So the first half of 2015 happened and in terms of films it’s been genuinely pretty amazing. I mean let’s for one minute put to one side that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 happened and also Fifty Shades of Grey and Get Hard and Taken 3, and Unfinished Business and The Interview, and probably Mortdecai as well, where was I? Yes, forget about all of those and you have yourself 6 months of solidly decent films with some true standouts. In this here blog post I will be outlining what I thought those highlights were.
Best Films by Month
- January – Birdman
In what is looking like the best month for films of the year so far boasting 3 of my top five films (spoilers) this was a tough call to make. But Birdman is one of those few films with the title of “deserved Oscar winner”. It’s a simply brilliant mix of comedy and drama all centering around a career best performance from Michael Keaton. Add in the fact that it would all appear to have been shot in one long take and it is sound tracked purely by drums you have yourself a film that stands out in a month of stand outs.
- February – It Follows
It Follows is shaping up to be my favourite film of the year so far, and is to this day the only film that has literally prevented me from sleeping two nights after viewing. With one of my favourite ever soundtracks and more suspense than quite frankly should be legal, while I want to recommend this to everyone if you are faint of heart when it comes to horror, I’d skip this one to be honest.
- March – Wild Tales
March was a fairly bland cinematic month in comparison to the rest of the half year, and to find the stand outs you had to look further afield. And honestly this was the easiest month to choose from. No March film even comes close to the sheer brilliance of wild tales. Ever imagined what the world would be like if you followed your animal instincts over any reason. Wild Tales does that for you, existing in a kind of alternate reality in which everybody is on the edge of insanity and yet it still manages to find relatable moments and still celebrate humanity. A must watch.
- April – John Wick
I’ve never really liked Keanu Reeves, I never thought he was any good at acting in general. At least that is what I thought until I saw John Wick, and honestly I will love and support anyone involved in this film forever. I want more films that put as much care and thought into their overall production as John Wick does. Never have I seen such a satisfying build up to a character. You need to see John Wick, don’t be content with films like Taken because they’re “kinda fun”, John Wick proves that films like that can be masterpieces. The bar has been set for revenge movies.
- May – Mad Max: Fury Road
Who would have thought that the most progressive and empowering movie of the year so far would be a big blockbuster involving cars smashing into each other that had been essentially advertised as an awful lot of laddy fun? Not I is the answer to that question. However Mad Max is the most progressive and empowering film yet this year almost soley down to Charlize Theron who stars as hardened truck driving amputee badass Furiosa who steals the film from Tom Hardy (Never thought I’d be saying that) and yet in terms of other blockbusters this year, it hasn’t performed very well – I wonder why.
- June – Jurassic World
It was always going to be a difficult task to rebrand the Jurassic Park franchise as decent (considering JP2 is dull and JP3 is rubbish) but Jurassic World does just that. While it doesn’t quite match up to the original in terms of characters I think it more than matches it and at times betters it for spectacle and suspense. It may not be the cleverest film on this list but it is certainly one of the most fun.
5 Standout Scenes from the Half Year
- Drum Solo (Whiplash)
Easily the most intense scene from the year so far, this climatic ending to Whiplash had me actually sweating in me seat. If you have ever wondered what a difference good editing makes watch this scene.
- Church (Kingsman)
Kingsman will be remembered for two things: 1 – how to ruin a movie with one fucking stupid joke. And 2 – this scene. Playing out to the entire solo of free bird, Colin Firth kicking Westborough Baptist-esque butts will have you in goosebumps a scene of pure unadulterated action Kingsman is lucky this scene is so incredible, because if it wasn’t I’m not sure I’d even like the film.
- Wedding (Wild Tales)
The final sixth of Wild Tales is probably the most memorable and powerful of the lot. It will sway your allegiances with humanity as a whole from side to side quite beautifully. As you feel fear, love and hope all at the same time sometimes. A brilliant end to a brilliant film.
- “Stand Down” (Jurassic World)
The most memorable scene from Jurassic World is undoubtedly when Chris Pratt has to go save some moron from getting munched by velociraptors. It’s incredibly tense and will stick in your mind more than any other scene. There is a reason it’s been parodied so much, it’s because it’s a really memorable piece of cinema.
- “We Rebuild” (San Andreas)
There was no way I wasn’t going to include this. Simultaneously the best and worst scene of 2015 depending on whether you think it was tongue in cheek or just plain embarrassing. The fact that Dwayne Johnson managed to keep a straight face while uttering this needs more recognition. Give the man an Oscar. I’m being serious.
There we go. That was a thing. I hope you enjoyed it.