By Alexander Von Houger: Film Journalist
Film is an area that has become a titan of American industry. We are well known across the world for the quality of our entertainment. With that being said we make as many terrible films. We don’t like to think about “The Road-Chip” but nevertheless that it is a movie that came out last year. As a pretentious seventeen year old who likes to think he knows everything to know about cinema, it’s my patriotic duty to tell you about what movies I think are worth your time. I’m clearly qualified for this task as my third cousin Earl was an extra in “High School Musical 3”. We’re a big name in Hollywood. I will take you from my worst of the best to the best of the best. Number 3 being the worst while 1 being the best. Spoiler free all around.
Three: The Revenant
Coming straight off of the heels of the Oscar winning “Birdman” Alejandro González Iñárritu brings you “The Revenant.” It showcases completely natural lighting giving the entire film a atmosphere of realism that could not be achieved any other way. Its grand and at times overindulgent cinematography will leave you breathless at best but bored at worst. Some shots of trees and the moon outlast their welcome. The beautiful scale and raw power of nature that is showcased in the films setting complements the cinematography and angles perfectly. While the writing isn’t great, the main draw of seeing this film is for the acting. See how the man himself Leonardo DiCaprio (Hugh Glass) breaks the Oscar memes back. See how Tom Hardy (John Fitzgerald) got absolutely robbed for best supporting actor. The biggest issue with this movie is its absolute disregard for proper pacing. The forty five minute stretch of desert in the middle of a veritable forest of beautiful cinema is inexcusable. If you can sit through that sin you will be treated to some of the most breathtaking scenes of the year. Alejandro González Iñárritu is a great director and if I were you I would keep track of his future projects. A great movie.
Two: Ex Machina
A very underappreciated film as a whole that left me speechless. Alex Garland made some of the most memorable and interesting choices for color correction and lighting. From the green vibrant nature outside to the clean white walls of the compound and the unnerving red lights that set the mood for so much of the film. The ideas that this film brings out are equally appealing choices that could become a reality very soon. How do we deal with Artificial Intelligence? Do we control it? Do we shy away from this completely? All of this is confronted directly if not in a slightly heavy handed way in the script. This is another film that is truly brought alive by the actors. Domhnall Gleeson (Caleb) succeeds at advancing the plot of the film forward and being an easily relatable character and his conversations with Alicia Vikander (Eva) are high points. Oscar Isaac (Nathan) truly steals the show. This is the performance that will keep you on the edge of your seats as tension builds. Without him this is a movie that would have undoubtedly failed. Easily would have been number one if it wasn’t for the big daddy coming up.
One: Mad Max Fury Road
What can I say about this movie? It’s near perfect. In my opinion it is in the top 5 action movies of all time. The quality of the visual effects and atmosphere that this film is able to create is in a word, stunning. The use of practical effects in so much of this movie gives it a sense of realism in a fantastical world. Without these effects the setting would simply become too farfetched for viewers to connect with. George Miller succeeds at making this world so gripping and so action packed that it will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout this shining star of cinema. The cinematography and transition between shots are choreographed perfectly. By always picking up an action in the same side of the frame as the last action, your eye is never lost. You know exactly where to look the entire time. This is something you never see done correctly in action films. Tom Hardy (Mad Max) and Charlize Theron (Furiosa) performances suit the characters very well. The plot while being primarily focused on the action also focuses on the fact that women have equal rights. It pushes this important and amazing message in a subtle way that reaches all viewers. This is George Miller’s undeniable masterpiece. I could talk about this movie all day but trust me. It’s a must watch.