Goodbye 2015, hello and welcome to the brand new year of 2016! I hope everyone had a really wonderful New Year’s Eve. I spent my New Year’s by accidentally falling asleep quite early and then waking up at 12:02am, and completely missing the countdown. To be fair, I had a big day at work on the 31st so it makes sense that I fell asleep. But at the same time, I feel like my New Year’s Eve was fairly representative of my experience of 2015 as a whole – just generally exhausting.
However, my 2015 did end on an excellent note as I successfully obtained a job in my ideal career field, which is counselling kids who have experienced trauma. I start my new job in February next year and I’m really looking forward to working therapeutically with kids again! It was going to be my resolution for 2016 to successfully obtain employment in my field of interest again, so now I have to look for something else. What’s your resolution for 2016?
One of my main highlights of 2015 was travelling to London, exploring the city and seeing so many things I’ve wanted to see my whole life. I was really happy to post a whole bunch of ‘On Location’ posts during the month of October, and of course it was really exciting to meet Alex and Abbi whilst I was there as well. Here’s hoping for more fun and interesting travel in 2016!
Without further ado, please find below a little summary of my loves and loathings in film and television this year.
Best film released in 2015: Amy
It was really tough to pick this one. But when I think about the film that had the most impact on me this year, it would have to be stunning documentary Amy. What an absolute masterpiece of documentary filmmaking; making use of so much archival footage, knitting so many pieces together to try and complete the puzzle of the life of a very complex and talented young woman. This film was so powerful, and absolutely devastating. It was not only a touching tribute to someone who copped a lot of mess from the public, but it also felt like a time capsule of someone’s life. It was sentimental yet brutally honest. It was amazing.
Runner Up: Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road
I really loved Spectre, and I really loved The Force Awakens, and I really, really loved Mad Max: Fury Road. I honestly wasn’t able to pick between these three for a runner-up for best in 2015. I was so hyped to both Spectre and The Force Awakens, and in my opinion, both of them absolutely delivered on their promises to be solid contributions to both iconic franchises. Meanwhile, Mad Max: Fury Road was a sublime piece of work, and a film I will forever regret not first seeing at the cinema.
Best non-2015 film watched in 2015: The Night of the Hunter (1955)
I literally only watched this about a week ago. But The Night of the Hunter was so mindblowing that I believe it was the best film I watched this year that wasn’t released in 2015; and considering how few new releases I watches this year (which is kind of weird, considering), that is a huge statement. It contains absolute perfection in its direction, cinematography, storytelling and script, and intense performances by Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. I just wish director Charles Laughton had made more films.
Runner Up: Shame (2011)
Absolutely amazing, raw performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. A confronting subject, i.e. sex addiction, but one that is addressed in such an honest manner by director Steve McQueen. Shame is probably not a film I’d want to watch twice given how supremely uncomfortable it makes you feel, but once is enough to be super impressed by this film.
Most disappointing film released in 2015: Fifty Shades of Grey
My expectations were not high for this film, so I can’t say that this film was necessarily disappointing in terms of its quality. It cannot be denied that Fifty Shades of Grey is just not a good film. What’s actually really disappointing about it is that we’re still playing attention to this shitty, abusive franchise, and that they’re actually making a second one.
The absolute worst film watched/reviewed in 2015: The Starving Games (2013)
I watched this dumb film for my favourite blogging event of the year, Isaacs Picture Conclusions’ Shitfest, and I don’t regret it one bit because Shitfest is amazing. But it really was the worst thing I watched this entire year.
Best Australian film watched in 2015: Romeo + Juliet (1996)
This counts as an Australian film because it’s directed by Baz Luhrmann! Even though it stars a bunch of non-Australian people. I think I’ll just always love Romeo + Juliet no matter what. If I watched it again this year it would still probably be my favourite Australian film of 2016 as well.
Best television show watched in 2015: The Affair, seasons 1 and 2
My partner and I started watching this show before we left for London, and we spent a lot of our plane trip binge-watching the first season. The Affair is seriously addictive and seriously clever television. Borrowing the storytelling methods of Rashomon (1950), The Affair is a sexy he-said-she-said romantic/crime drama which gets more and more compelling and complex as the seasons progress. I watched the final episode of season two the other day and was blown away. I can’t wait for season three next year!
Honourable mention: The final season of Hannibal
What an amazing show, and what a beautifully brutal final season. Unfortunately Hannibal was just too niche of a television show for this world. I didn’t hate the way it ended, but I wish there was more to see.
Most disappointing television show watched in 2015: True Detective, season 2
What even happened in True Detective in season two? I can’t remember anything because it was all too confusing and smooshed together and immediately forgettable. After an amazing first season, the hype was so high for a second one, but I never would have expected for it to miss the mark by such a huge distance. What a disappointment, and what a waste of time. I didn’t mind Colin Farrell though.
Favourite actor in 2015: Benedict Cumberbatch
I’m a late bloomer to the Benedict Cumberbatch fandom. I think I fell certifiably in love with him after The Imitation Game. I was just so blown away by his performance that now, whenever someone mentions his name, all I can say is, “How amazing was he in The Imitation Game?!”. Plus he’s seems like a pretty beautiful human judging from his good humour in a whole bunch of interviews.
Favourite actress in 2015: Léa Seydoux
I really loved Léa Seydoux’s performance in Spectre, even though I wasn’t totally convinced of her chemistry with Daniel Craig’s Bond. Watching her in Spectre reminded me of how much I adored her performance in Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013), and thinking about that film in comparison with Spectre caused me to reflect upon how versatile of an actress Seydoux is, and how I’ve been consistently impressed by her performances in every film I’ve seen her in. Basically I love her and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she has in store for us.
So, I hope everyone had an amazing 2015, but I also wish everyone the very best of the best for 2016. Thank you to everyone for visiting my little blog throughout the year!
P.S. If you want to listen to some of my favourite songs from this year, here’s a Spotify playlist!
Great choices, Anna! and thanks for so many recommendations. I definitely want to see ‘Shame’ – I saw ‘Fish Tank’ this year and this confirmed my opinion that MF is an incredibly exciting and talented actor. Again, uncomfortable to watch in places but I admire the way he seems drawn to roles that are quite dangerous. I also saw him in ‘Jane Eyre’ and this has to be favourite adaptation of the book ever. It’s also made me a fan of Cary Fukunaga. Thanks, again, for a great blog and so glad to hear about your new job. Very best wishes with that! – Josephine
Thanks heaps Josephine! 🙂 Shame is so amazing. Such an uncomfortable and tense film-watching experience, but that’s what makes it so great. Fassbender is the best. I’ve never seen his version of Jane Eyre, but I’ve always meant to! Cary Fukunaga is a genius.
Film Four showed ‘Amy’ last week and I thought it a brilliantly-shot and honest film. I was shocked at how early in her life AW’s addictions and personality problems seemed to be visible. Easy to recognise in retrospect, of course. It has made me take a closer look at my two teenagers, though. I thought the film showcased AW’s talent but also highlighted the destructive fascination of drug-culture that exists in some areas of modern society. Thanks for pointing out the film as one to watch.
Amazing picks and except for Amy most of them appeared in my personal top 10. Congratulations on finding work you wanted, great start of 2016!
Thanks heaps Nostra! 🙂 Wishing you all the best for 2016!
Excellent! Always enjoy your picks. Have a great 2016!
Thank you! 😀 All the best for 2016!
great picks, but I doubt that I will enjoy Amy more than SW 🙂
I will try and watch it tho, just to see what all the rave is about it
the affair sounds like a very interesting show, maybe I’ll check that out too
Keep up the excellent work in 2016 and good luck with ur new job!
Haha! Fair enough Rob! Amy was so great and just stuck with me for a long time. SW was so amazing as well though. So many good films to pick from this year. Thanks for the well wishes Rob, hope you have an amazing one!
Lots of great picks, here. Glad to see so much love for Shame, Romeo + Juliet, and Lea Seydoux (even if I didn’t love Spectre). All I can say about us getting a sequel to Fifty Shades is that money talks and it raked in a whole helluva lot of it.
Thanks Wendell! Yeah, I think I’m resigned to the fact that Fifty Shades is going to keep on keeping on for as long as it makes a boatload of money. Just such a terrible franchise.
I also just watched Shame in 2015 and I love the performances of both Fassbender and Mulligan in there. I also like Lea Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color.
Lea Seydoux was so amazing in Blue is the Warmest Colour! And Adele Exarchopoulos was even better. What a film.
Excellent picks! I loved meeting you too 😊
Thanks Abbi! And it was a secret meeting for Little O as well! 😀
Hello my dear… what a great list! I actually watched Amy on New Years Eve and I loved it too. I really loved her music and that was so sad to watch, but her music will forever live on. I also loved the Affair this year, it was really good and Hannibal of course. I agree with you on the majority of your hits and misses. Seriously you didn’t love 50 Shades of Grey?!! lol
Hello hello! Thanks heaps Melissa! I think I will probably watch the new Fifty Shades film at the cinema for the sole purpose of writing another snarky review!
Hello Hello! Oh yes same here first one sucked, but I think we have to see part 2 for the sake of making fun of it. HAHA.
Very good choices. Don’t agree with them all but your explanations were sound. Will have to look for some of the movies you have recommended.
Thanks Ben, hope you enjoy!
[…] it some excellent times in the form of Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve already done my 2015 recap post, so feel free to have a look to see my highlights and lowlights in the year’s film and […]
Congrats on the job! 🙂 I’ve not seen Amy but The Force Awakens & Fury Road were easily my top two. Then Ex Machina. Glad you included films watched at home too – I always do too because it seems silly to ignore ones not released that year when doing these end of year lists! I’ve not yet seen Night of the Hunter but it’s moving much further up my Watchlist now. And I’ve heard very good things about The Affair but just ignored everyone. But your Rashomon comment now has me interested!!
Thanks heaps! 😀 I haven’t seen Ex Machina yet, but it’s on my radar for sure. Meanwhile, The Affair is just art in television form. Such an addictive show as well, the way the whole timeline and he-said-she-said element is illustrated is completely captivating!
I would think Ex Machina would be a film you’d definitely appreciate 🙂
Awesome picks yo, as for your favourite film of 2015, I cannot disagree with the choice as Amy was such an incredible documentary that I felt right at my core with its use of archive footage and awesome direction from Asif Kapadia. I also really loved The Force Awakens and Fury Road so I can’t argue with your choices there either. I still need to see Shame and I LOVE Cumberbatch and can’t wait to see him kill it in Doctor Strange. Hope to see great things from you in 2016! 😀
Thanks heaps Curtis! 😀 Amy really was incredible; both the documentary and the singer. I can’t wait to see Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange either! He seems like the perfect fit!
This is one hell of a round up, excellent work here 🙂 Cumberbatch is amazing ❤ And Hannibal… and… there is so much awesome going on on this list!
Why thanks Zoe! Love that Cumberbatch.
All great picks, of course. I think Léa Seydoux and Alicia Vikander are tied for my favorite actress of 2015. Incidentally, the film I enjoyed most last year was Ex Machina. Have you seen it yet? You must! It is beautiful and very well acted. Oscar Isaac is very talented, but he comes across as slightly arrogant to me, so his role in Ex Machina suited him perfectly.
I still haven’t seen Ex Machina! I was thinking about watching it recently but never got around to it. I know next to nothing about the storyline so whenever I see it, it will be a nice surprise. I agree with you on Oscar Isaac – he does seem very self-assured. I know he has some kind of dance scene in the film which is meant to be awesome. Looking forward!