And here are the other 5 movies in my list – with other films good enough to be mentioned.
Like his two previous films, “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence” is as weird, absurd, and hilarious as you can expect from Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson. Again, we get a free-flowing series of vignettes featuring unhappy urban people who mostly look sad, lonely, sullen, morose, destitute, depressed, and cadaverous as being insulated in their self-absorbed melancholy and drab environment, but the movie somehow feels optimistic under its melancholic surface as we frequently laugh during its many funny moments. We are basically alone in each own individual state of mind, but we are not alone at least in that aspect – and life goes on anyway as we are bumping with each other.
Steven Spielberg’s new film “Bridge of Spies” is a compelling Cold War story deftly balancing itself between several different factors just like its no-nonsense lawyer hero who came into the Cold. Although it can be said that the movie is as unabashed as American apple pie in its historical/political messages, the movie delivers them through top-notch filmmaking skills and the first-rate performances by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, and you cannot help but admire how it simply but elegantly strikes the balance between warm, idealistic human drama and cold, ambiguous espionage tale. Again, Spielberg shows us why he is one of the best filmmakers in our time.
8. 99 Homes
“99 Homes” is another powerful film from Ramin Bahrani which shows more of his versatile talent. He wants to grip us and then shake us hard with social messages in this time, and he did the job well while never letting his story too blatant or preachy. In its vivid, devastating presentation of the daily horrors of foreclosure and eviction in the American society, Andrew Garfield is heartbreaking as a desperate young family man who finds himself gradually corrupted by his new boss, and Michael Shannon galvanizes his every scene as a callous real estate willing to exploit the corrupt system for his own benefit. They say people can do anything for survival, but then there is always the price for that.
9. Wild Tales
“Wild Tales”, an Argentine film which was deservedly nominated in Best Foreign Language Film Oscar early in this year, is like a fabulous dinner course almost perfect from the beginning to the ending. With each own spices and ingredients, its six different stories entertain us as serving a dish called revenge wild, dark, and hilarious. All of these six stories are written and directed by Damián Szifrón, and he deftly present his stories under his smooth, masterful direction, and I found myself laughing or chuckling hard as it went further for more laughs and absurdities to deliver payoffs as satisfying as promised, if not more than that. Overall, the movie is one hell of fun ride you cannot miss.
10. It Follows
“It Follows” is a creepy little horror film with the mounting sense of fear and dread. Unlike those lesser horror films merely hanging on cheap shocks, it knows how to grab our attention through mood and suspense, and it slowly increases the level of suspense step by step amid its seemingly mundane background as constantly reminding us that something very bad is going to happen sooner or later. It learns well from its senior horror films, and it surely deserves high scores for that.
Runner-up (No Particular Order)
“What We Do in the Shadows”, “The Tribe”, “La Sapienza”,
“The Duke of Burgundy”, “White God”, “My Mother”, “Girlhood”,
“Beasts of No Nation”, “Youth”, “Mississippi Grind”, and “Our Little Sister”
Special mention (No Particular Order)
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”, “Spy”, “Trainwreck”
“Love & Mercy”, “Straight Outta Compton”, “Danny Collins”, “Amour Fou”,
“The Lobster”, “Taxi”, “The Second Mother”, “Crimson Peak”, “Sicario”,
“Assassin”, “The Brand New Testament”, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Yes, I belatedly watched them, and they are all good (No Particular Order)
“Whiplash”, “Birdman”, “The Imitation Game”, “Selma”, “Nightcrawler”
“Mr. Turner”, “Force Majeure”, “Leviathan”, “Love is Strange”, “Winter Sleep”,
and “The Dance of Reality”
Documentaries (No Particular Order)
“Citizenfour”, “Last Days in Vietnam”, “The Salt of the Earth”,
“Virunga”, “The Look of Silence”, “Cobain: Montage of Heck”, “Amy”,
“Listen to Me Marlon”, “Red Army”, and “The Hunting Ground”