Below are some films in the past five years that I love. Spoilers ahead, in some cases!
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
I love the Mad Max trilogy. Well, more Road Warrior than I am with Thunderdome, but still, they were three really great movies.
I've been following the Mad Max: Fury Road since it was mentioned in 2009 as possibly about Mad Max's son. Then it was announced that Tom Hardy would play the villain and that Charlize Theron would be the new Mad Max(ine). Of course, now that Fury Road is out, we realized that a lot of changes were made to the story.
Of course, I would love to see an alternate Mad Max story, but what we got with Fury Road was just as satisfying.
I saw the film in theaters with the D-Box seating and it was really a great experience.
As for the story, there's really not a great story here. They drive around a lot and the film is one giant car chase movie... which is what I love about it!
The original The Raid failed, because of lack of story, so The Raid 2 is one of the rare time that the sequel is superior to the original film. The story of The Raid 2 is pretty complicated with a ton of characters to keep track of... and is not always easy to understand.
The best part about The Raid 2 is the introduction to the brother/sister assassins: Bat Man and Hammer Girl. We hope to see more weird characters like this in the third Raid film.
Also: the fights are unbelievable and unlike anything you've ever seen. If you're a fan of martial arts, you have to check this series out.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour
The French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour has one of the raunchiest (and realistic) sex scene I've ever seen in a mainstream film. This film is definitely deserving of that NC-17 rating.
Ultimately the story is a teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) falling in love with the girl with the blue hair Emma (Léa Seydoux). Emma rejects Adele, but Adele still longs for her first love. The film is ultimate about Adele (which the original title "The Life of Adèle – Chapters 1 & 2") and her coming of age story.
There's fallout for the film after it was released. Both of the actress said that they were extremely uncomfortable with the love scene (which, let's face it, is the main centerpiece of the film) and felt like they were prostitutes. It's troubling because there probably won't be a Chapters 3 and 4.... not that the film needed a sequel.
Look, we're all still trying to forget the Sylvester Stallone film!
What I absolutely love about Dredd is that it is just an unapologetic ultraviolent and over-the-top take on the Judge Dredd character. They got it right, especially if you look at the dark and gritty 2000 AD weeklies. Judge Dredd is a bit of a bastard sometime, especially how he treats the criminals. His rule is harsh, but fair.
The story is actually very, very similar to The Raid: Redemption, which came out around the same time. In both stories, the hero is trapped inside a building and he has to make his way to the top floor... encountering dangers at every level.
In the early 2000, I had an unlimited rental card at my local video rental store. What that meant was I could suddenly check out any of their library one at a time. It was like real-life Netflix! I went to the video rental store almost every day to check out random films.
One of the films I distinctively remember checking out was Pusher (1996) by a young Danish director called Nicolas Winding Refn. I didn't know it then, but it would be one of my favorite films. Nearly a decade later, he followed that original film with two sequels, Pusher II and Pusher 3 in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
His breakout films for the English language market (since all his pre-Pusher films were in Danish) seemed to be Fear X, followed by Bronson and Valhalla Rising. I did not see Fear X, but I did love Valhalla Rising a lot.
Anyway, let's just say that his masterpiece may be the underrated Drive film. It's actually a pretty easy to follow story, and I know a lot of people didn't "get" the film or just hated it. I think it's great, I love the 80s synth soundtrack, and the violence was just unreal.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Few people realized that this Edgar Wright's film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is actually based on a comic book. I've been following Wright's work since I first met him for the launch of Shaun of the Dead in Minneapolis in 2004. So I'm already a fan, but what Wright did with this film was just incredible. Really fun and quirky, and a great soundtrack.
While I couldn't care less for Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), I must confess, I did fall a little for Ramona Flowers (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
There you have it - my favorite movie for each year.
It was hard to just pick one favorite film, so here are my runner ups:
- Attack the Block (2011)
- Prometheus (2012)
- Gravity (2013)
- Edge of Tomorrow* (2014)
- Ex Machina (2015)