The close of any year is a time of reflection. When it comes to movies, this instinct is heightened by all of the attention to the various awards, all leading up to that celebration of all things Hollywood, the Oscars!
Because of this, it seems reasonable to throw away my usual rule dictating against crowning any particular film as better than any other and share a list of “favorites” that were brought to the Indie Film Minute community in the year 2015. That said, when going over our archives in support of this intent, there was no lack of guilt rising to the fore. By the very nature of our mission, a film’s inclusion within our exclusive universe indicates its elevated status.
In looking over the resulting selections, it will be most evident that our tastes vary widely. We face no limitations with regard to time (remember, the Indie Film Minute recommends great films to rent, so our list is not limited to films released in any specific calendar year), language (foreign films are a beloved part of our collection), or genre (we’ve featured everything from documentaries to international vampire films). The list is quite varied.
And so, with considerable pain and dejected looks from all of my children left by the wayside, here follows my list of ten favorites:
Sony Pictures Classics
A film as full of laughs as it is heart, Grandma is heightened further due to the presence of Lily Tomlin. When a master emerges from the past, we are rewarded with an effortlessness that raises the bar for the whole.
Sony Pictures Classics
THE TRIPLETS OF BELLVILLE
Fascinating hand-drawn animation allows this filmmaker’s imagination to flow, unrestricted by reality. Playful instinct here flies unfettered. The result? Frog-hunting with hand grenades, massage via vacuum cleaner, a dog as a spare tire—and the detail is so thorough that a fly can land on a toilet and prostitutes can attend to their clients, all in the deep background. Storytelling without limitation!
Open Road Films
Jon Favreau is an indie filmmaker who found great success in Hollywood. He is well liked and has made a lot of friends, so when he went to work on a comparably indie passion project, he brought honed skill and great actors to bear. The result? One of the most enjoyable films in recent memory.
A MOST WANTED MAN
Philip Seymour Hoffman elevated every film in which he appeared. This intricate spy thriller turned out to be his first film released after his untimely passing, so it is hard to judge in any other light. Still, it is challenging in every way, and who doesn’t love a film that respects your intelligence while keeping you glued to your seat?
Wild Bunch Distribution
ENTER THE VOID
The films of Gaspar Noé must always be approached with care. They can be repulsive on first viewing and then, after the fact, evolve in your mind into a masterpiece. This psychedelic trip of a film is no exception. If you are looking for accompaniment for a drug-enhanced evening, this one is your ticket. You won’t even need the drugs. Be careful here…
A Scandinavian film that digs its way into the heart of relationship, exploring the nature of commitment to family. An intelligent and complex film, set in a ski resort. Watch out for that avalanche!
Music Box Films
Worth the watch just for the incredible vistas at the top of the world, this climbing documentary is so much more. Opening with a quest to conquer the unclimbable, we follow these adventurers as they try to resist the pull of an impossible peak. What drives these men? Incredible!
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
This Sundance discovery is effervescent in its uniqueness. A lady vampire cruises the streets of an Iranian city, experiencing life (death) and love, sharing with us mesmerizing images that will last a lifetime. Who could forget the robed, dark angel flying down the street on her stolen skateboard?
VIVA LA LIBERTÀ
This European farce respects our intelligence while commenting on the jaded world of politics and its effect on the soul. When a politician can take it no more, his twin brother, who recently spent time in a mental institution, takes over. Laughs with a brain.
Universal Pictures International
A fascinating exploration of the evil that we may be bringing upon ourselves with artificial intelligence. Can man possibly resist a beautiful machine that is smarter than we are?
Wait! That’s ten? Can’t be! There are so many more!