The Films of 2015

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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colinr0380
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Re: The Films of 2015

#51 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:00 am

I have not seen it as yet but I'm curious as to whether I'm on the right track with this, as based on the negative reviews that new Will Smith film Concussion seems to strike me as what happens when someone tries to do a film like Michael Mann's The Insider (flawed but noble hero uncovering the truth - about a something extremely obvious - that both the corporate organisations and perhaps the wider world itself doesn't want to face up to). Is that a damning comparison?

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Films of 2015

#52 Post by knives » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:40 pm

Taxi

This is my first post-ban Panahi and it's an interesting run on the self reflexive style of Kiarostami (given the car setting the comparison is basically impossible to not make). He allows it to fold up into a meta-narrative about the silliness of the suggested premise of the first scene. In fact it's surprising how quickly he gives up the ghost on making this look like a documentary on people interacting in taxis that may or may not be staged and turns it into a story of how he lives. Woody Allen being a favorite director of his is a pretty great running gag, but I think it also is a good show of self criticism to his need to make films. After the first twenty minutes or so all of the questions of meta narrative simply become cute little gags, but they're affably so in a way that keeps the film light and fresh. I'm really glad he can keep up so well despite the ban and I hope he manages to make great films throughout.

jojo
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The Intern (Nancy Meyers, 2015)

#53 Post by jojo » Fri May 27, 2016 3:22 pm

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed The Intern. Despite mostly middling reviews, non-millennial-pleasing gender and age politics, and certain eye-brow raising plot choices
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(Hathaway easily forgiving her husband's cheating at the end, for example)
, DeNiro and Hathaway just seem to work real well together, and their relationship is basically the core focus of the movie. None of the other tired plot contrivances Meyers cooks up really seem to take away from the fact that their scenes together are really enjoyable and pleasing to watch.

DeNiro's character is admittedly a bit of a wish-fulfillment older guy as written by Meyers. He's probably too good to be true, and yet DeNiro somehow makes the character work with the right touch of his inherent shyness and tact. Hathaway walks a pretty fine line early on where she has to keep DeNiro at arm's length while not coming off as completely unlikable, and when the frost melts off, their friendship develops in a way that never falls into any May-December romantic undertones or even a parent-child dynamic. It's a tightrope that DeNiro and Hathaway seem to walk well, and you have to credit Meyers' approach there too. There's a scene in the middle of the movie, where DeNiro and Hathaway are in the same bed together just talking and then watching TV, but it manages to come off genuinely warm yet non-sexual, and Meyers avoids even going for any snarky asides or self conscious "Well this is AWKWARD!" comments that most modern Hollywood movies wouldn't be able resist sneaking in today.

There are some of the usual obvious Meyers "Oh sometimes I don't get young people today" jokes, but they are fairly minor and I'm glad that she resisted the urge to make DeNiro a complete tech illiterate.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2015

#54 Post by knives » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:54 am

Wender's Salt of the Earth isn't as good a film as Pina was though I suspect that is in part because photography isn't as easily made cinematic as dancing leaving a greater amount of moments where Wenders is forced to occupy the screen with narration on the subject. I wonder, especially since this is so beautiful a film, if it would do better with the sound shut off and some Brian Eno playing in the background almost like a take off of Clouzot's Picasso film. Certainly the film is beautiful and evocative enough at conveying Salgado's photography and his method particularly in the black and white segments. The narration intrudes giving exposition to a story that is already clear from the images and Salgado's occasional interruptions. I also feel more could be done with the son angle if it must intrude upon the film because for the most part it comes across as unnecessary incident. Still, it is an amazingly beautiful film and has to be seen if just for some of the images.

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Westwood
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I'll See You In My Dreams (2015)

#55 Post by Westwood » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:47 pm

I'll See You In My Dreams

This is one of the movies that I happened on while browsing on amazon. I like Blythe Danner a lot and a movie her in a starring role, and a slew of other familiar faces (Sam Elliott, Mary Kay Place and Rhea Perlman), meant it was something I just had to buy.
I bought the Bluray+DVD combo (happy to report the BR plays in Europe too so I guess it's Region Free), and I finally watched it yesterday.
I have to say that I had no idea what to expect. The write up on the back wasn't really clear but gave a hint.
I will not spoil this for anyone, I will say that it turns out nothing like you'd expect, is full of enjoyable performances, many plot twists that you just don't see coming, the location and photography is really easy on the eyes, the story is one that kept me glued to the screen. I am very happy I purchased this and I wonder if anyone else watched it and what their reactions were.

reesepd
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By the Sea (Angelina Jolie Pitt, 2015)

#56 Post by reesepd » Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:53 pm

I was both surprised, but not, to find that there wasn't a thread for By the Sea yet. Hardly anybody watched it back when it went into limited release, and I'm sure there weren't many more when it came out to Blu/DVD this past month. But, I think it's a shame, really, because it's one of the more quality American films of the past few years that happened to go completely under the radar.

The film has echoes of forefathers. There's some elements of Antonioni here, Godard, maybe even a bit of Hitchcock. But it's refreshingly not an imitation of any of them. It's an understated and sincere drama (sometimes, a little campy because of it) that implies more than showing. It's got a nice appreciation for ambiguity and very little exposition - but while the film is about two wealthy, "empty" Americans staying at a French hotel, it's surprisingly dense. Brad Pitt's characterization of a writer feels way more tortured, but empathetic, than the usual writer's block stereotype - and Angelina Jolie Pitt's own performance is, despite what the critics may have said, absent of vanity and three-dimensional.

But beyond that, the film impresses me most of all through Jolie Pitt's direction. Nearly ever scene is constructed in a very interesting way. The mise en scéne adds depth to the characters, while looking stunning (about fifteen minutes of the film's runtime is a static shot inside a hole in a wall). The editing of the film, itself, is unconventional - bouncing back and forth between scenes prior, dialogue overlapping and becoming out of sync with the image, and flashes on-screen. But why it works so well is because none of it is stylized for the sake of being "arty". Jolie Pitt actually has control, and reason, for each of her choices.

The story, on the offset, sounds a bit familiar. But it's the execution that paints it in an entirely new way. I wasn't fond of her previous directorial work (in fact, I felt Unbroken was borderline awful), but By the Sea is a fascinating film. I've returned to it twice, wrote quite an extensive article on it already, and will more than likely write about it again in the future.

I don't think I've completely given way into spoiler territory by sharing this image, but I'll tag it anyway. But this shot (taken from my Mac screen, because I haven't a way to actually screen capture, so my apologies), alone, I hope, can in some way show you how different this film is than the advertisements (and overall premise) would have you believe:
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barryconvex
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Re: The Films of 2015

#57 Post by barryconvex » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:31 am

not much great to say about by the sea. it is a pretty looking movie and i think jolie is capable of making something great someday but the problems here start soon enough with the hole in the wall / spying on the nubile young neighbors device that is beyond tired (and from which jolie never generates any real tension or sensuality regardless) nor does she know exactly how to handle the other couple. there were ample opportunities to visit virginia woolf territory here but instead we just get some awkward banter and pitt moping around. he's come a long way as an actor but he's still way too handsome and physically fit to play an advanced alcoholic.

none of this stops it from being watchable to this point, in fact it isn't until the last act rolls around and jolie's character lays bare just what exactly, and i mean exactly, her problems are and what the movie had taken great pains to make ambiguous up until that point that the shit really hits the fan. unless she was pressured into it by the studio over low test scores or something similar this is one of the most wrong headed directorial decisions of recent years.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Films of 2015

#58 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:07 am

barryconvex wrote:not much great to say about by the sea. it is a pretty looking movie and i think jolie is capable of making something great someday but the problems here start soon enough with the hole in the wall / spying on the nubile young neighbors device that is beyond tired (and from which jolie never generates any real tension or sensuality regardless) nor does she know exactly how to handle the other couple. there were ample opportunities to visit virginia woolf territory here but instead we just get some awkward banter and pitt moping around. he's come a long way as an actor but he's still way too handsome and physically fit to play an advanced alcoholic.

none of this stops it from being watchable to this point, in fact it isn't until the last act rolls around and jolie's character lays bare just what exactly, and i mean exactly, her problems are and what the movie had taken great pains to make ambiguous up until that point that the shit really hits the fan. unless she was pressured into it by the studio over low test scores or something similar this is one of the most wrong headed directorial decisions of recent years.
I hope I'm not alone in my frustration with the unreadability of your posts, but it sure would be kind of you if you considered proper capitalization. If you can take the time to italicize film titles, you can take the time to hold the Shift key

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barryconvex
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Re: The Films of 2015

#59 Post by barryconvex » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:59 pm

but, i was going for an ee cummings look!! it adds an air of the mysterious and poetic...actually, it's just laziness but since "Unreadability" is a terrifying thought, I Will Most Certainly Amend That In The Future...all wiseassery aside, i do apologize...

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Mr Sausage
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Re: The Films of 2015

#60 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:17 pm

barryconvex wrote:but, i was going for an ee cummings look!! it adds an air of the mysterious and poetic...actually, it's just laziness but since "Unreadability" is a terrifying thought, I Will Most Certainly Amend That In The Future...all wiseassery aside, i do apologize...
A little extra effort to properly capitalize and punctuate your posts saves everyone else effort. We do actually have it in the forum rules, tho' if you'd prefer, just think of it as a courtesy.

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barryconvex
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Re: The Films of 2015

#61 Post by barryconvex » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:19 pm

Absolutely, I will make an effort. It's been a bad habit of mine for awhile now...

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Lowry_Sam
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Suburra (Stefano Sollima, 2015)

#62 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:04 pm

I've heard Suburra to be a cross between The Sopranos or Gomorrah & The Great Beauty. The film's success has resulted in this turning into the first Netflix Italian series. Any word on a US distribution or disc for the film itself?

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2015

#63 Post by knives » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:02 pm

It's a bit unfortunate that Wenders' Everything Will Be Fine has been dumped as unceremoniously as it has been. It's not a great film with a lot of the awkward plotting and melodramatics that seem to pop up in his more recent films. That said in spite of and even occasionally because of this weirdness, just a random example is that most people not James Franco speak with a weird accent that I can only describe as constipated Danish, the film is more engaging and likable than most films which get thousands time more discussion than it has. The central theme of grief and guilt, the plot is basically the Wendersized bastard son of On Dangerous Ground and Magnificent Obsession, is handled well with some new take offs I wouldn't have thought up. Again, this is probably a bad film however much I enjoyed it, but considering how enjoyable it is and the fact that it stars Franco, Rachel McAdams, and Charlotte Gainsbourgh not to mention that Wenders seems to be gaining back some popularity lately it's a bit shocking it wasn't more successful.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2015

#64 Post by knives » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:02 am

Anyone have thoughts on Desplechin's My Golden Days? I just watched it and my first response is to love as expected but the structure is so peculiar that it leaves the impression the film might not actually be good on the whole. The framing device with Amalric returning to France and the introduction of chapters as the flashbacks is the main thing throwing me off as the film obviously weighs itself to the third section which also weirdly has a third person narrator instead of the first person of the previous sections.

dda1996a
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Re: The Films of 2015

#65 Post by dda1996a » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:53 am

I really liked it. I found the first part jarring (haven't seen the prequel/sequel My Sex Life) but the second segment improved and the third and longest was fantastic. I found them just three parts of his life, and each receiving and building on the earlier part. All the synopsises write as if the third part is the entire film, but they are meant to build upon each other. Each is just another chapter in his life, evoked like a memory. It does help that the third part is French cinema at its most French, with young love, philosophy and a lot of sex, parties and smoking, and it does so brilliantly. I dont recall though what happens in the voice over. Doesn't Amalric meets the nemesis from the past and proceeds to feel content with his decisions and past?

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: The Films of 2015

#66 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:14 am

Too Late is an aptly-titled Tarantino pastiche, and emotionally largely rests on John Hawkes as a heartbroken detective seeking justice. It was shot on 35MM and uses few cuts, but manages not to feel too stagnant either.

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bottled spider
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Re: The Films of 2015

#67 Post by bottled spider » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:47 am

[Deleted. No idea what I was blathering about at the time. Drunk? Sleepwalking? Who knows.]
Last edited by bottled spider on Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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I Am A Hero (Shinsuke SATO 2015)

#68 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:19 pm

I Am A Hero (Shinsuke SATO 2015)

A Japanese zombie film, with what I think is a twist. The zombies here (victims of a plague like condition, spread by zombie bites) retain at least some key characteristics of their pre-zombie selves. The cast here is very good, especially the 3 principals (Yo OIzumi, Masami Nasegawa and Kasumi Arimura). A bit of a homage to Romero, as one segment is set in a post apocalyptic shopping mall -- near the foot of Mt. Fuji. I am very surprised that this has never gotten Western distribution (despite making a good impression at some festivals). Anyone in (or visiting) Boston is welcome to drop by for a screening. The HK Blu-Ray looks good (and has subtitles) -- but has no significant extras. However, we got to see a preview in Tokyo last spring, and heard from the male lead and the director (who wrote some scripts for Jun Ichikawa long ago -- and also directed Princess Blade, among other films). So our memories of that event will have to serve as our extras.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Films of 2015

#69 Post by Murdoch » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:55 pm

I wasn't sure where to put this but after watching Joel Edgerton's The Gift I had to write something down about it and this seemed the best spot for a film that went largely under the radar. I usually avoid thrillers since, after the shoe drops, there's often little the writer does but rush to conclude with the suspense dried up. Edgerton though understands the genre better than most trying their hands at it, knowing that the why of what's happening is far less important than the build-up. For the bulk of the film's running time the reason behind the unexpected appearance of "Gordo" and his obsession with Bateman is withheld, and once that reason is thrown out in the open the film thankfully pivots away from dwelling on it, instead casting a critical eye on Bateman.
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I particularly liked how, when confronted by Hall over his bullying of Gordo in school, Bateman uses the age-old rhetoric that Gordo should have toughened up, and offering his own abusive father as straw man's justification for what he did. It's clear Edgerton isn't asking anyone to sympathize with Bateman, but instead using the lasting effect of abuse and how it can turn the victim into yet another abuser. I also liked that the reason for Gordo's obsession could easily be substituted with any past transgression, showing that Edgerton was always focused in his writing on how the present day plays out rather than providing some convoluted past to work through.
It's a very by-the-book thriller, elevated by how it understands the usual beats of the genre and how to effectively play them out. It's a testament to how enjoyable a straight genre movie can be when done well, something I've largely forgotten about thrillers after sitting through too many that shoot themselves in the foot halfway through.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2015

#70 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:48 am

Caprice (Emmanuel Mouret) The best fake Woody Allen film since Mr Jealousy-- and hey, the writer/director/star looks a lot like Carlos Jacott too! It's my understanding that the Allen comparison gets trotted out a lot for Mouret's films, but while this is the only one I've seen, it more than earns that rep. In a bit of wish fulfillment, Mouret's schoolteacher finds himself dating glamorous actress Virginie Efira while inexplicably also drawing the amorous attention of Anaïs Demoustier's propinquity booster. This could be another dumb Manic Pixie Dream Girl movie, and in some regards it fits the bill, but I thought Mouret exhibited some real warmth in how he paints all of his characters and explained the logic for why two beautiful women throw themselves at our hangdog protagonist. The conceit that Mouret's character responds to everything, regardless of intensity, with emotional flatness is a curious one, and it leaves a false impression of passivity. While the narrative and characters are right from Allen's playbook, the players are all far from the neurotics that populate Allen's work. Indeed, I liked how emotionally healthy, if that's the word, everyone is (or pretends to be), and how characters make logical choices that go against where the narrative seems to be headed because, despite the fantasy of going to see your favorite actress perform and somehow getting to date her, the film doesn't really entertain much additional conventional romantic movie folly. As such, the ending to this film surprised me-- it's a conventionally happy ending, but not the one I expected. But it is earned because the film demonizes no one, and was sneakily leading us to where it ends in plain sight the entire time. The film is also beautifully shot and glowing with constant warm tones, giving the whole film an eternally autumnal look fitting the action of the story-- more than anything, I am in love with how this film is lit! I don't know if Caprice is available with English subs commercially anywhere in the world, but it's worth a look if you can see it and understand it. I am definitely curious to see if Mouret's other works exhibit similar pleasures!

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