Here’s some of the best and worst films I happened to catch in the cinema this year!
(FYI these are MY faves, it’s totally cool if they’re not yours…)
Best of the bunch:
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels
Based on the book by Andy Weir, The Martian follows astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) after he is left wounded and stranded on Mars, thought dead by his evacuated crew. Now you can imagine this could play out as a “Cast Away 2: Stranded on Mars” but what follows during the next 2 and a half hours is a humanistic, and at times humourous, look at a man surviving alone on an uninhabitable planet with only his intelligence and wit for company – which he uses in abundance. There are few times that you feel sorry for Damon’s character, proving that a trained mind can survive just about anything, while instead you are rooting for his small successes in a big universe. Truly enjoyable and visually fantastic.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth (and a load of other people!)
In the final installment in Suzanne Collins’ adapted trilogy, The Hunger Games comes to an epic close with Mocking Jay (Part 2) Since the final Harry Potter two-parter adaptation, the Hunger Games is the best rendition of a well loved series that I think we could have hoped for. As always, Jennifer Lawrence brings Katniss’s trauma to the big screen while keeping her human (which I think the book almost failed in) with amazing support from Josh Hutcherson with his broken Peeta and the sadly missed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s gamemaker Plutarch.
A great close to an already great series.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee
This gem didn’t make much noise when it was first released and I feel it went completely under-appreciated. Beautifully shot and subtly acted in true Western fashion, Slow West follows a young lover travelling through the Wild West with bounty hunter Silas (Fassbender) – full review here
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson
A fast, gritty yet still sauve retake on the traditional British spy film. Colin Firth’s Harry Hart aka Galahad offers Eggy (new comer Taron Egerton) a chance to be part of Britain’s best kept secret spy organisation. Slick and ultra-violent, Matthew Vaughan brings yet another fantastic comic adaptation to the big screen with amazing choreography, no-holds-barred fight scenes and edgy humour. Bond meets Kickass, nuff said.
Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Kaitlyn Dias
This year’s Pixar offering has broken even more boundaries; feelings now have feelings too! Beautifully animated as always, this story allows kids (both young and old) to realise that “bad” feelings are ok to express too, and that they are indeed healthy for us to do so. At a time when mental health still has stigma associated with it, Pixar have taken a lovely step in helping families take that journey together.
Worst of the Worst:
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan
Will they ever get it right?? Even the 90’s animated series did a better job at translating one of the most famous comic hero quartets. Also, how can one of this year’s rising stars go from starring in an Oscar nominated Whiplash to being the most boring Mr Fantastic ever?! (Yes, even more boring than Ioan Gruffudd’s 2005 Mr Fantastic – there I said it!) Even Von Doom is mopey and annoying. Eugh.
Also, Kate Mara’s inexplicable hair change? Anyone?
50 Shades of Grey
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan.
I’m not even going to get into this one. The books were appalling and the film contains the same god-awful misogynistic ideals, with nothing more to offer. Even the lead actress was embarrassed to be a part of this franchise but I suppose you gotta take your breaks where you can. At least the execution was slightly more professional than E.L’s wordsmithing…
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, (wait for it) Eddie Redmayne
This is one of those films this year that you were hoping beyond hope that it was going to be good, it had so much potential, but alas. Nope.
Channing Tatum did a good job at pulling off those elf ears though, and Eddie Redmayne had a pretty good villainous “Nooooo!” going on but the real downfall was poor Mila Kunis. I’m not sure whether her character was just so badly written that she just didn’t care, or maybe it was all in the direction but man, shut-up already. Everything she said was expositional and talk about desperate when it came to her Tatum-dog-love.
Here’s to the many anticipated 2016 releases!
Happy 2016 everybody! 😀
Words by Aoife ©