The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Christopher Webster [Celluloid 12.22.15] post apocalyptic apocalyptic scifi horror animation action cult thriller crime adventure arthouse avant-garde



From advanced robotics, to time travel, to modern revenge fantasies, 2015 turned out to be a pretty stellar year for genre fans. Not everything landed - you won't see any comic book movies on this list - but for the most part there were a handful of must-see movies that emerged.

So, as the year comes to a close, it's time to update your letterboxd lists to ensure you don't lose track of these titles. And as always, tell us what we missed!


Here we go!




With Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller brought his trend-setting PA franchise screaming into the modern cinematic landscape. Loaded with cultural and social criticism ("who killed the world?!") as well as breathtaking visual panache, Mad Max is back and bolder than ever.





Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with Ex Machina, an emotional and thought provoking chamber thriller about a three-way between an AI, its creator and a stranger brought in to test it. Classic science fiction questions emerge, the results of which are fascinating and deliciously oblique.





If you can get through the first meandering 30 minutes of Sebastian Schipper's more than 2 hour one-take experimental thriller, Victoria will take you for one hell of a ride through Berlin. A film whose journey into being is as interesting as the final product, Schipper apparently shot the film three times and it only clicked on the 3rd. Seriously worth tracking down, guy and gals. This is one of the best of the year.





For the Spierig Brothers' follow-up to Daybreakers they chose to take on Robert Heinlein's Predestination, a time twisting yarn that emerges both emotionally bold and beautiful to look at. the film also introduced us to Sarah Snook who emerges as a major talent.





Damián Szifrón's Wild Tales is a tasty plate of Spanish movie tapas dipped in modern frustration and revenge fantasies. It's darkly funny and irreverent and just wonderful. An anthology film that's good all the way through until the last, wildest tale of all.





It Follows seemed to ease itself into the pantheon of great American horror films with great confidence. It's a film that feels like it's always been here, but only now discovered. Part of a new arthouse horror movement that's becoming more popular of late, It follows is both aesthetically and technically rigorous. And while its logic might leave you scratching your head at times, it remains one of the best horror films of the year.





Another filmmaker would be satisfied with a straight forward revenge tale (and The Revenant is an excellent one) but Iñárritu offers up a far more layered and emotionally complicated tale of revenge and redemption with a leading character that is both charismatic and unlikable. DiCarprio fully immerses himself in the role of Glass, a man who is a bit of an enigma.





Perhaps a controversial choice, but I found Craig Zobel's adaptation of Z for Zachariah to be an effective PA drama that worked in the same ways that Ex Machina did. A chamber piece involving three characters who cope in the wake of a disaster. The writing is good, the drama works and it emerged as one of the hidden gems of the year.





Gregg Turkington's alter ego "Neil Hambuger" has been performing "anti-comedy" for years now and in Entertainment the man behind the persona seems to be breaking through to give us a a piece of performance art, or anti-entertainment, as an examination of the performer's psyche.

The film will enrage many, which is part of what makes it so special.





S. Craig Zahler's Bone Tomahawk is a brutal blend of genres resulting in a lost-civilization splatterpunk western with brains. Zahler's script brims with great dialogue that some will dub Tarantino-esque. but is doing its own thing entirely. Kurt Russell leads a gigantic cast including Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Lili Simmons.





Star Wars is arguably the most important Hollywood film of all time and I can't even imagine the pressure J.J. Abrams must have felt bringing it back to the big screen. After so many years of prequel hate and weird nerd-rage against George Lucas, he was knowingly putting himself into the line of fire in a profound way.

The good news is that Force Awakens emerged as not only a good Star Wars movie, but a fun and emotional space opera the likes of which we haven't really seen since 1983. Sure, its plot is essentially a remix of the best of the original trilogy, but its scope, practical FX and charming new characters plant it right in the canon and sent us grinning like idiots into a future where we'll see a new Star Wars film every year for rest of our lives. I think I finally understand how comic book fans feel.






When a film gets booed at Cannes, we're interested. Like The Brown Bunny, Marie Antoinette and Only God Forgives before it, Ryan Gosling's directorial debut Lost River is a singular vision that, sure, borders on indulgent, but in the best way possible. Lost River is mysterious and lavish and dark and violent and will leave you wanting to see more films like it.





Don Hertzfeldt is no stranger to high concept short films. His previous work has earned him over 200 awards and an oscar nomination, not to mention he created what is easily the best Simpsons intro sequence ever made. But World of Tomorow is simply the finest work he has done so far, it’s an almost transcendental 16 minutes of cerebral sci-fi that does what only the very in best speculative fiction can do; it uses the freedoms of the genre to meditate and comment on the human condition right here and right now.

Read Daniel Olmos' full review of World of Tomorrow.





I think it's fitting that Turbo Kid released the same year we got Fury Road, as it feels influenced in equal parts by 80's Mad Max ripoffs and vintage Mattel.

Turbo Kid is a child's vision of the apocalypse with BMX's instead of cars, and all the OTT moments and violence you'd expect. A quick look behind the scenes tells you why. It was directed by three hyperactive French Canadians with sick senses of humour.

If you liked Hobo With a Shotgun then Turbo Kid will bring you great joy. If you're dead inside, you may not understand why the film is one of the best of the year.

Listen to our interview with the directors.




A heavy metal horror movie that wears its love of early Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi on its sleeve, Deathgasm is dead funny and violent. The best news? A sequel has been announced!





Synchronicity is a tightly-wound, time-jumping thriller that leans into its 80's influences in a BIG way. We're talking a score that's VERY Vangelis, Brutalist architecture everywhere you look and lots of light beaming in through half opened Venetian blinds.

Quiet Earth lovingly compared it to a "straight-to-video Trimark release" and I agree. It feels like a discovery of sorts. It hits wide January 22, 2016 so watch for it.





Whoever decided to not fund more of Parallels immediately after this first 90 minutes is crazy. The show/film produced for Fox Digital about a building that is a hub between parallel earth's is a must see standout of the year.

Catch it on Netflix.


Honourable Mentions:

The Duke of Burgundy

The Keeping Room

Goodnight Mommmy





You might also like

avatar

Keith (2 years ago) Reply

Damnit! When am I going to find time to watch all of these... gah!

avatar

Mirko (2 years ago) Reply

I've seen it all,I recomand you to see Mad Max road furry ,if you are a boy,you will love it.

avatar

Lenny (2 years ago) Reply

Everyone loved Ex Machina so much, but I was only slightly entertained. On a different note the movie Uncanny just came OnDemand and OMG WTF it's an exact copy of EM only with sexes of human and robot reversed. Somehow not an Asylum release ether...Again WTF ?

avatar

Marina (2 years ago) Reply

Haven't seen that. Will have to look into it

avatar

Not Quite Human (2 years ago) Reply

Great list. Have not seen every film but almost. Thought Fury Road was good but somewhat overrated. Loved Predestination even tough I already know were it was going since I've read the short story. Really love that you put Lost River on this list, it deserves all the attention it can get.

avatar

carpe occasio (2 years ago) Reply

The 97% for Mad Max on Rotten Tomatoes reflects the sensibilities of modern-day moviegoers. Fury Road is beautiful to look at, but has a threadbare plot. Max doesn't even need to be in the movie.

Ex Machina had a weird, interesting first act; a thought-provoking, "what really is AI" second act; and a lazy, cliched third act. Why do androids always become murderous psychopaths? Why are parts easily interchangeable with just a click? And why does skin come on and off with no seams?

avatar

zaphod777 (2 years ago) Reply

Z for Zachariah was shite!

avatar

Wumpus (2 years ago) Reply

I was surprised to see Bone Tomahawk on this list, but then I watched it today (it just came on Amazon Prime). Terrific! I loved the way that everyone actually seemed like a believable person making reasonable decisions, and it was actually pretty funny at times.

avatar

JACINTO (2 years ago) Reply

WOW!! MAD MAX was like watching some dumb glitzy vegas show

avatar

detour jones (2 years ago) Reply

It was great to see Entertainment on your list (I do not believe it has made many lists... and that is wrong... and also probably right... and such is the film). I saw it back in September and it is still hanging out in my thoughts.


Leave a comment