Kulture Shocked's Best of 2015 and Most Anticipated of 2016
2015 was a great year for film with a whole cavalcade of noteworthy films coming out that revitalized genres, franchises, and careers. There was even a little film called Star Wars that came out, you may have heard of it. We recap our pick for best of the year along with taking a look at 2016 as we are here to give our picks for most anticipated of the year.
Best Movie of 2015
Chris: Bone Tomahawk
Oh look, a western as best movie of the year that isn't directed by Quentin Tarantino. Not only does Bone Tomahawk sport a knock-out cast, but it also blends the horror and western genre seamlessly. These two genres haven't been combined enough or with enough success so hopefully BT sparks interest in combining the two. Also, Kurt Russell kills it and rocks one of the best mustaches in film history.
Oscar: Mad Max: Fury Road
Breathtaking from beginning to end, visually staggering, with some amazing performances, and a powerful message, Fury Road is film perfection.
Ben: What We Do In the Shadows
Technically this was a 2014 release, but we didn't get it State-side until the summer, so I'm counting it. Easily the most hilarious movie I've seen in years, this faux-documentary from New Zealand about local vampires was criminally underrated. Just do yourself a favor and Redbox it now. Right now.
Just remember: Werewolves, not swearwolves!
John Lein: Mad Max: Fury Road
It has to be Mad Max, because I haven’t seen Bone Tomahawk yet and Inside out didn’t have a blind, inbred mutant playing an electric guitar while spewing fire and riding a giant percussion/speaker dump truck through the desert at 80 miles an hour.
Sean: It Follows
Okay, my horror freak lost it’s business when It Follows came out, I have seen it many times now, and it certainly has lost it’s luster from when it first came out, but I really want to see more sleeper horror movies like this. The acting was awesome, but the story and the vision were so well captured, that it settled under a lot of people’s’ skin. The movie feels like memory with a brilliant score that harkens back to the pre-internet age where urban legends felt more dangerous and unpredictable.
Ash: Ex Machina
I don’t want to be the third person to say Fury Road so I’ll go with a movie I think was absolutely phenomenal. Ex Machina isn’t underrated by any means but it’s not a particularly well known movie either. If you haven’t seen it you have to go watch it right now. Not only is it a visual feast, it takes the common questions of ethics and morality when discussing Artificial Intelligence and tears them down while subsequently raising new and more compelling questions. Alex Garland is an absolute genius, with his first foray into directing he’s made an absolute knockout movie. If that isn’t enough to convince you to watch the movie, Alex Garland also wrote 28 Days Later and Dredd.
Ryan: Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is an anomaly that I would love to see more of. In a time sick with reboots and superfluous revisitations of old properties, Mad Max stands out. This isn't a watered down, or modernized take on a cult hit. Instead this feels like that films that George Miller always wished he could have made before he was an Oscar-winning superstar. I'm a huge George Miller fan. Babe II will always stand for me as one of the strangest and most daring films of all time. So the joy of seeing him take a hard left turn away from the territory of Happy Feet back into the sadistic joy of Mad Max was a dream I was never sure I'd get to realize. In my mind, its complete mastery of the medium.
Yashar: The Gift
The Gift was a delightfully dark surprise in 2015. Joel Edgerton's directorial debut starred the Australian actor as a twisted and mysterious stranger reintroduced to an old friend and his wife (Jason Batemen and Rebecca Hall) after a dark secret from the past is reintroduced into their lives. Besides the amazingly constructed tension the film presents, it gave the audience one of the more unexpected and morose twists I can recall. I had no idea what to expect going in to see this film, and that's a refreshing feeling in the era of predictability in film. Constantly toeing the line between villain and sympathetic hero, Edgerton's performance alone is worth the price of admission, and The Gift is my top film of 2015.
Most Anticipated Film of 2016
Chris: Independence Day 2: Resurgence
I love the original film. From the 90's power of Will Smith to glory that is Jeff Goldblum to one of the best speeches in movie history, the film had everything. The fact that the new trailer features Bill Pullman's speech from the first film in it put my excitement level from "ok, looks fun" to "TODAY WE CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY". I can't wait, and even if it sucks, it'll still be one hell of a CGI extravaganza.
Oscar: The Nice Guys
There’s a lot of movies I’m looking forward to next year, but the trailer that has best sold me on its film is The Nice Guys. It looks like a hilarious combination of fun action and dark humor. The union of writer/director Shane Black with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe looks like it’ll deliver one of the most entertaining and rewarding movies of next year.
Ben: Captain America: Civil War
It's no secret that I'm an unabashed Marvel fanboy. But even putting that aside, the latest Cap flick looks AWESOME. He's the one Avenger yet to have a movie that wasn't great, so I'm sure this one won't disappoint. If it keeps the tone of The Winter Soldier with the scope of The Avengers, it's gonna be a hell of a flick. Also, Daniel Bruhl as a Hydra baddie - be still, my German-Film-Fanatic heart.
It’s obviously Deadpool because it’s the only one officially announced that I’m unable to force a negative spin on so as to not have my hopes dashed by the entertainment industry machine.
Sean: Hail, Caesar!
I remember desperately trying to get an audition for this movie, it’s loaded with stars, and the whole concept of breaking the fourth wall of big budget film-making sounds like a Mel Brooks comedy, plus it’s the Coen Brothers so it kind of has that 50’s grit underneath it!
Ash: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The second movie in DC’s extended universe and one of the top 3 in the fight for most hyped superhero movie of 2016. I will always be a die-hard DC fan so my vote goes to BvS (though that Civil War trailer was pretty sweet). I don’t want to contribute to the constant Marvel vs DC internet fights but who can say they don’t want to see a live-action Batman fighting Superman in an era of awesome CGI. This movie will decide the success of DC’s cinematic universe and if it’s a hit we’ve all got some epic movies to look forward to.
Yashar: Captain America: Civil War
Cap's newest film is my most anticipated flick of 2016. Why? Because the Winter Soldier is still my favorite Marvel film. The Russo brothers brought a sense of gravity and incredible action that completely rebooted the tone of the Marvel films. I loved Sebastian Stan's Bucky and eagerly await his integration into the Avengers mythos as we get a loose adaptation of one of the most impactful comic storylines in recent memory. Governmental overreaching is what causes the tension between our two heroes, Iron Man and Captain America, as they butt heads over the direction of super heroes in the world. If watching two of my favorite heroes duke it out on screen wasn't enough, they're each bringing their own factions in to the fray as well. We'll be given our first look at Black Panther and the new Spider-Man as well. As much as I wanted to put Deadpool here, I had to stick with Civil War.
Ryan: TMNT: Out of the Shadows
I've got a rough relationship with Michael Bay. Some of his films are undeniably entertaining. Some of them are among the worst blockbusters made. What I will admit is that the trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie touched me in my childhood feels. If the trailer is any indication, they've shed the grim boring tone and said to themselves, "This is a movie about karate turtles." I know I might be setting myself up to get burned, but when I see Bebop and Rocksteady tackle some man-sized turtles, I can't help myself. I get excited. I mean, fuck. It looks like the Technodrome is gonna be there too. What do you want me to say? I'm not about to kill what 90's joy is left in me. The movie I'm most excited for it TMNT.