Seeing as how we’re already halfway through 2015 (how the fuck…?), I figured I’d change things up a little and just go over some of my favorite films that I watched for the first time this year, including both older films and new releases – but I’ll be leaving out films I’ve discussed in detail on this blog already (otherwise stuff like Inside Out, It Follows, Leviathan, etc. would dominate this).
Laurence Anyways (2012) – Xavier Dolan was one of my biggest cinematic discoveries this year, and this one is probably my favorite from what I’ve seen of his – which is essentially everything except Tom at the Farm. It’s a stylish, tender portrait of a trans-gendered lifestyle and works as an upbeat yet unsentimental celebration of the lifestyles depicted in the film.
The Mortal Storm (1940) – This is a film that’s been on my radar for quite some time and I finally managed to track it down this year, and it was just as good as I was hoping. Definitely one of the most challenging, morally complicated films to come out of the World War 2 era of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, and James Stewart absolutely nails it, as per usual.
The Secrets (2007) – Given the recent ruling of gay marriage being legalized all across the US, it’s as good a time as any to check this film out, which tells the story of a budding romance between two students at an Israeli all girls boarding school. Surpasses mere coming of age cuteness and manages to be rather poignant and moving throughout.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997) – By far the best film I’ve watched for the first time this year, this was a tremendously powerful viewing experience. Aided by an understated, melancholic tone, this is a well written small town drama with one of the most dangerous and unsettling narrative hooks in any film I’ve seen from the past 25 or so years.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) – An intelligently written, dramatically compelling World War 2 drama – more of a historical fiction rather than exaggerated dramatic piece – containing some solid battle set-pieces and one of Jerry Goldsmith’s most underrated musical scores.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) – One of the most delightful, high spirited musicals of the 1960’s, and it’s an absolute joy from start to finish. Single-handedly inspired me to seek out as much of Jacques Demy’s films as I’m able to.