I know this is a little later than usual, but I had to see one more movie before writing up a summary of this month, the main reason being that I didn't want to stack that one within the next month's line up, because it looks as if it is going to be even more difficult to choose the three best than this one. After a disappointing summer the winter season of 2015 is proving the be fantastic, in fact choosing three movies for October was not enough and I had to give an honourable mention to 'Macbeth' and 'Crimson Peak' (because despite my resignations with it, Del Toro's film remains engrained in my mind). But we saw some welcome returns and continuing trail blazers with the best, and some tiresome repeats with the worst.
The 24th instalment in the James Bond franchise shows little sign of the secret agent slowing down. Sam Mendes sets up a superb film that is nearly equal to its predecessor in every respect (and given that its predecessor was 'Skyfall', that is no small feat). The cast are all excellent, as is the stunning cinematography. There is such a sense of fun to the movie that it may be the best time I've had this year at a cinema (maybe 'Fury Road' rivals it) but does not skip the dramatic tension. The action is staged excellently and above all we get yet another view into the world of spies, diabolical villains and globe trotting, pulse pounding brilliance.
When your track record includes 'Prisoners' and 'Enemy' it would take a lot for your next film to be in consideration as your best. To find such a unique, brutal and sometimes horrifying take on the war on drugs is impressive, but to include a sense of humanity is another accomplishment all together. Emily Blunt deserves to be nominated for her work here, but even she is slightly overshadowed by Bennicio Del Toro who should nab a supporting actor nomination. It examines lines of engagement and morality, a world in which it is unclear which side you stand on. The film is visually brilliant, constantly tense yet always compelling.
1: The Martian
It is so great to see the talent of Ridley Scott put behind such a fantastic script as they go hand in hand so well. The science fiction drama is a tale of survival and endurance, as well as innovation and intelligence but retains a sense of fun throughout. It allows Matt Damon to combine the best aspects of himself into a wonderful and compelling performance that is funny, compelling and intelligent. He is backed up by an astonishing supporting cast as well. Though the film feels long it never drags, I was enthralled throughout every aspect from the packed and frantic terminals of NASA to the desolate and lonely landscapes of Mars.
And the worst...
There is no nice way of saying this, but 'Pan' is nothing more than a jumped of children's film, that feels like it was designed by a child. The performances are laughably over the top, and at no point does the environment feel anything other than artificial. At the same time this reimagining does not even scratch the surface of the Peter Pan story, there are no new aspects to it, not new visions within it and nothing remotely original. There is playful, then there is ludicrous, 'Pan' is the latter.