locke10Locke
Here’s a concept that sounds pretty much unwatchable on paper, a construction manager spends an hour and a half driving while talking on his phone trying to sort out his work and family problems. Yes you read that right, the film is 90 minutes of Tom Hardy in his car, chatting on speaker phone. However, every conversation paints just a bit more of the larger picture, as a tedious premise gives way to what I consider the best character study of the year.

 

 

shadow9

What We Do In The Shadows

Here is the second Kiwi Horror Comedy to make the list. The premise is surprisingly simple, take the awkward humour of Flight of the Conchords, and apply it to a mockumentary about Vampire Flatmates. The film is hilarious, but it’s the way they completely nail the Horror aspects of the subject that impressed me the most.

 

 

 

 

bab8

The Babadook

This Horror story of a struggling single Mother and the sinister presence wrecking havock on her life started doing the American Film Festival rounds late last year to rave reviews. I hadn’t heard of it at the time, and boy was my face red when I learnt it was filmed right here in my home town of Adelaide. My face was even redder when I contacted my local cinema about a release date, only to find it had finished it’s short run here months earlier. I caught in on Blu Ray before the year was up, very much impressed with the simple yet extremely unsettling film.

 

nightc7

Nightcrawler

Jake Gylenhall is an odd looking chap. No shit, he looks like the love child of the Grim Reaper and a fucking Bloodhound. Which makes him suit the role of a high functioning sociopath to the tee. Gylenhall plays Lou Bloom, a freelance cameraman lurking the late night streets of LA in search of horrific footage for the local early morning news channel. The whole film feels like a grimy Scorsese flick from the late 70s, which is high praise indeed.

 

 

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Frank

Based loosely on the cult British Musician of the 1980’s, Frank is the story of an aspiring musician tagging along for a year long recording session with a band known as the Soronprfbs, whose lead singer happens to wear an enormous Paper Mache head. As in, wears the fucking fake head 24 hours a day. A touching tale of greedy ambition colliding with true talent, with plenty of mental disorders thrown in to keep the stew tasty. Michael Fassbender wears a giant mask for 95% of the films running time, and still pulls off one of the best performances of the year. Gotta admire that guy’s chops.

 

lover5Only Lovers Left Alive
A mopey vampire sits around his crappy house chatting with his wife and listening to music. “Fuck You and no thanks!” I said to this film when it hit the cinema in all it’s hipster glory. I reluctantly caught it on DVD a few months later, and well, fuck me for judging a book by it’s cover. A clever film with rich characters and clever riffs on the genre.

 

 

 

 

her4Her

Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his phone’s operating system, in a sci fi story that’s not that farfetched in this tech obsessed age. A sad story, but one ultimately with hope at it’s core. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where your partner is evolving and maturing at a rate faster than you can keep up with, then this film is really going to hit a nerve.

 

 

 

 

wlashWhiplash

I love tales about passion and ambition in any field, and those concerning the world of music usually make for a compelling story. Miles Teller does an amazing job as a drummer bordering on obsession for his craft, but its JK Simmons’ sinister Conductor that will stick with you long after the film is finished. Truly one of Cinema’s greatest assholes.

 

 

 

g budaThe Grand Budapest Hotel

I enjoyed Wes Anderson’s earlier stuff, but haven’t watched one of his films in a little over a decade, never really feeling in the mood for his quirky style. The thought of Grand Budapest Hotel and it’s tale of a 1932 adventure farce didn’t float my boat either, but I gave it a try anyway. Good thing I did. Ralph Fienne’s Concierge, and his offsider the Lobby Boy (played by Tony Revolori) are one of the weirdest partnerships you will see on film. They are also the most endearing pair to hit the screen in a long time, with an incredible chemistry and utterly unique relationship.

 

snowpSnowpiercer

I must have shuffled the order of the previous 19 films around a dozen times before posting, but the number one position was always etched in stone. Set in the near future after a catastrophic event results in a new Ice Age, civilization consists of the lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that circles the globe. A caste system has evolved on the vessel, and all hell breaks loose when the poor at the back decide to fight their way to the front. Director Joon-ho Bong has taken everything I love about Sci Fi, Action films, and even computer games and successfully melded them into an ambitious movie.

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