I’ve hardly done any film this year. Instead I’ve been seriously hooked on TV – Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Returned, Game of Thrones, Top of the Lake, The Walking Dead, Orange Is the New Black and The Good Wife to name just a few. Little time for film you see, but I promise to try harder next year.
10. DJANGO UNCHAINED | Quentin Tarantino
I expect everyone has seen this and hey, I know it’s a big film but so what? It’s bloody good. And Jamie Foxx is hot.
9. WHAT MAISIE KNEW | Scott McGehee & David Siegel
The custody battle of Maisie. Husband has basically had a thing with the babysitter who then moves in with husband and child. Mother, played by Julianne Moore (love her) is a singer that has lots of parties and goes on tour. Her boyfriend (played by Alexander Skarsgard, True Blood), gets left with Maisie a lot and meets up with babysitter a lot. Dad moves, mum goes on tour, Maisie is effectively abandoned – babysitter and boyfriend hook up and Maisie gets loved by a couple that aren’t actually her parents.
8. SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY | Drew Tobia
I enjoy a quirky character but Mona is way out there. She’s pregnant but refuses to go to the doctor and could give birth any day – no-one knows exactly when. Her mum and long suffering sister and partner are there to pick up the pieces of her random life which is a result of some form of mental illness. Loads of cringeworthy moments, the best being at a middle class lesbian couple’s leaving party. Mona may be mentally unhinged but look out for some great wallpaper in her apartment.
7. FRANCES HA | Noah Baumbach
Quirky, quirky, quirk, quirk. Greta Gerwig stars (and writes alongside Baumbach), and what emerges is a tale of someone that doesn’t quite fit in. It’s funny but uncomfortable in places, especially when friendships end.
6. BLACKFISH | Gabriela Cowperthwaite
If there is one film this year to really make you question the morality of human beings this is the one. I’d never really thought about Seaworld and places like this before but Blackfish goes into the history of how the Orcas were originally captured, talking to those involved. Scientists explain how whales are psychologically affected and interviews with trainers and footage shows how the company brainwashes trainers and covers up deaths. This film is simply heartbreaking.
5. FLOATING SKYSCRAPERS | Tomasz Wasilewski
Gritty and compelling, Floating Skyscrapers is a tale of a Polish swimmer in denial. He lives with his mother and girlfriend but frequently cheats on her with men. I love one of the final scenes where he is seen washing his girlfriend’s back in the bath looking as miserable as sin. Sums it all up rather nicely.
4. IDA | Pawel Pawlikowki
Pawel Pawlikowski is an absolute god in my eyes. I interviewed him for my MA dissertation as he had filmed Last Resort in my hometown of Margate. He followed this up with the gorgeous Summer of Love. His latest work is as beautiful as ever and focuses on a girl about to take her vows as a nun and the relationship that evolves with her aunt as they trace their family history together. This film really reminds me of the documentary Grey Gardensfor some reason though I can’t put my finger on exactly why.
3. THE BATTERY | Jeremy Gardner
We watched this with friends first time round but I had to excuse myself 5 minutes in due to being stupidly drunkard and having the spins. I put off watching it for ages afterwards because I thought it was going to be a properly horrible horror film in the vein of Wolf Creek or something. How wrong could I be? It’s amazing and funny and desperate and contains a great wanking scene.
2. THE PAPERBOY | Lee Daniels
Speaking of wanking, The Paperboy probably qualifies as the most uncomfortable wanking scene in the history of film (but that shouldn’t be what the film’s remembered for). Nicole Kidman is just bloody brilliant in everything she does (I’ve come to realise), and I fell for her hard as the loved up fiancee of a convict who floats around generally being cool and a little crass, making all the guys love her. John Cusack plays a convict that oozes pure nastiness and Matthew McConaughey nails it as the less than balanced reporter who is investigating Cusack’s conviction. I got so involved in this story that there were a lot of ‘ooohs’ and ‘oh nos’. I may have cried a little at the end as well.
1. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES | Derek Cianfrance
I think that I’m the only person I know that doesn’t fancy the absolute pants off of Ryan Gosling, but as a dirty tattooed motorcycle stunt rider who turns to bank robbery to support a son that he has only just found about, I begin to see the attraction. An incident that occurs pretty early on in the film left me wondering how on earth it could play out, but what results is an engaging story of family and consequence. This film deserves its number one spot without question.