By Paris Spence-Lang and James Olson
VANCOUVER — It was a good year for cinema, and while it would take every page in the magazine to do all our favourite films justice, we’ve argued our choices to bring you five favourite films of the year—in this exact order. Binge ‘em, hoard ‘em out, or mash ‘em together—but however you do it, watch these films.
- Inside Out
Remember Finding Nemo? Inside Out is that, but instead of a daddy fish trying to find his baby fish, it’s your own emotions trying to find some semblance of self left over from your broken childhood. Err, at least for some of us. Following Joy and Sadness as they search for their human’s happiness, this movie will take you on a highly personal, emotional journey (literally) that will leave you grasping for mommy’s hand. The theater floor isn’t covered in popcorn—that crunch is the fake grown-up façades that millions of movie-goers shed while watching Inside Out.
- Mad Max: Fury Road
Catching many summer movie-goers by surprise, George Miller’s return to post-apocalyptic Australia not only stomped all over its seasonal competition, it succeeded in setting a new standard as a modern action classic. Boasting jaw-dropping stunt work, badass car battles, and a brilliantly executed tale of rescue and redemption, Mad Max: Fury Road is an absolute miracle of modern cinematic storytelling. This is one hell of a ride, and if there aren’t flamethrower guitars at Tom Lee within the decade, I’m moving to Australia.
The latest in a near-infinite string of Charlie Kaufman classics, the master of meta tackles something new: stop motion. The medium is both endearing and unsettling as you follow Michael Stone through his incredibly monotonous life. And he’s not just surrounded by yuppies—everyone in Stone’s world has the same voice and face, including his wife and kid… everyone, that is, except Lisa (she’s an anomaly—get it?). Of course, Kaufman would never let his characters simply be happy, and the resulting spiral of modern psychopathy is scarier than any horror film. And it’s all made of yarn!
- Ex Machina
When a young programmer is invited to a reclusive genius’s home to test the human qualities of a groundbreaking A.I. system, he discovers something that will change his life forever. In the fashion of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner or Danny Boyle’s Gattaca, the pace is methodical with the plot proceedings shrouded in an air of tense unease and mystery. Making the most of a small cast and throwing enough twists and turns to keep the audience on their toes, Ex Machina is an intelligent and poignant science fiction thriller. And, as editor Alex Hudson will tell you, it’s pronounced mackina.
- The Martian
Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, and Sean Bean cater to the geeks in this science-heavy space thriller. When an astronaut gets stranded on Mars, he has to survive for an absurd amount of time by growing potatoes in his own shit, then driving an electric car fueled by nuclear waste across the planet—essentially Macgyver for the intellectual. Full of beautiful cinematography, constant action, and physically painful dad jokes, The Martian is an endearing flick that will entertain and educate, at least if you’re planning a trip to Mars.
Honourable Mention: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Dear readers of the future, circa Dec. 18th,
A long time ago in a theatre far, far away, some of us had not yet seen Star Wars: Episode VII, so I request that, if it sucks, please do not travel back in time to tell us. For the moment, we get to look forward to stepping into our seats, donning our 3D glasses, and wielding our Glosette boxes like little purple lightsabers while anticipating what is sure to be the greatest movie of the decade. Or at least the year. Best of December? We don’t know, and we don’t care, because Star Wars, baby. Star Wars is back. And we can only hope that Jar Jar Binks isn’t.Anomalisa, BC, Best Of 2015, British Columbia, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Mad Max Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian