Posts Tagged ‘Still Alice’

In honour of the Oscars (and forgetting to post these in January): (±)2015 in cinema, courtesy of my Cineworld Unlimited card! (Yes, I saw Star Wars three times.)

My choice for best movie of the year: Still Alice (which I’ve written about at length.)

Joint runners-up: Jurassic World and The Force Awakens, both of which so perfectly captured my childhood love of the franchises that a sweeping shot of Isla Nublar accompanied by that John Williams score, or the sight of Han and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon nearly brought me to tears. Far from banking on the viewer’s nostalgia, however (filled as I was with glee on seeing the original T. rex from JP in the finale!) both succeed in being damn fine movies in their own right; with Star Wars in particular making me fall in love with a new generation of characters who, by the film’s close, I was just as engaged with as the original cast. (Special mention not only to Rey, who I loved, but also to BB-8, who – like WALL•E before him – succeeds in conveying an entire gamut of emotions belied by his lack of a single line of dialogue throughout. Indeed, his “thumbs-up” with the lighter which was just about my favourite moment in the movie.)

My uncontested choice for worst movie of the year: Absolutely Anything. Given the frequency with which I go to the cinema, it’s statistically improbable not to encounter my fair share of duds, though I can usually forgive them on the basis that they at least achieve the basic function of their given genre. Trainwreck was meandering and about an hour too long, but – at least in parts – it made me laugh. Sinister 2 was a pale, horror-by-numbers imitation of the original, but – every so often – it made me jump. It’s rare, therefore, that a film so utterly misses the mark that I’m not only angry at its creators for its existence, but also myself for the two hours of my life I wasted on it. The Simon Pegg movie Absolutely Anything is one such film, and – adding to its list of crimes against filmmaking – also holds the dubious honour of being the last on-screen credit for Robin Williams, who is beyond wasted in this howlingly unfunny pile of shit.

After seeing Still Alice, I remained open to the possibility that something might come along in 2015 to change its position as my favourite film that year. I was entirely confident, however, that I could declare Absolutely Anything the unmitigated worst, without fear of another film even approaching its spectacular craptacularity in the four months that remained. The list of films I’d rather see again in my lifetime is both brief and comprehensive. To wit: absolutely anything.

And, if I had to appoint a runner-up: Life – a James Dean biopic, in which a woefully miscast Dane DeHaan infuses the Hollywood legend with all the charisma of a tree stump.

Here’s looking ahead to the remainder of 2016!

(Spoiler warning for the film’s ending)

I’ve found, as I get older, that it takes increasingly less to make me cry at movies – my theory being that the accumulation of real life experience correlates to an empathy for fictionalised narratives to which we couldn’t previously relate. Having said that, there are still only a handful of films I’d describe as truly devastating, and those that fit the description generally share one of two themes. The first is animals – my love thereof being no great secret. (A friend once asked if I wanted to rent Hachi, and I responded by saying that I wasn’t in the mood: the truth being that a) films where the animal protagonists don’t survive past the end credits utterly destroy me and b) I’d teared up just watching the trailer two days earlier.) The second – more human – theme is that of mothers.