Another year is over and another top 10 has been compiled for my shame and your delectation. Its been a year of nostalgia for blockbuster franchises with Jurrasic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens straddlign the box office whilst James Bond returned in Spectre and Marvel’s dreamteam slamdunked with Age of Ultron. Whether or not you liked those movies is painfully irrelevant considering the fact they collectively made more money than should be polite to make. Anyway, here’s my Top 10 of 2015.
The Human Centipede 3
The perfect final piece of Tom Six’s disgraceful obsidian-humoured body horror trilogy sees Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey team up for a camp exploitation flick disguised as a foul political rant about Guantanamo, Bush, and the American justice system. Laser goes full crazy, screeching every third word and gasping Six’s diabolical dialogue whilst chewing the scenery like Brando’s Kurtz on acid. Complete with graphic mutilations, and enough gore to keep the worst of us content, its so beautifully disgusting it makes me want to cry. I love it. So might you.
Cult legend Kevin Smith has owed his audiences a horror film for some time now and Tusk delivers in so many ways. Not only does Smith have the sheer audacity to deliver his particular version of The Human Centipede, he navigates a dialogue on contemporary stardom, the Canadian/American relationship, and what it means to be human. Add Justin Long’s screams, some truly bogging body horror, and the best performance of Michael Parks career and you’ve got a winner. Read my review here.
Partisan is a really strange film that I still can’t quite get out of my head. Part coming of age film, part family crime drama, it documents a young boy’s growing disenfranchisement from his polygamist assassin father, played to perfection by Vincent Cassel. A dreamy decrepit paradise on the outskirts of an unnamed favela provides the backdrop for this beautiful power-play. Read my review here.
Listen to Me Marlon
Marlon Brando recorded hundreds of hours of audio in his final years, an attempt, perhaps, after the death of his children, to make sense of his existence and leave something behind. Stevan Riley, given full access to this material, has achieved something quite incredible compiling extensive archive footage and running Brando’s own musings over the whole thing. It’s the final word on Brando and an extraordinarily touching biopic which does better at addressing his reclusive later life than anything else will. Read my review here.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Conceptually stunning and nonstop entertaining, George Miller’s long-awaited return to one of the most distinct post-apocalyptic worlds of all time is an absolute blast. A good range of female representation and a ballsy confrontation of the male role in contemporary Hollywood cinema make the film a much more forward thinking retro adventure than it could have been. Hardy makes a solid Max, but it’s the production design and camera work that steal the show. The hype speaks for itself. Just watch it.
The Forbidden Room
I’ve literally never seen a film like Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room and its Sundance screening saw a whopping 52 people walk out when too jarred by its reluctance to operate as a traditional coherent feature. Instead its continuous circuit of silent era-inspired shorts sporting the cream of acting talent and some of the most visually breath-taking work put to celluloid this year. If that’s not enough there’s superb work from Udo Kier and Louis Negin and an unassuming musical number called The Final Derriere that will wiggle its way into your brain and NEVER Leave. Read my review here.
An explosive spontaneous breath of rap infused action cinema from a prolific wary-eyed Japanese auteur. This might be Sono’s funniest feature, perhaps even his most ridiculously enjoyable. A beautifully realised world, Sono’s Tokyo is constructed through district-sensitive colour palates, rap styles, and costuming, it’s a magnificent feat closer to rap action opera than anything else. Read my review here.
One of the most evocative feats of period drama as well as a damn fine horror film, Robert Eggars’ The Witch was talk of the town at Sundance 2015 and for a good reason. A finely tuned ode to the exploitative witch features of the 70’s, a submersive historical cross section, and a haunting tale of misfortune and religious hysteria, The Witch is a beautifully gruelling fairy tale of darkest kind. Read my review here.
Jon Watts’ Clown manages to tackle clown horror in the guise of body horror and monster movie aesthetics for arguably the definitive clown horror film. A nice mix of smart scripting, garish imagery, and genuine thrills makes the film an unassuming but effective horror flick with an often hilarious turn from Peter Stormare. Bonus points are awarded for shamelessly murdering children and essentially making them the dopey teens of 80’s slasher films. Christopher Ford and John Watts are a duo to look out for. Read my review here.
The most impressive horror film to grace the screen in ages, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is one of the most technically consistent horror films of the past decade. Capturing the retro aesthetics of Carpenter’s Halloween the feature is injected with an overriding sense of nightmarish urbania which looks like the love child of late 70’s slashers and Gregory Krewdson’s melodramatic nightmares. Final act problems aside, the film is a perfect balance between style and substance. A gorgeous soundtrack and some of the greatest shit-your-pants moments in contemporary horror leave this the best horror of 2015. Read my review here.
Eli Roth’s latest sports all the awful sensibilities he’s already made part of his creative toolchest, plus a laugh-out-loud bonkers performance from Keanu Reeves, and consistently unnerving turns from its two hellbound harpies Lorenza Izzo and Anna De Armas. It’s an awful adventure into black comedy territory and Roth is at his best yet least gory. Read my review here.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams has achieved the seemingly impossible, correcting the mistakes Lucas made with his dismal prequel trilogy and delivering a simply exhilarating adventure in a universe many of us have loved since infancy. Abrams also injects much needs visual flare to a series that lost its stylistic boner 20 years ago, in favour of convoluted political nonsense and dire dialogue. Everything in this universe feels physical, sincere, and joyous. Nostalgia reigns supreme in TFA, but a sturdy lovable set of new rogues promises that this new chapter in the Star Wars saga won’t simply be resting on its laurels.