So, with album of the year all wrapped up its time to move on and give out the award for the best movie of the year. But before that, the special mentions.
Ted returned to the big screen this year and his latest outing was a strong one. It was enjoyable and funny but what made it special was the new things it tried. From its utterly outstanding title sequence to the surprising narrative depth and character development, the film is an example of Seth McFarlane pushing his own boundaries. The new elements of the film didn’t all work, but those that did felt fresh and interesting. Ted 2 didn’t quite live up to the high bar of the original, but it was funny, polished and at times intense, it was all the audience needed from a sequel.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Kingsman: The Secret Service starts out as a bit of a slow burn, but by the end of the film it had easily made its mark as one of 2015’s best, it’s a perfect combination of over the top violence, deep clever characters and dark comedy. The film’s cast is one of its highlights, with performances being fantastic across the board. Colin Firth is particularly memorable as the violent but charming spy Galahad. The movie is very funny and exciting throughout but the true secret to Kingsman’s success is in its incredible sense of balance. You see the movie deals with many threads, tones and nuances, any of which could easily over balance the movie, but they never do. Instead they seem their written in a way that works brilliantly together and ends up being as successful as it was ambitious. Kingsman: the secret service is a movie that is clever, dark, funny absurd and yet grounded all at the same time, in lesser hands this would be a challenge, but here the movie is a brilliant sum of all its brilliant parts.
- Mad Max: Fury Road.
Mad Max: Fury Road is, as the title would suggest, insane. But in a year where many of its peers were tired, brainless, by the numbers blockbusters, Fury Road’s smart approach to world building, character development and cinematic action really set it apart. The cast of the film is excellent, with Tom Hardy and Nicholas Hoult putting in enjoyable performances and Charlize Theron bringing to life one of the year’s most badass characters. Visually the film is also brilliant, making use of minimal, but starkly contrasting colour pallets to convey a great deal about the film’s setting. The plot of the film is more the story of the world, and its current state, than anything else and its through this plot that the movie really shines. See, where most blockbusters this year (and for a number of years now) have relied on bland, sterile plots to move them along to the next action set piece, Mad Max grounds all of its over the top violence in its core story and vice versa. The story is conveyed as much through set piece fight scenes as it is through written exposition. As a result the story, and the world it builds, feel real, imposing and exciting rather than just a necessity. Fury Road shows an approach to film making that few productions take, and even fewer get right, luckily, Mad Max nails it.
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
It’s extremely rare for a film franchise to be alive after nearly 40 years and still have a truly definitive style. But not only does Star Wars Episode VII perfectly continue that unique Star Wars feel, it does it whilst carving out it’s own identity in the franchise and telling a damn good story as well. The movie focuses on establishing a new set of characters alongside a beloved set from the previous films. It does this by cleverly intertwining new origins with the familiar character’s ongoing stories. The actors behind these characters are stunning, with the old cast fitting snugly into place in a world they helped define, but leaving enough room for the younger actors to grow their personalities and set themselves apart enough to lead to an exciting future. Of the old cast Harrison Ford deserves a specific mention for his stylish reprisal of Han Solo. Of the new cast Adam Driver deserves Kudos for bringing interesting new dimensions to a menacing Sith character. Kudos also goes to BB-8 who does a huge amount with little dialogue, is a testament to the film’s practical nature and is utterly adorable. The film is full to the brim with vibrant colourful visuals, which continue the distinctive Star Wars art style, and a wondrous John Williams score. The Force Awakens does a brilliant job of giving fans what they want, in a way that sets up a very exciting future, it’s a master class in pacing, art direction, character development and much more and it is easily the best film of 2015.
So, that is 2015’s awards for best movie and album given out, up next, the last of this series, game of the year, presented by Games Up Podcast, thanks for reading.