Watched This Year: 2015

Good day, everybody!

If you’re like me, then you like to keep track of things. Notes, lists, drafts — they’re everywhere! In an effort to keep track of everything I watch, I am going to introduce a series of posts: Watched This Month and Watched This Year. The monthly version will list all movies and television shows I have watched in a given month (regardless of when they were released or whether or not I’ve seen them before) and the yearly version will chronicle the entire year. Accompanying the title of the film and/or television show will be a score out of five and some general comments, which will essentially allow me to review everything I watch. Genius, right! It’s the last day of 2015, so let’s start this series with Watched This Year: 2015. On average, I’ve managed to watch just under one film a week this year, which isn’t too great. Let’s try to double that next year!

Side note: Though there’s a very snappy, mini-review of everything here, I’ll still be writing more extensive reviews of films and TV shows that I want to delve a little deeper in to. Any reviews I’ve already done will be hyperlinked below.

Film Rating
’71 ~ My introduction to Jack O’Connell; an action-drama set during The Troubles. Compelling and well acted, but not amazing. ★★☆☆☆
21 Jump Street ~ If you’re in the mood for a comedy, Jump Street will deliver then some. Hill and Tatum have great chemistry. ★★★☆☆
22 Jump Street ~ More of the same but a lot of fun. A sequel done right. The montage of supposed sequels at the end was genius. ★★★☆☆
99 Homes ~ Gripping performances from Garfield and Shannon. Consistently great throughout, but lacked that special something.
Ant-Man ~ A lot of fun but nothing special. Works well both as part of the Avengers universe but also as a stand alone film.
Brooklyn ~ Perfection from Saoirse Ronan in my favourite new release of 2015. Fluently written, shot and performed; simply delightful. ★★★★
Carol ~ Blanchett and Mara are fabulous and display some wonderfully subtle acting. The cinematography is superb; some truly beautiful shots. ★★★☆☆
Creed ~ A fine film but more of the same from the Rocky franchise; expected something a little different. Stallone is great, though. ★★★☆☆
Cyberbully ~ Interesting premise but fell flat with some coincidental writing. Maisie Williams generally good. Shot fluently all in one location. ★★☆☆☆
Disturbia ~ A fun film; nothing remarkble but Shia LaBeouf has a lot of charisma. Somewhat like a hip, modern Rear Window. ★★☆☆☆
Drive ~ Style over substance perhaps, but absolutely stunning nevertheless. Amazing soundtrack. Avoid the BBC score. ★★★★☆
End of Watch ~ An unconventional take on the buddy cop genre, very funny and surprisingly dramatic, but I didn’t find it particularly memorable. ★★★☆☆
Enemy ~ A stunning performance from Gyllenhaal. A very complex and intelligent script. Tough to make sense of immediately, but absolutely mesmerizing. ★★★★☆
Ex Machina ~ An enthralling debut from Alex Garland. Isaac, Gleeson and Vikander are all on a roll and come together wonderfully. Frequently clever, tense and exciting. ★★★★☆
House of Sand and Fog ~ Connelly and Kingsley are absolutely spellbinding in this profoundly affecting film. One of my favourite discoveries of the year. ★★★★★
Inside Out ~ A good film, but maybe it went over my head somewhat. I didn’t enjoy is as much as the critics seemed to. ★★★☆☆
John Wick ~ Very linear and not overly complex, but nonetheless a great action romp. Keanu Reeve is on point. Looking forward to the sequel. ★★★☆☆
Jurassic World ~ Largely disappointing with few redeeming factors. Great effects, poor writing. Rolled my eyes a whole lot. ★★☆☆☆
Kick-Ass 2 ~ Competent, but nowhere near as good as the first. Jim Carrey is brilliant, but in the film not nearly enough. ★★☆☆
Kingsman: The Secret Service ~ Huge amounts of fun, but I seem to have forgotten all about it. Beside the church scene, not overly memorable. ★★★☆☆
Kung Fury ~ A great independent flick; hilarious and over-the-top. A lot of pop culture nods from the 80s to the present. ★★★☆☆
Life After Beth ~ Interesting premise; dragged a little. Ultimately mediocre. Been a long while since a great zombie movie. ★★☆☆☆
Mad Max: Fury Road ~ Massive amounts of fun; possibly one of the best action movies ever. Hardy, Theron and Hoult are great. What a lovely day! ★★★★☆
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl ~ Funny, emotional and at times unconventional. Extremely powerful ending with perfect accompanying soundtrack. ★★★★☆
Prisoners ~ One of the best movies of recent times; both Gyllenhaal and Jackman are phenomenal. Extremely tense, with a perfect ending. ★★★★
Rush ~ A remarkable film chronicling the relationship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Why wasn’t Brühl nominated for an Oscar? ★★★★☆
Shaun the Sheep Movie ~ Another great from Aardman. No dialogue, but well written nonetheless and very lovable. ★★★☆☆
Sicario ~ Extremely tense, but I went in expecting something different. Need to give it another watch. Blunt is outstanding, though. ★★★☆☆
Song of the Sea ~ A fine film, but feels a little wonky story-wise. More knowledge of the folklore would have helped. Beautifully illustrated, however. ★★★☆☆
Southpaw ~ Extraordinary performance from Gyllenhaal, but a fairly run-of-the-mill plot. The whole movie really was in the trailer. ★★★☆☆
Starred Up ~ Extremely gripping; Jack O’Connell and Ben Mendelsohn are superb. Many intense sequences and some great dialogue. ★★★☆☆
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope ~ A classic, as good now as it was on first viewing many years ago. Wonderful looking back to where it all started. ★★★★☆
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ~ A surge of nostalgia and a fantastic return to the franchise. Many disappointing parallels with A New Hope, though. ★★★☆☆
Terminator Genisys ~ Definitely not the worst; better than Rise of the Machines and Salvation. Emilia Clarke is really not that bad. ★★★☆☆
The Age of Adaline ~ Not mind-blowing but certainly worth a watch; Blake Lively is spellbinding. A great supporting performance from Harrison Ford. ★★★☆☆
The Danish Girl ~ An important film chronicling the lives of two very enchanting and loving people. Alicia Vikander stole the show; a sublime performance. ★★★☆☆
The Guest ~ Intriguing at first but devolves in to a somewhat generic thriller. A lot of fun if you don’t think too much about it. ★☆
The Hateful Eight ~ Unravels like a cinematic play. An engrossing entry into Tarantino’s catalogue. Superbly acted, with riveting dialogue. ★☆
The Martian ~ An enjoyable performance from Matt Damon with a lot of witty dialogue. Superb set design and cinematography. ★★★☆☆
The Revenant ~ A powerhouse of a film; raw and harsh, but starkly beautiful. An unmatched physicality with many outstanding performances. ★★★★
The Social Network ~ Exceptionally captivating; actually shocked by how engrossed I was. Fluently directed, with sublime writing and excellent performances from Garfield and Eisenberg. ★★★★
Whiplash ~ One of the most intense films of the year; very physical performances from Teller and Simmons. A stand-out film with a stunning ending. ★★★★
Zodiac ~ A spellbinding film chronicling the zodiac killings and subsequent investigation. Expected nothing less from Fincher. ★★★★☆

And there we have every single film I have watched this year. Looking at the ratings, my favourites are without a doubt: Brooklyn, House of Sand and Fog, Prisoners and The Social Network. Next year I’d like to finally get around to The Grand Budapest Hotel and catch up on a bunch of Japanese movies. Shockingly, I don’t seem to have watched a single non-English film this year. That certainly has to change. Now, onto the TV shows.

TV Show Rating
Daredevil, Season 1 ~ Intriguing at first, generally well made, but I had completely lost interest by the end. Many bland characters. ★★☆☆☆
Game of Thrones, Season 5 ~ Started slow, but picked up a lot nearer the end. Hardhome was a sensational episode. Shocking finale; hungry for more. ★★★☆☆
House of Cards, Season 3 ~ Consistent throughout, but just nowhere near as good as the first two seasons. Clare went in some disappointing directions. ★★★☆☆
Mr. Robot, Season 1 ~ An extraordinary new series; frequently compelling, remarkably performed and well written, with many wonderful monologues. ★★★★☆
Peaky Blinders, Season 1 ~ Instantly one of my favourite TV shows ever — almost impeccable. Sensational cinematography, an outstanding soundtrack and Cillian Murphy is completely mesmerising.
Peaky Blinders, Season 2 ~ A tremendous follow-up; everything that made the first season so great is present. The ending left me breathless. Cillian Murphy is perfect. ★★★★
This is England ’90 ~ A bittersweet farewell to the gang and a powerful end to the series. Includes some of the most affecting sequences of the entire production. ★★★★
Vikings, Season 1 ~ Sometimes exciting, other times not so much. Haven’t been able to get into the characters as much as I’d like to. A mixed bag, but interesting enough to stick around. ★★★☆☆

Just seven different shows this year (though I also watched the first episodes of The Man in the High Castle, Blindspot and Banshee), which is nonetheless quite a lot for a film focused fellow. Next year, I would like to watch Fargo and am massively looking forward to the third season of Peaky Blinders. Game of Thrones and House of Cards will also be back in just a couple of months; looking forward to them both despite being slightly disappointed by their most recent iterations.

As always — thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to begin writing about all of my film and TV ventures, so please do visit again. It will be 2016 tomorrow, can you believe it! What have you seen this year? Has anything stood out and is there anything in particular that I should check out next year?

See you soon.

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