By Rob Goald
2015 was a challenging year for the motion picture business and the place of movies in our society and its culture. While the formula of the tent- pole is stronger than ever (Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) the independent film struggled to stay relevant, barely hanging in there. Here are tenreasons to go to the movies.
(1) The Revenant: Alejandro G. Innaritu’s masterful blend of raw dramatic energy and the visuals of mise en scene stylenatural photography delivered by Emmanuel Lubezki tell the poignant story of a fur trapper named Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who sends us into another world of raw violence!
(2) Spotlight: Precise in depicting the Boston Globe’s 2002 revelations about pervasive pedophilia in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston. This is a testament to the power of great ensemble acting.
(3) Room: Brie Larson plays a young mother and Jacob Tremblay, her five year old son, Jack, both prisoners of a control freak, violent psychotic who has trapped them both in a room.
(4) Inside Out: This amazing animated feature from Pixar tells the emotional trials of an 11-year old named Riley who struggles to adjust to changes in her young life.
(5) Mad Max: Fury Road: Director George Miller takes us back to this post –apocalyptic franchise he started in 1979 but this time from a feminist POV. Superb action and true road rage. Tarantino’s best film of 2015!
(6) Me, Earl and The Dying Girl: A coming of age tale that deals with art and life from a unique storytelling perspective of a budding young filmmaker named Greg and a girl dying of leukemia. It was a sensation at Sundance 2015.
(7) Beasts of No Nation: Cary Fukunaga makes a poignant movie about a boy soldier who serves an African warlord known as the Commandant during a brutal civil war.
(8) Carol: Director Todd Haynes, working with the gifted DP Ed Lachman, adapts a Patricia Highsmith novel “The Price of Salt” about a 1950s lesbian love affair with remarkable acting from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Lensed in Super 16.
(9) 99 Homes: The real estate crash of 2008 with a ground-breaking performance from Michael Shannon.
(10) The Big Short: A riveting satire of the events leading to the “bubble-bursting”
collapse of the American economy circa 2008.