We now move to the Best Genre Films. Genre films are often left out of most movie awards. Occasionally you’ll get a Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, but more often than not films like The Dark Knight, Die Hard, and The Matrix will be left out in the cold. With that in mind I wanted to specifically highlight these films in my own way. I have gone through all of the main genres to pick out what films have stood above the rest this year.
The Raid 2
(Full Review) Two years ago I awarded the my first ever all out action award to The Raid. Seems fitting the sequel would garner the same recognition. While I had some issues with the plot of The Raid 2 when it came to action this year no one did it better. The choreography and stunt work is impressive to witness. From car chases to mud brawling to good old fashion high octane martial arts combat The Raid 2 had it all.
Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow, The Equalizer, 300: Rise of an Empire, Lucy,
The Grand Budapest Hotel
(Full Review) Maybe it is a sign of my old age but today’s comedies are jut not doing it for me that much anymore. There are some bright spots here and there but they are few and far between. One of the biggest bright spots was The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson’s sense of humor is by no means for everyone. An odd mixture of classic slapstick with a dry sensibility. What makes The Grand Budapest Hotel one of his funniest movies is Ralph Fiennes terrific performance. He breathed new life into a lot of classic Anderson tropes.
Honorable Mentions: The Trip to Italy, 22 Jump Street, Neighbors
(Full Review) Now we get to my personal favorite genre Crime, and this year the best example of what this genre is capable of is Blue Ruin. What is great about it is how it deconstructs so many of the classic revenge cliches. Everything from how the plot is carried out to the actions of the characters work as a commentary on classic Noir and revenge films. Honestly at first I missed much of what it was truly doing, but with the great gift of time and rewatches I have only gained appreciation.
Honorable Mentions: The Rover, Omar, Night Moves, Bethlehanm, Nightcrawler
Best Fantasy Movie:
(Full Review) Every year it becomes harder and harder to include Fantasy as the genre is going the way of the Dodo. Never would I have guess that Noah would claim the crown as best fantasy film. I know some may scoff at calling Noah a fantasy, but those are the people who haven’t seen the movie. I have not seen a better throwback to classic 80’s fantasy in years. The material may have more weight and the actors more clout, but a rock monster is still a rock monster. No matter how you try to justify it.
Honorable Mentions: The Congress, Hercules,Maleficent
Under the Skin
(Full Review) I know this will ruffle some feathers for sure. Under the Skin is the movie this year that will appear on some people’s best of the year list and others worst of the year list. Obviously you can tell where it falls with me. I am still baffled by the artistic beauty of this movie, and from the beginning was sucked into the masterful experience director Jonathan Glazer crafted. All of which was tied together with the bizarrely awesome score.
Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Captain America: Winter Solider
(Full Review) It was quite the year for comic book movies, and it all started with this one. As a fan of Captain America I was excited to see what they could do with one of the best Captain America stories every told. Who would have thought the directors of You, Me, and Dupree could make such a kickass action movie? From the first scene it was clear they knew exactly what they were doing. Not only did they make the best Comic Book movie of the year, but it is in the argument for best of all time.
Honorable Mentions: Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past, Snowpiercer
The Lego Movie
(Full Review) Similar to comic book movies animation also showed up strong this year. Movies like The Boxtrolls, Ernest & Celestine, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 could have easily won this in years past. In the end though I had to go with The Lego Movie. It’s animation is masterful to witness and it matches it with a truly daring story. Animated movies don’t often take risks, and it was wonderful to see one go in such a surprisingly weird direction.
Honorable Mentions: Ernest & Celestine, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Boxtrolls
From two strong categorizes to…well a rather weak one. That’s not to take anything away from Obvious Child cause it is a quality movie. The coming out party for Jenny Slate who surely has a bright future ahead of her. What Obvious Child has that so many other romantic comedies lack is honesty. An honesty that does not sugarcoat the awkward and difficult aspects of relationships, and most importantly it gives you characters that feel like real life actual people.
Honorable Mentions: The One I Love, That Awkward Moment, They Came Together
The best horror films are the ones that are about more than simple scares, but also full of metaphorical ramifications. The Babadook is clearly that, so much so if you were to remove the fifteen to twenty minutes of supernatural elements you’d be left with a solid drama about a women dealing with grief and a troubled son. Horror films tend to be rated based on how scary they are, and I did not find the The Babadook all that scary. Still it’s imagery was fascinating and performances were some of the best we have seen in a horror film in quite some time.
Honorable Mentions: Oculus, Borgman
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
(Full Review) When people use the term Blockbuster it is typically in reference to financial success, but I feel that term can also be used for movies that have large scale entertainment. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had both. Besides the large scale though it also made room for the smaller moments. Ironically a story centered on primates was one of the most human of the summer. Taking classic Shakespeare elements and acting them out through apes should be ridiculous, but I bought every second of it. Classic example of how to make characters with distinct motivations.
Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow
(Full Review) Each year my last award differs. Typically I reserve it for the genre I felt was the best represented. Last year it was Coming of Age, but this year it is oddly Dystopian Future. Snowpierecer was the clear king with its crazy concept and larger than life performances. It is the type of movie that asks you to forget about logic, but rewards that conceit with a heaping pile of creativity.
Honorable Mentions: The Rover, The Double, The Congress, Edge of Tomorrow, The Machine