filmmixtape’s Top Ten Films of 2015

So finally, here we are.

maxresdefault.jpg

What a year for film. The year began poorly (both cinematically and personally), but ended even stronger than we’ve seen in some time. There’s a few towering above the pack, but just below the very best, 2015 still gave us an abnormally wide and diverse group of very strong films ripe for discussion and lingering shelf lives. Even outside of my higher ranked films, there’s new personal favorites close to my heart like Trainwreck, Brooklyn, and Magic Mike XXL to enjoy for years to come.

Major films unfortunately missed include James White, Son of Saul, and The Tribe – what else do you think I should catch up with?

If you missed the previous Best of 2015 posts, be sure to check out:

To spread the love, my 20-11 films are (in order): Phoenix, What We Do in the Shadows, Steve Jobs, The Look of Silence, Love and Mercy, Tangerine, Ex Machina, Inside Out, I’ll See You in My Dreams, and Shaun the Sheep.

On to the top 10…

Continue reading “filmmixtape’s Top Ten Films of 2015”

filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actor of 2015

Rolling right along with my votes for Best Supporting Actor…

supporting-actor.png

Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation

  • Much has been made of the terrifying impact of his guerrilla warfare commandant, but the most masterful moments of the performance are as he loses dominance over his child soldiers – the impotence with which he clings to his his blind warpath lingers after the chills.

Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina

  • Isaac turns the a reclusive, proselytizing scientist on the page into a study of intellectual, broski misogyny. He’s the embodiment of the film: mysterious, elusive, sexual, and just this side of bonkers. Bonus points for cutting up that fucking dance floor. (More here!)

Michael Keaton – Spotlight

  • His Robby Robinson stears the Spotlight team, but Keaton is the ensemble’s beacon. Much of the film’s ability to go deeper than procedural relies on Keaton’s arc of guilt over his own role in the systemic disregard to the victims depicted. He doesn’t just ace it, he’s the film’s rageful center. (More here!)

Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton

  • As his Eazy-E’s emerges as a major talent, we sense the breakthrough of a future superstar in Mitchell. His intense and passionate portrayal rises above the film’s greatest-hits approach and becomes its emotional core. Emotionally varied and heartbreaking.

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

  • Stallone seizes every opportunity here to illuminate new, unexpected sides to a cinema icon, clearly energized by director Ryan Coogler’s honest approach to the legacy. To Stallone’s (and Coogler’s) further credit, this Rocky Balboa would be just as clearly defined and complete without a franchise preceding it.

The Almost-Made-Its and The Winner after the jump…

Continue reading “filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actor of 2015”

Year-End Kudos Off to the Races

Get ready for the December glut of critics awards and major nominations! Last night were the Gotham Awards, an NYC-hosted celebration of independent film. I covered the highlights over at The Film Experience, and it was a delightfully quick-witted ceremony capped by a delightful tribute to Todd Haynes introduced by his comrade and muse Julianne Moore.

Today the National Board of Review, typically the first out of the gate for critics organizations kudos, announced Mad Max: Fury Road as the best film of the year. They had major love for The Martian, winning Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Actor (Matt Damon), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Drew Goddard). Other major players were Room and The Hateful Eight with two significant wins each, and joined The Martian in the NBR’s Top Ten Films of the Year list. Check out the rest of their votes!

Tomorrow, we’ll see prizes from the New York Film Critics’ Circle, with more to come in the following week and the Golden Globe nominations arriving on the 10th. I’m playing catch-up these few weeks, but you can expect the filmmixtape Best of 2015 sometime closer to the Oscar cermony this February.

In Review!: “Spotlight”

With a resume of modest and economical dramas reflecting on everyday folk, director Thomas McCarthy has taken an unassuming approach to charismatic ensembles like his previous films Win Win and The Station Agent. His newest effort, Spotlight, continues that economy but with a sharper urgency that demands your attention and earns your rage. Expect more than your average true story of journalistic heroism.

rachel-mcadams-mark-ruffalo-brian-dg-arcy-michael-keaton-and-john-slattery-in-spotlight-cred-kerry-hayes-open-road-films_wide-a9ace4a3a9d3d271a45d19c7c220201b7656c7eb-s900-c85

In 2002, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team (the oldest investigative journalism crew in the country) uncovered cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests within the Boston community and the infrastructure within the church that allowed the abuse to continue. Their findings revealed systemic implications for the global Catholic church and earned them a Pulitzer Prize, not to mention creating a national dialogue that allowed further silenced victims to come forward. Spotlight’s members, as depicted in the film, all connect personally with the case in various ways, but their work is fueled by the silent cycle of abuse perpetuated by those in and outside the church willfully turning a blind eye.

Continue reading “In Review!: “Spotlight””