian was no exception. It truly was an engaging and captivating experience. Matt Damon holds the screen well, making you interested in his plight and caring for him as he tries to get rescued. This film is the only film where I have watched it in 2D and at the end thought “I should have watched this in 3D”. There is a scene towards the end which must have looked amazing in the cinema.
ANT – MAN
I love the ever widening Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU. The characters are always interesting and though the naysayers are correct in saying they follow a formula, what a formula it is. With Ant – Man I knew little to nothing of the character but loved the creative team around it, especially Edgar Wright and Paul Rudd. When Edgar Wright left at short notice I thought to myself that this might be the start of the end for the MCU. Clearly it wasn’t, Ant – Man is a breath of fresh air in the MCU. Using state of the art effects, Paul Rudds propensity for comedy and Michael Douglas back to his best, Ant – Man is a fantastic summer movie blockbuster.
STAR WARS – THE FORCE AWAKENS
I am a massive Star Wars fan. Have been since I can remember. When it was announced that the Star Wars universe was coming back, I could have cried. With JJ Abrams at the helm and the original trio back, I was so excited to get back into the story of these characters. The film di 4dnot disappoint. It has high highs and low lows, for fear of spoiling anything, just go and see it. Why is isn’t it no.1 for me in 2015? Because it wasn’t my favourite film of the year which I was surprised at, but also OK with. Take the time out to watch this and then watch it again and again….
Who would have thought that Jurassic Park 4 would make over (at least at this articles writing date) $650 million worldwide. Audiences hadn’t been in this universe for over 14 years at the time of Jurassic Worlds release. With the ‘hot right now’ casting of Chris Pratt and an up and coming director in Colin Treverrow, anticipations where high. The film pulls out all of the stops and gives you things you never knew you wanted. Its a film I have watched multiple times since its HD release and one I will be coming back to time and time again.
MAD MAX – FURY ROAD
The Mad Max Trilogy. A staple diet of my teenager years. I was first introduced to Mad Max by my dad who had the trilogy on VHS. Ever since I got the film watching bug, every year that I could remember, I would hear rumours about a new Mad Max film. Then set pictures were released in 2012 showing it being filmed, then the film was completed and everything went quiet. The film became an urban myth, was it going to be released at all? Was it any good? I can say that it is and it delivers action in spades. This film is the epitome of the London Calling album by The Clash. By that I mean that this is an album infused with a punk attitude. A devil may care attitude to storyline, to script, to anything genre, and all being filmed by George Miller who is 71 in 2016. Most 71 year old’s I know have long lost their fire and anger, George Miller delivers this through this film and that’s why I name this film my number 1 of 2015.
PS… I may have already seen my no.1 of 2016….watch this space.