Tag Archives: Star Wars

The 10 best movies of 2015, as voted by my friends and colleagues

There are always far too many films out every year to make any kind of sweeping judgement on the perceived quality of the work released in that arbitrary period.

Yet as winter rolls around, out come the end-of-year lists to fit 2015 into a neatly-cut box and let everyone know just how great our tastes are. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, but this year I thought it might be fun to try something different.

Instead of listing my 10 favourite movies from 2015, I polled a number of friends, colleagues, filmmakers and critics for their top ten lists and compiled a Sight & Sound-esque “definitive” ranking from the results. You’ll see these after the jump, along with comments from some of the contributors and myself.

[A note for pedants: “films from 2015” in this instance means films that were released theatrically in the United Kingdom between 1 January and 31 December this year.]

This is a people’s vote, not a cinephile senate, which means that blockbuster fare ended up occupying more of the top spots than I anticipated. While there is some overlap with S&S‘s end-of-year list, it’s interesting to note that many of the films missing from ours will likely never be seen by some of the pollsters.

Myself? I want to see everything from the arthouse to Roadhouse – and I don’t believe that the final goal of a film should always be to entertain – but I can totally appreciate the populist escapism for which most audiences go to the movies, and I think the following list reflects that…

…While also managing to slip a couple of modern masterpieces in there. Continue reading

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Walking Bad Wars

Spin-offs are on my mind a lot this week. I just submitted an article to Nerdly – the first of what will hopefully be a series of columns discussing entertainment taboos and fanboy frustrations from a ‘devil’s advocate’ point of view – in which I talk about the recent announcements of both Breaking Bad and Walking Dead TV spin-off shows. Strangely enough, the article itself is a spin-off from a column I used to do for Blogomatic 3000 when it had that name and I used to write at least semi-regularly.

Incidentally, the announcements seem pretty cynical when you note that both shows are run by AMC, and while Better Call Saul seems to have come pretty organically from the writers, the Walking Dead ‘companion’ does look more or less like a grab for more cash while the cow’s still fat and the metaphor’s still mixed. That said, I would love to see a sequel to Mad Men (another AMC show) detailing Sally Draper’s coming of age in the 1970s, as put forth by /Film’s Peter Sciretta.

Unfortunately, just as I finished writing the article a new Star Wars TV show was announced…and I’m far too lazy to rewrite the damn thing, so I’ll mention it here instead.

The premise actually sounds pretty exciting: taking place during the gap between episodes III and IV, Rebels is set to detail the rise of both the Empire and the Rebellion, as well as checking in on Luke’s childhood on Tatooine.

No word yet on who else the series will focus on, but I for one would love to see some of Leia’s formative years expanded on…as long as it doesn’t include too much politics.

This sounds pretty similar to the live-action series that’s been in indefinite development for years, but this show will be in CG so I’m still holding out a sliver of hope. Hell, there’s supposed to be one Star Wars film every year for six years from 2015 so it’s not completely out of the question, right?

And we’ve never been let down before, right?

…Right?

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The best part of this Kickstarter campaign to build a Death Star…

…is the Hudsucker Proxy joke.

Which may indicate to some that we’re reaching critical mass on the whole ‘oh wouldn’t it be fun to build a gigantic orbital killing machine’ thing. The White House already nailed it. Let’s not drag this out.

Although, as one myself, I realise I’m saying this to Star Wars fans…

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Who should write Episode VII?

If you haven’t heard by now (and really, what kind of self-respecting nerd hasn’t?), Disney recently announced their purchase of Lucasfilm, and with it came the news that a Star Wars sequel trilogy is in the works, with Episode VII set to hit screens in 2015.

There followed a ton of speculative articles about said movie, one of the chief questions among them being: who’s going to direct? I’m not going to throw out any more suggestions into that overflowing pot – though the current consensus seems to lie with Brad Bird of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, and it’s kind of hard to argue with that.

I’m much more interested in who’s writing what would have been one of the most anticipated films of all time, had Phantom Menace not already spoiled things for us. What follows is an entirely speculative list of writers I’d like to see take on an ancient, far-off galaxy for the big screen, and what I think they’d do with the material given free reign.

Charlie Kaufman

A neurotic Bib Fortuna (sensitive about his shrinking tentacles) turns up at George Lucas’s house and demands they go on a road trip to secure plans for the Death Star Ride at Disneyworld before a balding, overweight fanfic writer undoes reality from his bedroom by completing a piece of Han/Chewie slash fiction.

Alexander Payne

Chewie and Han, way over the hill by now, still try to make a living by smuggling cargo to the most putrid, hopeless planets in the galaxy, unaware that people only hire them out of pity. Luke and Leia went on to become huge celebrities, Luke turning to television hosting and Leia with a top spot in government. Needless to say, bad boy Han felt like embarrassing dead weight.

The boys drift across space, getting involved in humiliating sexual farces and eventually Han dies from space-syphilis (he’s blind for most of the movie). Chewie takes this opportunity for a fresh start and opens up a surprisingly successful taco restaurant on one of the asteroids that used to be Alderaan.

Richard Linklater

Luke and Yoda’s ghost get a few beers in on Dagobah and talk about God, the Force and existentialism for an hour. On the other side of the universe, a teenage girl who’s just shown signs of proficiency with the Force gets stoned with Lando Calrissian, fall asleep and dreams about all the dead Jedi. They talk about exactly the same stuff for another hour.

So those are my thoughts. How likely do you reckon those plots are? And, more seriously, who do you think they’ll actually tap to write the series, given that Lucas has washed his hands of having direct involvement with the screenplay?

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