Yes, the Greek is the very same Greek also known as my wife, whose kindness knows no bounds as she now allows me to publish her very own top 10 films of 2015. You lucky, privileged readers indeed. I won’t taint her terrific analysis any further with my feeble words, so it’s over to you agápi mou.
10. The Intern
Refreshing to see De Niro not playing a parody of his mobster persona. With surprising dramatic sequences dressed in subtle comedic colours, coupled with top notch glossy yet compassionate performances, the end result was fresh and interesting enough to keep me entertained from start to finish.
9. Alex of Venice
Simple, human-centred writing, honest depictions of the average Janes and Joes, and a Don Johnson coming out of nowhere to tug at my heart strings. A story into which I could easily place myself, not because of any personal drama of the kind, but simply on account of the next-door familiarity of the characters and their most usual, run-of-the-mill predicaments. This, without once finding it lacking in pace or boring; a feat given my short attention span and my intolerance to wasting time. All in all, thank you for this unexpected little gem, Mr Messina.
Even though some scenes left me wanting more, I can’t fault the outcome which could have gone overboard with the sentimental cliches film-makers often favour. Instead, Joy and Jack shed their skins for our viewing pleasure, dissect their souls for us to study, ultimately giving us a stunningly well-balanced tribute to human nature’s mysterious ways.
7. Danny Collins
Expecting another silly comedy akin to the horrific Jack and Jill (Why, Al, why?), I was so pleasantly taken aback when I realised that this was nothing but. Danny Collins made me laugh, it made me ache, it made me feel and, perhaps most importantly, it restored my faith in the unpredictable world of cinema; not to mention the reaffirmation that, yes, Al Pacino was evenly born in greatness, has achieved greatness and, without a doubt, has had greatness thrust upon him.
6. Irrational Man
Well, hello, Woody Allen — oh, how I’d missed you. A well-rounded, muted comedy working its way subepidermally rather than screaming in the viewer’s face. A return to the roots for the director, this may be yet another movie about depression and modern age neurosis, but it is executed brilliantly via Allen’s pen and eye, and the most terrific, contextually pretentious performances of the year coming from Phoenix and Stone.
5. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Style and substance, delivered with a punch. With an all-star cast brushing shoulders with the fresh and upcoming so harmoniously, Kingsman is more choreographed than directed, allowing us to ride its brilliance into the suave and the exaggerated. A film for which I had no problem suspending my disbelief. In fact, I was quite glad to do so.
4. Wild Tales
Six blinks into the anamorphosis of the human psyche in the face of danger, love, loss, and the unknown. Six pint-sized primal flutters delivered tightly swaddled in a fine blend of irony and humour, so intimate and unobtrusive, I found myself both awed and amused in equal measures. From the shocking to the emotional, from the melodramatic to the farcical, Wild Tales has a little something for all tastes — and what’s more, contemporarily deposited hot and fresh to your doorstep for your delightful consumption.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Non-stop action in a way that my humble eyes have never seen before, the film seems to drive forward in one breath without ever leaving the audience breathless, without ever twisting itself in its own self-importance. The entirety of the cast carries just the right amounts of extravagant iconography needed to transport us to the intensity of their dusty, post-apocalyptic world; a world that has never looked as beautiful as it does through Miller’s eyes.
2. Ex Machina
A marvellous, multidimensional film that, through expert toying of light and darkness, subtle visual cues and superb acting, slowly peels its layers to reveal different outlooks of the same, immovable focal point – freedom. The movie is equally about postmodern intellectual brilliance as it is about primordial love; about the importance of safeguarding boundaries as much as the human drive to question them, push and, utterly, shatter them to pieces. I saw myself in Caleb’s virginal naivety, in Nathan’s stylized instability, in Kyoko’s muted despair and, the triumph of the movie, Ava’s basal want. Manufactured or not, when the human can identify with the artificial, that can only be classed as cinematic success.
1. The Lobster
It’s not because I’m Greek, honestly, it’s not. Or maybe it is, maybe there’s something ingrained, some sort of deeply-rooted, ethnic support thing going on, I don’t know. I choose to believe that it’s because I haven’t watched a black comedy so well-made in years. Because deadpan sarcasm speaks to me on a fundamental, primitive level. Because hyperrealism is a powerful medium that, when used in the right way, it can successfully create a dream-layered utopia where logic diminishes into nothing but an unwelcomed afterthought after it has graciously offered its place to a fantastical world of boundless possibilities. And this is what Lanthimos did for me – it broke down the social limits as I know them and challenged me to think, not farther, but deeper into my own being. Ultimately, the Lobster is an understated, dystopian love story that effortlessly made me laugh out loud while staring in its fun-house mirror of distortions — a claim not many movies can boast to have had on me. And more to the crucial point, it’s the one bloody film I didn’t find myself needing bloody subtitles to understand Colin bloody Farrell’s insane bloody dialect.