2015 Movies To Watch

Since I read festival reports and Cinema Scope, when a new movie premieres in 2015 (say, Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, which played in Berlin back in February), I say “ooh, gotta see that” and add to my 2015 list. Then at the end of the year I list some movies I missed in 2015, and Queen of the Desert goes on there even though it never played theaters or blu-ray, so I’ve never had a chance to see it. I’m gonna try to separate those out this time, only so that later I can remember which movies I actually had a chance to see this year.

Missed in 2015:

The Assassin
In Jackson Heights
Bridge of Spies
Spring
Slow West
Experimenter
Bone Tomahawk
Tangerine
Sicario
Mission Impossible 5
The Good Dinosaur
Joy
Sisters

Festival Premieres and Limited Releases 2015:

Queen of the Desert
Knight of Cups
The Lobster
The Forbidden Room
Cemetery of Splendor
The Pearl Button
Arabian Nights
Carol
Chevalier
11 Minutes
Cosmos
Right Now, Wrong Then
Sunset Song
Office
The Mend
Evolution

Opening Here in January:

Youth
Anomalisa
Mustang
The Wonders
Chi-raq
45 Years
The Hateful Eight
Son of Saul
The Revenant

Critic-recommended but I’m suspicious:

The Big Short
Entertainment
Magic Mike XXL
The Smell of Us
Diary of a Teenage Girl


Consensus favorites are important, but I like to comb the Sight & Sound top-five lists for strays, unusual films that were only seen or loved by one or two critics. And every time I do this, I think what an interesting list, I need to watch all of these. But the consensus faves end up winning… hard to seek out the one-offs when I haven’t made it to Force Majeure or The Assassin or Carol or Bridge of Spies or Whiplash or Nightcrawler or Horse Money or The Look of Silence yet. And of course I’ve made lists like this before, in 2014 and 2011, from Sight & Sound’s big 2012 poll, their 2014 documentary poll and some lists from the last decade and I never do much with them. But hope springs eternal, so here’s another!

Film (director) – who suggested it
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) – Kogonada
High-Rise (Ben Wheatley) – Tom Charity
Aferim! (Radu Jude) – Geoff Andrew
Marshland (Alberto Rodriguez) – Anne Billson
The Dream of Shahrazad (Francois Verster) – Lizelle Bisschoff
Sun Choke (Ben Cresciman) – Anton Bitel
Observance (Joseph Sims-Dennett) – Anton Bitel
Violator (Dodo Dayao) – Anton Bitel
Olmo & the Seagull (Costa & Glob) – Ela Bittencourt
I Remember Nothing (Zia Anger) – Ela Bittencourt
Wake (John Gianvito) – Ferroni Brigade
88:88 (Isiah Medina) – Jordan Cronk
Exotica, Erotica, Etc (evangelia kranioti) – Kiva Reardon
Counting (Jem Cohen) – Gareth Evans
Night and Distance (Lois Patiño) – Adam Nayman
I, Dalio (Mark Rappaport) – Jonathan Rosenbaum
The Thoughts That Once We Had (Thom Andersen) – Jonathan Rosenbaum
Things of an Aimless Wanderer (Kivu Ruhorahoza) – Suzy Gillett
Death of the Serpent God (Damien Froidevaux) – Suzy Gillett
Duty Free Art (Hito Steyeri) – Melissa Gronlund
Bopem (Zhanna Issabayeva) – Peter Hames
Following Nazarin (Javier Espada) – Nick James
Body (Malgorzata Szumowska) – Ania Ostrowska
Chris Robinson picked all animated shorts: The Master (Riho Unt), Pig (Steven Subotnick), Unhappy Happy (Peter Millard), Teeth (Daniel Gray & Tom Brown)
Cows Wearing Glasses (Alex Santiago Perez) – Chloe Roddick
By Our Selves (Andrew Kotting) – Sukhdev Sandhu
Big Gold Dream (Grant McPhee) – Sukhdev Sandhu
Black Code/Code Noir (Louis Henderson) – Sukhdev Sandhu
Rigor Mortis (Juno Mak) – Virginie Selavy
The Death and Resurrection Show (Shaun Pettigrew) – Jasper Sharp
Life May Be (Mark Cousins & Mania Akbari) – The Brad Stevens
Fires on the Plain (Shinya Tsukamoto) – Sato Tadao
Winter Song (Otar Iosseliani) – Celluloid Liberation Front
The Royal Road (Jenni Olson) – Thirza Wakefield
Stand By for Tape Back-up (Ross Sutherland) – Harriet Warman
Toponymy (Jonathan Perel) – Neil Young

And some non-film suggestions from Jonathan Rosenbaum: “This was a strong year for film criticism in general, considering the publications of Girish Shambu’s The New Cinephilia and Adrian Martin’s Mise En Scène and Film Style (among others), not to mention the still burgeoning video output of Kevin B. Lee.”

Found in my notes: “My art/culture life would be easier if I developed a point of view, instead of proclaiming every critic recommendation a must-see.”

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