Couple things on the wrap-up this year: first I can say that in 2015 I watched an even 70 films. By no means am I a “power-watcher” of movies, quality over quantity, or said another way: I have a day job. And kids. And I’m usually tired by the time I get a chance.
Before I get into my lists of films I enjoyed most this year, a quick note on podcasts I’m listening to. I’ve tried a number of B-movie and/or horror film podcasts, and most are, sadly, unlistenable. We need far fewer podcasts that are film reviews–as if we could not survive another day without your review of whether a 30-year-old film is “good”–and more that are film analysis of film history, IMHO. As we head into 2016, I’m still listening to Linoleum Knife; Monster Kid Radio; You Must Remember This; No-Budget Nightmares; 1951 Down Place; The Projection Booth; and Outside the Cinema. We’ll see what continues to make the cut next year. Welcome any suggestions.
And now, the films I loved this year–all first time watches. Spoiler: No Star Wars to be found here!
I can’t say anything than has already been said; my first thought was they don’t make movies like this anymore. Too bad, but makes one appreciate the older films all the more. I loved how some scenes moved like molasses, but were so full of meaning and innuendo. Such a pleasure to savor a film’s unfolding, instead of gulping it down whole.
About three-quarters of the way through the year I think I started burning out on my usual fare of schlocky horror movies and started craving cinema and not just movies. No doubt, this is the influence of starting to listen to Linoleum Knife–“a podcast of the cinema.” My next few choices reflect this change in my viewing habits, and are in no particular order.
This is just a beautiful film about the grief ensuing from the death of one-half of a gay couple in the John F. Kennedy era. It also is great at showing some of the realities that same-sex couples had to go through in those dark pre-Stonewall days to closet themselves in plain sight, which could be hard to watch at times. One of the tenderest films I’ve seen in a long time.
This was a hard film to watch about a topic I know little about–child soldiers. Set in an unspecified sub-Saharan African country that could have been anywhere from Liberia to South Sudan it follows one boy from capture through becoming a hardened soldier at the tender age of 11ish. Idris Elba is the standout here, and I’m now on an Elba kick which I’m satiating by binging on Luther, which I can’t take my eyes off of:
Horses of God is a French-Moroccan film speculating on the events leading up to the May 2003 attacks in Casablanca that killed 45 in 5 semi-coordinated attacks on the same day. This is a straight dramatization of the fictionalized account of how two brothers go from living in a shantytown next to the city to becoming suicide bombers, and seeing the events through the eyes of the bombers is very revealing.
Back to my usual gig, a Hammer horror film with an early-1970s exploitation sensibility? Yes, please!
Now, some honorable mentions–films I also enjoyed very much on a first viewing: