Films of 2015

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
Having never seen a Mad Max movie in my life (a cinematic omission I finally rectified in 2017), I did not know what to expect of Fury Road. Needless to say, I was super impressed. George Miller delivered an action classic without equal. With death-defying stunts (mostly practical with minimal CGI) and a kick-behind soundtrack, Fury Road is a rousing, rocking and rolling success across the board. See it again, and again.

2. The Walk
Robert Zemeckis' flop that should not have flopped. Based on the true story of Philippe Petit - played with appropriate gusto by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - walking a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. A loving tribute to the power of dreaming big, and the World Trade Center in itself. No idea why the American audience didn't flock to see this. See it in 3D if you can, for vertigo-inducing awesomeness. As an added bonus, Alan Silvestri's score is a masterpiece.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I never ever expected a new trilogy. Just the fact that it actually exists (with Episode IX coming next year) makes me very happy. Episode VII isn't perfect (but then again, only Back to the Future is), but it's a fun, exciting, funny, engaging and engrossing trip to a galaxy far, far away. I'm not complaining. The pressure on J.J. Abrams must have been immense. You've done a man's job, sir.

4. Cinderella
The second of Disney's reimaginings of animated classics, after Maleficent. They've released The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast since, and will release Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan in the near future. I'm not holding my breath for Atlantis or Treasure Planet, although I'd like to hold my breath for those. Cinderella doesn't break the mold (or any mold for that matter), but it's a charming slice of cinema. Two things stood out: a more developed romance between Cinderella and the prince, which makes their head over healsiness (that's made-up English, I know) all the more believable. And I was very fond of Cinderella's father chewing the scenery while riding his carriage and shouting: 'MY GIRLS!!! MY BEAUTIFUL GIRLS!!'. Hilarious.

5. D'Ardennen
The debut drama film from Belgian director Robin Pront. A messed-up middlefinger of a rollercoaster, with funny lines for sad(dening) characters and effective use of 90s techno music. The denouement will leave you emotionally drained. Full review here.

6. Black
After 2014's Image, Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah return with an even better, grittier, seedier drama straight from the underbelly of Brussels. Full review here.

7. Jurassic World
The best sequel to Jurassic Park! Is that faint praise? Maybe. But this is at least a fun thrill ride. The sequel, Fallen Kingdom is not too shabby either. Colin Trevorrow really knows how to breathe more life into this franchise. Well done, chap.

8. Ant-Man
Yeeech. This was mediocre. I'm a big fan of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Michael Peņa, but this was just very mediocre. Missed opportunity. I would love to see Edgar Wright's original vision.

9. F.C. De Kampioenen 2: Jubilee General
An alleged comedy. Yet not funny, not funny at all. The return of DDT was nice, though.

Honourable mentions

Blade Runner
Once with former girlfriend Josien, once with old friend Karel. Yep, two Belgian cinemas did a Blade Runner reprise in 2015. Why? No idea. But I'm not complaining. This was the first (and second) time I saw this classic on the silver screen. Still one of the most atmospheric, gorgeous and groundbreaking science-fiction movies that money can buy (tickets for). Rutger Hauer is the best flawed/sympathetic villain in movie history, boasting the best speech in cinema. Faut le faire.

Back to the Future marathon
At last. My favourite movie, and my favourite trilogy, seen on the big screen for the first time, and on 21 October 2015 no less. The future is now. So weird.

Julian De Backer, 12 July 2018