I talked about my top ten on the last episode of THE IMPORTANT CINEMA CLUB (which you can listen to here), but here’s the list for posterity.
This is a great film. You should see it.
9. DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
No one makes coming of age tales like this. Raw, honest, without ever taking the easy way out. Ignore the twee trailers. This isn’t even a comedy.
I’m a little baffled at how invested I’ve gotten in the ROCKY series in the last few years. I don’t like boxing, but I find myself at the edge of the seat at the end of EVERY one of Stallone’s outing as the punch drunk dad joke telling underdog. This is exactly the shot in the arm the series needed after the near perfect ROCKY BALBOA.
A Romanian spin on Hal Ashby’s THE LAST DETAIL with a little bit of Western genre flavor. Two police officers have to hunt down an escaped slave and bring him back to his owner. It’s sober, darkly funny, and it never offers any easy answers to a problem that is still relevant. It would have easily been the most beautiful film of the year if it wasn’t for THE ASSASSIN.
There’s no way I could make a TOP TEN list and not include the most heralded Wuxia film since CROUCHING TIGER. It is as shockingly beautiful as you’ve been led to believe.
5. MIA MADRE
One of the most enrossing portraits of an individual dealing with the loss of a loved one. Plus, it’s a about a film director, so that’s right up my alley.
4. BONE TOMAHAWK
I love Westerns, I love quest stories, and I love great dialogue. This one has all three and puts the cherry on top by turning in a vicious horror film in the last act. Go in expecting a Western with a pinch of gore at the end and you’re expectations will be on the perfect level.
3. SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES
The most satisfying martial art film in the last five years. The characters are compelling, the fights varied, and style thick. Watch with as large group of like minded kung-fu fans as possible. One of my best theatrical experiences.
2. SLOW WEST
I find ranking things to be pretty asinine, so this being #2 really doesn’t meant that much. Will Sloan makes fun of me liking this one so much on the podcast, especially when I can’t recall much about it, but that also works in its favor. It just left an impression on me.
1. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Sleeping Giant: A charming coming of age film from Canada. Technically being released in April 2015.
The Work of Sion Sono (Love and Peace, Tokyo Tribe, Tag): Japan’s extra prolific auteur has delivered in the last year a rock opera with a giant monster, a hip hop kung-fu musical and a meditation of women in Japanese media. All of them are fantastic.
Furious Seven: The culmination of everything that has gone before is the best action film of the year that isn’t MAD MAX. If you don’t shed tears at the end you are an emotionless robot.
Veteran: Ryoo Seung-wan, my favorite South Korean genre auteur, knocks it out of the park with a fun cop action film that’s a real audience pleaser.