Usually January is regarded as the dumping ground for movies, or at least it is in the U.S. Over in the U.K however we find ourselves bombarded with all of the Oscar contenders that have yet to be released over here, because in a world where you can transport literally anything from one country to another overnight it takes a whole three months for some films to arrive here. The bad news is that in February I will probobaly have a load of terrible movies that have dominated the stateside cinemas during January. But I saw so many amazing movies in this month that I didn’t know what to do at this point, beyond making a quick honourable mention for ‘Anomalisa’, Charlie Kaufman you’re whimsical, philosophical and potentially insane, don’t ever change.
Who would have thought that after witnessing what we thought was the death of the Rocky franchise, twice, that there was still life and vigour to be found in the story of the Italian Stallion. Well Ryan Coogler did and along with Michael B Jordan (thank god he found something good out of 2015 after the disaster that was ‘Fant4stic’) crafted a deeply impactful story that was both reminiscent of the original and injected a fresh outlook on old characters as well as new ones (that could also describe another recent film, but you don’t see ridiculously long hate articles about ‘Creed’ do you? I’m talking to you ‘Force Awakens’ haters). Any film that can potentially earn Stallone an Oscar deserves praise.
2: The Revenant
Alejandro Inarritu cements his position as one of the defining directors of this decade and I would say that Leo is bound to win that Oscar but I don’t want to jinx it so I’ll simply say that DiCaprio is excellent, conveying the desperation and drive to prevail against all odds both physically and emotionally. Tom Hardy and Domnhall Gleeson are also on hand to provide some amazing supporting work but above all else the real showstopper is Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography that manages to be both sweeping and intimate, contrasting the beauty of nature with the brutality of man, it may be a theme we’ve seen before but it’s rarely been done as well as this.
I can honestly say that ‘Room’ is now my favourite film of 2015 (for those of you who are interested, I would remove ‘The Hateful Eight’ from my top ten list and move everything down a spot to place this at number one). Having marked himself as a director with potential in ‘Frank’ Lenny Abrahamson stages a masterclass in intimate storytelling even when the characters are not confined to the 11x11 room. But the performances are something else, Brie Larson (is anyone pretending that Oscar doesn’t belong to her?) conveys such a sense of emotional honesty with her role that it becomes endearing beyond belief and Jason Tremblay is now the definitive and singular answer to the question ‘what is the best child actor performance ever?’ it’s Tremblay, and now ‘Room’ is my answer to the question ‘What was your favourite film of 2015’.
And the worst ….
See what I did with the clever title change? I know, but to be honest I put more effort into that than the maker of this remake did with updating the story of Johnny Utah. I mean for a start the main character isn’t even called Utah so that’s an instant failing right there. But the generic action scenes, uninspired directing and lack of innovation only add to the list of reasons why rebooting movies like this is a terrible idea and must stop forever. The plot of ‘John Wick 2’ is now Keanu Reeves killing the executives who thought this was a good idea.