Best Films in 2015

Seen in 2015: 88 feature films in total. My list is based on the films that have been released in the UK in the year 2015, plus films that I have seen for the first time this year. The year got off to a good start thanks to organising Joost Movie Toast: watching one or two films a day, sometimes with friends or on skype, to combat the January blues and catch up on films.

Best films:

  1. Whiplash
  2. Ex Machina
  3. The Martian
  4. Enemy
  5. Winter Sleep
  6. Citizenfour
  7. The Babadook
  8. Mad Max: Fury Road
  9. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  10. Cobain: Montage of Heck
  11. Man Up

 

TV:

  • Louie — season 1,2,3,4
  • Game of Thrones — season 6
  • Last Man On Earth — season 1,2
  • Hannibal — season 3
  • You and me and the apocalypse — season 1

 

Haveseenlist 2016

This post will be updated throughout the year with all the films that I have seen (hence the name), plus assorted other “seens” worth listing (TV, shorts, events (?)). This is the unabridged version.

  • Ich seh, ich seh
  • Kingsman
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Revenant
  • The Blue Umbrella (short)
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
  • Watch the KLF Foundation Burn A Million Quid
  • The Dark Knight
  • Ex Machina
  • The X-Files (2016 season)
  • Cowspiracy
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs II
  • Before Sunrise
  • Love
  • The Big Short
  • Fargo (season 1)
  • Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine
  • The Might Boosh (season 1, 2)
  • Game of Thrones (season 6)
  • Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente)
  • Bridge of Spies
  • 10 Thins I hate About You
  • The Might Boosh (season 3)
  • Battlebots 2015
  • Fargo (season 2)
  • Tim’s Vermeer

 

Last updated: 31 August 2016

State of VR

http://www.fxguide.com/featured/state-of-vr/

Best films seen in 2014

Seen in 2014: 103 feature films in total. My list is based on the films that have been released in the UK in the year 2014, plus films that I have seen for the first time this year. For the first time I started tracking seasons of TV series I have watched; partially to account for “hours not spent watching films”, partially because in this new golden age of long narrative storytelling TV series seem to be more memorable than many a film.

My favourite films:

    1. Under The Skin
    2. Boyhood
    3. Jodorowsky’s Dune
    4. American Hustle
    5. Grand Budapest Hotel
    6. Mud
    7. A Late Quartet
    8. Calvary
    9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    10. Broken Circle Breakdown

Honourable mentions:

    • Edge of Tomorrow
    • The Wolf of Wall Street
    • Interstellar
    • The Raid 2

 

TV: After actively avoiding it (“fantasy and overly long and solemn conversations between characters..? hmpf!”) I fell for Game of Thrones last year and really enjoyed the most recent season 4. This got topped by two other series: True Detective and Hannibal. Both very bleak, scary and gross at times but so much depth!

 

Haveseenlist 2015

This post will be updated throughout the year with all the films that I have seen (hence the name). This is the unabridged version. See the tab Best films 2014 for a summary.

  • 20,000 Days on Earth
  • I Origins
  • Lantana
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Level Five
  • The Station Agent
  • Winter Sleep
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Interview
  • Rhinoceros Eyes
  • Conte d’été (A Summers’s Tale)
  • Great Directors
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Enemy
  • Sin City: A Dame To Kill
  • Rango
  • Ex Machina
  • Louie Season 1, 2, 3
  • Citizenfour
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • Louie Season 4
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Rabbit and Deer (short)
  • The Living Room (youtube)
  • Inherent Vice
  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • Penguins of Madagascar
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Babadook
  • Housebound
  • Whiplash
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1
  • The Hollow Crown
    • Richard II
    • Henry IV part 1
    • Henry IV part 2
    • Henry V
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Clouds of Sils Maria
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Nightcrawler
  • Cobain: Montage of Heck
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • The Theory of Everything
  • The Last Man on Earth (season 1)
  • Game of Thrones (season 6)
  • Mr. Turner
  • Transcendence
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Locke
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • Burying the Ex
  • Sergio Herman, Fucking Perfect
  • Max Headroom
  • Prometheus
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Pride
  • Godzilla
  • Hercules
  • Hannibal (Season 3)
  • Chappie
  • Tomorrowland
  • The Monuments Men
  • Skyfall
  • Inside Out
  • De Poel
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Martian
  • A Little Night Music (play)
  • Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story
  • Lazer Team
  • The Vatican Tapes
  • The Unspoken
  • Momentum
  • Belly of the Bulldog
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Spectre
  • Heat
  • You and Me and The Apocalypse (Season 1)
  • Man Up
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Double Fine Adventure: Broken Age (21 epsiodes)
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Last Man on Earth (Season 2)
  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Elf

Last updated: 31 December 2015

 

Proper trailers

The past ten years I have started to skip trailers because they reveal too much in an attempt to sell the film. Compare that to the following teasers / trailers that manage to interest you in the film without giving too much away.

 

Platoon (1986)

 

Alien (1979)

 

Watchmen (2009)

 

Apollo 13

 

 

Where the wild things are (2009)

 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011):


(or any of the other trailers for Fincher films to be honest! See also The Social Network, Fight Club)

 

And what about those cases where the trailer is actually BETTER than the film??

Exhibit A: Little Children (2006):

 

I guess what I am saying is that good trailers really should be more like teasers. Maybe I will dedicate a new post to teasers, with that in mind here is a teaser for that post:

Interstellar (2014)

 

And finally, the trailer that does show a lot but still gives me goosebumps like no other trailer:

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

(awesome music: X-Ray Dog “Gothic Power”)

Nearly Normal

After three years at Double Negative I started the year with a clean slate, and am now producer for a small creative studio called Nearly Normal. They (we :-)) are a super inspirational group of people of specialising in stop-motion animation, papercraft and graphic design.Watch The Wolf I Used To Be to see the signature style stop-motion in action, and watch the craft reel to see how these kind of things are made.

The first project I was part of has now launched in the US: Disney Junior’s “Give a book, get a book” campaign – and we made the books come to life!

Best films seen in 2013

Not a lot of films on my haveseenlist in 2013: ninety feature films in total. My list is based on the films that have been released in the UK in the year 2013, plus films that I have seen for the first time this year. At times it seems to make more sense to step in line with “awards season”, and follow the tax year dates from early April til early April; my year lists usually contain a couple of films that others would count as “last year’s films”.

My favourites:

  1. Gravity
    What an intense spectacle! An sensory experience more than a film almost. Funny that a mainstream film like this apparently can still be so devisive; a small sample of my friends either rave about it or are really unimpressed. I fall squarely in the admirer camp. A perfect blend of a simple story with a narrative thrust where new technological tricks put us inside an unforgettable experience. Three years of working in visual effects and understanding how much of an incredible achievement this is probably give this film the necessary bump to the top of my year list instead of just making it to the top three.
    But apart from that: the sound design alone is incredible, so layered, so smart, complemented by the hypermodern score by Steven Price.

    
    
  2. Rundskop (Bullhead)
    I owe Melissa an apology; she loved this film the moment it came out back in 2011, recommended seeing it, then later gave me the DVD with the film, and still it gathered dust and remained unseen. Until I finally found the right moment this year. And boy, what a moment it was to gaze at this Flemish “western”, this Scorcese imbued country side crime thriller. Gorgeously shot and told against the backdrop of an environment we rarely are privy to – the hormone mafia -with a physical and emotional stellar performance by Matthias Schoenaerts to boot.

    
    
  3. Life of Pi
    Visually rich but as always Ang Lee never loses perspective and never stops caring for his characters.

    
    
  4. Before Midnight
    Nine years later, the sequel to the sequel. I dreaded seeing this because Before Sunset was such a perfect follow-up to Before Sunrise. And yet this chapter is a worthy addition to the canon, offering new insights into the lives and relationship of this couple. Stylistically familiar but with small flourishes that keep it fresh. With the years we see less and less varnish, more scars, more anxieties, more honesty.

    
    
  5. Les Miserables
    Surprising that it took so many iterations to get the film version right. Ingeniously circumventing the lip sync problem, the production makes the most of what the musical has to offer and adds the scope (and budget..) of film to the mix.

    
    
  6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    In the midst of the 2013 awards season I managed to be pleasantly surprised by this indie. It plays to its strengths with an unknown but solid cast, rough settings, effective music and the key use of magic realism which shows the film’s ambition.

    
    
  7. Mars et Avril
    One of my highlights during the 29th Imagine Film Festival Amsterdam. A mu-rom-com-com adaptation – a musical romantic comedy comic 🙂 Charming and imaginative.

    
    
  8. Blue Jasmine
    I am really digging Woody Allen’s renaissance of the last decade, and this film is no exception. Put a couple of great actors together, give them something funny and tragic to work with, film it. Next! 🙂

    
    
  9. The Act of Killing
    The concept of this docudrama sounds too far-fetched to work or to be serious, and yet it does and makes for a very uncomfortable viewing. IndieWire has a great write-up “Why 2013 Was a Banner Year For Documentaries, And 2014 Looks Even Better” which highlights how recent documentaries seem to be braver in seeking the grey area between straight-edge factual documentaries and dramatic storytelling.

    
    
  10. Rush
    Great companion to Gravity, because this film too made my heart race purely based on the imagery, sound, music and pacing. One of the Double Negative films I am more proud of 😉

 

Honourable mentions:

  • Upstream Color: wuuuuttt?? Amazingly beautiful, but this needs repeated viewings, both sober and wasted in an attempt to figure out the fabric of this piece.
  • The Battery (29th IFFA) Still/again inspiring to see how using constraints in your advantage can make a no-budget film better.

Haveseenlist 2014

This post will be updated throughout the year with all the films that I have seen (hence the name). This is the unabridged version. See the tab Best films 2014 for a summary.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2
  • Goldeneye
  • Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite)
  • Groundhog Day
  • Catch me if you can
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Die Hard With A Vengeance
  • Monsters University
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Ruby Sparks
  • Prisoners
  • Frozen
  • Honey I shrunk the kids
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Nebraska
  • American Hustle
  • Sound City
  • Gravity
  • Synecdoche, New York
  • District 9
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Sunshine
  • Moon
  • Alien (Director’s Cut)
  • The Thing
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • The Fly
  • Broken Circle Breakdown
  • Mud
  • Ain’t Them Body Saints
  • So I Married An Axe Murderer
  • A Late Quartet
  • Oblivion
  • Stoker
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • TED
  • Boogie Nights
  • This Is The End
  • Spring Breakers
  • Miller’s Crossing
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Les yeux sans visage
  • Woyzeck
  • Intouchables
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Drive
  • World War Z
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Under The Skin
  • Calvary
  • Stand Up Guys
  • Jurassic Park: The Lost World
  • Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
  • Avatar
  • Payback
  • Captain Phillips
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Twelve Years A Slave
  • Nymphomanic (part I)
  • Nymphomanic (part II)
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • Frank
  • Snowpiercer
  • Elysium
  • Limitless
  • Die Hard II
  • Her
  • Auf der anderen Seite (Edge of Heaven)
  • The Fisher King
  • True Detective Season 1
  • Hannibal Season 2
  • The Armstrong Lie
  • How To Train Your Dragon
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Boyhood
  • Back to the Future
  • The Deer Hunter
  • Ratatouille
  • Les garçons et Guillaume, à table!
  • The Prestige
  • Only Lovers Left Alive
  • The Avengers
  • Man On Wire
  • Dark City
  • Utopia (Season 1)
  • Sherlock (Season 3)
  • Cathedrals of Culture 3D
  • Philomena
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Robot & Frank
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Out of Print
  • The Dark Knight
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Inception
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Particle Fever
  • Paris Is Burning
  • The Zero Theorem
  • Lucy
  • Jodorowsky’s Dune
  • We Are The Best
  • The Raid
  • The Raid 2
  • Ice Age 4

 

Last updated: 26 December 2014

Films during my DNEG days

My dneg days are over! What films did I work on, in one capacity or another?

  • John Carter
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Bourne Legacy
  • Total Recall
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • The World’s End
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Rush
  • Captain Phillips
  • Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Transcendence
  • Jupiter Ascending