Screen savers

Fran­chises were creaky (though a cer­tain space opera has yet to land); the best films were strange beasts; and the lo­cals came good. Don­aldClarke and Tara Brady on the best and worst of­film in 2015

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - COVER STORY -

BEST FILM There is, of course, a black hole at the cen­tre of our cin­e­matic sum­mary of 2015. Star Wars The Force Awak­ens hangs un­seen over the fes­tive pe­riod like a cloaked Death Star. Never mind. This was a year of box-of­fice may­hem in the block­buster sec­tor and 2015 was dis­tin­guished by ec­cen­tric, smaller films that pushed var­i­ous whacky agen­das; The Tribe went among deaf stu­dents in Hun­gary; It Fol­lows re­drew hor­ror tem­plates. The Duke of Bur­gundy played with off-cen­tre sexy. What’s go­ing on? DC BEST FRAN­CHISE FILM A lot of money was made, but there wasn’t much in the gi­gaplex to stir the spir­its of su­per­hero ag­nos­tics. Avengers: Age of Ul­tron did much the same as its pre­de­ces­sor, but not quite so well. Spec­tre (de­spite puz­zling Bri­tish raves) found 007 tread­ing wa­ter vi­o­lently. There was some good news. Pitch Per­fect 2 im­proved on the de­light­ful orig­i­nal and Mad Max Fury Road – strong fe­male co-lead to the fore – might be the best film in that an­cient se­ries. DC BEST PER­FOR­MANCES There was a lot of jus­ti­fi­able rage about the un­der-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women at cin­ema’s top ta­ble this year. Mean­while, more in­ter­est­ing cor­ners swelled with fine fe­male-led films. Vir­tual first-timers shone in orig­i­nal work such as Frank Berry’s I Used to Live Here and Sean S Baker’s Tan­ger­ine. Anne Dor­val tore the screen apart as the epony­mous, life-drunk cen­tre of Xavier Dolan’s tran­scen­dent Mommy. The best of the men were more fa­mil­iar: Steve Carell in the barely-seen Fox­catcher; and Michael Fass­ben­der in de­monic form as Steve Jobs. DC BEST ENSEM­BLE In­her­ent Vice, the mad adap­ta­tion of Thomas Pyn­chon, really was re­leased here in 2015. Mis­tress Amer­ica, one of two great Noah Baum­bach films this year, drew the best out of Greta Ger­wig and a cir­cling team. Ev­ery­one was in The Lob­ster and ev­ery­one was per­fect. DC BEST DI­REC­TOR Todd Haynes’s Carol was beau­ti­ful and just a lit­tle un­set­tling. Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos’s The Lob­ster proved a hit with crit­ics and cin­ema-go­ers. Hats are doffed to the late Alek­sei Ger­man, di­rec­tor of How to Be a God. That un­fin­ished film, dragged from the vault, was pol­ished into a bril­liantly hor­ri­ble clas­sic. DC BEST CIN­E­MATOG­RA­PHY This year was dis­tin­guished by a great deal of vis­ual in­no­va­tion. The team be­hind Tan­ger­ine used iPhones to their ad­van­tage. Chung-hoon Chung moved the cam­era el­e­gantly in the di­vi­sive Me and Earl and the Dy­ing Girl. Valentyn Vasyanovych em­ployed enor­mously long shots on The Tribe. Then there was Ed­ward Lach­man’s lovely New York in Carol. DC BEST AN­I­MA­TION It was the “year of two Pixar films”. The Good Di­nosaur doesn’t make the grade but In­side Out pow­ers ahead. Tomm Moore’s Song of the Sea was an­other un­pre­dictable stand­out. Shaun the Sheep con­verted the se­ries hi­lar­i­ously to film (and flopped in­ex­pli­ca­bly on US release). The Os­car went to Big Hero 6 but we also re­tain af­fec­tion for the char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally whacky SpongeBob se­quel. DC BEST IR­ISH FILM Ire­land expects in the com­ing award sea­son: what with Lenny Abra­ham­son’s Room, Paddy Breath­nach’s Viva, and John Crowley’s Brook­lyn all pos­si­ble Os­car con­tenders. Un­hap­pily, only the lat­ter film is el­i­gi­ble for Reader’s Poll pur­poses. But that doesn’t mean that com­pe­ti­tion isn’t fierce. Just check out the qual­ity short­list. Hon­ourable ad­di­tional shout outs to A Doc­tor’s Sword and For­tune’s Wheel. De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions. TB BEST DOC­U­MEN­TARY Look of Si­lence and Mon­tage of Heck were ac­ces­si­ble yet for­mally dar­ing; Red Army, Best of En­e­mies and Precinct Seven Five made for great com­pany and com­pelling nar­ra­tives; Amy was fit­tingly tragic; file Wolf­pack and Car­tel Land un­der you couldn’t make it up. And there was a chance to meet Ire­land’s old­est res­i­dents and the na­tion’s new monarch. TB BEST SCREEN­PLAY A good year for the typ­ing of words. The epic cy­cle of JC Chan­dor’s Most Vi­o­lent Year; a dar­ing stand-off against for­mer high-school bul­lies in Anna Odell’s The Re­union; Greta Ger­wig re­works the screw­ball for Mis­tress Amer­ica; Damián Sz­ifron’s blackly comic port­man­teau Wild Tales and Aaron Sorkin de­con­structs Steve Jobs in, well, Steve Jobs. TB BEST MU­SIC There were very dif­fer­ent pop stylings on of­fer cour­tesy of The Beach Boys and NWA. Daft Punk were kind enough to “gift” Eden with some tracks. It Fol­lows of­fered splen­didly creepy post-Car­pen­ter elec­tron­ica. And, thanks to Jóhann Jóhanns­son’s score, Si­cario boasted the most thun­der­ing sounds of the year Hon­ourable Best Ir­ish Score award goes to David Ger­aghty for You’re Ugly Too. TB WORST FILM Things we learned at bad movies this year: Emilia Clarke is no Linda Hamil­ton and de­funct TV shows are bet­ter off stay­ing de­funct. (You too, Spooks). Be­fore you start shoot­ing a se­quel, it’s good to have a screen­play to work from: take heed, Magic Mike peo­ple. Many things went very wrong for Neill Blomkamp’s Chap­pie. And just when we thought Hol­ly­wood rom-coms couldn’t be less gen­er­ous to women, along comes The In­tern. TB BEST REIS­SUE Lots of con­tenders but we’re happy to stick with such Hol­ly­wood greats as Or­son Welles, Grou­cho Marx, Buster Keaton and Howard Hawks. And lest we forget: there’s the highly canon­i­cal 1929 mas­ter­piece from Dziga Ver­tov. Wel­come back into cine­mas, one and all. TB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.