Movies I liked in 2015

It is that time of the year again! I watched about 60 movies this year, roughly one every weekend. Though I continue to choose movies carefully, yet again many of the so-called highly-acclaimed movies did not really wow me. I found only a handful to be good enough to share here.

(Previous year-end movie posts: 2014 and 2013. Also, check out the 2015 movie list by Vaidya.)

The Only Son (一人息子)

Yasujiro Ozu was without a doubt the greatest discovery I made this year. This is his first talkie and my first Ozu. It was truly transformative! The parental themes explored are timeless and the acting is superlative. Every scene left me questioning how so much beauty and emotion could be effected in 2015 by a pre-WW2 B&W movie?! The only explanation is that Ozu transcends the medium he is working with. This simply has to be one of the greatest movies ever made.

Paths of Glory

This is one of the earliest Stanley Kubrick movies and I think his best one along with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick uses a single act from the trench warfare era of WW1 to explore the fears, emotions and complexities facing the everyday people thrown into the conflict and the power games played by their superiors. The first trench scene and a few others have the punch to wow almost 60 years after their creation.

Lost in Translation

A dreamy, other-worldly movie that is incredibly funny and mesmerizing. It revolves around two Western characters lost amidst Japanese culture and lost in their lives. There is a sensitive touch to everything at the hands of Sofia Coppala. Bill Murray is in his most enjoyable stint here. The Alone in Kyoto track from the soundtrack and its corresponding Kyoto exploration piece from the movie are delicious.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便)

A Hayao Miyazaki animated film for Studio Ghibli, need I say more? A fantasy about the travails of a young witch and her cat in a strange new port city. I was transported back to my childhood summers reading Enid Blyton adventures. As always, please watch the original with subtitles. The Disney-fied English version is truly pathetic, turning mature lines into childish dialogue aimed at kids!

5 Centimeters Per Second (秒速5センチメートル)

Themes of distance, love, time and seasons run around in this exquisitely beautiful anime. The narration and pace are a bit fast and I had to watch it a few times to absorb it all. I cannot but help hum the One More Time track from its soundtrack whenever I think about this movie.

Rashomon (羅生門)

A masterpiece and my first from Akira Kurosawa. The movie explores the selfishness of humans, depicted in how witnesses to a murder all embellish the story to suit themselves. Needless to mention that the B&W cinematography from this 1950 movie is stunning. I have to note that this movie is quite over-hyped in Western reviews, being their first introduction to Japanese movies. There are many equally brilliant directors like Ozu and Koreeda.

Nightcrawler

I am always up for some noir! Jake Gyllenhaal hits his career best performance in this fantastic caper. The soundscapes and vistas of past-bedtime LA are gorgeous. The subject is visceral, repulsive and creepy.

Middle of Nowhere

Slow, beautiful and complex black movie that looks into the delicacy and intricacy of a relationship. Emayatzy Corinealdi rules her role. I love the Perfect Darkness track from this one.

Dr. No

I have been watching Bond movies in order all through this year. I found that this first Bond movie is the best of them all. Exotic Jamaica and a fabulous young Sean Connery kick off the train. In just 5 minutes of his appearance, he blows away every other Bond actor since! This movie sets up almost all the tropes followed in the rest: the trademark music, the opening credit gunshot and animation, the cheeky lines, the dress, the manner, the equipment, the females, everything!

To Catch A Thief

A Hitchcock mystery, great lines for Cary Grant, the beautiful Grace Kelly and the French Riviera. All the guilty pleasures of a thriller novel delivered on a platter.

Anna Karenina

I have not read the Tolstoy tome and this is my first movie of that work. It is shot like a fantasy play on stage and took some time for me to get used to this unique perspective. Kiera Knightley is brilliant and so is Jude Law.

Piku

Great characters, an easy atmosphere and good discussion of family life. Irfan Khan is effortless, Deepika is great and Amitabh looks like he had loads of fun. The only irritation were the product placements.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha

What I loved in this funny movie was the 90s time period and the Haridwar setting. Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushmann have great chemistry. The ending is silly and abrupt, but a fine movie nonetheless.

Advertisements

One thought on “Movies I liked in 2015

  1. vaidya 2015-12-28 / 00:11

    Super List Guru! Seen only 5 of these!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s