Favorites of the Year 2015: Movies, Series, Books & Talents

It’s that time of the year where I share my favorite everything. Without further ado, here they are!

Happy New Year!

Movies

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Scene from a Movie

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Everything that involves Luis telling a story about something somebody said! (And pretty much all of Michael Peña’s scenes in Ant-Man.)

Also: EVERYTHING in Mad Max: Fury Road but especially the final chase sequence that ends with Immortan Joe’s death; the Ares III Crew’s rescue of Mark Watney with that near miss at the end; Bing Bong’s disappearance in Inside Out; the ‘head popping’ scene in Kingsman; Thomas the Tank Engine’s cameo in Ant-Man; old Sherlock Holmes’ break down in Mr. Holmes‘ most emotional scene; Tom Hardy fighting Tom Hardy in Legend!

Series

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Last year Fargo was my top favorite TV series. This year, it’s my favorite series on TV as well. The second season of Fargo is, in fact, much crazier and more violent than the the first season with the same level of script cleverness from the writers and acting brilliance from the cast. The one area where it’s better than the first season is the soundtrack. Also, it’s proving to be a show driven by amazing female performers: Alison Tolman won the first season for me, now it’s Kirsten Dunst’s turn. Her character is annoying (you wish you could just stab her repeatedly) but Miss Dunst just SHINES in this role. All the awards (again)!

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My absolute favorite web series, Sense8 was worth all the effort I made to watch it. All the characters are interesting, although not too developed that there’s no room for them to grow. In fact, the main attraction of the show is to see how the eight of them grew into their own skin after the troubles they faced. The number of characters also mean that some of them aren’t as prominent as the others but the concept is mind-blowing and the execution is flawless. Plus, it has a great opening credits and shiver-inducing music. Perfect.

Also: Marvel’s Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, London Spy, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Hannibal series finale, Wolf Hall, How to Get Away with Murder, Jekyll and Hyde, Poldark, Grimm, Galavant, Blindspot, Broadchurch and Quantico!

Books


I spent the entire year reading Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicle (with fear and trepidation from all the horror). But reading the book successfully erased my severe disappointment with the movie version. Despite that, I still use the still from the movie to illustrate my love for this series because without that disappointment, I wouldn’t have been driven to read the entire series. Book reviews are available at Bookerie.


I don’t usually listen to audiobooks but this one is one of my favorites this year. OBVIOUSLY. 🙂

And the rest…

Talent Interview

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Obviously this year is a FANTASTIC year in terms of interviewing talents. Pixar’s Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen come to mind, and Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar and the cast of Halfworlds as well. But of course the best was getting to talk to Mads Mikkelsen and Richard Armitage for the last season of Hannibal. The best of them all, however, was Mr. George Miller – director of my favorite movie of 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road – by phone. He indulged me for a 45-minute conversation and answered all of my ridiculous questions (because I’m a Mad Max novice!) He was very, very friendly and nice and articulate. I love these great taltens and I love my job.

Favorites Of The Year 2013: Movies

It was tough picking my favorite movies of 2013. The problem is not because there aren’t any films to choose from, but I feel that 2013 has not been a very festive year for movies. For example, there weren’t many good animation and musicals. Most of the sci-fi films  were a disappointment despite this year’s unprecedented number of original and adapted sci-fi scripts. And let’s not even talk about Indonesian films – none of them made it into my list this year.

The ones I did pick, however, to be in the Top 10, I believe to be truly in a league of their own. The rest are okay; some are guilty pleasures and many others are important movies that I felt were educational for myself personally. What’s interesting is that I have movies in this list played by the same actors. Martin Freeman, Luke Evans, Vin Diesel, Chris Hemsworth, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba. Apparently, my taste is kind of obvious!

Favorite Movies of 2013

Note: The movies listed here aren’t all released in 2013, but I watched them all this year.

1. Gravity

Despite having only watched it once, Gravity tops this list simply because it’s a stunning movie. It has the guise of a scientific story with shiny and highly advanced special effects but the story is really about loss and grief, accepting and overcoming it, and then finally moving on. With a terrific performance by Sandra Bullock (if she doesn’t win an award for this role, I will hate award committees everywhere), and an entertaining turn by George Clooney, Gravity is a thrilling space adventure and a truly inspirational story. As brilliant as the sweeping 13-minute non-stop opening shot is, my favorite bit is the ending. Truly brilliant. I salute you, Alfonso Cuarón!

2. Pacific Rim

The Mexican domination continues in this list as Guillermo del Toro gives me my first favorite movie of the year. Pacific Rim is, on top of all, an achievement of vision, innovation and ideas. This is the movie that teaches us to dream so big, so crazy, that it makes sense. It is also a love letter to the mecha and Kaiju genre that del Toro and many of his fans, myself included, grew up with. I will be forever grateful to him for giving us Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), one of the most badass female characters in an action movie ever. And good Lord, all those beautiful Jaegers… move over, Transformers! Clearly, you don’t stand a chance against Gipsy, Striker, Crimson and Cherno!

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Favorites Of The Year 2013: Television

2013 is, for me, the best year in television I remember in recent years. The TV renaissance, of course, started a few years ago when HBO Originals and AMC shows started influencing pop cultures and playing with the networks in ratings and popularity. But I didn’t feel it until 2012 when, all of a sudden, I simply had no day without TV shows. Both television from the US and the UK gave me more quality stories and performances than many films released this year.

I had a hard time compiling the list because it took me a while to decide on which stuff to put in the list, seeing as there are so many of them I watched this year, including old series that have gone off air (but continue to live on home video, like Spooks). A few people might be surprised to know that I watched close to 40 titles of TV series (though not all of them complete).

Favorite TV Shows In 2013

Note: I pick TV shows based on what I see this year and all the ones I put in the favorite are the ones I followed week-by-week. The TV shows I put on the list may include the second half of last season (for fall 2012-2013 shows) or only the first half of the new season (fall 2013-2014 shows).

1. Broadchurch


By far, this is the absolute best TV series I followed in 2013. Here’s why. David Tennant might be the one who’s going to the US for the remake, but Olivia Colman is the most interesting actress playing the most interesting female character on any TV show. And she killed it in the last episode. Absolutely flawless. I have no complaints. If you haven’t watched this show, please do so ASAP. You won’t regret it.

2. Sleepy Hollow


I don’t know where to begin to tell you why I love this show. Perhaps because all of the characters are great. Maybe because it’s been a long, long time that there’s a supernatural show on TV that excites me. Not to mention the series has a very filmic quality to its production, particularly the cinematography and storytelling… and naturally I have a huge crush on Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. Sleepy Hollow is magically irresistible.

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