Online Film Critics Society: Best Picture of 2015 is ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Tom Hardy and a one-armed Charlize Theron in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
Tom Hardy and a one-armed Charlize Theron in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Challenging the critical consensus that’s been gathering around The RevenantSpotlight, and Carol for best film of the year, Online Film Critics Society—which includes yours truly among its members—voted yesterday that the year’s best film was in fact … Mad Max: Fury Road. One could theoretically argue that George Miller’s action film had just as much to say about the human condition (folly, greed, short-sightedness, environmental collapse) as those other films, only with the added bonus of explosions and many, many crashing cars. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Herewith the full list of awards:

  • PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road
  • ANIMATED FEATURE: Inside Out
  • FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: The Assassin
  • DOCUMENTARY: The Look of Silence
  • DIRECTOR: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • ACTOR: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  • ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (Carol)
  • SUPPORTING ACTOR: Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
  • SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rooney Mara (Carol)
  • ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Spotlight (Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy)
  • ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Carol (Phyllis Nagy)
  • EDITING: Mad Max: Fury Road (Margaret Sixel)
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)

New York Film Critics Online: Best Picture of 2015 is ‘Spotlight’

Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery in 'Spotlight' (Open Road Films)
Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery in ‘Spotlight’ (Open Road Films)

New York Film Critics Online, which generously includes yours truly among its membership, voted today on our best films of 2015. Unlike some years, when the opinion coalesces around two or three different films, this time only one film garnered multiple awards. That would be Tom McCarthy’s incredible eye-opener Spotlight, about the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the Catholic Church’s decades-long coverup of widespread abuse by Boston priests. It won in four categories, including best picture.

Herewith the full list:

  • PICTURE: Spotlight 
  • DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • SCREENPLAY: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • ACTRESS: Brie Larson, Room
  • ACTOR: Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rooney Mara, Carol
  • SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • FOREIGN LANGUAGE PICTURE: Son of Saul
  • DOCUMENTARY: Amy
  • ANIMATED FEATURE: Inside Out
  • ENSEMBLE CAST: Spotlight
  • DEBUT AS DIRECTOR: Alex Garland, Ex Machina
  • USE OF MUSIC: Love & Mercy; Atticus Ross, Composer; Featuring the Music of Brian Wilson
  • BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina, The Danish Girl

And here is our list of the year’s 10 best films, in alphabetical order (yes, that’s right, one of them is Mad Max, as it should be):

  • 45 Years 
  • The Big Short 
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn 
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road 
  • Sicario
  • Spotlight 
  • Steve Jobs 
  • Trumbo

Screening Room: Chaos Reigns in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Vroom, vroom - 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (Warner Bros.)
Vroom, vroom – ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (Warner Bros.)
madmaxfuryroad-posterIt’s been three decades since George Miller’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Things have changed. No more Mel Gibson, for one. Also, the postapocalyptic subgenre that Miller’s series helped sparked off has practically gone full mainstream. Sadly, no Tina Turner. Now, here comes Mad Max: Fury Road, with Tom Hardy in the driver’s seat.

Mad Max: Fury Road (aka, the fourth one) is playing pretty much everywhere now. My review is at Short Ends & Leader:

A demolition derby of a chase scene occasionally interrupted by scraps of crackpot wit and Aussie slang-strangled dialogue, Mad Max: Fury Road burns through ammunition and fuel with abandon. You would think that the characters were video-game avatars possessed of endlessly replenishable digital supplies, not the starving and sickly remnants of humanity barely surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unlike many action films, though, where such profligacy is determined by need for trailer-ready action beats, here it’s central to the film’s story and message…

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron fight the future (Warner Bros.)
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron fight the future (Warner Bros.)
Here’s the trailer, dig it:

Screening Room: Review Roundup

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck wonder what 'Runner Runner' means
Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck wonder what ‘Runner Runner’ means

With awards season just around the corner, studios big and small are finishing their late summer/early fall product dump. Here’s a quick rundown of reviews I’ve written on some other releases that have mostly gone unnoticed:

Runner Runner — Justin Timberlake plays Princeton math geek who goes to Costa Rica to be seduced into Ben Affleck’s sinister, high-stakes world of online gambling. Ridiculous as it sounds. Review here.

Bounty Killer — A post-apocalyptic, Mad Max knock-off with tongue planted firmly in cheek. C+ for effort; not as funny as it thinks it is. Review here.

Symphony of the Soil — Ever wonder what the difference is between soil and dirt? No? Review here.

The Dirties — Intriguing faux-documentary story about a kid making a movie about taking revenge on the school bullies. Starts off as gimmick, turns into uncomfortably close-to-home comment on violent media saturation. Worth seeking out. Review here.