Best Of 2015
January 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
2015 has already come and go and we are saddened that we don’t have hoverboards and Jaws 19 but several people now has a bottle of Pepsi Perfect (which I’m not part of the collective sadly enough). It is also the year that gave us good shows that premiered on internet streaming services, music that unexpectedly appears and even movies that surprised us. Think about it, The Martian is Ridley Scott’s first good movie since Black Hawk Down and I haven’t even seen it yet. And while I have thoughts about it and didn’t jump to conclusions like saying All About The Bass was a good song last year, I hope my opinions is definitive this time so let’s see what is my good choices for this year.
99 Homes – If you take the template that is Oliver Stone’s Wall Street and set it in the backdrops of real estate business, this is basically that movie. Michael Shannon delivers his overall performance in this movie and it might be his best since… uh, Man of Steel? Okay, I go with My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? and Andrew Garfield didn’t do too bad either. But what took me a bit of surprise is that Clancy Brown have a small role that I didn’t know he’s in until he appeared. His role is not as high marked and memorable as Highlander and his voiceover works in Superman and Spongebob Squarepants but damn, I didn’t know he was in it until I saw it. Other than that, it’s worth checking out and do take shots every time each character used cigars (and e-cigs as well).
Chappie – Yeah, I’m probably in the crowd that likes this movie and don’t get why this one failed. Maybe it’s because the story is similar to Short Circuit which I also liked and can see the resemblance, maybe it’s a vanity project for Die Antwoord even though they hardly appear in posters and adverts or maybe it’s because the trailers lied to us about Hugh Jackman being a hero, I don’t know. But dammit, this is one of Neill Blomkamp’s best work in my opinion and Sharlto Copley worked well as the robot who is becoming self-aware. The other cast does well including Ninja and Dev Patel and Hugh played a very stereotypical Australian well and I’m myself an Aussie but not in a “g’day mate/shrimp in the barbie” kind of attitude. I do also like to say that this is the first movie I saw in cinema where I am literally the only person in the theater seeing it. Again, I don’t get why this failed but hey, alone in the theater is something.
Kingsman: The Secret Service – Now the comic book I read is pretty meh in terms of Mark Millar’s works but this movie tooked it up a notch and why not, Matthew Vaughn delivers what he delivered. This is the kind of spy movie turned up to 11 and with such things I don’t wish to spoil here but let’s just say there’s a bit of sex and violence involved and with Colin Firth delivered a better pub fighting scene than that movie I reviewed last movie but nothing can top the church sequence set to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Also, how Mark Hamill agreed to be in this despite himself (not his character, himself) getting killed in comics is a good question but he’s a notable comic geek so I’m glad he accepted.
Kung Fury – This one has been worth awaited since the Kickstarter campaign started and oh, was it worth the wait? This one is a short but sweet tribute to everything about 80s with Dinosaurs, Norse Gods and Kung-Fu Fighting Hitler to boot. David Sandberg have archieve it with his starring role and I do wish more from his in the near future. Oh, and David Hasselhoff made what is possibly his best song since Looking For Freedom (and yes, I did write that so moving on).
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Moore, Jonathan Liebesman and Lens Wiseman, have a sit down and watch this movie and do understand why George Miller knows how to do action movies that you all sometimes failed. This movie may be a long car chase but it is a car chase that you want to stare and the acting, the color schemes, the soundtrack, it clicks from start to finish. I am glad this came out after several years in development hell and am happy that George goes back to the creation that helped his career. It may be an okay experience to watch on the small screen but the big screen is hypnotic and mesmerizing. I hope something doesn’t ruin it whether it’s rip-offs (which two I already reviewed), parodies (I’m looking at you… uh, Craig Moss) and so on. This is a movie that is worth untouched. Heck, this movie should be on every museum.
Maggie – Now I’m familiar with the black list survey which involves the most liked scripts that is unfilmed and know a couple that has made the cut, this is one of them and I expect this to happen in this age of zombie in television and movie screens that is unavoidable. I however did not expect Arnie to star in it until news get out and oh boy, this is the most human character he has ever played. No cheesy one liners, no fight scene, just Arnie playing a concerned father to a daughter who is slowly turning into a zombie and he sold it. Abigail Breslin also did a good job as Maggie and it’s probably one of her best roles I ever seen. I felt how she feels when she is going to the undead spiral and the movie made me feel sad. It’s not your traditional zombie movie and is a drama that hits you big time.
Mr Holmes – As a guy whose only review involving Sherlock Holmes is the Asylum one, I have seen a bunch of other incarnations whether it’s the one in 22nd century, the one starring Billabong Commahatch and Martin Freeman, the Guy Ritchie Bromantic one and the one with Crash Override and that’s about it. That is until I saw this one and it is an interesting mystery drama with Ian McKellen giving his all as everybody’s favorite detective. The story is fun, serious and quirky and the transition from Ian being an old Sherlock to older Sherlock is really good even by makeup standards. I may harp on Bill Condon in the past for Breaking Dawn but he did a good job on this one. I really like this one and it’s worth checking out.
Parallels – This one is an oddity since this is actually a failed TV pilot that I wish would be successful. Being a Sliders fan (duh!), I am more intrigued by this show than its predecessor and being lost in the multiverse by staying in a building that transports to each universe in a matter of hours is really something. Honestly, it’s like watching George R.R. Martin’s Doorways film and they share a bit of similarities. It is a shame that it’s just a film that has an ending but with a bit open-ended feel to it. Who knows if this idea will be revived someday but for now, the movie is all we got and it is kinda better than nothing.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Oh yeah, this is the Star Wars movie we been waiting for since before the prequels happened. What is there to really say about this movie? The story is good, the new characters are cool and the visual and special effects are down to old school instead of some extended pod racing sequence. I honestly do wanna see this movie in the big screen again because well, it’s Star Wars and you know what you say about this movie and the big screen experience.
Terminator Genisys – Haven’t I talk enough about the movie? I already brought it up on Early Thoughts and actual review of this and I saw it again recently and my comment still stands. Anything I can add that hasn’t been added before? No? Well, let’s move on then.
Trainwreck – Shortly after the review I wrote, I’m at the point where this movie somehow grew on me and I don’t really know why. I can’t think of a reason I went from me thinking it’s okay to good now and keep in mind, I’m not much a fan of Amy to boot. Judd’s movies kinda had that effect on me when it comes to The 40-Year Old Virgin and Funny People but not Knocked Up, I didn’t like that one. I do have to say that he got me again on this one so thanks Judd, you made me like a movie that has John Cena throws homoerotic comebacks to Method Man.
Daredevil – You might be wondering why I didn’t list Ant-Man or Avengers: Age of Ultron on the movie section and those movies are fine and all but when it comes to Marvel Cinematic Universe, the shows in Netflix is where it’s at. This one is truly a surprise hit and before I say it knows how to adapt from the comic book, do keep in mind that the 2003 movie kinda did that as well but the show did it better. Charlie Cox proves himself to be the Man Without Fear and Vincent D’Onofrio… fuck, his take as Wilson Fisk is one of the best I ever seen. I can’t wait to see how the second season delivers and hope it’ll be as good as this one.
Hannibal – I am sad that this is cancelled, I’m really am sad but will adjust to something else. Other than that, this show started out slow but ended beautifully and unexpected. Heck, Bryan finally made the Hannibal/Will shippers happy with this ending that is also unpredictable and speaking of which, what happened after that just set the WTF meter high. This is really one of the best messed-up shows I ever watched and I am gonna miss this but hey, there’s news of him bringing Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to screen so hopefully we will get that soon.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Speaking of MCU, I love this show to bits and that is saying something since I read several issues of Alias since around the time it was first released (heck, I even referenced it a bit on one Bibleman review). The show however did took a different but similar approach and with Krysten Ritter deliver her role of a lifetime as the title character and David Tennant giving his first memorable role since Doctor Who (I haven’t seen much of Broadchurch in case anybody’s wondering) and uh, you have to see the show for yourself if you haven’t. It is that awesome and do check the comics to see how a different beast feels (also, no Jessica Jones/Kilgrave shipping… it’s weird there are people wanting this to happen).
The Man In The High Castle – I talked a bit of Philip K. Dick before on my Total Recall remake review and I have read this book before when I was in High School but haven’t finished since I went to my Non-Geek phase in high school so yeah, hanging out with friends, having few girlfriends, the works. When the first episode came to Amazon, I watched it and became hooked that I want more of this take on a world where The Axis won the second world war with a couple of interesting characters. Then again, I haven’t finished the show but I will shortly and hope history won’t repeat itself.
Airboy – Oh James Robinson, he became famous thanks to The Golden Age and Starman and then Justice League: Cry For Justice happened and it’s not much the same (even with executive meddling involved). I do like how he delivered Earth 2 however before he left and the series became lost on me before I gave up. And what happens next is this strange mini-series where he and artist Greg Hinkle team up with golden age superhero in a messed up way possible. You get sex, nudity, course language and well, a bit more sex in this one. It’s not a usual kind of meta fiction but hey, if Frank Miller writes a comic with him and Batman encountering each other, you might get something like this only a bit more dumber, racist and sexist if I may add (and I have read Holy Terror! to know that). If you like meta fiction, do check this one but be warned of a transphobic theme which James himself apologized in his defense.
The Dark Knight III: The Master Race – And speaking of Frank Miller, here’s a mini-series that DC lied when he co-wrote it but really it’s all Brian Azzarello’s writing. This is generally a good sequel and better than previous Millerverse works like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder and I did bring up that it’s Brian’s writing so that’s a good reason right there. Gone are the usual Milleresque writings of him portraying woman as sex objects, constant narration about the city and picturing a main character as better than everybody else. Instead, we have consistent storytelling, pretty good artwork (even with Frank and Klaus’ collaborating art which harkens back to their 80s work on Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil) and even good packaging which includes collector’s edition hardcovers. I do hope Frank won’t mess this up when he’s doing the fourth chapter of its saga after this but for now, I do wanna see how this book goes.
Fight Club II – It’s not a better as the predecessor in either novel or film form but it is an entertaining reading and the mini-series is somehow still going. It is a notable sequel that you wish would never happen but are glad that it did and has some usual Chuck Palahniuk’s charm that you expect. It also went a bit over the top in whatever the heck is going on. If there’s a movie adaptation of this, I hope it’s worth adapting but for now I’m along with the ride with Tyler Durden and his narrator (whose name is revealed in the comic, I wish it didn’t really).
Paper Girls – Brian K. Vaughan is kind of mixed bag for me. I liked his work on Y: The Last Man, Runaways and Ex Machina but then there’s his involvement with Under The Dome which I hardly brought up. And this book might be his best work to date. It has the kind of 80s nostalgia feel like The Goonies did and contains a very good stylish and colorful art style that worked well. I am generally surprised about this comic when I was first reading it and am so gonna check out more.
Faith No More – Sol Invictus – What is it? It’s it and it is a long-awaited return to a group that started out different but when Mike Patton took over as lead, it became epic and I should stop with the song name-dropping. Not since David Bowie’s The Next Day has there been a perfect comeback album and it really has been a long time since their last one. Such songs as Superhero and Motherfucker does provide a fresh welcome to newfound fans of the band and other tracks make you think of classics like The Real Thing and Ashes to Ashes. I do miss the kind of music that we hardly see nowadays thanks to such relevant artists like Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran and bands like Faith No More helped make me still remember those days.
Muse – Drones – Okay, honestly. I don’t know if I should place this as the best album but instead think of it as an okay album since well, Drones is kind of “been there, done that” album. It did have good music and all but it’s at this point Matt Bellamy and his band are starting to run out of ideas. When I heard Psycho, I was laughing my ass off since this is possibly Matt trolling us the similar way he did with Survival and even with the chorus being “Your ass belongs to me now”, I might be right or wrong. However, it is just an okay album for the time being and if their next one is like that, I don’t know if I’ll place them in best album or worst album since I wanted something different from them at this point of time.
Tame Impala – Currents – When it comes psychedelic rock, I am in the mixed bag sense. Yes, there is Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix but I’m not a massive fan of this genre. This album however felt less psychedelic rock in the sense and it is just me talking out of my ass for this one. Currents is really interesting to listen and have some notable tracks like Let It Happen is really unique to listen. And to put it more honestly, I was never a fan of the band before this album. I heard their music before and have indifferent feelings about it but Currents did change it up a little bit so you got me there Kevin Parker, you really do.
David Bowie – Blackstar – It is a surprise that David returned not long ago with The Next Day and I am not the only one so it depends how long before he presents his follow-up and lo and behold came the first taste of what is considered his most experimental album since 1. Outside. And the beauty of this track is that it’s his first single that is near 10 minutes long and without a sense of edit for radio purposes (it did however got edit for iTunes purposes since it was originally 11 minutes long) and just in case, I did recently heard the new album when it got recently leaked and oh, the album is mesmerizing from start to finish so 2016 is surely the year where Bowie is a blackstar and this song came late in the year before at the right time.
FFS – Johnny Delusional – I have been a Franz Ferdinand fan since their breakout with Take Me Out and as for Sparks, I honestly heard little of their music before this so this supergroup idea kinda made me want to listen to their stuff. Back to the single and this one would have been the best song of the year before Blackstar appeared. It’s still a good song and is really a catchy kind of track that I played multiple times and still never get tired of it.
Neil Cicierega – Bustin’ – This one is an odd pick since it’s more of a humorous remix of Ray Parker Jr’s classic Ghostbusters that only got a video and MP3 download but fuck it, this is a funny remix and somewhat better than the original. And Neil has been known for making music in humorous sense thanks to his work as Lemon Demon. In addition, he also turned Lenny Kravitz’s Fly Away into a song where Lenny wants to have sex with a Milky Way and oh boy, this song also lightens my mood but not more than this one.
Damn, I have written some good stuff today and 2015 is really not a bad year, however there is bad stuff I should bring up next so uh, I do have to prepare for my rants.