2015 at the movies

For the last three years, I have started every one of these year-end posts with, “[Year] was an excellent year at the movies.” Or something to that effect. This idea remains true in 2015, but the casualness makes me pause. Were all these years truly excellent years at the movies? Am I being too easy on them? Am I too taken with their wonder?

Yes. Maybe. Always. For the past 52 weeks I have sat and watched in theaters and at home scores of moving images, all of which managed to illuminate something for me. Be it the transcendent beauty of this world, the delicate but permanent nature of the human condition or the dire dregs of the film business. Not everything is good, but everything brings something to the table.

But what made this a fruitful endeavor for me was not just the watching, but the thinking and the writing that followed. With one exception (due to space limitations) I wrote at least one movie review every week for Boulder Weekly, a blessed opportunity that not only allows me to share my opinions, but to formulate them as well. Those opinions also manifested at the Boedecker Theater, where I led talkbacks following a half-a-dozen screenings; engaged in lively discourse at festivals and with drinking buddies; and tossed out more thoughts, some half-baked, on this blog. All totaled, I saw 386 feature films in 2015 with 217 of them in current theatrical release.

Attempting to make a definitive list of those 217 is a fruitless and frustrating endeavor. For my year-end column for BW I focused on the images those movies produced. The ones that will linger with me well into the new year. These movies will too, as will many more that I have seen, but haven’t sufficiently digested. That, to me, is the greatest aspect of cinema. As it stands, Tangerine gets my vote for the best movie of 2015, but I’m willing to acknowledge that I have yet to see the best movie of 2015. Or that I have seen it, but its relevancy is still unclear to me. The beauty of cinema is that no matter when it was made, it will forever be in the present tense.

So here is to the best of 2015 and to the excitement that 2016 will bring. I fully anticipate to begin that post with these trite, but true, words: “2016 was an excellent year at the movies.”


"Carol" Courtesy of The Weinstein Company"
“Carol” Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Best of the Year

Cobain: Montage of Heck
Ex Machina
Goodbye to Language
Heart of a Dog
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
It Follows

Mad Max: Fury Road
Mississippi Grind

Straight Outta Compton


Tangerine Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

A Complete List of New Releases Seen in 2015

3½ Minutes 10 Bullets, ‘71, 99 Homes, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climber Out the Window and Disappeared, Actress, The Age of Adaline, Alex of Venice, All Things Must Pass, American Ultra, Amy, Anomolisa, Ant-Man, Approaching the Elephant, Appropriate Behavior, Austin to Boston, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Being Evel, Best of Enemies, The Big Short, Big Stone Gap, Black Mass, Black Sea, Blind, The Boy, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Buzzard, Call Me Lucky, Can’t Stand Losing You, Capturing Grace, Carol, Cartel Land, Chi-Raq, Christmas Again, Cinderella, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Connection, Concussion, Cooties, Cop Car, Copenhagen, Court, Creed, Crimson Peak, Crumbs, The Danish Girl, Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Digging for Fire, Dior and I, Do I Sound Gay?, Dope, DragonBall Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, Duke of Burgundy, End of the Tour, Ex Machina, Experimenter, Everest, Evolution of a Criminal, The Face of an Angel, Fair Play, Far From the Madding Crowd, Faults, Félix and Meira, The Final Girls, Finders Keepers, Finding Gaston, Forbidden Films, The Forbidden Rooms, Furious 7, Gabriel, Girlhood, The Girl in the Book, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Goodbye to Language, The Good Dinosaur, GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Grandma, The Hand That Feeds, The Hateful Eight, Heart of a Dog, Heaven Adores You, Heaven Knows What, Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor, Hitchcock/Truffaut, Home, An Honest Liar, How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock at His Farm in Normandy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, I Am Big Bird: The Carol Spinney Story, Inside Out, In the Name of My Daughter, The Intern, Iris, Irrational Man, I Smile Back, It Follows, James White, Jauja, Joy, Jurassic World, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Kill Me Three Times, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, Cobain: Montage of Heck, Landfill Harmonic, Legend, A LEGO Brickumentary, Leviathan, L’intrepido: The Lonely Hero, Listen to me Marlon, Little Accidents, Live From New York!, Love, Love & Mercy, Macbeth, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer, Magic Mike XXL, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, The Man From Reno, Manos Sucias, Manson Family Vacation, Maps to the Stars, Marie’s Story, The Martian, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Mediterranea, Men of the Cloth, Meru, Meet the Patels, The Midnight Swim, Minions, Misery Loves Comedy, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Mississippi Grind, Mistress America, Mommy, Monk with a Camera, My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, The New Girlfriend, The Nightmare, The Overnight, Paddington, Pan, Patrick’s Day, Pawn Sacrifice, The Peanuts Movie, People Places Things, Phoenix, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Predestination,  Queen & Country, Queen of Earth, Red Army, Results, Road Hard, Room, The Salvation, Sembene!, Serena, Shaun the Sheep, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, She’s Lost Control, Sicario, Sin Alas, Sleeping With Other People, Slow West, Something Anything, Song of the Sea, Spectre, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Spotlight, Spring, Spy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Steak (R)evolution, Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine, Stinking Heaven, Stonewall, Straight Outta Compton, Sun Choke, Sunshine Superman, Tangerine, Taxi, (T)error, Timbuktu, Tom at the Farm, Tomorrowland, Trainwreck, Trumbo, Tu Dors Nicole, Unbranded, Uncertain Terms, The Voices, The Walk, A Walk in the Woods, The Wanted 18, We Come As Friends, Welcome to Leith, Welcome to Me, What Happened Miss Simone?, What We Do In The Shadows, When Marnie Was There, While We’re Young, White God, Wild Tales, The Wolfpack, The Wonders, The Wrecking Crew, A Year in Champagne, Z For Zachariah, Zero Motivation

Courtesy of Kino Lorber
“Taxi” Courtesy of Kino Lorber

For Lindsay. Always.