Proud though I am to be a founding member of Phoenix Film Critics Society, the Society’s choices for Best Picture are not always the same as mine. This year, however, we agree—both PFCS and I lead our list with Tom McCarthy’s gripping Spotlight. The rest of the PFCS awards for 2015 may be read at phoenixfilmcriticssociety.org; my Top Ten list is here:
2. The Big Short
3. Inside Out
6. Straight Outta Compton
7. Bridge of Spies
8. The Martian
The “Roadshow” is shot (by the great Robert Richardson) and screened in actual, no-kidding Ultra Panavision 70, plus it has all the retro trimmings they used to give big “event movies” back in the ‘60s—an overture, an intermission, and even a full-color program. Plus, the movie itself is a highly entertaining Grand Guignol black comedy, even at three hours, and it has a classic, snaky musical score by the great Ennio Morricone. If the 70mm version is playing in your area, I’d recommend.
Other movies I enjoyed this year, to one degree or another, include: Chi-Raq, The Revenant, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Woman in Gold, Grandma, Steve Jobs, Concussion, Jurassic World, It Follows, Learning to Drive, Trumbo, The Good Dinosaur, Being Knievel, The Visit, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, He Named Me Malala, Lila & Eve, Jupiter Ascending, Spectre and Pawn Sacrifice. Also, not many people here in the Valley seemed to notice Zhang Yimou’s period drama from China, Coming Home, starring the great Gong Li, but it was powerful.
Oh yeah, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That one wasn’t bad, either.