Diandra’s 2015 Media Highlights
This year, even more than before, there were too many movies and episodes I have yet to see. I was exhausted into distraction when I wasn’t busy, but here are some favorites I want to share.
Favorite Cinematic Surprises of 2015
The entire existence of Tag (リアル鬼ごっこ). Yes, Sion Sono films are often outlandish, but this was a new level of confounding and astounding. Maybe it just needed even more extra energy or polish at the climax to reach the level of Why Don’t You Play in Hell? But it’s still… quite the experience, especially given that this is one out of six Sono-directed films from this year.
That both Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens exceeded my (admittedly lowered) expectations, captivating with stunning production, great casts, and a refreshing amount of females in active roles within studio blockbuster features.
The flow of natural performances of the ladies- young and old- in Mustang.
That I was able to see Office (华丽上班族) in theaters, even though I found the movie itself good but not great.
Vincent Cassel’s character leading his assassin children in ‘80’s-style karaoke in Partisan.
Patina Miller standing out as Commander Paylor in the acceptable, if at times lukewarm second part of the Hunger Games finale. However, Gwendoline Christie was even more underused here than in The Force Awakens.
Favorite TV Episodes
Note: In watch/airdate order:
Brooklyn 99 – 2.12 – The Beach House
Elementary – 2.9 – The Eternity Injection, 3.12 – The One That Got Away (Part 2)
I rarely watch procedurals, but this version of Sherlock Holmes proves that character can be even more compelling than concept.
Kampen om Tungtvannet (The Saboteurs, Battle for Heavy Water) – episode 4
The most thrilling episode of the Norway-UK WWII miniseries.
Adventure Time – 6.22-23 Evergreen to Astral Plane, 6.41-42 – The Comet
Note: I haven’t seen the latest Marceline-centered episodes yet.
Inside No. 9 – 2.1 – “La Couchette”
This macabre dramedy anthology is best when concepts and limitations help the content exceed expectations. Sheridan Smith, pictured above, also gives one of the best performances of 2015 in the following episode, The 12 Days of Christine. Cold Comfort is another limited-staging/high concept wonder.
Fortitude – 1.10-11
Arctic murder mystery delivers some of the most astonishing surprises of the year.
Orphan Black – 3.8 – Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method
Starts out with an iffy portrayal of a Mexican cantina, but does good character work.
Halt and Catch Fire – 2.9 – Kali
Insistently stating a future that might not occur.
While I still have my quibbles with this UK remake of Äkta Människor, this was an excellent episode. But I was so worried about Max (Ivanno Jeremiah)! I wrote about the two versions of this show (as well as Orphan Black, True Detective, Fortitude, and Penny Dreadful) in a somewhat spoiler-filled comparison.
Key and Peele – 5.2 – Airplane Showdown + 5.7 MC Mom
Les Revenants (The Returned) – 2.3 – Morgane and and 2.5 = Virgil
Any recommendations for my expanding catch-up list?
Did you notice any patterns in your favorites, or in your general viewing?