2015: The Top Ten

8 months of the year in review

Seeing as everyone is doing this kind of list I thought I should do my own. However as I only started this blog in April my top ten will be from April – December 2015. For each choice I will give one reason for my decision and a link to my original review.  Hopefully happy reading and happy new year! – Charlotte Sometimes

10) Ant-Man 

After the relative disappointment of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ this film was a surprise and joy to watch. Paul Rudd is hilarious in the title role as are the majority of the supporting cast, with Michael Pena often stealing the show.

9) Phoenix

 This film is undeservedly little-known. It’s tensw,  complex, atmospheric and utterly heartbreaking – a character study which shows that much of the devastation of war occurs during the aftermath.

8) Mad Max: Fury Road

Little needs to be said about why this film is so good. My two main reasons are Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furosa and the flamethrower guitarist (which is a must in a post-apocalyptic society). My main reluctance for not placing it higher is that I have only seen it once at the cinema, I fear that a rewatch on a smaller screen would provide less spectacle and resulting glee that the initial viewing provided.

7) The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Based on a graphic novel this film offers something very few films that feature teenage girls actually provides – a real insight into the turmoil that one endures

when not a girl but not yet a woman. Bel Powley is so emphatic in the lead role that she marks herself out as one to watch in the future.

6)  The Gift

If an award was given to unsung contribution to cinema of 2015 it would have to go to Joel Egerton. This film, which he directed, starred in and wrote, is both tense and engaging . It is also sharp and full of twists and turns implying that the much-maligned Thriller genre has more bite in it yet.

5) Man Up

Few genres offer as much loathing and love in equal measure as the Romanic Comedy. Tess Morris’ screenwriting debut is wicked smart and laden with multiple layers of emotion. Simon Pegg and Lake Bell are wonderful leads who are fantastically supported with a brilliant supporting cast. London rarely looks this good!

4) Star Wars 

The Force Awakens, as does my fandom…

3) Grandma

Lily Tomlin is extraordinary in this small yet superb movie. A road movie about getting an abortion may not sound that interesting or even appealing, yet this film is unexpectedly gripping and hilarious.

2) Inside Out

In a world in which awards ceremonies were just, and didn’t just go to oscar bait or oscar baiting performances, this film would sweep the awards. It truly deserves to. It manages to portray such an emotive and important issue as mental health with humour and love.

1) Brooklyn 

Of all the above ranking, this was the easiest to choose. Brooklyn is a timeless romantic epic. Saoirse Ronan is wonderfully endearing, giving a subtle performance (again something which rarely receives the awards it deserves) which deftly tugs at the heartstrings. With so many extraordinary character performances she manages to retain our focus. Few, if any other actresses of her age, have the ability to reveal so much with a look.

Ant-Man

An elegANTly told origin story

In 1962 Ant-Man made his comic book introduction – a brilliant scientist who invented a substance which allowed him to shrink size. Specifically to size of Ant (get it?!?) Along with his girlfriend, known as Wasp, they became a crime fighting duo who utilised their ability to shrink to the sizes of insects. In 1963 they were established as founding members of that little known superhero team, the Avengers. The chances are that this is all new information to you, for Ant-Man as a comic book series was not particularly popular. In fact he was not successful enough to even warrant his own series until relatively recently, mainly making appearances in ensembles as opposed to solo adventures.  The first you probably knew of Ant-Man was when the promo campaign started for this movie. You probably snorted, scoffed on your popcorn and sniggered at the ridiculousness thinking, ‘First Ironman, then Star-Lord now…Ant-Man!?!’  You may have laughed at one or two of the gags in the trailer and remained uncertain about the film. Don’t be fooled by his name, for in his cinematic debut Ant-Man confounds all expectations and proves that size is not everything. He may be small but this movie is gigantic in scope, laughs and pathos. In what could be viewed as its most outlandish adaptation yet, Marvel studios have created its most human movie yet.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a thief who has just been realised from a three year prison sentence. Struggling to find employment due to his checkered past and consequently unable to pay child support for his daughter he is a man desperate for a second chance at life. This is when Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) enters his life, a biophysicist who left the laboratory he founded under less than friendly-circumstances. Hank discovered a set of subatomic particles that made it possible to transform to the size of an ant, which his board members wanted to use for less than altruistic purposes. This, along with the mysterious disappearance of his wife, led to his estrangement from his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) Years after his quitting Pym technologies Hank needs Scott’s ‘unique set of skills’ to prevent his former-protégée turned possible evil genius Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from using Hank’s research to create America’s next military weapon.  Scott must learn to use the ants, his own inner strength and skill-set, to plot the ultimate heist to save the earth.

This narrative is typical origin-movie stuff – a hero is given a call to arms, has an assistant who provides him with the help he needs and must defeat a villain who poses a mass threat – and in this manner may be Marvel’s most conventional narrative yet but it is also its most sublime. The sequences where Scott is ant-sized are superb, harking back to 50s sci-fi b-movies but with far better SFX. This is one of the few films that is released in 3d and is really worth watching in 3d. The humour along the journey is well-pitched and at times provides proper belly-laughs. If you found Avengers: Age of Ultron to be too dour then Ant-Man is your antidote. Paul Rudd’s Scott is pitched in the same manner as Chris Pratt’s Star Lord in Guardians of The Galaxy – the most unlikely of heroes can still be noble of heart and funny of tongue. A few of the quips made get lost in the action, but this is just a reason to re-watch the film. Although Edgar Wright left the film prior to filming, there are a few Wright touches here. Scott’s best friend Luis (Micheal Pena) is a scene-stealer and his flash-back narratives are told in Hot Fuzz stylee-editing to great effect.

Whilst the film is not perfect, with slightly too much of its running time spent on exposition and a few obvious twists, it is still an entertaining thrill-ride which suggests fantastic things to come. It’s an immensely likeable film with an equally likeable hero, proving that good things can come in small packages.