I heard about 12 hours ago that Bowie passed, and it still doesn’t feel real. The term “end of an era” doesn’t seem to cut it here. David Bowie was a foundation for music. Even though that foundation is no longer expanding, it will always be there for anyone to find support in whatever they’re doing. We have to say goodnight, that’s definite. What we don’t have to say is goodbye: this won’t be the last Bowie conversation I have, this won’t be the last time I dance to a Bowie song, this won’t be the last time I sing Bowie and karaoke (or in my home or at work or in my car), this won’t be the last time I play a Bowie riff on my guitar. It won’t be the last time for you either. We can be Heroes, again and again.
I felt like I did not get to see as many films this year as usual. When I think about it more though, I realize it was because there was not too much that stood out as something I had to see right way; more than likely the films I decided to hold-off on simply faded away. However, what I have seen this year has been good, with only a couple of times ending with me walking out disappointed. Other people want to claim that we are living in the golden age of television. I don’t know if I necessarily believe that so much as that more funding and attention is being focused on television shows that ever before. Maybe that does make it a “golden age,” but for the amount of what is being put up, how much of it is actually good and has replay value; how much of it is provocative and entertaining? Anyway, here is what I’ve seen from film and TV this year:
Films of 2015
- Circle – I’m still not entirely certain this wasn’t released before 2015, but lets run with it. Clearly made by fans of the Twilight Zone, who probably should have stuck to a 30 minute timeframe instead of a feature film. Not terrible at all, but glad I didn’t pay to see it.
- Ex Machina – Without a doubt one of my favorite movies of the year. Alex Garland has been a masterful writer prior to this, and here shows himself to be a great director. Eerie and intelligent movie.
- Star Wars: the force awakens – I’ve been waiting practically my whole life for a worthy follow-up to the original trilogy. JJ Abrams delivers, again, and virtually no one was disappointed.
- Mad Max: fury road – So much good be said about this film, but simply put: What a ride!
- It Follows – Another one I’m not sure is an official release of 2014 or 2015. Loved this throwback to early Carpenter horrors. Really fun to watch in a theater with other people.
- Jupiter Ascending – The Wachowskis do no wrong. I felt this was a classic science fiction meant to weed out fair weather fans of the genre who are “into it” now because Sci-fi is en vogue presently.
- Chappie – Fantastic to see Blomkamp bounce back from this Sophomore flop. I don’t believe Chappie opened my mind to anything new concerning social interaction to A.I., but it was still a delight to watch.
- Avengers: age of Ultron – More like Avengers: everyone get ready for Phase 3. Of course, I liked this a lot; the only problem with this movie was Ultron himself, who was a weak villain. It is very apparent though that this film was more a preview of upcoming storylines for Marvel films expected over the next 2 years.
- Amy (documentary) – I’m not a fan of Winehouse, but loved this documentary. It lifted the image of Winehouse being a wasted drug addict
- Going Clear (documentary) – Alex Gibney is typically an outstanding documentary filmmaker. His films have a surprising replay value, and he tends to get deep into the subject matter, turning up more dirt than anyone before him could. Going Clear was no exception. Even if you think you knew all the twists and turns of Scientology, you don’t until you watch this documentary.
- Steve Jobs: man in the machine (documentary) – Remember when I wrote Alex Gibney is typically an outstanding documentary? This is the exception. Superficial and often questionable, this was more a wank on Apple products and Jobs that an accurate detailing of the “man in the machine.”
- Ant-Man – This was the Marvel film I anticipated being underwhelmed by, but instead liked it better than AOU. I enjoyd the Heist spin on a superhero film. Although it makes me extremely eager to read Edgar Wright’s finished script.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – I didn’t dislike this film, but there just wasn’t much to it to rave about.
- Crimson Peak – This is a love story with a ghost in it. I just wish that was said before seeing it, I might have felt better about it. Beautiful art direction and great acting, but this film felt like it possessed two halves that were constantly at odds with each other.
- Spectre – Biggest letdown of the year. As a lifelong Bond fan, I feel I have a modicum of authority to declare this the worst film of the franchise. Lazy, ridiculous, and somehow boring.
- Krampus – This was another mixed-genre movie I wish someone had told me more about before seeing it. It was a lot of fun to watch in theaters, but I completely forgot about it a week later.
- A Very Murray Christmas – Well, that was sweet.
- Welcome to Me – Kristen Wiig is always funny and intelligent and I enjoyed this film, but it ultimately left me unfulfilled; I wanted it to mean more, or maybe just do more for the character’s condition, the way Frank did.
- End of the Tour – I loved this film and simply don’t understand the complaints others had about it. This was a film about two subjects interviewing each other to become friends; nothing more than that. People want to complain that it didn’t capture the complexities of Wallace as a human, but that wasn’t the point; not to mention the film takes place over a couple of days, and it’s impossible to capture the complexities of anybody in the time frame.
TV in 2015
- Sense8 – Definitely the most beautiful piece of art I saw in 2015. Criticize it all you want, but Sense8 was like a level of consciousness most will never reach: Astonishing.
- Daredevil – Great! I loved everything about this.
- Jessica Jones – This was another great spin on Superhero stories. It was a story about PTSD, all the ways we can get it and the things we do to deal with it.
- Dark Matter – Fun new Sci-Fi show for anyone who liked Firefly and Star Trek *NOTE, I am NOT saying it was as good or better than either*
- Heroes: Reborn – I was actually a big fan of Heroes all the way through, and will argue for it (mostly). There were strong doubts running through my head when I heard about this series. But I can’t lie, I am impressed by what they did so far.
Really looking forward to films and TV in 2016.