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"You shall ride eternal. Shiny, and chrome!" Looking back at 2015, it was an exceptional year for movies and if you don't feel the same way, you probably didn't see enough movies. I always struggle to put together a year end Top 10 list, mostly because there's so much I need to watch/rewatch and it's just not possible. This year I came up with a list of 12 movies from 2015, the last two added because I felt like they deserved a spot even though it was already full. These are the movies that I genuinely love the most, that connected with me and stayed with me throughout the entire year. Many of my favorites from 2015 are movies that, if you asked me about them at the beginning of the year, I would've admitted it's unlikely they'd end up here.
The glory of cinema, captured on camera. Projectionist Andrew Walker has been working one of the 70mm roadshow versions of Quentin Tarnatino's The Hateful Eight since wide release two weeks ago. Over the past 15 days, a camera he setup has taken timelapse photography inside the projection booth, presenting this final, mesmerizing 2-minute video. We've featured other IMAX/70mm projection booth videos in the past, mainly for Christopher Nolan movies. This is just another gorgeous glimpse inside the world of movie theaters, and what it's like to actually handle and project real film. Despite any of the occasional problems with film projection, it's still an art to see a projectionist run a perfect show, handling everything with care.
"Celebration of the movies in 2015." From Ant-Man to Creed to Mad Max to Star Wars, and everything inbetween. Another great retrospective year-end video to provide us with a enthralling look back at all the movies that graced the big screen this year. CLS Videos on YouTube has premiered their very first ever retrospective look back, this one titled 2015: The Year in Movies. We've featured a few of these videos recently, and they're always exhilarating to watch, mainly because they remind me how much I love movies and they also point out all the movies I still need to see. Plus there's still Tarantino & Iñárritu coming out!
"I was raised to do one thing… and I've got nothing to fight for!" Another gorgeous retrospective video has hit the web, and is another must watch for any and all movie lovers. This one is made by Miguel Branco who has been doing this for the last three years. I've always enjoyed his looks back, because he takes time to focus on some of his favorite movies throughout, including (for 2015) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. There's also some Star Wars in this, and of course Mad Max: Fury Road, plus 200 other movies from 2015. Have you seen all of them yet? What's your 2015 scorecard looking like?
We're still a few weeks away from Star Wars opening, which means most of us can't make our Top 10 list until we see that movie. But in the meantime, some critics have no desire to worry about Star Wars and are putting out their Best of the Year lists right now anyway. One of the annual must-see lists is actually a video countdown made by my colleague David Ehrlich (follow him @davidehrlich). He counts down his 25 best films of the year, including one excellent short (World of Tomorrow). It's a beautiful video that, along with trailer retrospectives, is a stellar reminder of why we loves movies - to discover the few that stick with you.
"You're done with the past, but the past is not done with you." Get ready for another sensational look back at the movies of 2015 (and beyond). Our longtime friend the "Sleepy Skunk" has posted his annual end-of-the-year retrospective video - the 2015 Movie Trailer Mashup - featuring footage from all the movie trailers released throughout 2015 (including a few 2016 movies) edited together to some excellent music. We just posted another mashup video for 2015, as it's that time of year when all of them start to arrive. This one is impressive because the editing is perfect, with some great moments and great music. Fire it up below!
"How did we get this far?" Believe it or not, it's already that time of the year again when we look back at all the movies that came out this year. Our friend Nick Bosworth has cut together his annual trailer mashup Final Cut 2015 featuring footage from pretty much everything released during 2015. When you think back over it, there was quite a bit: Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7, Rogue Nation, Black Mass, The Martian, Steve Jobs, Chappie, Kingsman, Trainwreck and so many others. Plus there's still Star Wars, The Hateful Eight and The Revenant coming up next. What a year to remember.
One of this year's holiday comedies is The Night Before, about three friends, three ride-or-die homies, who go on one final Christmas eve adventure in New York. In truth it's actually a much sweeter story about friendship, and how important is to hold onto the friends that mean something to us. The Night Before is directed by Jonathan Levine, a filmmaker I first met in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival because I went crazy for his film The Wackness. Years later he has directed two other films - 50/50, Warm Bodies - and now his latest is this one, The Night Before, once known as X-Mas or the Christmas Eve Project. It's a very fun movie and I had a great time talking with Jonathan about the challenge of making audiences laugh.
Well this is lovely. Google decided to celebrate the 101st birthday of Inventor and Hollywood star, Hedy Lamarr, on Monday, November 9th. This would have been her 101st birthday; she passed away in the year 2000 at the age of 85. She was never nominated for any Academy Awards, but Hedy Lamarr became a very popular and beloved movie star in the late 1930s and through the 1940s because of her beauty. Louis B. Mayer at MGM found her in Europe after fleeing the war, and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, as she was originally born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Austria. She has become popular recently because aside from her career in Hollywood, she was a scientist and inventor behind a jam-proof radio guidance system.
From the same editor who just made the Magic Hour video we recently featured, Jacob T. Swinney, comes another must see tribute to cinematography. We all know it's a cliche joke to say that J.J. Abrams loves lens flares, but it turns out so do a lot of other great filmmakers (and cinematographers). This video tribute or supercut or "cinema compilation" or whatever you want to call it features a whole bunch of outstanding lens flare shots in movies of all kinds. Besides J.J., there are films from PTA, Edgar Wright, Zack Snyder, Malick, Spielberg, Rian Johnson, Tarantino, and many others. I'm a fan of lens flares, I think they can add a strong dynamic when used well, and this video has so many stellar examples of lens flares being used well. Enjoy.
"It was very intense." One of the best films I've seen this year is called Son of Saul, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize of the Jury and a few other awards. Then it went on to play at the Telluride, Toronto, Vancouver, New York and London Film Festivals and will be opening in theaters this December (the same day as Star Wars). It's a masterpiece, and I said that in my glowing review, since this film totally blew me away. Let me now introduce you to its director - Hungarian filmmaker László Nemes (as seen above). He has made a number of shorts previously, including The Gentleman Takes His Leave, but this is his feature debut and it's astonishing. I had to meet László to talk about this film and so much more.
Movie posters always end up becoming the iconic image for the movie, used to promote it and seen on the walls and at ticket stands in movie theaters everywhere. Some of the time a poster will be custom made, or photographed just for marketing, but other times it can be made using a scene from a movie - an actual still or a scene that inspires a design. This short video by Candice Drouet takes a look at a big batch of movie posters and the scenes they're inspired by. The framing is a bit funky, because sometimes I just want to see the scene more than the poster, but it's still a good juxtaposition to see the exact moment in the film. Enjoy!
Ah yes, who can resist magic hour. As a photographer, I know so well the golden glory of this time of the day. It's the time, right before the sun sets, when it's right on the edge of the horizon and shines golden and makes the sky turn beautiful colors. It's always lovely. Fandor presents this fantastic, gorgeous video tribute of edited footage from many great films with scenes shot during magic hour. All the best cinematographers out there, Deakins, Lubezki, Kaminski, Pfister, Elswit, they all shoot during magic hour because it's just so perfect and irresistible. And because it can help convey feelings - just watch this and your heart will quickly swell up with emotion. "Watch the sun progress its way through magic hour in a variety of films—starting with the first ray of golden light, and ending with the last glimmer of the day." This is the beauty of cinema.
"I'm not so sure you want to be me." It was an opportunity I couldn't pass - the chance to interview Jason Segel. He stars as the late author David Foster Wallace in one of my favorite films this year, The End of the Tour directed by James Ponsoldt. The film is about the actual end of his (book) tour, specifically the time David Foster Wallace spends with fellow writer/journalist David Lipsky, played in the film by Jesse Eisenberg. The two meet in winter and discuss all kinds of topics, and it's really a beautiful film about life and honesty, and still being real even though you may be brilliant, as with DFW. Segel gives a phenomenal, Oscar-worthy performance as David Foster Wallace - and I don't bat an eye saying that. I had to meet him.