Sunday, 31 January 2016

10 Favourite Movies of 2015

Well, 2015 came to an end few weeks ago and it has some great films. The films shown in 2015 are generally better than 2014 as I enjoyed a lot more dramatic movies and better blockbuster offerings all round. I still couldn't be able to watch Creed, Steve Jobs, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight and The Big Short as some of them are not even released in Malaysia yet, so this now I am going to rank the movies I watched as of January 2016, with a small summary on why I put it in the list. Please do take note that this is my personal Top 10 and it does not reflect anyone else's opinions.

Here we go:

1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Is this any surprise to anyone? Probably not. Ever since 2012 when the movie was announced, I was really hoping Star Wars would be exciting again, after the inconsistencies in recent years and the abomination of Attack of the Clones, The Force Awakens really met my expectations in every way imaginable.

A good cast, entertainment, humour, and basically Star Wars going back to basics to where it mattered puts Star Wars back in the map. While there are certain parts of the movie I wished it could be better, The Force Awakens is the best cinema experience I've had in years. I watched it during first screenings, I was laughing, cheering and clapping along with every other fan in the theater. When John Williams' score kicked in and the opening crawl started scrolling, it was the biggest cheer ever in cinema, and we all stayed till the credit finished.

Despite watching it three times already in cinema, I always want to go back again, and again. Episode VIII and Rogue One, bring it on!

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

In the age where action movies are over-complicating themselves, Mad Max: Fury Road is a breath of fresh air in the action genre. This post-apocalyptic pic starring the titular character is a fairly simple movie, yet the execution in terms of visual effects, cinematography, audio and picture quality are excellent.

Besides that, the core element of action movie, the action sequences, are top notch. It makes you grip on the edge of your seat as the brilliant set pieces really gets the adrenaline pumping from the start of till the end of the movie.

3. The Martian

I went into cinema expecting The Martian to be good, and I am not disappointed. It is good.

What I'm surprised about The Martian though, that it was funny. "A man stranded alone on Mars while a group of scientists figuring out ways to send out rescue team" never sounds like a funny thing to me. Well, at least Golden Globes did. The Martian features a great cast, strong direction and execution that  makes The Martian one of the strong films in recent years.

4. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise + action movies = perfect

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is another strong entry to the Mission Impossible franchise. This is probably due to Tom Cruise, who insists on doing all or almost all of the stunt works himself, which I seriously impressed and respect. It makes the film feels genuine and gets the adrenaline pumping.

5. Inside Out

Pixar in recent years have been slow, Cars 2, Brave and Monster University by Pixar's standards, have been 'meh' at best. With Inside Out, they are back!

Inside Out looks like Pixar, sounds like Pixar, felt like Pixar. Those ingredients alone made Inside Out a fantastic film.

6. Bridge of Spies

Like Pixar, Steven Spielberg have been slow too. He put more of his focus on being producers of other films lately and his recent film just not to my personal liking.

However, Bridge of Spies is my kind of Spielberg's film. The historical drama focus on a less talked about part of the Cold War, the prisoner exchange behind the scenes. While Bridge of Spies did elevated some of the elements that made the film more intense than the history depicted but Spielberg arranged it really well. It is a well-written and well thought out film.

7. Marvel's Ant-Man

At first, I prefer Age of Ultron. However, after second viewings of both films, I think Ant-Man is a better superhero film.

This is due to the charm of the film. As an unknown outside Marvel's fandom, this movie could have flopped, but people flocked into cinema nonetheless because Disney did really well with the Marvel universe. In many ways, Ant-Man played out like the original Iron Man, feeling wise and script wise, where we all never expect it to be good, yet turned out really well. Plus, the casting of Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas really helps Ant-Man to develop into one of the year's proper blockbusters.

8. Ex Machina

At first, this movie looks really, really weird. I mean, a futuristic sci-fi movie in a middle of a jungle?? The movie is, to me, pretty slow at first.

Once I get used to the pace, the movie ends up pretty great for me. The writing, pacing, acting and the theme centred around the film is top notch. The interactions between characters of Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander are top notch. This movie questions human's compassion and aggression towards artificial intelligence. After watching this, I was really looking forward to Oscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he was brilliant!

One of the highlights of the year.

9. Kingsman: The Secret Service

A film that knows what it is and its intended target audience, a James Bond movie for the younger demographics.

It really has the elements from the famous British spy, the cast is British, action set pieces, high tech gadgets, exotic locales. Surprisingly, the casting was on point with the characters, who would've thought actors like Colin Firth and Mark Strong could be humourous. The movie feels a lot more playful and less intense, as it never takes itself too seriously, that's why this movie is so fun to watch.

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Despite not being as good as the original Avengers, Age of Ultron is still an entertaining film on its own.

With all of the characters returning on saving the world from the evil AI Tony Stark created, the team's chemistry, interactions and banters with each other is getting better and much more natural than the first one, that was the reason the movie is so entertaining. The set pieces and visual effects are so well made, that it makes you rooting for your favourite hero to kick the villain's ass.

Despite all that, the movie's plot and the characters did not grow that much from the first Avengers. The superheroes are basically the same people from the last scene of Avengers, despite the fact that most of them have their individual adventures elsewhere.