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

foty-2015-movies-black-mass foty-2015-movies-legend foty-2015-movies-mr-holmes foty-2015-movies-spotlight foty-2015-movies-the-surprise foty-2015-movies-kingsman foty-2015-movies-mad-max-fury-road foty-2015-movies-sicario foty-2015-movies-bridge-of-spies foty-2015-movies-spy foty-2015-movies-spooks-the-greater-good foty-2015-movies-avengers-age-of-ultron foty-2015-movies-ant-manfoty-2015-movies-mockingjay-part2 foty-2015-movies-chappie foty-2015-movies-crimson-peak foty-2015-movies-inside-out foty-2015-movies-the-martian foty-2015-movies-victor-frankenstein foty-2015-movies-jupiter-ascending

Scene from a Movie

best-scene-2015-ant-man-luis
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

foty-2015-series-fargo-s2
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)!

foty-2015-series-sense8
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

foty-2015-eyecandies-mads foty-2015-eyecandies-richard

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.

Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Interview: Abridged and Emphasized

AF66-Feat-HannibalS3-header

This is the complete version of Mads Mikkelsen’s interview about Hannibal season 3 that I did a couple of months ago, before the season premiere, of which an excerpt has been posted before. Unlike Richard Armitage’s interview this is NOT the unabridged version of the interview and, while I sincerely apologize for that, I have a strong reason for doing so.

The interview session with Mads (consisting, as usual, a group of 4 journalists, including myself) was not as stellar as Mr. Armitage’s session. With all due respect to Mads Mikkelsen, who is also a wonderful, straightforward interviewee, this session was riddled with non-Hannibal related questions (e.g. asking him about his James Bond role) that I have no interest in putting inside my article. When the Hannibal-related questions appear, some of them are just too generic and too broad; a few, even, Mads has answered in other occasions (for example, questions about how playing Hannibal Lecter has affected his taste in anything and his preparation to play a killer like Hannibal in general). They are of no interest to me and so I didn’t use them in my article, and so they are not here either.

My long article was partially based on this interview, with some tidbits taken from a junket in Toronto last April, plus my observations of the show. A full translation of the article is not in the works at the moment but reading the Mads Mikkelsen interview will give you a glimpse of what I wrote in the article (with extra emphasis on Francis Dolarhyde and the Red Dragon arc.)

Continue reading

The Week of the Five Finales

Saying goodbye to the best of television… for now!

the-five-finales

Three months ago I never though I would arrive at this point: the week where five of the TV shows that I’m following will have their season finale… Broadchurch. Sleepy Hollow. Marvel’s Agent Carter. How to Get Away with Murder. They are all ending and will soon be leaving me with the biggest post-dramatic withdrawal syndrome ever.

(But I wonder why did they all have to end in the same week. I’m convinced the TV gods are punishing me.)

SPOILER ALERT: This entry contains spoiler of the finales of every show reviewed. Please proceed with caution.

Continue reading

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-ray promo clips

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-set

Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out on DVD and Blu-ray in September. Marvel has been teasing the extras through a series of clips. Here’s all of them so far in one place.

Continue reading

Marvel’s Avengers Age Of Ultron First Look

aou-concept-art-full-complete

After yesterday’s panel of Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron debuted (descriptions here), I looked at the film stills released by Marvel on Entertainment Weekly.

aou-ew-stills-01 aou-ew-stills-02 aou-ew-stills-03 aou-ew-stills-04

The first picture should be the scene where they were hanging out and trying to lift Mjolnir. There’s Mjolnir right there. Also, even just by looking at the picture, I can sense the strong ‘brofeel’. (And it is good to see Don Cheadle there. I was hoping he’d be in the panel yesterday…)

I can’t even fathom what the second picture indicates, but the third picture makes me happy. I really like seeing them in costume because somehow Joss Whedon and Marvel always make them work in the story. That they are not just characters who dress differently because they’re unique and powerful, but because there’s a story behind their getup. Cap is back to his colorful star and stripes too, and I appreciate that. Although, I’m hoping Thor’s armor gets a little less summer-y… he probably just wants to show off his arms but I like it better when the armor has long sleeves.

The third one, though? I am not going to lie but at the moment I will say that Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is still better. His hair, for one, is a lot nicer to look at than Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s hair in this one. The bit available in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier after-credit scene was intriguing but it’s not like we get to see him being Pietro Maximoff in entirety… it’s really hard or me to expect anything without seeing more. And the X-Men: DOFP version of Quicksilver was a real highlight in any summer movie I’ve seen this year so it will be very hard to top that.

From the way everyone talks about, the one thing that really makes me curious is the Hulkbuster armor. Hopefully soon we will get to see that. Of course, we will all appreciate the first look of James Spader’s Ultron.

A side note on fan expectations and differences of the MCU films from the comic books… I don’t get it. I see vitriol poured by some fans over the announcement of the cast and characters of Ant-Man and I am baffled.

Continue reading

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron Concept Arts from SDCC ’14

aou-concept-art-header

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 is on and, as expected, there’s an absolutely massive deluge of information coming from just about every single fandom you could possibly think of.

As usual, I’m following SDCC from the comforts of my own home, via the Interweb, and already I’m feeling kind of tired from the oversaturation of geek. However, these Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron concept art posters by Ryan Meinerding (Captain America, Iron Man) and Andy Park (Black Widow, Scarlet Witch) are just too good to NOT to be reported.

Without further ado, here they are.

aou-concept-art-05 aou-concept-art-08 aou-concept-art-03 aou-concept-art-07

aou-concept-art-02 aou-concept-art-04 aou-concept-art-01 aou-concept-art-06

Vision:

vision-concept-art

[UPDATED] The final 2 concept artworks for Hulk and Thor have been revealed (look up). And this is the full picture, which looks TOTALLY EPIC.

aou-concept-art-full-complete

Also, check out Andy Park’s Ant-Man concept art that was released before.

am-concept-art

[UPDATED] Entertainment Weekly posted this on their website:

The good guys are tired, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been destroyed, and there’s no one else for the planet to turn to when menace looms on the horizon. Everyone wants a break—and that’s exactly how they’re about to be broken. There’s no abdicating heroism.

“What you said about abdication is apt, but I think it’s also about recognizing limitations,” Robert Downey Jr. says. “The downside of self-sacrifice is that if you make it back, you’ve been out there on the spit and you’ve been turned a couple times and you feel a little burned and traumatized.”

For better or worse (trust us, it’s worse), his Tony Stark has devised a plan that won’t require him to put on the Iron Man suit anymore, and should allow Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk to get some much needed R&R as well. His solution is Ultron, self-aware, self-teaching, artificial intelligence designed to help assess threats, and direct Stark’s Iron Legion of drones to battle evildoers instead.

The only problem? Ultron (played by James Spader through performance-capture technology) lacks the human touch, and his superior intellect quickly determines that life on Earth would go a lot smoother if he just got rid of Public Enemy No. 1: Human beings. “Ultron sees the big picture and he goes, ‘Okay, we need radical change, which will be violent and appalling, in order to make everything better’; he’s not just going ‘Muhaha, soon I’ll rule!’” Whedon says, rubbing his hands together.

Completely sinister. We’ll know more from the panel later.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Official Trailer & Intros

guardians-of-the-galaxy-group02

Are you hooked on this feeling yet? Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is proving to be a serious summer blockbuster contender!

I’ve been waiting to see what Marvel and director James Gunn are doing with this particular Marvel property… the comic is obscure enough to feel like a novelty in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the story of the comic book (that is, the 2008 version) is quite good so that people who’ve read it like it enough to get excited about it and promote it. Personally, I think this team have a great set of characters just from the looks of them (I mean, a tree and a talking gun-wielding raccon? Those are already winners in my book!) and I think they are totally different from other MCU titles so people are going to be curious to see what the Guardians are all about.

There’s a good chance that this seemingly out-of-left-field film will trump others in the summer movies race. If nothing else, this already looks better than last year’s slew of failed sci-fi movies. Also, it has a very attractive cast led by Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana… with gorgeous Lee Pace playing the villain (if The Hobbit‘s Thranduil is anything to go by, Pace’s Ronan The Accuser is going to be even more evil/bitchy/intimidating). Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper and action man Vin Diesel will also draw big and GOTG will probably pull in other genre fans to the cinema (Whovians for Karen Gillan, wrestling/sports fans for Dave Bautista, comedy fans for John C. Reilly, etc.)

Marvel also seems to be doing quite a lot to familiarize us with the characters and the movie’s concept months ahead of the release in August. They released the official trailer yesterday and have just now released 5 intro clips introducing the GOTG crew members. We get to hear Rocket Raccoon’s voice by Bradley Cooper (no Cockney accent here and I like it) as he and the rest of the cast introduce their characters in the movie. This way, we have an idea of who they are and what they’re going to look like, if not really completely aware of the whole story just yet.

I admit to liking very much how Marvel builds up the hype for James Gunn’s comic book flick – it doesn’t have that overly smug feel of TASM2‘s major promo and the confusing way Bryan Singer is promoting X-Men: Days Of Future Past (I mean, I love X-Men, but honestly… announcing Apocalypse even before DOFP is out strikes me as an attention-seeking move. But that’s probably just me.) Now we’ll just have to see how Marvel Studios will treat this movie at Comic-Con!

Anyway. Enjoy the videos below, right after the poster.

Guardians Of The Galaxy - Marvel's "you're welcome"

Guardians Of The Galaxy – Marvel’s “you’re welcome”

Continue reading