Herald Movie Yearbook 2015

Here’s one last, irreverent look at the year in movies:

Best opening credits: Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. The entire movie revealed in super fast-forward, a tip of the hat to Brian De Palma, who did the same thing in the 1996 original.

Best end credits: Inside Out. Because funny cat videos are always awesome, no matter where they show up.

Best closing line: “Avengers — ” Chris Evans, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Best movie that leaves you guessing: Clouds of Sils Maria.

Best sequel: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best sequel that was also its own thing: Creed.

Worst sequel (tie): Jurassic World and Furious 7.

Most unnecessary sequel: Terminator: Genisys.

Most tone-deaf sequel: Pitch Perfect 2.

Best remake disguised as a sequel: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Best documentary sequel: The Look of Silence, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling follow-up to The Act of Killing, about the survivors of the Indonesian massacres.

Worst remake: Poltergeist.

Most effective use of IMAX 3D: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s vertigo-inducing high-wire act between the Twin Towers in The Walk.

Least effective use of IMAX 3D: Those cartoonish whales and fake CGI backgrounds in Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea.

Best supporting performance by an animal: Marlene, the Jack Russell terrier in White God — the saddest doggie face in the world.

Best imitation of a James Bond movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Worst imitation of a James Bond movie: Spectre.

Best movie dumped into the wasteland of January: Michael Mann’s superb Blackhat.

Best example of a movie made primarily to win Oscars: Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl.

Movie most likely to free up your Sundays: The NFL exposé Concussion.

Best movie about journalism: Spotlight.

Worst movie about journalism: Truth.

Best argument for educating your audience while entertaining them at the same time: The 2008 financial crisis comedy The Big Short.

Most convincing argument that you can forget a film was shot entirely on an iPhone: Sean Baker’s unexpectedly funny, sweet Tangerine.

Best local made good: Miami homeboy S. Craig Zahler, who wrote and directed the western-horror hybrid Bone Tomahawk.

Best local trend: The boom in retrospective screenings of classic films, obscure movies and cult favorites, spearheaded by the non-profit Secret Celluloid Society, Coral Gables Art Cinema, O Cinema, Miami Beach Cinematheque, the Cosford Cinema and the Tower Theater.

Best local streak: For the sixth year in a row, the mad geniuses at the Borscht Corp. collective of filmmakers and artists got several shorts accepted into the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Best opening shot: A bloody bathroom, a vacated house and Michael Shannon’s grim, implacable face in 99 Homes.

Best closing shot: Carol: a stare, then a smile.

Best musical performance: Meryl Streep belts out a scorching cover of Bruce Springsteen’s My Love Will Not Let You Down at a wedding reception in Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash.

Best depiction of the magic that can happen in a recording studio: Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) gets creative with jingle bells and dogs for his album Pet Sounds in Love and Mercy.

Best musical dance number in a feature film: Oscar Isaac’s sinister scientist gets down in Ex Machina.

Second best musical dance number in a feature film: In Magic Mike XXL, Joe Manganiello tries to impress a convenience store clerk by stripping to the Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way.

Best musical dance number in a documentary: The Wolfpack: Raised largely in captivity inside the confines of their tiny apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, six brothers who have spent their lives obsessing over movies film themselves performing an elaborate dance routine to the 1985 pop hit Tarzan Boy.

Best comeback: Sylvester Stallone reprising his Rocky Balboa persona and reminding us he can still act all these years later, in Creed.

Worst comeback: Director M. Night Shyamalan, who finally broke his box office slump with The Visit but left you wishing he had stayed away.

Timeliest biopic: Straight Outta Compton, about the birth of the hip-hop group NWA and its clashes with abusive police officers.

Dullest biopic: Steve Jobs. Can we move on, please?

Most formulaic biopic: Trumbo, a by-the-numbers look at the life of the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter. Great performances can only take you so far.

Least conventional biopic: The End of the Tour, about the relationship between a Rolling Stone reporter (Jesse Eisenberg) and the late David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) during a book tour to promote the release of his best-known novel Infinite Jest.

Most imaginative fictional biopic: Mr. Holmes, about the last case in the storied career of the literary sleuth Sherlock Holmes, played with quiet grace and dignity by Ian McKellen.

Most heartbreaking biopic: The documentary Amy, about the fast, short life of singer Amy Winehouse.

Most unusual score: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s throbbing electronica in Sicario — music from the apocalypse.

Best example of letting your makeup do your acting for you: Johnny Depp sleepwalking through Black Mass sporting creepy contact lenses and latex.

Best use of close-ups: John Crowley’s camera lingering on Saoirse Ronan’s face in Brooklyn.

Worst movie everybody saw: Furious 7.

Best movie nobody saw: The Walk.

Best movie that repelled audiences with its misleading marketing: Guillermo Del Toro’s gothic romance Crimson Peak, which was sold by Universal Pictures as a horror movie.

Most painful flop: The Zac Efron DJ drama We Are Your Friends sold such few tickets, distributor Warner Bros. didn’t even bother to release the movie on Blu-ray.

Worst one-two punch: Eli Roth returned to directing after a seven-year absence with The Green Inferno and Knock Knock, released within two weeks of each other. Still not sure which one was crummier.

Best movie directed by an actor: The tense thriller The Gift, written and directed by Joel Edgerton. You won’t see that ending coming.

Worst movie directed by an actor: Lost River. Stop trying to be Terrence Malick, Ryan Gosling.

Best facial hair: Kurt Russell rocking two of the manliest beard/mustache combos in cinematic history in The Hateful Eigh
t
and Bone Tomahawk.

Funniest comedy: The vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.

Worst comedy: Get Hard.

Drollest comedy: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.

Most savage comedy: Wild Tales.

Most unfairly maligned comedy: Vacation.

Best example of nailing the landing: The Hunger Games saga drew to a satisfying (and surprisingly bleak) finish in Mockingjay Part 2.

Best horror movie: It Follows.

Worst horror movie: The Visit.

Most terrifying encounter with nature: Leonardo Di Caprio and a bear in The Revenant.

Best example of “How did this movie get made?”: Lana and Andy Wachowski’s sci-fi/fantasy trainwreck Jupiter Ascending.

Best example of “What were they thinking?”: The grating, $150 million children’s fantasy Pan.

Most impressive parenting skills: Brie Larson’s fierce, determined Ma in Room.

Most convincing couple: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol.

Least convincing couple: Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez in Furious 7.

Most unintentionally humorous couple: Jennifer Lopez and her hunky teenaged neighbor (Ryan Guzman) in The Boy Next Door.

Worst advertisement for sex toys: Fifty Shades of Grey.

Movie that makes even the biggest slob wish for a ball gown: Kenneth Branagh’s gorgeous Cinderella.

Best comic-book movie: Ant-Man.

Worst comic-book movie: Fantastic Four.

Worst movie, period: Fantastic Four.

Best opening sequence: A seemingly ordinary man (Mark Rylance) gets a phone call and goes out for a stroll, a swarm of FBI agents on his trail, in Bridge of Spies.

Best closing sequence: A Holocaust survivor (Nina Hoss) sings Speak Low in the presence of her astonished husband in Phoenix.

Best use of silence: The Tribe, about the goings-on at a school for delinquent deaf-mute teens. Welcome to our world.

Best single take: Michael B. Jordan goes three rounds against an opponent, done without CGI or special effects, in Creed. This is what being inside a boxing ring feels like.

Best prolonged use of a single take: Victoria, a 135-minute thriller about a bank robbery shot in real time, with no cuts.

Best example of an amusing joke that wore out its welcome: The potty-mouthed bear in the excruciating Ted 2.

Best example of less is more: The Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, which would have worked better at 95 minutes instead of 125 minutes (Judd Apatow, you need to find a new editor).

Best example of less is more, part II: The 84-minute Mistress America, Noah Baumbach’s offbeat and hilarious comedy about a female friendship.

Fastest fall from grace: Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, who was handed the keys to Hollywood after the success of 2009’s District 9, followed up the disappointing Elysium with his first outright flop: Chappie, an R-rated sci-fi cautionary tale that sounded like a kiddie movie and grossed $31 million in the U.S. The Alien movie Blomkamp was scheduled to direct next has been put on hold.

Best unexpected use of disco music: The Martian. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive will never sound the same.

Best 2015 movie that won’t open in South Florida until 2016: Laszlo Nemes’ searing Son of Saul.

Rene Rodriguez’s most anticipated movie of 2016: Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.

Connie Ogle’s most anticipated movie of 2016: The Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!

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