I saw 52 new films at the cinema this year. Here are my five favourites. I could easily have made this a top 10 list. But 5 is the tradition. See the full list and my Culture Consumed posts for ratings and mini reviews of the others. Spoilers below obviously.
Ex Machina – The first film that I saw in the cinema this year. It was so good it didn’t get knocked out of the top 5 by releases that came later. It is a smart story about artificial intelligence. The resolution of AVA’s story is both shocking and satisfying. I was rooting for AVA all along. Alicia Vikander is fantastic. The special effects work on AVA’s manikin is spectacular. This New Scientist review is largely spooler free and worth a read.
Kingsman: The Secret Service – This was a surprise. The trailers looked good. And they did it justice. A tongue in cheek secret agent story. With a suitable over the top villain, brilliantly played by Samuel L. Jackson who has an outlandish plan for the world. And a secret lair in a mountain. What more could you ask for. The story is good. The actors are good. Plus the plot twists in surprising ways. Cartoon violent. With lots of Matrix like bullet time action.
The Age of Adaline – I loved this. A woman has an accident and stops ageing. She then has to handle relationships with people who age around her, and change identities to avoid the authorities who have an interest in her ‘gift’. Blake Lively and Harrison Ford are great in it.
Spy – The 2nd best spy film I saw this year. Kingsman takes top slot. But Spy is fantastic too. It’s very funny. It has the best swearing that I’ve seen in a film in a long time. Possibly ever. This is one to watch again and again. There have to be sequels.
Irrational Man – This years Woody Allen film. He wrote and directed but it stars Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley. I love Woody Allen’s work, especially the early funny stuff 🙂 So I’m predisposed to like his films. Even taking that bias into account I have to say that this was a magical film. It doesn’t tread any new ground for Allen. Other films like Match Point (which is also brilliant) deal with much the same ideas. But so what. Good stories are good stories. And this is a good story. Plus no one writes existential angst dialogue like Woody Allen. This has a good script that was well interpreted and acted by the cast. The locations are beautiful, and the cinematography, lighting and colour hue of the sets is great. As usual with Woody Allen films the jazz, piano and orchestral soundtrack is great too. I came very close to giving this a maximum 10/10 score on IMDB!