Jacob Hall’s Top 10 Movies of 2015

top 10 movies of 2015

When I sat down to create my top 10 movies of 2015 list, I decided to jot down a quick list of every single movie that I felt was a contender. You know, just to get the creative juices flowing. Over 30 titles later, I realized I had to start getting picky.

2015 was one hell of a year for cinema and the rare year where major Hollywood productions often seemed to match the independent scene step-for-step. One of the distinct pleasures of this past year wasn’t just the sheer number of good movies, but the variety. Animation and comedy and horror and drama and action films all found a place on my top 10. The fact that the mold-shattering biopic Steve Jobs and the effortlessly entertaining and inspiring The Martian didn’t make the cut boggles my mind. How could I not find room for the oddly romantic and deeply funny S&M oddity that is The Duke of Burgundy? The sobering Spotlight probably should have been on this list. The Big Short, too. In any other year, the elegant thrills of  Bridge of Spies would have been a shoo-in for this list.

But try as I might, there is only room for 10 movies in my top 10 list. These are the movies that still cling to me in the early days of 2016, the films that, for one reason or another, feel like they matter the most. Not all of them will cling to you in the same way and that’s okay. These lists are less about making definitive statements and more about encouraging conversation. No, I didn’t “forget” anything on my list, but I’d certainly love to hear what’s on your personal top 10. Let’s start talking.

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Lo and Behold Trailer

We’re just a little over a couple weeks away from attending the 2016 Sundance Film Festival kicking off on January 21st, unveiling a slew of independent films that we’ll hopefully be talking about throughout the entire year. The entire line-up has already been revealed with some of the movies are getting teased before their debut in the mountains of Park City, Utah. And one of them is coming from a master filmmaker.

Werner Herzog will be heading to Sundance with his first non-fiction film in five years, a documentary called Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. This time Herzog is taking a look at the internet and its effects on culture and how we connect to each other as people. I can’t imagine a more fascinating filmmaking to tackle this subject material than Herzog, and the first Lo and Behold trailer promises something extremely intriguing. Watch it below! Read More »

Making A Murderer

Yesterday I mentioned I recently got hooked on Netflix’s new doc-series Making A Murderer. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I urge you to do so, but don’t read this post as it will explore spoilers from the real-life events presented in the show. It seems like I was not alone in getting sucked into this long-form documentary series, and there has been a lot of coverage on the web this week. I did a deep dive and wanted to highlight some of the articles and topical news since the release of the series. We look at the following:

  • The best theories as to what really happened.
  • The story of how the series was created and filmed over ten years.
  • Read about possibly shocking evidence that was not presented in the tv series.
  • Could we get a Making A Murderer sequel?
  • Online petitions have popped up demanding that President Obama take action
  • Prosecutor Ken Kratz‘s Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews, forcing the company to take action.
  • Hacker group Anonymous claims they will make new evidence public
  • The problem with treating true crime villains like fictional villains

All that and more, after the jump.

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“If you’re the only one who does something, you’re the world’s greatest.”

This is the epigraph that opens Spearhunter, a new short film by director Adam Roffman. And in amusing fashion, the film explores the personality and life of Gene Morris, whose Spear Hunting Museum has a mural on its side proclaiming him “The Greatest Spear Hunter in Recorded History.” What would drive a person to create such a museum? And how does one spearhunt, anyway?

These were the questions that drove Roffman to make this film. When I saw Spearhunter at the Independent Film Festival of Boston this year, I was taken with its beautiful cinematography and its great use of b-roll and editing, all of which served to give viewers a vivid sense of Morris’s egotism and eccentricity. I was also curious about how Roffman, who has previously been a film festival program director and a set dresser on many critically acclaimed films, had made the jump into documentary filmmaking, so I asked him about the making of the film via email.

Spearhunter is now online. You can watch the short film and read my interview with Adam below.
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Where to Invade Next Release Date

Clarification: The film will still be released on December 23rd 2015 in New York City & Los Angeles. Filmmaker Michael Moore e-mailed us to explain why the move was made:

“Is there any way to clear up in the headline and the lead that the open is still Dec 23 in NY & LA? I asked the distributor to give me more time to go out and do a hundred free screenings across the country before they opened it wide — and because they really hadn’t locked in solid Jan 15 as the wide date they were cool doing on Feb 12. It’s not uncommon for films to open in Dec for an Oscar qualifying run and then go wide in Jan, Feb or even the week after the Oscars. Hope I’m not splitting hairs. Love your site. Hope to talk again soon.”

The original story follows:

Not too long ago, we saw the first trailer for Michael Moore‘s Toronto International Film Festival selected documentary, Where to Invade Next. The film was is set for an Oscar qualifying release on December 23rd, and but would have opened in theaters everywhere on January 15th. But now the wide release has been pushed back a month to allow Moore to go on a nationwide bus tour which will see him debuting the film in every single state. Get the details below! Read More »

making a murderer

True crime is so hot right now. Serial captivated the world last year with the Adnan Syed saga, and as of this week has returned to dig into the Bowe Bergdahl case. HBO’s The Jinx got people talking about Robert Durst all over again earlier this year. And now Netflix is jumping on the bandwagon as well, with Making a Murderer.

The 10-episode documentary series centers on Steven Avery, who was convicted in a rape case and served 18 years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence. But his story took a shocking turn after his release, when he was accused of murder in 2005. Watch the Making a Murderer trailer after the jump. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Where to Invade Next trailer

Michael Moore‘s first film in six years comes out this month. The documentarian’s last two features, Capitalism: A Love Story and Sicko, didn’t leave as much of an impression as Fahrenheit: 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine did. Will Where to Invade Next be Moore’s next film to strike a chord with the American public?

After the jump, watch the Where to Invade Next trailer.

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where to invade next rating

Filmmaker Michael Moore wasn’t happy when his newest film, Where to Invade Next, was branded with an R rating. The MPAA was unfair to Moore’s latest, and after attempt to appeal the rating, his request for a PG-13 has been denied.

Learn more about the Where to Invade Next rating after the jump.

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Ghostbusters documentary

There are legions of Ghostbusters fans around the world, and while some of them have spent their time complaining and bashing the forthcoming reboot of the franchise from director Paul Feig, others are just happy holding on to the original films that touched their lives so many years ago.

Now a new documentary will explore the extreme side of Ghostbusters fandom. The project is called Ghostheads, and it hails from Lee Leshen, the producer of the recent Back to the Future documentary Back in Time. And if you’re a hardcore Ghostbusters fan, this is a project you can get involved with in more ways than one. Read More »