While Oscar season is generally an annoying period during which films and performances of questionable merit get lavished with praise or brusquely dismissed for all the wrong reasons, there is one thing I really love about this time of year: It’s pretty much the only period you’ll find short films in theaters.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from The 5th Wave, because I hadn’t seen any ads for it—just a few posters in theater lobbies. But now I know why I didn’t see any advertising dollars committed to this film. You don’t often encounter a mix of pandering and incompetence glommed together this thoroughly.
Plot points from the entirety of Anomalisa will be discussed below; if you would prefer to see it sans spoilers, please skip this and check back in six months or so once it’s on Netflix or whatever, since it’s probably not playing in a theater near you right now and, I’m guessing, isn’t going to.
The decision to make a film using puppets and stop-motion animation is not one to be taken lightly, as the process is fastidious and slow-paced. But it’s one that pays off handsomely in Charlie Kaufman’s latest feature, Anomalisa, about a man slowly going insane.
If 2015 will be remembered for anything, cinematically speaking, it’s for being the year of strong women. So many ladies in so many good movies with so many good roles! From the party girl who realizes that she won’t be happy until she finds a good man to settle down with (Trainwreck) to the scantily clad harem of models fleeing through the desert (Mad Max: Fury Road) to the greatest Mary Sue who ever Mary Sued (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), it was a fantastic year for strong female characters. Here’s to many more like them!
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film might also be his most Tarantino film, the one that takes all his quirks as a filmmaker and compresses them into their purest form. Sprawling throughout, with clearly delineated sections that are alternately very talky and very bloody, I loved it. But your mileage may vary.
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the most Star Wars movie since the original Star Wars. It is a rollicking adventure set in space featuring numerous, fast-paced battles on ground and in the air. It is funny and lighthearted without being childish. It features evil villains and daring good guys and, if you let it, packs an emotional wallop. Those looking for a sci-fi action-adventure film about plucky young heroes going up against immense odds, well, have I got a movie for you!