Max Bledstein (@mbled210) is a Montreal-based writer, musician and world-renowned curmudgeon. He writes on all things culture for a variety of fine North American publications. His highly anticipated debut novel will write itself one of these days, he assumes.
10. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)
This gripping procedural tells the powerful true story of the Boston Globe journalists who exposed the Catholic Church’s cover-up of pedophiles. It’s a rallying cry for journalism and a moving yarn.
9. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)
Laurie Anderson’s experimental documentary feels personal and sui generis in a way few films do. Anderson combines abstract imagery, home footage, music, and text to paint a moving portrait of grief.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first wuxia is among the most ravishingly beautiful films I’ve ever seen. But beyond the astonishing costumes and set design, the film is a meditative reflection on the meaning of taking a life.
From the gripping opening set piece, Sicario grabs you by the throat and never lets go. Leaving aside broader questions of the costs of the War on Drugs, the film instead chooses to focus on the no less important question of how the violence affects individuals.
Thrillingly alive in a way few films are, the latest entry in the Mad Max franchise is a masterpiece of practical action. George Miller uses a mostly dialogue free narrative to pay tribute to the joys of silent cinema in a manner of which The Artist can only dream.
Hidden amidst the cleverly deployed lessons and pure emotion in Pixar’s latest is a seriously funny script. Your inner Sadness has her work cut for her when you watch this film, for sure, but your Joy is kept equally busy.
Believe me when I say: this film provided the most unabashed glee I felt at the movies this year. The film’s gender politics are to be lauded, but no less noteworthy is how much fun it is to watch the Kings of Tampa grind, vogue, and mime ejaculation for audiences helpless to resist.
Yes, this is the 3D movie with unsimulated sex scenes. But rather than existing merely to attract attention, the sex looks at intimacy and relationships with a degree of depth rare for film.
2. Chi-Raq (Spike Lee)
Spike Lee’s latest is hilarious, heartbreaking, mad as hell, and urgent. Not many films feel this necessary or timely, and even fewer back up their zeitgeist grabbing with Lee’s level of artistry.
Carol is a gorgeous period piece, a rapturous romance, and an emotional roller coaster unlike any other film in 2015. Rather than hit you over the head with emotions, Todd Haynes and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy create a slow burning romance, relying on the exquisite acting and art direction to tell a stunning love story.
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