The Fifties for 2015
I'm back with one of my most popular features: The Fifties, honoring the year's best filmmaking achievements among the first 50 U.S. releases I saw in 2015. I think this is the earliest I've ever hit this numerical milestone; it's nice to be drafting this post on July 2, at the exact midpoint of the year. Many of the films I'm honoring are either still in theaters or newly available on DVD and streaming services, so I hope you'll investigate any titles you've missed. And, as ever, please suggest your own favorites in the comments, especially if you suspect I've missed the film.
I've gobbled up so many movies post-graduation—ten features in five days, after seeing only three in theaters during the previous two months—that I hustled all the way to a tally of 56 before I could catch my breath. Amy, The Look of Silence, Phoenix, and Tom at the Farm have not technically opened yet, and I'll only believe the last one's planned release when I see it. I'll sideline these for now, which means Tom's Lise Roy, Amy's impressive sound mix, Phoenix's mishandled but interesting script, and just about every stunning aspect of The Look of Silence (easily one of the year's best films, towering over all of the other documentaries I've seen) won't get recognized below.
Otherwise, the eligible movies were '71, About Elly, Amour fou, Blackbird, Blackhat, Boy Meets Girl, Clouds of Sils Maria, Dope, The Duke of Burgundy, Eastern Boys, Eden, Ex Machina, Far from Men, Far from the Madding Crowd, Fifty Shades of Grey, Futuro Beach, Gerontophilia, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Girlhood, Heaven Knows What, The Hunting Ground, Inside Out, Insidious: Chapter 3, It Follows, It's All So Quiet, Jauja, Joy of Man's Desiring, Jurassic World, The Last Five Years, Li'l Quinquin, Love & Mercy, Mad Max: Fury Road, Madame Bovary, Magic Mike XXL, Maps to the Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Of Horses and Men, The Overnight, Paddington, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Play, The Princess of France, Serena, Spy, Testament of Youth, Timbuktu, The Tribe, When Evening Falls on Bucharest, While We're Young, White God, Wild Tales, and The Wolfpack. And the nominees are...
Girlhood (rent it!), tough-minded but affecting coming-of-age ensemble drama
It Follows (DVD in July), an ingenious and brilliantly executed horror yarn
Li'l Quinquin (rent it!), Bruno Dumont's amazingly effective foray into comedy
Mad Max: Fury Road (in theaters), tense, implacable, and baroquely conceived
Timbuktu (rent it!), a quietly confident and increasingly tense social document
The Tribe (in theaters), come for all-signing conceit, stay for potent storytelling
Also: I followed Oscar's lead and drew a contour line around the choices that most excite me, though the wonderful Eastern Boys, Pigeon Sat on a Branch..., Eden, Princess of France, and Jauja are all closely clustered just beneath this sextet, and The Look of Silence would unquestionably appear if it had opened yet.
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Labels: Awards 2015, Black Cinema, Bruno Dumont, Cinematography, Editing, Fifties, Horror, International, Iran, Julianne Moore, Music, Oscar Isaac, Queer Cinema, Screenplays, Site Features, Sound, Women Directors