Top 5 movie quotes of 2015

Strong year for strong lines I say. Some stick in your head because they shocked you, some no doubt amused, confused and titillated you. Some perhaps inspired you. Here’s my top five of the year.

5. Wild
‘My mother used to say something that drove me nuts. There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.’

Reese Witherspoon here plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who walked 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself again. An inspiring film and underrated performance.

4. Legend
‘I come here for a proper shootout. A shootout, right, is a shootout, like a Western.’

Tom Hardy plays unhinged Ronnie Kray in a scene where he undermines a gangster who’s armed himself with a bat rather than a gun for a brawl.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road
‘Oh what a lovely day!’

Nicholas Hoult’s War Boy cries through grinned teeth as he chases Charlize Theron’s Furiousa into a life-threatening storm with Tom Hardy’s ‘blood bag’ Max strapped to his car.

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service
‘Manners maketh man’

Uttered by Colin Firth’s suave spy as he teaches his young protégé Eggsy what being a Kingsman is all about, doling out justice to some local pikeys with his clever umbrella.

1. Whiplash
‘Not quite my tempo’

Somewhat of an understatement given J.K. Simmonds’ highly strung jazz teacher would be as likely to throw a cymbal at your head moments after, as he would to praise your talent.

Top 15 films of 2015

A strong year for cinema, I must say. With the exception of the summer it’s been veritably crammed with decent stuff to watch month on month. As usual, I missed the boat on loads. What I did catch though I liked a lot, for the most part.

Here’s my top 15 of the year, plus a list of ones I assume I’d have loved, had I seen them.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Ex Machina
3. Inside Out
4. Amy
5. Kingsman: The Secret Service
6. Whiplash
7. John Wick
8. Birdman
9. Wild
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
11. Legend
12. The Theory of Everything
13. Far From The Madding Crowd
14. American Sniper
15. The Man From UNCLE

And some I haven’t seen/are not out yet and would, in all probability, make my list otherwise. They are:

Brooklyn
Macbeth
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
A Most Violent Year
It Follows
The Martian
Steve Jobs
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Victor Frankenstein
By The Sea
Beasts Of No Nation
Black Mass

Oscars 2015: As the dust settles

So that’s the Oscars done for another year. Were they everything you expected? Did the actors and films you’d hope get recognition actually get it? And, more importantly, does it all even matter?

In answer to the last question, probably not, but industry acclaim is often (but not always) indicative of a job well done. And who wouldn’t want a big shiny award for their efforts?

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This year it seems Grand Budapest Hotel cleaned up (production design, best score, costume design, makeup and hair). As did Birdman (picture, director, original screenplay, cinematography) and Whiplash (supporting actor, film editing, sound mixing).

Eddie Redmayne took Best Actor for The Theory of Everything and Julianne Moore Best Actress for Still Alice.

So, were these all worthy winners? Were any overlooked or snubbed?

Yes, yes and yes.

There’s always going to be unhappy people come awards season, but I think Birdman perhaps did a little too well – although it does seem typical Oscar material. Last year my film of the year was Nightcrawler, which got barely a look-in, although it got a nomination for Original Screenplay and it would have been nice to see it beat Birdman, but this was a tough category and all entries there were outstanding ones.

Talking of tough categories, Best Actress was apparently a shoo-in for Julianne Moore for Still Alice. I’ve not seen the film yet but it sounds very ‘Oscar worthy’ in terms of the material and her performance. Literally all of the other nominees could have won in my book, they all were fantastic (Rosumund Pike – Gone Girl, Reese Witherspoon – Wild, Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything, Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night).

theory

I’m pleased Redmayne took Best Actor. His performance was truly astonishing and a thoroughly affecting one as Stephen Hawking, edging out Keaton’s washed up actor trying to reinvent his career in Birdman. And out of a category with five nominated, two were Brits (the other being Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game) which was pleasing to see.

Given the experimental nature of Boyhood or the electric performances in Whiplash it would have been nice to see either take Best Picture, but losing out to Birdman is something I can grudgingly accept with a ‘well played, sir’.

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Best Supporting Actress went to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood. Now I haven’t seen the film but I’d have really liked to see Kiera Knightley take this category for her underrated performance in The Imitation Game, or perhaps Laura Dern for her tender one in Wild.

I could go on and on, but let’s stop there. To sum up, not a bad list of winners. Not too many surprises or upsets. There’s some I would have preferred to win over others, but I’m not too cut up about it all.

What was your reaction to this year’s winners and losers?

Oh, and a final note, The Lego Movie should have won for Best Original Song. In that respect, everything is not awesome.

Until next year.