Favorites

Our Favorite Movies / TV / Music Videos / Ads of 2015

At Confound Films we're always watching stuff.  While we edit, especially, but in our free time, too.  We're always discussing what we watch as well.  Our #movies thread is one of the liveliest on our company Slack.  There's still a lot I'm sure we'd like to see from last year but as of today this is what stuck out to each of us the most:

NATHAN SIZEMORE

Top Five Movies:

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. The Hateful Eight
  3. Inside Out
  4. Bone Tomahawk
  5. Mistress America

 

Biggest Surprise:

Man, I could list a lot of stuff here.  I had no idea I’d like Shaun the Sheep as much as I did.  Or Chappie.  Or The Visit.  But after the savaging that Mortdecai received I had no expectation it would end up sitting at #6 on my favorite movies list.  Your mileage may vary given that it seems like the majority of the world has turned on Johnny Depp but I found it to be smartly-written and very rewatchable.

 

Biggest Disappointment:

There were a handful of disappointing films made by filmmakers I respect this year.  Blackhat jumps to mind.  So does While We’re Young, a movie Noah Baumbach made up for with Mistress America.  Jared Hess’ Don Verdean was surprisingly drab and limp.  But the biggest disappointment for me this year was Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I had relatively low expectations going in.  I was just looking for something on par with Abrams’ Star Trek reboot.  The Force Awakens starts out strong but the final 2/3 was a rushed mess with little I found enjoyable.  I’m still pretty bummed about that a few weeks later.

 

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

Surprisingly, it’s Meryl Streep.  There’s no buzz at all around her excellent turn as Ricki in Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash.  What the heck?  She’s incredible in the film, playing an aging rocker who actually rocks with complete authenticity.  The movie is good, too.  Go figure.

 

Favorite Cinematography:

I haven’t seen The Revenant yet, so, this can’t be considered definitive as Emmanuel Lubezki is operating on a cinematographic plane far above mere mortals but my vote at this point is John Seale’s work in Mad Max: Fury Road.  

 

Favorite Writing:

This is a toss-up between the world that George Miller and his writing team created in Mad Max: Fury Road, some awesome monologues in Craig S. Zahler’s  Bone Tomahawk, and Quentin Tarantino.  Tarantino’s films are always well-acted and shot but they’d be nowhere without his incomparable writing.  

 

Favorite Use of CGI:

My first thought was that sand storm in Mad Max: Fury Road, but on further reflection I’m going with the battle scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron where the various Avengers destroy robots as the camera swoops around.  It’s almost entirely artificial and incredibly beautiful.

 

Favorite TV:

The Last Man on Earth is the show that we’ve watched the most this year.  No one else seems to be.  What gives, people?  Will Forte’s brand of absurdity is my favorite beverage.   Kristen Schaal is a revelation and my favorite character in just about anything this year.  Season 2 has been a little less madcap than the first season but it’s only half over, so it’s hard to judge. 

I’ve also been watching and enjoying Stephen Soderbergh’s retirement project, The Knick.

Favorite Commercial:

Skittles' "Settle It" commercial is the one that I've come back to the most this year.

Favorite YouTube:

Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel has been daily viewing for me and my wife for much of this year.  His vlog has been a major influence on the vlogging I’ve done.  I’m still amazed at how he does what he does each day, even if he only sleeps four hours each night. 

 

JOEL MACDONALD

Top Five Movies:

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. Inside Out
  3. Spotlight
  4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  5. The Seven Five

Biggest Surprise:

The biggest surprise for me was "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". I went into it just thinking it was going to be an okay movie, but it ended up being one of my favorite movie watches of the year. Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill found a great chemistry in this film and given the fact that I'm not the biggest Guy Ritchie fan, I'm really surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. 

Biggest Disappointment:

As the resident Disney fan of Confound Films, I would be remiss to not mention "Tomorrowland". This movie is bad.  How could a movie with Brad Bird writing be so poorly written with Damon Lindelof thrown in there? The casting of Britt Robertson was a bad choice and this just comes down to having a very poorly written story that seems to be just sort of strewn together. I blame Hugh Lawrie's villain character that I can't think of the name and don't care enough to look up.  

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

I really enjoyed Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson in "Creed". Apart they we're great, but their chemistry together really solidified their performance for me. It also goes without saying that Charlize Theron's performance in "Mad Max: Fury Road" was fantastic. We don't know much about her backstory, but that doesn't mean we don't get a great sense of her character. She's the only person that could pull this role of as well as she does. 

Favorite Cinematography:

John Seale - Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki - The Revenant
Roger Deakins - Sicario

Favorite Writing:

"Inside Out" for sure. Pete Docter hasn't really written a script I didn't like. What a great way to convey emotions and this script is just bang-on. That's all I really have to say. 

Favorite Use of CGI:

The use of CG in "Mad Max: Fury Road" was definitely a great addition to all the spectacle. It added to the experience as opposed to be the only thing on screen. Also, as much as I didn't like the movie, some of the CG sequences in "Tomorrowland" was pretty great. 

Favorite TV:

Hands down it was "Making a Murderer". Not since the couple of seasons of Lost have I been so compelled to be involved in a show. It's a great ride all the way through and it will leave your blood boiling. 

Favorite Music Video:

Drake's "Energy" is just a weird video, but I really dig it every watch. 

Favorite Commercial:

I loved H&R Block's Nine Nine Tee Nine commercial. The kid from Little Giants is in it!

Favorite YouTube:

I'm really into WatchMojo when I'm editing and when I'm in the mood, I watch Casey Neistat and he probably had the best account this year. MKBHD is always a great watch for tech stuff. 

 

Screenshot 2016-01-30 09.18.22.png

KYLE SIMPSON

Top Five Movies:

  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Black Mass
  • Chappie
  • It Follows
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Biggest Surprise:

We went to see Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl at City Cinema and loved it. We tend to go see things at City without doing much research into what we're about to watch. I find that helps the experience (good or bad). By no means was it an uplifting movie, but they did a great job with it.

Biggest Disappointment:

Not that this movie was one I was looking forward to, but I did pay money to see it and boy was I sour. Vacation was one of the worst movies I've ever seen in theatres. We were ready to walk out. Joel can attest to that.

Or The Babadook. Man that movie had so much hype as being the scariest thing ever. I was pretty let down watching it. Knowing that it was more of a metaphor for depression and nothing supernatural really took any spookiness out of it. I was also sick the day I watched it, so maybe that tainted my experience, but yeah... lame. 

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

I would say that O'Shea Jackson Jr's performance of his father in Straight Outta Compton should get a nod, but I won't be surprised if it doesn't. I get it wasn't a role that called for much complexity or anything like that, but he had acting classes for 2 years leading up to filming and I think he nailed it. 

Favorite Cinematography:

I really loved what Mike Gioulakis did with It Follows. A lot of really nice shots in that movie. 

Favorite Writing:

I'm the worst person to talk about good writing haha. I tend to watch movies more on a visual level. I know it's empty and weird, but I don't pay that close of attention to the writing. I know when somethings good and somethings bad, or I don't like it. I think Inside Out did a great job with that story, so I'll go with that.

Favorite Use of CGI:

Mad Max really nailed their use of CG. Not relying on it for their crazy stunts or crazy cars, but instead they actually built some amazing rigs and did some insane stunts, and cleaned up the scene with CG. Replacing backgrounds instead of the main focal point. Smart. 

Favorite TV:

I really didn't watch much TV in 2015. Not in terms of a series or anything like that. Ghost Adventures is the only thing I looked forward to on our DVR. 

Favorite Music Video:

I mean, obviously "Better Homes and Gardens" by Taking Back Sunday. But there were some really great pop videos done this year. In One Direction's "Perfect For You" there's some really nice push/pull shots. Also the lighting in Bieber's "What Do You Mean" video is great. 

Favorite Commercial:

Variable did an absolutely gorgeous commercial for Audi. Salomon Ligthlem was DP and his work is untouchable. It's called "Rainmaker" and I'd go with the Director's Cut. 

Favorite YouTube:

I watched a lot of MovieTalk from Collider (which was once AMC Movie News). Also, Caisey is a regular. Roman Atwood Vlogs. I recently stumbled on Michael McCrudden's "Before They Were Famous".