Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Memorable Movies - 2015

Not necessarily new in 2015, but they were new to me!

Full reviews, where I did them, are linked to in the movie names.


Wealthy quadriplegic Philippe needs an assistant to help him with all the functions of daily life. Immigrant, ex-con Driss needs a signature on his application to fulfill unemployment requirements. Philippe hires Driss because the regular applicants are missing one important quality and the lives of both men are changed.

Sounds predictable.



Convicts in an Italian high security prison practice and perform Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In the process, we see how the play holds up as a real life reflection of not only the prisoners' experiences but of life in general.

The prison theater is being redone so practices are held all over the prison which not only gets us out of the "stage performance" aspect but connects the play more fully to the prisoners' reality. Sheer genius.


In the not so distant future, Theodore, a lonely writer purchases a newly developed operating system designed to meet the user's every needs. To Theodore's surprise, a romantic relationship develops between him and his operating system.

This was a fairly astounding movie. It startled, shocked, endeared, and made us think. We're still talking about certain aspects, especially how it looked at men and women (the title is "Her" after all and there is more than one woman in it), while simultaneously thinking about how we interact with technology, AI, and aliens. The more I think about it, the more I admire it.


This documentary focuses on Pastor Jay Reinke's ministry to homeless men who have flocked to Williston, North Dakota to work in the oil fields.

The congregation eventually becomes overwhelmed when the "Overnighters" program shows no signs of shutting down.

At first this looks like a straight forward case of Christian hypocrisy. However, no story is ever as simple as it appears on the surface. As the documentary continues we are shown further strands of the story which lead into challenging, thought provoking waters.


What a find! This tells the story of Georges Melies, whose 1902 film Le Voyage Dans la Lune left us with the indelible image of gentlemen in top hats exploring the moon. However, in order to tell Melies' story, the filmmakers wove the story of early cinema itself around the narrative.

It winds up following restoration efforts to the only hand-colored print of the film in existence.


This movie works because we all recognize everything going on in this girl's life and in her head. If Pixar had taken a false step we would have felt it, because we all know the source material so well. They hit every note perfectly to tell a nuanced, complex story that made me laugh and cry (just a little), touched my heart and made me appreciate my emotions just a little more.


In the first act of Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy’s Max spends more time than you might expect strapped helplessly to the front of a turbo-charged Chevy coupe, maniacally driven by a fanatic through a hellish landscape, an unwilling witness to the chaos ensuing around him.

Sitting in the theater, I felt about the same way, I think.

Then, as the movie continued, an improbable thing happened. Like Max, I slowly became a willing participant in the madness.
Steven D. Greydanus said it all for me.

I was left bemused by this movie, in large part because of the powerful, almost overwhelming images. A second viewing might change my mind but it was definitely memorable. In a good way.


Two hillbillies are suspected of being killers by college kids camping in the woods. The twist is that the hillbillies are kind, supportive, nice guys who are continually being misunderstood.

Fun, entertaining, and luckily I know enough to look away at the right time ... and that made all the difference.

What really surprises me is that my husband is a huge fan of this movie and  has brought it up many times. He isn't a horror film fan but this tapped into some entertainment vein that made him recommend it to a lot of people.


Carl is celebrity chef whose cooking has become safe and boring. He’s divorced, with a 10-year-old son he never has time for. When an influential critic leads to his public humiliation, Carl reassesses his life. He launches a no-frills food truck and takes to the road. Carl’s path to redemption leads across the country, reconnecting him with his love of food, creativity, and his son.

Chef is an honest little, indie-style movie that gave me a great deal of pleasure. And sometimes that's all a movie needs to do.


  1. Thank you! I had seen Inside Out in the theater after reading your recommendation. I loved it!

    Last night, I watched Chef and enjoyed that movie, too!

    Thank you so much, Julie!

    1. My pleasure! I'm so glad you liked them!