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With less than five weeks to go to the end of the year, cinephiles have been furiously working on their ‘Best of 2015′ lists. Prestigious film magazine Sight & Sound has asked 168 critics around the world to submit their favourite picks to compile its own rankings. The result: The Assassin claims the top spot with 38 votes.
The epic adventure (read our review here) made its world debut at the Cannes film festival in May and garnered an award for Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Set in Tang Dynasty China, the titular assassin is a young woman named Nie Yin-niang who is sent to kill corrupt government officials.
Following in second place with 35 votes is Carol, Todd Haynes’s period drama about a blossoming romance between a suburban housewife (played by Cate Blanchett) and a department store clerk (Rooney Mara).
- Sara Hemrajani
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Established in the 1950’s by André Bazin, Joseph-Marie Lo Duca, and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, France’s Cahiers du cinéma has long been a bastion for quality film criticism. Year after year their rundown of the top films usually ignites a response, and we doubt 2015 will be any different.
They’ve now released their list for this year, which includes a few films that won’t get a U.S. release until next year (the chart-topping Mia Madre, Cemetery of Splendour, In the Shadow of Women, and Journey to the Shore). Also among the list is Lisandro Alonso‘s stellar Jauja, Miguel Gomes‘ epic Arabian Nights, and George Miller‘s blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road.
Following Sight & Sound’s top 20 of 2015, check out the full list below (thanks to Jordan Cronk), and see reviews where available.
3. In the Shadow of Women (Philippe Garrel »
- Jordan Raup
Sight & Sound has polled "168 critics from around the world" to come up with its list of the best films of 2015. The top five, in order: Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, Todd Haynes's Carol, George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, Miguel Gomes's Arabian Nights and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendour. Also in today's roundup: A new book on Orson Welles, remembering Bruce Lee on what would have been his 75th birthday, Kent Jones, Martin Scorsese, Christian Petzold, David Fincher and Whit Stillman on Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut, articles on David Lean and Andrei Tarkovsky—and more. » - David Hudson »
While our year-end coverage will arrive at… well, the end of the year, other outlets are getting the jump early. One of the first is the estimable Sight & Sound, who have culled together 20 of the year’s best films from 168 of their contributors and colleagues. Topping the list is Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s magnificent The Assassin.
Some may be surprised at the inclusion of Inherent Vice, but that hit U.K. theaters this year, while Arabian Nights, 45 Years, Son of Saul, Cemetery of Splendour, Amy, and Chantal Akerman‘s final film, No Home Movie, all cracked the top 10. Also rounding out the top 20 are two animated films: Charlie Kaufman‘s Anomalisa and Pixar’s Inside Out.
While some have yet to be released in the states, if you’ve missed a few during their theatrical run, we’re keeping tabs on where you can stream them here. In the meantime, »
- Jordan Raup
'Tis the season to be making lists. While children are putting the finishing touches on their requests to Santa Claus, cinephiles are collating their rankings of the year's best films. And the prestigious Sight & Sound are getting the yearly tradition rolling with their unveiling of the 20 Best Films of 2015. Voted on by 168 movie critics from around the world, it's not a surprise to see things lean very auteur heavy. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's acclaimed "The Assassin" takes the top spot, Todd Haynes' "Carol" is right behind, while Christian Petzold's "Phoenix," Jafar Panahi's "Taxi Tehran," Apichatpong Weerasethekul's "Cemetery Of Splendour" and more rank. But that's not to say critics don't like their blockbuster or genre fare. George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road" takes third place, while Pixar's "Inside Out" makes the cut, as does David Robert Mitchell's "It Follows." Check out the full list below »
- Kevin Jagernauth
London — Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin” has topped a poll published by Sight & Sound magazine in which 168 U.K. and international film critics nominated their top five films of the year. Todd Haynes’ “Carol” came second and George Miller’s “Mad Max Fury Road” was third.
The results mark 2015 as a year of strong female characters and stories, with seven of the poll’s top 10 films having striking female leads. It was also a good year for documentary features, with Asif Kapadia’s “Amy” and Chantal Akerman’s “No Home Movie” both in the top 10.
Other U.S. movies in the top 20 included Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” in joint ninth position, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s “Anomalisa” and David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows” in joint 11th place, and Pete Docter’s “Inside Out” and Sean Baker’s “Tangerine” sharing 14th place.
Top 20 Films Of 2015
1. The Assassin, »
- Leo Barraclough
Read More: Watch: Intense Full-Length 'The Assassin' Trailer Will Get Your Blood Pumping Sight & Sound has announced that their heavily anticipated annual Films of the Year poll has awarded Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "The Assassin" with its top spot. The film was voted on by 168 UK and international film critics, who nominated their top five picks for best films of the year. The full list will be published in the January 2016 issue of Sight & Sound online. Other films recognized by the poll this year include Todd Haynes' "Carol" and George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road." Pete Docter's "Inside Out," Joshua Openheimer's "The Look of Silence" and David Robert Mitchell's festival favorite "It Follows" also broke into the top twenty list. Sight & Sound's decisions for this year's most noteworthy features highlight strong female leads, including a total of seven films with women as protagonist in the final top. »
- Elle Leonsis
Imagine how crowded the aforementioned best picture race sounds and narrow it down to just five slots. Add in the tendency for the director's branch to reward more challenging work than the general Academy (hence recent nominations for Benh Zeitlin, Michael Haneke, Pedro Almodovar, Julian Schnabel, etc.), and the best director race seems incredibly crowded. As last year proved with Bennett Miller, a best picture nomination is not necessarily needed for a director to sneak in here. Could Todd Haynes ("Carol") or George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road") or Cary Fukunaga ("Beasts of No Nation") land a slot even if their films don't make the best picture cut? Maybe. But like that race, this one is going to be far from clear until we have a stronger picture of what the latest from Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell and Alejandro González Iñárritu have in store. Collectively, that trio has been »
- Peter Knegt
The gender swap is (finally!) taking over cinema, with roles originally written for males being played by females, and all-male casted films being remade with ensemble casts of women (“Ghostbusters,” “Ocean’s Eleven”). Earlier this year, George Miller brought us back to his dusty, sepia-colored universe in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and of course, the eponymous Max (the ever prodigious Tom Hardy in the role) was back, but Miller presented us with Furiosa, a stunning, brave, and unquestionably important character in the film. Read More: Video Essay Explores The Rhythmic Chaos in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ In an exacting performance from Charlize Theron (honestly, who else could’ve pulled Furiosa off so seamlessly?) we come to meet this enigmatic character, but do not really find out much about her aside from her mission, and her outward demeanor. In a new video essay from Kiva Reardon at Tiff, she helps us »
- Samantha Vacca
When it comes to the Academy Awards, voters tend to think highbrow. They like to represent the best, most humane, classiest version of themselves. But don't forget the Steak Eaters. The Academy is full of them—they're red-blooded males (not just American), often directors, writers and craftspeople. They're the guys who voted for "Argo," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Braveheart," "Gladiator," "Avatar," and yes, "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain." "They vote for big movies that make big money, good solid moviemaking with great actors and good storytelling," one veteran Oscar campaigner told me. "'True Grit' is for them." Last year this faction of the Academy voted for such mainstream hits as Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper." The Steak Eaters —and many women Oscar voters as well—will come through for George Miller in the same way they did Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" and »
- Anne Thompson
"Fury Road" was a reinvigorating adventure for veteran cinematographer John Seale, who came out of retirement to collaborate once again with George Miller. Only this was no "Lorenzo's Oil," the last film he shot for Miller. With usual "Mad Max" Dp Dean Semler out of the picture, Seale stepped out of his comfort zone to tackle the reboot, which turned out to be the best action film in years — and in what is still the best post-apocalyptic franchise. "The whole film is basically a chase [in the desert landscape of West Africa with 75 vehicles], but was originally envisioned as a 3D shoot and they were building their own stereoscopic cameras," recalled the Oscar-winning Seale ("The English Patient"). "But then George changed his mind after I signed on. I was able to trim the 3D rig down because our 2D cameras are much smaller and lighter and it became more versatile for George." Still, it was Seale's first digital »
- Bill Desowitz
20th Century Fox
Every year film buffs decry the Oscars as a nonsensical popularity contest won more by marketing than good filmmaking, and the very next year those same people tune in again only for the cycle to repeat itself. Yes, not every great movie can get nominated, but the Academy are a notoriously crusty bunch, often sticking to tried and tested “Oscar-bait” formula rather than rewarding movies that transcend this and try something different.
These 13 movies are without question among the best films of the year and sure to be better than a number of movies which in fact end up being nominated, but because of their genre, small scale, difficult subject matter or one of a billion other reasons, they’ll miss out on getting to compete for the little gold guy.
One hoped after 2009’s Dark Knight controversy that a new age would dawn for the Academy, »
- Jack Pooley
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- Oli Davis
Though George Miller‘s “Justice League Mortal” was scrapped years ago, photographer Mark Rogers just released a new photo of actress Megan Gale as Wonder Woman on Friday. The image shows Gale in costume as the Amazonian hero, complete with a blue skirt, corset and gold cuffs. The photo came the same day actress Gal Gadot shared the first official photo from Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman,” which is slated for a 2017 release. Though her version of Wonder Woman never made it to the big screen due to the 2007-08 Writers’ Guild of America strike, Gale eventually went on to work with Miller. »
- Reid Nakamura
Yesterday photos surfaced of Megan Gale from “Mad Max: Fury Road” in her Wonder Woman costume. The images were production stills from George Miller’s scrapped “Justice League Mortals.” A few hours later, Gal Gadot released the below never-before-seen photo of Princess Diana in front of what looks like Big Ben…from the upcoming 2017 version of “Wonder Woman.” I'm not saying this photo was released in response to the George Miller images, but hey! New look at Gadot's Amazon Princess! Almost 75 years in the making... #WonderWoman is underway. A photo posted by Gal Gadot (@gal_gadot) on Nov 21, 2015 at 12:14am Pst »
- Donna Dickens
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star Gal Gadot has taken to Twitter to announce that filming is now underway on 2017’s Wonder Woman movie, with the actress releasing a brand new image of herself in costume as the Amazon Princess…
See Also: Follow all of our DC Extended Universe coverage here
Wonder Woman will hit cinemas on June 23rd 2017, with Patty Jenkins (Monster) directing, Gal Gadot reprising her role from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the Amazon Princess, and Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Saïd Taghmaoui (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) also featuring in the cast.
- Gary Collinson
Click to enlarge Mad Max: Fury Road may not exist if director George Miller had actually gotten his Justice League: Mortal movie off the ground. It was a project he began developing at Warner Bros. in the mid 2000s, but it ended up getting stuck in development mud during a writer's strike and never got the traction it needed to happen. On the one hand, it's a bummer because a Justice League movie from George Miller would be something to behold. On the other, it's a relief that Warner Bros. didn't just shove the movie forward with a weak script and a cheapened budget. Plus, had it been a big hit and started a new franchise, Miller may never gotten around to making Fury Road. The movie did progress far enough in development that it was fully cast. D.J. Cotrona as...
- Peter Hall
It will only take 75 years for Wonder Woman get her debut on the silver screen. In 2016, Gal Gadot will star(?) alongside Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” But before Zack Snyder, before “Man of Steel,” and before interconnected cinematic universes…there was George Miller. Back in 2007, the “Mad Max” director was at on time on track to deliver DC’s superheroes in “Justice League Mortals” in 2009. However, production was crippled by the Writer’s Strike and the project never recovered. Miller moved on to “Fury Road” and the rest is cinematic history. Had it come to passed, “Justice League Mortals” would’ve starred Armie Hammer (Batman), D.J. Cotrona (Superman), Common (Green Lantern), Adam Brody (Flash), Santiago Cabrera (Aquaman), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Martian Manhunter), Jay Baruchel (Maxwell Lord), and Megan Gale (Wonder Woman). If you recognize Wonder Woman’s actress, it’s because she recently turned »
- Donna Dickens
With the "Wonder Woman" solo movie having begun production, an earlier and ultimately discarded incarnation of the character has seen the light of day today.
Photographer Mark Rogers has used his social media accounts to share a couple of shots of supermodel Megan Gale in costume as Wonder Woman in George Miller's cancelled "Justice League Mortal" project from back in 2007 & 2008.
The look certainly differs from that Gal Gadot is seen sporting in next year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice". Boasting a brighter blue cloth skirt, more accurate headpiece and quite different leather corset - it's a distinctly different take.
Gale, who also starred in this year's "Mad Max: Fury Road" as the Valkyrie, was to star in the film alongside Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Adam Brody as the Flash, Common as the Green Lantern, Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Hugh Keays-Byrne as Martian Manhunter, »
- Garth Franklin
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