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The "Big Tuna" Vito Carli weighs in with Summation of the Year in Film

A Comprehensive Look at 2015 in Film
Friend of the store and media gadfly Vito Carli returns to this site with his all encompassing look back at the year in cinema for 2015
Essay by:
Vittorio "Big Tuna" Carli
Sunday, March 6th, 2016
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The biggest change since I have been doing these best films of the year lists (I think I started in 1994) was that back then I saw almost all the films in theatres. Since I don’t have a regular critic gig these days I have been invited to less screenings, and I had to see many more films either on DVD (usually from the library, Netflix or Redbox) or streaming on-line. Some movie companies have even been sending me coded online links to see previews of films instead of preview screening invites or DVDs. Of course we are now entering a post DVD era in film, and some magazines such as Film Comment have suggested that some classics will never make to transition from DVDs to download (just as some VHS films never made it to DVD).

My former editor at the Star Newspapers (Don Snider) loved dog films, and he always included some in his top 10 lists (I admit I did not care for many of them). But this year was the first time ever that I put so many canine themed films on my best films list (Goodbye to Language, White God, and Heart of a Dog), and most of the films were not dogs.

David Bowie and Ornette Coleman were not the only great artists who died in 2015. The brilliant Portuguese film maker, Manoel de Oliveira passed away in April, 2015.  He also may have been the oldest living film maker. He died at the age of 106 and he made his last film at the age of 105. I have only seen about six or seven of his thirty plus feature films, but I can highly recommend Benilde or the Virgin Mother (an obscure and hard to find masterpiece), The Covent (the 1995 film about Shakespeare and the devil), The Letter, Talking Book, and The Strange Case of Angelica (which I picked as the second best film of that year).

2015 was a fine year for music films. There were two excellent pop music biopics (Love & Mercy and Straight Outta Compton), a well-made rock documentary (Amy), and a good experimental film directed by a musician (Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog) which at least was partially was about music.  I also saw one of this year’s two documentaries about Nirvana (Soaked in Bleach) but it was just so-so.

Jean-Luc Godard, the enfant terrible of the ‘60s French New Wave came up with the year’s most arresting and intellectually challenging film in Goodbye to Language at the age of 83. With most of his contemporary colleagues are deceased (Chabrol and Rohmer died in 2010, and Resnais in 2014), Godard might end up being the last one standing.

Although Jacques Rivette made a film this year that I have not yet seen, and Agnes Varda is still around). She even came to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago this year.

But some of my favorite major directors came up short. Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight were somewhat enjoyable but they were extremely uneven, and they never approached the high quality of their directors’ best works (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Kill Bill, Four Little Girls, When the Levee Breaks, and Pulp Fiction.)

Tarantino’s anti-western has some good scenes and it includes his signature over the top violence and time jumps in the plot, but it lacks his usual wicked sense of humor. I don’t know if you missed it but there was an extremely fairly clever and perhaps blasphemous parody of Tarantino’s work on SNL recently titled DJesus Uncrossed that was much more inventive than the Hateful Eight.

I did not bother to see the latest Woody Allen fiasco/implosion, but Hal Hartley (“Ned Rifle”) and David Cronenberg (“Map to the Stars” made excellent films. Todd Hayne’s Carol was perhaps the most visually brilliant film of the year, and it is an outrage that its director did not get a best Oscar nomination.

As far as the mainstream is concerned I know that George Lucas is sniping about the new Star Wars flick, but I found it to be superior to the films in the second trilogy (I only gave Attack of the Clones two and a half stars when I reviewed it when it first came out, and I was probably too generous.) The original cast helped, and I enjoyed the new characters as well. It’s not particularly original but it pleasantly evokes the strengths of the first trilogy.  Still both Mad Max Fury Road and Ex Machina were better sci-fi franchise films.

Of course I did not go in expecting to see a Robert Bresson level work of art. I still can’t quite understand people who see a new Star Wars film as a major quasi-religious event or second coming. It’s still more of a triumph of marketing than artistry. Now a new Blade Runner might be different.

I was not at all impressed with the second Avengers film (it was too overstuffed and it lacked the snappy dialogue and humorous character interactions of the first film), but I got a big kick out of Antman. Paul Rudd was moving and funny as a miniaturized hero who enters a microscopic world seeking redemption for his criminal past. But the best film of the year that was based on a comic or graphic novel was one of the lowest grossing ones, The Diary of a Teenage Girl.

The worst comic film of the year was Fantastic four (no surprise). I did not have a big problem with Johnny Storm’s race change, but the film ruined Marvel’s greatest villain Dr. Doom (the template for Darth Vader.)

Also it was a superlative year for female performances. Even though Harrison Ford probably got paid much more than any actress, it’s hard for me to think of any male performances this year as good as the ones by Saoirse Ronan (in Brooklyn), Juliette Binoche (in Clouds of Sils Maria), Cate Blanchett and Roomey Mara (in Carol), Nina Hoss (Phoenix), Alicia Vikander (in The Danish Girl), Greta Gerwig (Mistress America), and Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars).

I also admired  Marion Cotillard’s Ophelia like take on Lady Macbeth even though I was not as crazy about the latest film version of Macbeth (it was very uneven). The time is ripe for a Kenneth Branaugh (he did direct a good version of Cinderella this year) Shakespearean comeback! I know he would be a great King Lear.

This reads a bit like a radio transcript, and I went through some of this list a few weeks ago on WZRD (Thanks to Cathleen Schandelmeier Bartels). I hope to talk about the European Film Festival on the air in a few weeks.

TOP 50 FILMS 0F 2015

1) Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage)- An anti-narrative cinematic collage about an adulterous couple played by two pairs of actors and actresses. Director Jean-Luc Godard films things (on digital video!)  that you would never see in 3-D in a film such as a dog playing in snow and people discussing literature. This film features some of the most creative cinematic uses of 3-D and  freshest shot compositions I’ve ever seen, and one shot is superimposed over another so if you move your head the image changes.  It's probably more innovative and invigorating (it woke me up completely) than 90% of the Oscar best picture nominees. This non-linear meditation on humanity, love and canines did not make it to Chicago until 2015 (at the Gene Siskel Center), so it made this year’s list. It might be too demanding for the casual viewer. It premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize. In French with English sub-titles.

2) Spotlight-Fine investigative reporting film about how the Spotlight newspaper investigative crew broke the Vatican pedophile scandal in Boston. It contains fine performances by Michael Keaton (who gave the two best performances of his career this decade) and Mark Ruffalo (who was not my favorite Hulk).  It’s nice to be reminded of what real journalism was in this era of “Fox Facts.”  Then again the Spotlight newspaper did initially bury the story for years so you can also read it as a scathing indictment of journalism as well.

3) This is a tie between two French films:

Clouds of Sils Maria- The always impressive Juliette Binoche is an actress who stars in a play about an aging actress whose life was destroyed by a younger rival. At the same time her real relationship to a younger woman (Kristin Stewart) begins to eerily mirror the play. Multi- layered and fascinating.  The underecognized Binoche consistently does better and more challenging work that Meryl Steep. Believe it or not Stewart is also terrific in the film, and she was the First American Actress to Win France's coveted Cesar Award for her role. In French with English sub-titles.

Lil Quinquin- Bruno Dumont’s nearly three and a half hour absurdist comedy/police drama  set in a quirky small town was originally aired as a made for TV show in France in 2014. It is about a doltish police chief who is investigating a cow that was found with human remains inside.  It also has one of the most convincing portrayals of preadolescent idiocy ever plus it has unexpected moments of tenderness.  This is kind of like the Martin TV show mixed with Law and Order directed by Lars Von Trier. This is also a critique of extreme anti-immigrant sentiment (Donald Trump fans take note.) In French with English sub-titles.

4) Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalam-This social justice film about gender politics concerns a woman in      orthodox Jewish culture who finds it almost impossible to get divorced even though the couple  has been separated for years. The whole court system is stacked against her because she’s a woman and almost every scene in the film takes place in the court so it’s like a gripping, frustrating, and intelligent one act play. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards. By the way a “gett” is an Israeli divorce document and the film is in Hebrew, Arabic, and French.

5) Timbuktu-Islamic fundamentalists take over a small formerly free town and they persecute and prosecute everything from smoking to singing to talking on a mobile phone. But the main narrative is about a farmer who gets revenge on the man who killed his cow and the atrocious punishment that the misguided judicial system gives him. The harsh, gritty ending is among the most potent of the year.  Sometimes think that the United States is going in the same direction with the Patriot Act and the incestuous relationship between right wing religion and politics.  In French, English, Tamasheq, and Bambara with English sub-tiles.

6) Love & Mercy-This daring biopic uses two actors to portray the mentally unbalanced genius Brian Wilson in two crucial parts of his life.  In the more modern half, he is pulled two different ways by his new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) and his domineering manager, Paul Giamatti (who played another evil manager in Straight Outta Compton). This underperforming but superlative drama is available for rental.

7) Carol-Todd Haynes’ circular film about a woman who risks losing her daughter because of an affair with another woman is the year’s most scrumptious looking film. It has some of the best uses of color and stunning shot compositions (some of the shots reminded me of stills from Antonioni’s films), and of course Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are excellent. This period piece is very reminiscent of classic Hollywood melodramas especially Douglas Sirk’s works. Blink and you might miss a cameo by the post-riot grrrl/ Sleater-Kinney member, Carrie Brownstein (her band also reunited this year and put out a CD).

8) Youth-This marvelous film stars Michael Caine as a conductor who refuses to come out of retirement for personal reasons related to his past. Both Caine and his co-star, Harvey Keitel deserved Oscar nominations, and Caine created one of the richest, multi layered and real portrayals of a person.  Paolo Sorrentino has made another wonderful film (he also did Great Beauty) that is reminiscent of Federico Fellini’s best work

9) Brooklyn-Completely mesmerizing and well told tale of an Irish woman who comes to America and has to choose between two men and two countries. 2015 was a good year for female performances, but for my money Saoirse Ronan (sorry Brie Larson) deserves to win a best actress Oscar.

10) Tangerine-Even though this highly improvised film about trans gender prostitutes hunting for an unfaithful  pimp was shot on cell phones on a minimal budget, it was superior to most of the year’s big blockbusters (including Star Wars the Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road.) LA is used as a great backdrop, and it makes me want to visit it (but not the areas in the film).  The many hostile arguments seem to erupt from nowhere. Not recommended for family Christmas parties.

11) Maps to the Stars- Julianne Moore, one of my favorite actresses, gives another blistering performance as a maniacal washed up actress, and John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams provide excellent support in this darkly comic attack on Hollywood. Dave Cronenberg’s intellectual and decentering film shows that he is still one of the smartest and challenging directors around. This was a Canadian-French-German-American production but the tone is coldy Canadian.

12.) Phoenix-In this noirish update of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, a Jewish woman with a reconstructed face searches the underworld of Post-World War II Berlin to find her lost love, who was probably a Nazi informant.  When she finally finds him, he doesn’t recognize her, and he hires her to play herself so that he can get her money. He tries to mold her into her old self in Vertigo like twist. This powerful film deals with the whole sale destruction of personality and memory that took place during the Holocaust. This premiered in Chicago in the Gene Siskel Center’s European Film Festival. In German with English sub-titles.

13.) The Best of Enemies-Outstanding documentary about the endless feud between the two erudite intellectuals, William F.  Buckley, a founder of modern conservative thought and the ultra-left leaning, author, Gore Vidal. Compared to the debates in this film, modern political debates seem trivial, buffoonish and anti-intellectual. Thanks Donald.

14.) It Follows-Potent thriller about a young woman (played by Maika Monroe) who is pursued by a very slow shape shifting demon after she sleeps with the wrong guy. She has to make a moral choice because if she sleeps with anyone else the spirit will pursue that person. This is the freshest horror film in ages.

15.) Mad Max: Fury Road-This quasifeminist reimagining of the Mad Max world was this summer’s most riveting action film/blockbuster event. Charlise Theron may be one of the all-time great action heroines. This might actually improve on the original films in the series (it’s from the same director.)

16.) White God (Fehér isten)-A lonely girl bonds with a mixed breed dog, but when he is cruelly mistreated he turns against the whole human race.  We are supposed to draw parallels between the plight of dogs and immigrants. This is kind of like Planet of the Apes with canines instead of simians. White God won the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. In Hungarian with English sub-titles.

17.) What We Do in the Shadows- A spinal tap style, Monty Python influenced documentary/comedy about vampires from New Zealand was one of the year’s most amusing and marvelously inventive films. The main reason that it’s this low on the list is that I saw it in the beginning of the year so I don’t remember it as well as the other films. In English, German and Spanish.

18.) Salt of the Earth-Gorgeous documentary about a photographer from Brazil, Sebastiao Salgado who used his b/w photos as social commentary to witness the human condition.  This film was directed by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the photographer’s son and Wim Wenders, one of the leading lights of the German New Wave. Some of the powerful settings that the photos capture include Rwanda after a war and the Galapagos Islands. Wenders and his contemporary, Werner Herzog have made one great film after another for over four decades.  In French, Portuguese, and English.

19.) Amour Fou-Slow moving but haunting film about a depressed poet who is desperately searching for the perfect woman to commit suicide with.  Not to be confused with the Jacques Rivette film,  L'Amour fou. Based on the last days of German Romantic poet’s Heinrich von Kleist’s life.  This premiered in Chicago in the Gene Siskel Center’s European Film Festival. In German with English sub-titles.

20.) Diary of a Teenage Girl- A creative but shy teen has an affair with her mom’s boyfriend. She is also a comic artist and we see the fantasy world she creates on screen. One of the rare smart art films that actually made it to the south suburbs this summer (I saw it at Crestwood Cinema.) Based on the terrific graphic novel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner.

21.) Beasts of No Nation-Potent African film about a boy who loses his family to violent rebels.  He is adopted by the rebel army, and ends up a prepubescent soldier serving the people that ruined his life. The sergeant is played by Iris Elba who received a best supporting actor Golden Globe nomination. This film may have been under recognized because it angered many industry insiders because it was released online the same time as theatres. In English and Twi with English sub-titles.

22.) A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence –Rewarding but hard to get through absurdist film directed by Roy (Songs from the Second Floor) Andersson. There is not an actual plot in the film, but it is comprised of a series of absurdist vignettes (some are about a pair of pathetic salesmen that sell gag gifts door to door such as fangs.) Many of the shots are like stills with all of the people in the background frozen, and the whole film plays like an experimental theater piece captured on film with lots of long takes and scenes with people in the background frozen like statues. The film was inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting" "Hunters in the Snow" and he was wondering what the birds were thinking about the humans. Recommended mostly for lovers of the esoteric. In Swedish with English sub-titles.

23.) The Big Short-Wickedly funny film about the corruption of the US financial system benefits from a great all-star cast including Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell and Brad Pitt. The film gets a bit smarmy at times with its self-reflexive asides. Great script though.

24.) The Walk-Celebratory and inspiring tale of a French high wire artist (Joseph Gordon-Levitt in yet another winning performance) who walks over a rope suspended over the twin towers. Well directed by Robert (Back to the Future) Zemeckis. I’m supersized this up lifting film did not get more attention.

25.) Straight Outta Compton-Excellent biopic about NWA, the controversial and highly influential gangsta rap band that were exploited by their manager. Ice Cube is played by his real life son who looks strikingly similar to his dad. Oh and of course the music is great too.

26.) Ex Machina-Another story about a man who falls for an artificial female life form, but this film goes in a completely different direction than Her or Electric Dreams. Alicia Vikander who portrays the synthetic lady is a definitely a talent to watch (she was also in The Danish Girl and The Man from Uncle.)

27.) Amy-Fine documentary about the talented but ill-fated boundary smashing English soul-jazz-pop-rock singer Amy Winehouse.

28.) Listen Up Philip!-Engrossing story of a disturbed young novelist (wonderfully played by Jason Schwartzman) and his friendship with a famous novelist who serves as his mentor.

29.) Mississippi Grind-Mesmerizing road film about two gamblers and the ups and downs they encounter living off their wits. It’s a pleasure to soak up the local conversations, varied locales, and interesting quips and stories.

30.) The Duke of Burgundy-Audacious film about a wealthy insect expert who dominates her younger lover/maid or is it the other way around?  She suspects the maid has been unfaithful when she is seen polishing another woman’s shoes. This gorgeous lesbian s and m film is much more sophisticated and thoughtful than Fifty Shades of Grey, and it raises questions about the nature of control. British Director Peter Strickland (he did Bjork: Biophilia Live) effectively builds suspense and he enhances the viewer’s imagination because he hides as much as he shows. This is available on Netflix and since there are so many close-ups the films does not lose much impact by being seen on a smaller screen.

31.) Ned Rifle-An ultra-religious boy sets out to murder his ex poet laureate father accompanied by a young woman who has some secrets. Hal Hartley’s absorb end to the Henry Fool trilogy is silly, unbelievable, and totally fascinating. It’s great to see the former Indy film queen, Parker Posey return to her role of Fay Grimm, the boy’s mom.

32.) Queen and Country-Worthwhile British comedy about a pair of anti-authoritarian soldiers is like a World War II version of MASH. John Boorman has created a delightful sequel to his earlier classic, Hope and Glory.

33.) Mistress America-Greta Gerwig is wonderful (in another collaboration with Noah Baumbach) as a student who tries to help her flighty future stepsister start a business.

34.) Creed-This powerful sports movie is able to pleasantly evoke the original film, and is actually able to recapture most of its greatness. Michael B. Jordan plays the son of the original Apollo Creed, and Stallone’s Rocky character takes him under his wing for some intense training. Tessa Thompson is good as Creed’s love interest a creative club musician who is losing her hearing.

35.) Room-This Kubrick inspired film about a woman and son held prisoner in a room creates a supreme feeling of claustrophobia (similar to the feeling I got from The Shining). The slow otherworldly pacing is fascinating, and the film does what is trying to do but I did not always like what it was trying to do.

36.) Trainwreck-Amy Schumer proves once again that she is a major comic talent, and the climactic scene is classic.

37.) Far from the Maddening Crowd-Handsome adaption of the great Thomas Hardy novel about a woman who must choose between three suitors, so of course she makes the wrong choice. As much as I liked this, the 1967 Julie Christie version is even better.

38.) The Danish Girl-Well acted story of a man who poses as a woman named Lilly in order to model for his wife’s portraits.  Eventually Lily develops into separate and dominant female persona, and this causes problems in his marriage.

39.) Dope-A trio of African American nerds accidently gets involved with drug dealers when then accidently pick up some dope. This plays like a smarter than average hip sitcom with elements of Risky Business mixed in. Featuring a refreshingly unsterotypical portrayal of black youth (I think fans of the show Community and early Big Bang Theory will like it.)

40.) Ant Man- Totally enjoyable comedic Marvel comics film about a criminal who steals a new experimental costume which allows him to shrink and talk to insects. Paul Rudd is impressive as former felon who seeks redemption, and Michael Douglas is good as his mentor, the original Ant Man. This is more like Incredible Shrinking Man or Fantastic Voyage than your typical superhero film. Still the Jessica Jones Netflix series was this year’s best Marvel comics adaptation (and perhaps one of the best shows period).

41.) Black Panthers: Vanguard to the Revolution-Terrific documentary shows how the US government was able to pit two factions of the party against each other until it was destroyed. Viewers should also look for The Murder of Fred Hampton (one of my former colleagues at Columbia College did the cinematography.)

42.) End of the Tour-Jesse Eisenberg plays a journalist who gets to meet his role model, a deeply troubled famous author. The film is merely good, but Jason Segal is excellent as the author.

43.) Time out of Mind-Richard Gere is marvelous in the unromantic role of a homeless man. There is little plot, but the film follows his day to day struggles to get by, and his sad relationship to his step daughter.

44.) The Revenant-Watchable but not especially memorable film about a man who spends most of his time fighting nature (I did love the grizzly scene.) He is buried alive (hence the title) by a fellow fur trapper and hunts him down for revenge. I’m sorry but I still don’t think DiCaprio is an A plus world class actor yet (Aside from Gilbert Grape), and he did not deserve a best actor Oscar nomination.

45.) Armor of Light-Interesting documentary about a conservative Pasteur who loses most of his flock because (gasp) he supports sensible gun control legislation.

46.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens-I was never a Star Wars fanatic, but I was mostly entertained by this engaging but derivative story of the emergence of a new Jedi Knight. It’s great to see Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher playing the old characters again, and I was genuinely moved by the big death in the film. However, the villain is like a weak imitation of Darth Vader and Dr. Doom. I’d still rather watch the original trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy or the original Star Wars, but this J.J. Abrams work is certainly an improvement over the second trilogy (sorry Lucas.) I would not have problems recommending this film.

47.) Sicario-Impressive cast (including Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin) and Emily Blunt) play government agents trying to navigate around the tendrils of a Mexican drug cartel to make a big bust.  Not as good as Traffic (either the film or British miniseries.)

48.) Heart of a Dog-Laurie Anderson’s (she’s a respected singer/performance artist) highly experimental meditation on life, her dog, and her late husband, the late Lou Reed. I enjoyed this bold film, but I liked some of her ‘80s films and videos better.

49.) The Martian-I’m a huge Ridley Scott fan, but this is nowhere near the quality of Alien, Thelma and Louise, Blade Runner or Prometheus. Matt Damon is fine as an astronaut who must fend for himself when he is left behind on the angry red planet. Believe it or not this sci-fi film which has very few laughs won a Golden Globe for best comedy.

50.) The Final Girl-Interesting Meta mad slasher flick about a group of real teens that get stuck in a fictional horror film.

Honorable Mentions:
Blackhat, Chi-Raq, Cinderella, The Experimenter, The Gift, Good Night Mommy, Going Clear, The Hateful Eight¸ Inside Out, In the Heart of the Sea, Kingsman Special Service, La Sapienza, Macbeth, Magical Girl, Me Earl and the Dying Girl, A Most Violent Year, Nasty Baby, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window, Queen of the Earth, Red Army, Ricki and the Flash, Unfriended, You’re Beautiful When You’re Angry, We Are Your Friends


Best supporting actor-John Cusack for Chi-Raque (mostly for one great scene), Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight, and Harvey Keitel for Youth plus the whole cast of The Big Short (there were no leads)

Best actress- Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn (Runner ups- Juliette Binoche (for Clouds of Sils Maria), Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (for Carol),  Brie Larson (for Room), and Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars)

Best supporting actress-Greta Gerwig for Mistress American (Runner Ups: Jane Fonda in Youth, Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy, Rachel Weisz in Youth, Mia Wasikowska for Maps to the Stars, and Kristen Stewart (for Clouds of Sils Maria)

Best Director-Jean-Luc Godard  for Goodbye to Language  (Runner Ups:  Olivier Assayas for Clouds of Sils Maria, Abderrahmane Sissako for Timbuktu, Paolo Sorrentino  for Youth, Todd Haynes for Carol, and Kornél Mundruczó for White God)

Best Cinematographer- Edward Lachman for Carol (Runner Ups: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, Fabrice Aragno for Goodbye to Language, Sean S. Baker and Radium Cheung for Tangerine, Emmanuel Lubezki for the Revenant, István Borbás and Gergely Pálos for A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence)

Best Screenplay-Spotlight (Runner Ups- Clouds of Sils Maria, Love &Mercy, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Mississippi Grind and Phoenix)

Best Documentary- Best of Enemies

Most Promising Newcomers- Alicia Vikander (for The Danish Girl and Ex Machina), Tessa Thompson (for Creed), and Maika Monroe (for It Follows)

Most Promising new director- Marielle Heller for Diary of a Teenage Girl (Runner ups-David Robert Mitchell for It Follows, Alex Garland for Ex Machina, Laurie Anderson for Heart of a Dog)

Best soundtrack-Duke of Burgundy with music by Cat’s Eyes

Best Use of Unoriginal music- Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl for its masterful use of Brian Eno’s Another Green World and Lou Reed’s Street Hassle

Best use of old footage on a new TV show (I could not resist putting this in): The David Bowie tribute on Saturday Night Live resurrected my favorite performance ever from the show (the thin white duke and Nomi doing Boys Keep Swinging.)

PS:  I did not see About Elly, Arabian Knights, The Assassin, Anomolisa, Bridge of Spies, Eden, Everest, Fish and Cat, Forbidden Room,  45 Years,  Grandma, Hard to be a God, Heaven Knows What, Horse Money,  Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, Jauja, Listen Up Marlon, The Lobster, Look of Silence, Lost and Beautiful,  Merchants of Doubt, Mustang, 99 Homes, No Home Movie, Office, Out 1: Noli me Tangere, Paddington, Poet on a Business Trip, A Poem is a Naked Person, Queen of the Earth, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs, Taxi, The Tribe, and Visit, or Memories and Confessions, The Wonders so I’m sure this list will be updated, and some may appear on my best of 2016 list.

Worse/Most disappointing of the year:
American Ultra,  Barely Lethal, D Train, Fantastic Four, Tomorrowland.

You can read more of Vittorio Carli’s articles at

Article © 2016 Alternate Reality, Inc.