Films in 2015: December

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s already 2016, for me the year went by rather quickly, especially this last month. As it was the holiday season, I didn’t watch as many new-to-me films as I would have liked, but I still watched a great amount with nearly 50 films watched total. About half of those were re-watches though as I went through another decade for my Disney retrospective (from 1999’s Fantasia 2000 to 2009’s The Princess and the Frog). I only have five more films to revisit, and once I’m done I plan on writing up a post about it next month. Also re-watching all six Star Wars films in preparation for Episode VII upped the count. Anyway, let’s take a look at how I ended 2015 movie-wise!

New-to-Me: 28

Re-Watched: 21

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 3
  • 1940s – 3
  • 1950s – 2
  • 1960s – 7
  • 1970s – 4
  • 1980s – 0
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 2
  • 2010s – 5

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
  2. A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973)
  3. The Love Goddesses (1965)
  4. Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music (1965)
  5. A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
  6. Androcles and the Lion (1952)
  7. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
  8. Ex Machina (2015)
  9. The Sweatbox (2002)
  10. Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
  11. The Young Girls Turn 25 (1993)
  12. Scrooge (1935)
  13. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
  14. Lady on a Train (1945)
  15. Frank Sinatra: Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back (1973)
  16. Mon oncle Antoine (1971)
  17. My Night at Maud’s (1969)
  18. Little Women (1994)
  19. The Family Stone (2005)
  20. Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
  21. Children of Paradise (1945)
  22. Donkey Skin (1970)
  23. The Soft Skin (1964)
  24. Sinatra (1969)
  25. Some Came Running (1958)
  26. A Day in the Country (1936)
  27. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  28. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Monthly Tallies

  • Best Picture Nominees Watched: 1
  • Movies Watched from The Criterion Collection: 10
  • Movies Watched via the Watch TCM app: 7
  • Movies Watched on TCM: 2
  • Movies Watched on Hulu: 10
  • Movies Watched in theaters: 3

Trends and Notes

  • Watched 3 films starring Catherine Deneuve.
  • Watched 5 films starring Frank Sinatra (3 of them were TV specials though), as he was TCM’s Star of the Month for December.
  • Watched 4 films released this past year, and I actually watched one of them again (it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
  • Watched 3 films starring/featuring Oscar Isaac.
  • Watched 4 films from the year 2002, 3 of them were re-watches.
  • Watched 3 films from the year 2005, 2 of them were re-watches.

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

I’ve always liked Oscar Isaac, but sadly I’d only seen two of his movies prior to this (and I remedied that a bit this month by watching two more after this one). I meant to see this when it came out as I love the Coen Brothers too, but somehow never got around to it. But anyway, I’m really glad I finally did see it! The character of Llewyn Davis is one that can be easily hated if performed by a lesser actor, but thankfully Isaac makes the character much more tolerable to handle when witnessing all his shortcomings. It’s actually one of the harder Coen Brothers films to watch, as the film becomes progressively more and more miserable for the protagonist as he tries to find success as a folk musician. Despite its somber tone though, it’s one that has stayed with me throughout the month, and I look forward to revisiting it again in the future.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), directed by J.J. Abrams

I don’t think I’ve ever expressed it on my blog, but I really love Star Wars. I can’t remember the first time I saw the original trilogy (though apparently my dad took me to see the re-release of A New Hope in theaters when I was really young), but I’ve always loved the films. I can even tolerate the prequels, as terribly executed as they were. The latest installment is really the saga’s new hope (in more ways than one) after the backlash the prequels received. It’s a bit of a rehash of the original Star Wars film, but it brings back what fans loved about the saga in the first place. Though it was great seeing my favorite characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher), it was seeing these new characters that really elevated the film even more from me. Newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are simply awesome in their respective roles as Rey and Finn, and can’t wait to see them (and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and Adam Driver as villain Kylo Ren) in Episode VIII.

My Night at Maud's (1969)

My Night at Maud’s (1969), directed by Eric Rohmer

I don’t know what I was expecting from this film going into it, but it really took me by surprise. This was my first time seeing a film by Eric Rohmer so I’m not familiar with his work, though a few of his titles have piqued my interest, and after seeing this I’m eager to see more. Also, any film that includes Jean-Louis Trintignant is a plus for me, as he’s slowly become one of my favorite French actors of the 1960s. The film itself is an interesting examination of love and relationships and how they relate to one’s morals. My Night at Maud’s also features some great black-and-white photography, which I especially enjoyed in the outdoor scenes.

Little Women (1994)

Little Women (1994), directed by Gillian Armstrong

I’ve always loved the story of Little Women, and I think I’m especially drawn to this story because I have two sisters of my own (both younger than me too). I’ve enjoyed the previous screen adaptations from 1933 and 1949, though Gillian Armstrong’s film is my favorite of three. The way all the actresses interact with each other as the March sisters feels natural, and they’re also great alongside Susan Sarandon’s portrayal as the family matriarch. My favorite performance though comes from Winona Ryder as Jo, and she perfectly embodies the character. It’s a perfect film to watch around the holiday season as it shows how strong and important familial love is, especially in rough times.

Children of Paradise (1945)

Children of Paradise (1945), directed by Marcel Carné

I posted the last entry for my 2015 Blind Spots series earlier this week, where I wrote a little review for Children of Paradise, which I’m happy I finally got to check off my watchlist! My thoughts on the film can be found here.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), directed by George Miller

This was my penultimate film of the year (on what ended up being a “Mad” New Year’s Eve as I watched It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World after this). I meant to see Mad Max: Fury Road when it was released in theaters, and I’m a little sad I missed the chance because I was really blown away by how much I enjoyed it, and I know I would’ve loved it more on the big screen. The saturated cinematography was a little odd to me in the trailers, but seeing it in context of the film was great. And I really loved Charlize Theron’s performance as Furiosa, it’s much more subdued than you’d expect from an action movie such as this. I haven’t seen the other Mad Max movies, but I am curious to see them a bit now that I’ve seen this one.

I’ll post my 2015 year-in-review post sometime this weekend, along with my picks for the 2016 Blind Spot series!

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2 thoughts on “Films in 2015: December

  1. It looks like you watched a lot of varied and interesting movies in December. I’m glad you enjoyed My Night at Maud’s! The same thing happened to me, where I didn’t know quite what to expect but ended up loving it (although I had already seen a couple of Rohmer’s short films by that point). What are your favorite Jean-Louis Trintignant movies? Besides My Night at Maud’s, I love Il Sorpasso, A Man and a Woman, and Three Colors: Red, and I remember liking Confidentially Yours a lot, though it’s been a while since I watched it. Also, the 1994 version of Little Women is one of my favorites too — probably the first non-animated movie I ever loved.

    • The three you listed are my favorites as well, though I think Il Sorpasso and Three Colors: Red is what really made me take notice of him. I’d love to revisit A Man and a Woman (which I saw before the other two), and maybe Amour too. I haven’t seen Confidentially Yours yet but it’s on my watchlist, along with The Conformist.

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