12 January 2016

"I need a Vacation." - Maynard goes on Hiatus!

- January 12, 2016 - UPDATE

Ok. 2015 is over. The Best Of Lists have all been posted. Now it's time to say goodbye, Maynard's eagerly awaited HIATUS starts right fucking now! CU in Summer! :-)

- November 24, 2015 -

"30th September 2015. Mark this date in your calendar fans... For it's a historic occasion indeed.
For this is the day... I officially stop wasting my life taking chances on movies that may or may not be buckets of s***e... And, stick to the classics.
(Okay, I'll be able to watch the odd dire obscurity... I do SO enjoy mocking them, you know. But really, life is too short to do that a lot...)"

These aren't my words. These are the words of Imdb user "wrightiswright" who wrote this in his review of this year's dumbfest "Some Kind of Hate". I understand what he means, and granted, his comment was one of many reasons which inspired me to go on...


Yes. I'm going on hiatus! Originally, I wanted to continue blogging until New Year's Day and announce this on January 2, but today I realized that I just can't wait any longer.

I'm doing this blog thing for more than 6 years and for the most time, I enjoyed writing for this silly little site - but this year, the joy became a pain in the ass. Way too many shitty movies in theaters, way too many shitty screeners in my email account, and way... WAY too many shitty films at this year's terribly disappointing /Slash Filmfestival. I forced myself to continue writing and blogging and posting, but it wasn't fun anymore. It was a chore. A bore.

That's why it's time for a break now. Over the last weeks, I re-discovered the joy of watching old movies/DVDs without thinking about writing a review or making any screenshots - you can't imagine how great it is to watch something without constantly thinking about possible sentences and phrases ;-)

From now on, I won't waste my time on any lowest budget dreck, found footage rubbish, pointless oh-so-artsy movies without endings, or CGI disasters. From now on, I just wanna watch movies that are good / movies that I want to see.

There won't be any new posts until the last week of December 2015 when I'm gonna post my Best/Worst-Of-2015 Lists, and then there won't be any new posts until June 2016. I have no idea what will happen next year in Summer. Will I continue blogging? Will I stop writing? I have no idea. Let's wait and see :-)

Oh the drama!

Arnie knows best.

Top 10 Most Disappointing Movies 2015

Et voilà: the fourth and final 2015 list.

Maynard's Top 10
Most Disappointing Movies of 2015

Alexandre Aja's
USA / Canada, 2013

Since I first saw "High Tension" in 2005, I'm waiting for Alexandre Aja to make another movie that is about as awesome as that one - however, he just can't stop disappointing me with mediocre, polished and/or really lame pieces of overbudgeted rubbish. "Horns" sadly makes no exception.

Miguel Ángel Vivas'
Spain / USA, 2015

The director of the insanely awesome "Kidnapped" made a grim post-apocalyptic winter-zombie-movie... what sounds like the greatest thing ever, turned out to be an insanely dull and completely lifeless run-of-the-mill piece of CGI-zombie-schlock. *sigh* Can we get a "Kidnapped 2" puh-lease?

Various Directors
USA, 2015

Good but just not good enough, especially considering the talent involved (Neil Marshall! Darren Lynn Bousman! Mike Mendez!). It's basically "Trick 'R Treat" for the poor. Oh, and don't believe anyone who says things about it like 'OH MY GOD THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER' (Hi Michele ;-)

George Miller's
Australia / USA, 2015

8.2 on Imdb... # 147 on the Imdb Top 100... 97% on Rotten Tomatoes... 89 on Metascore... REALLY??? Meh. It's a neat action movie, but nowhere near as badass as the first two "Max Max" movies, especially the first one. I prefer my Tom Hardy in "The Revenant" where he gives a performance that is lightyears better than what he does in "Fury Road".

S. Craig Zahler's
(USA, 2015)
Eli Roth's
(USA 2013/2015)

At first sight, both these movies are rather different from each other. At second sight... not so much. Both try and fail to reanimate the glory old days of cannibal-themed horror. Both totally don't live up to the hype. Both bored the hell out of me. At least, both deliver pretty much the same highlight in form of an ultra-brutal gore-shock scene, yet the former delivers it way too late, the latter delivers it way too early. All in all, two huge letdowns.

Rodney Ascher's
USA, 2015

No, it's definitely not a bad documentary, but compared to Rodney Ascher's previous doco "Room 237" (am I really the only one who still adores the hell out of it?), the sleep-paralysis-themed "The Nightmare" was more tiring than scaring, more sleep-inducing than reviving.

Henry Hobson's
USA, 2015

No, it's not a bad movie per se, but considering how amazing this whole project sounded at first - good old Arnold in a dystopian low-budget zombie-drama! - "Maggie" sadly turned out to be way too boring and tedious, way too unoriginal and forgettable to satisfy my zombie/Arnie-needs.

Wes Ball's
USA, 2015

Even though I somehow expected that the second "Maze Runner" wouldn't be as good as the first one (no maze, no Will Poulter, twice the budget...), I am still pissed about how lame, dumb and annoying it actually turned out to be. Seems like not every YA-franchise can be "Hunger Games" or "Divergent"... no, wait...

Sean Byrne's
USA, 2015

It's not a bad movie, but... well, considering how fucking incredible Sean Byrne's previous movie was (the still-super-mindblowing "The Loved Ones"), it's just sad that he chose to shoot such an uneven, unbalanced and ultimately underwhelming project as follow-up. Damn, a "The Loved Ones" sequel/prequel/whatever probably would have been better...

Francis Lawrence's
USA, 2015

Not exactly a bad conclusion to the epic "Hunger Games" saga, but it suffers from a wide array of "Hobbit"-like let's-stretch-it-even-further-so-we-can-make-even-more-money problems, one of the most unbelievable love-triangles in movie history, odd editing choices, WAY to many endings and the absolute worst final scene I have ever seen. 
Austrian journalist Christian Fuchs nailed it when he said: "I left the movie theater shaking my head, because the final scene felt like borrowed from an animated Disney movie. (...) With this short sequence, the most important rebellious female character of action cinema was sacrificed on the altar of bourgeois idyll." No truer words were ever spoken.

07 January 2016

Top 25 Worst of 2015

Back in January, when I went to see "50 Shades of Grey" for shits and giggles, I was pretty sure that this would pop up in my Worst of 2015 list. However, now that the year is over, I realized that there's no place for Mr. Grey in this awful list because there was so much other crap this year, I was actually able to compile a Worst of List that consists of 25(!!!) movies for the very first time since I started blogging in 2009. Yes, my dear readers, 25 (actually 26) awfully bad movies, and none of them has anything to do with E.L. James! Yes, this year was that bad. Like really bad. In terms of Horror etc. 2015 was actually so bad, I decided to go on hiatus (announcement post, see here).

By the way: 10 of these god-awful movies were shown at the /Slash Filmfestival 2015. Ten! Holy fuck, last year's /Slash was so, so bad, I'm still pissed. Result: I will probably not visit or support any /Slash events this year. I may go to another festival, I may go to no festival at all. I haven't decided yet. Let's wait and see...

Maynard's Top 25 Worst Movies 2015

R.D. Braunstein's
USA, 2015

The previous two entries in this insane franchise - both directed by Steven R. Monroe - made it into my Best Of Lists (Best of 2011: Part 1 on #3 / Best of 2013: Part 2 on #21).

The third entry - NOT directed by Steven R. Monroe - made it into the Worst Of 2015 list because it's a dumb, boring and terribly written piece of rape'n'revenge nonsense. Hope one day Monroe returns for a fourth entry, and makes us forget about this vile garbage.

Bryan Coyne's
USA, 2015

The first of 6 found footage crapfests on this abysmal list. This one is just another devil-possessed-child rubbish that steals from classics like "The Omen" or "Poltergeist" and could have been easily sold as sequel to "Devil's Due" (Worst of 2014, #14). The fact that it was co-produced by the guys behind "The Human Race" (Worst of 2014, #2)... well, I think you get the idea.

Neill Blomkamp's
USA / Mexico, 2015

Imagine "Short Circuit", but without the fun and entertainment. Imagine "RoboCop", but without the badassness. Imagine "District 9", but without the awesomeness. Imagine "Elysium", but without Matt Damon. That's "Chappie". And "Chappie" is Crappy.

Bruce McDonald's
Canada, 2015

From the director of "Pontypool", one of the greatest Canadian horror films of all time, comes "Hellions", one of the worst Canadian horror films of all time. Seriously, "Hellions" is so dumb, so bad, so pointless, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Bruce McDonald, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.

1st of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Josh Trank's
USA, 2015

From the director of "Chronicle" (Best of 2012, #10), one of the coolest superhero-films of the last 15 years, comes "Fantfourstic", one of the worst super-hero films of the last 15 years. Seriously, "Fant4stic" is so nonsensically silly, so boring, so fucked up, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Josh Trank, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.

Todd Strauss-Schulson's
USA, 2015

An oh-so-funny meta-homage to 80s slashers 1) without any gore and boobs, 2) which wants us to believe that low-budget slasher movies in 1986 had black-and-white flashbacks and slow-mo sequences, 3) titled "The Final Girls" even though it gets everything wrong about the basic 'final girl', 4) with a cheap, obvious and terrible re-recording of Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis' Eyes", 5) that was filmed in such a shiny and polished way, it hurt my eyes.

2nd of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Benni Diez'
Germany / USA, 2015

Believe me, I have absolutely nothing against Lance Henriksen, but as of lately, he quickly became the Nicolas Cage of horror, constantly appearing in utter genre crap like "It's in the Blood", "Harbinger Down", "Alone in the Dark II",or in this horrid piece of monster-insect trash, a movie as funny as a bee sting, as gorgeous as flies sitting on dog shit.

3rd of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Pablo Larcuen's
Spain, 2013

The second of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. Fuck the ugly poster. Not only is it NOT the first feature film shot entirely with an iPhone (that's the far superior "To Jennifer" by James Cullen Bressack), it is also NOT a good movie. Actually, it's one of the absolute worst Spanish horror films of the last years and it gives us two of the most unlikable, most aggravating male characters I've ever seen in a horror movie.

Eduardo Sánchez'
USA, 2014

The third of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list, and this one was actually directed by the father of modern found footage cinema Eduardo Sánchez, mastermind behind "The Blair Witch Project". What could have been some kinda "Willow Creek 2" ended up as ultra-shitty, stupidly made Bigfoot flick that is about as bad as "Curse of Bigfoot" or similar Bigfoot-turd.

(George) Cameron Romero's
USA, 2014

Even the weakest films by George A. Romero ("The Crazies", "Surival of the Dead") are masterpieces compared to what his son George Cameron (who clearly is NOT an auteur) achieved with this oh-so-original mockumentary that could be described as "Cigarette Burns" for idiots. George, could you please give your son house arrest? Thanks in advance.

Karen Lam's
Canada, 2013

"Evangeline" looks and feels as if the makers of "Kingdom Come" (Worst of 2014, #5) made a remake of "Avenged" (Best of 2015, #12). It's daft, it's inane and it contains several faith-based elements that are plain insulting. Wanna torture yourself? Watch this, "I Spit on your Grave 3" and "Savage Vengeance" in a row. You will jump out of the window afterwards.

Gregory Plotkin's
USA, 2015

The fourth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. The sixth entry in the "Paranormal Activity" franchise is even worse than the abysmal fourth entry (Worst of 2012, #8). It's one of the worst found footage I've ever seen in a movie theater, and it's also one of the worst 3D movies I've ever seen in a movie theater. "The Cheap-Jump-Scare Dimension" would be a better fitting title.

Joe Lynch's
USA, 2014

Not only is it pretty sad what happened to the career of once-promising director Joe Lynch (the man behind the hialrious "Wrong Turn 2"), it's also a massive tragedy what happened to Salma Hayek, who once received Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and now seems to be designated to star in bullcrap like "Grown Ups", "Cirque du Freak" or this horrid action-turd that tries so desperately to be cool, it makes SyFy nonsense
like "Mercenaries" look like a work of art.

Eli Roth's
USA / Chile, 2015

The remake of the obscure 70s flick "Death Game" is undoubtedly the worst thing Eli Roth has ever done (even worse than "Hostel 2"). It's one of the worst home invasion movies I've ever seen, including Keanu Reeves' absolute worst performance since "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (Byudapast!), and delivers the absolute stupidest scene of 2015 (the god-awful, headscratchingly idiotic scene where some guy prefers to save some sculpture instead of saving Keanu's character). Knock Knock? Fuck Fuck.

4th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Stiles White's
USA, 2014

Probably the blandest, most vapid, most expendable, most forgettable movie I've seen in 2015. It's so bland, I have a really hard time remembering anything from it. Oh wait... batshit stupid teenagers... annoyingly uber-loud sound effects... annoyingly uber-aggressive jump scares... okay, no, it's not bland, it's just bad, bad, bad.

Joonas Makkonen's
Finland, 2015

Super-horny and bloodthirsty monster bunny that constantly screams "PUSSY!"... AHAHAHA. Drunken Finnish people drinking and wanking and fucking and ejaculatio praecox... AHAHAHA. And attempted Lesbian rape... and dead Squirrels... and oh-so-funny semi-racist humor. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Fuck you, Bunny.

5th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Adam Egypt Mortimer's
USA, 2015

A revenge movie that starts out rather decent, but then suddenly becomes so laughable and ludicrous and horribly bonkers, it's not funny, it's just sad. As if the director (whose cool name is the only good thing about it) lost his mind completely during filming. Plus: absolute worst in-between-credits scene ever made. Ever. Ugh, some kind of crap.

6th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Nick Robertson's
Australia, 2015

This movie should be shown to film students as an example of how to NOT make a horror movie. "The Pack" makes dogs look like they're the dumbest animals on Earth, and Australian farmer families look like they're the most retarded people on Earth.
Things that are funnier than watching this movie: getting infected with Rabies. Getting bitten to death by a Rottweiler. Cutting his hand whilst opening a can of dog food and bleeding to death.

 7th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Patrick Kennelly's
USA, 2015

It clearly says something when you have to sell your own artsy-fartsy piece of shit as the most disgusting, most unwatchable movie, just to get at least a bit of attention. Even worse when the boss of a seemingly acclaimed filmfestival falls for it. The reuslt: one of the most tedious, most frustrating in-cinema experiences of my entire life. 

8th of 10 /Slash films on this shitty list.

Andy & Lana Wachowski's
USA / UK / Australia, 2015

Just when you think, the Wachowskis' output can't get any worse ("Matrix 2", "Matrix 3", "Speed Racer" - all bad), they manage to enter a whole new level of crappiness with "Jupiter Ascending", the daftest, dumbest and most ridiculous overbudgeted supposed-to-be-a-blockbuster-fails imaginable. Space junk for idiots who like everything and laugh at everything.

Alan Taylor's
USA, 2015

"Rise of the Machines" might have been a tad too silly, and "Salvation" might have been a tad too dull, but both these "Terminator" flicks were definitely lightyears better than this shit. It's as bad as the title. It's worse than the already-horrid teasers and trailers. It's even worse than the entire fucked ip "Genisys" marketing campaign (Genisys Burger!).
No, I wasn't waitng for you. No, I hope you won't be back. No, I don't wanna come with you. Not now, soldier. Not later. Never. I don't wanna live, I just wanna die because you, movie, you suck soooo fucking hard. Go away, T800. You're old and you're obsolete.

Nacho Vigalondo's
Spain / USA, 2014

From the director of "Timecrimes", one of the coolest time-travel films of the last 25 years, comes "Open Windows", one of the worst time-travel films of the last 25 years. Seriously, "Open Windows" is so stupid, so boring, so goddamn terrible, it feels as if was directed by some film student - but it was directed by Nacho Vigalondo, and that, ladies and gentlemen, that is a tragedy.
Also: worst Elijah Wood performance so far, and porn actress Sasha Grey trying to be a serious actress? Um, yeah. Nice try.

Jim Roof & Jay Lee's
USA, 2013/2015

The fifth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list, and omg, this one was one torturous hell of a crapfest! Imagine the worst kind of torture porn, multiply it by ten, add found footage, add horrendous non-characters, add horrendous non-actors, add oh-so-brutal-and-oh-so-disturbing violence, add at least one character who's masturbating, add fucking "August Underground", and you may get why I have to quote Jamie Brownlie's review once again: "Fuck this movie, fuck the people who made this movie and fuck anyone who likes this movie."

Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing's
USA, 2015

The sixth of 6 found footage crapfests in this abysmal list. I'm not kidding, that was the worst in-cinema-experience of my entire life (next to seeing "Raw"). This movie should be shown to film students as an example of to botch up an intriguing premise and turn into cinematic bullshit. A movie made by douchebags, made for douchebags, packed to the brim with douchy actors and douchy characters and idiotic jump scares and idiotic plot elements and what not. Blogger Abraham Philips brought it to the point when he said: "I WOULD RATHER DRIVE A RUSTY NAIL INTO MY SCROTUM SAC THEN WATCH THIS AGAIN."

Artemio Narro's
Jorge Michel Grau, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Ulises Guzmán, Aaron Soto, Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores & Edgar Nito's
MÉXICO BÁRBARO (Mexico, 2014)

Both these movies were so unbe-fucking-lievably terrible, I had to leave the movie theater. I don't wanna... no, I just can't write anything more about these two shitfests. I ran out of steam and there's nothing left in the tank, that's why I'm quoting from my own reviews, as well as from the reviews of
my good friend Kalafudra.

"Me quedo contigo (I Stay With You)"

Maynard: "In my entire life, I've never witnessed so many people leaving a movie theater during a movie. Never. (...) This Mexican 100-minute piece of garbage is so completely unwatchable, even I had to leave at the 70 minute mark, because, just like the majority of the audience, I couldn't stand it any longer."

Kalafudra: "Not only yet another rape-y /slash film, it also took what could have been an inversion of the “guys abuse women” setting and somehow made it even more misogynistic. (...) That ease with which all those women torture and maim the guy gives the film a misogynistic flavor that I found incredibly hard to stomach. (...) I (found) the entire set-up tasteless and misogynistic. (...) That is really not how I like my films."

"México Bárbaro"

Maynard: "A movie that tries to come off as oh-so-cool horror-anthology, although it's actually more like various amateur YouTube short films lazily cobbled together. (...) We decided to leave the theater during the segment where a young virgin girl got raped by an ugly forest monster which also really loved to vomit yucky yellow fluids over her boobs. It was not just very disgusting, it was also extremely aggravating and almost unwatchable. "

Kalafudra: "I don’t think I have ever seen such a vile, rape-y, misogynistic and ableist film. I was this close to walking out of it, but I felt almost paralyzed with disgust."

9th and 10th of ten /Slash films on this shitty list. Yup, 10 of the worst movies I've seen all year were screened at the /Slash Filmfestival. Damn, I spent almost $270 on a lineup that was just awful, awful, awful. Well done, /Slash, very well done.

04 January 2016

Top 40 Best NON-Horror Films of 2015

For everything Horror, it was a terrible year. For everything NON-Horror, it was simply a fantastic year! I can't remember the last time I saw so many amazing movies from all NON-Horror genres in one single year. From odd arthouse to bonkers multiplex action, from gender drama to 90s-like thriller, from sophisticated science-fiction to bombastic spy movie - awesomeness, awesomeness, awesomeness! That's why I had to make an overlong Top 40 list to cover all the great movies I saw this year.

Oh btw, in case you don't know, last December, I was selected to participate in "SCOPE100", a European distribution initiative that recruits 100 film enthusiasts to watch 10 selected films to vote for one to be subsequently released theatrically next year in Austria. Believe it or not: 4 of the films were so good, they made it into this list (16, 18, 34 & 39)!

Well, without further ado, here are my 40 favorites:

Maynard's Top 40
Best Non-Horror Films 2015

Dru Brown's
Australia, 2014

Completely odd, yet tremendously compelling and superbly complex drama-thriller about a guy who is convinced that he can't die and can't get killed. Cleverly written, splendidly directed, competently acted - a tragedy that it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Samuel Collardey's
International Title: Land Legs
France, 2015

Adorably straightforward drama about a fisherman's struggle with unemployment, divorce, his daughter's pregnancy and social services. The impressive direction, the post-rock score and the believable performances managed to suck me in completely, loved it!

Paul Thomas Anderson's
USA, 2014

Ridiculously insane adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name, probably the coolest stoner-flicks I've ever seen (usually, I hate everything Stoners) and definitely the weirdest entry in Paul Thomas Anderson's super-eclectic filmography.

Roger Waters & Sean Evans'
UK, 2014

Pink Floyd's "The Wall", the best album ever written and recorded, as epic and unbelievably impressive concert film, shot during Roger Waters 2010-2013 World Tour. "Goodbye Blue Sky", "One Of My Turns", "In The Flesh" or "Waiting For The Worms" have never sounded (and looked) so awesome!

Sion Sono's
Japan, 2014

Probably the best and wildest Hip-Hop-themed movie I have ever seen. Maestro Sion Sono's 2-hour-gangsta-rap-opera is a mindblowing visual/aural explosion full of armadas of bizarrely cool dudes and hawt chicks, and tons of ace rhymes and dope beats. "Tokyo Tribe! Never ever die!"

Gabe Ibáñez'
Spain / Bulgaria, 2015

Antonio Banderas, IMO one of the most underrated actors of the last 30 years, in a mesmerising post-apocalyptic science fiction movie, packed to the brim with excellent CGI effects, thought-provoking "Blade Runner"-like story elements and super-gorgeous shots of desolate landscapes.

Danielle Arbid's
International Title: Parisienne
France, 2015

2 hours of various episodes in the life of a young student from Lebanon who tries to find her way in Paris - believe me when I say that "Peur de rien" is way more awesome than it sounds. Terrific direction, a fabulous soundtrack and an absolutely wonderful performance by the lovely Manal Issa.

Sion Sono's
Japan, 2015

The strangest, weirdest, quirkiest, but also funniest, most emotional and most heartwarming movie Maestro Sion Sono has ever made incl. incredibly catchy pop tunes, adorable talking toys, even more adorables kitties, a hilarious Kaiju turtle, and the most interesting interpretation of Santa Claus I've ever seen!

Thomas Vinterberg's
UK / USA, 2015

Intensely directed, intriguingly written and stunningly beautiful adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name, with a stellar cast (Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenarts, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple), breathtaking cinematography and superb-as-always direction by Danish mastermind Thomas Vinterberg.

Guy Ritchie's
UK / USA, 2015

Certainly not the best movie Guy Ritchie has ever made (that's still "Sherlock Holmes"), but nonetheless a stunningly old-fashioned, super-stylish and very funny old-school spy flick with an eargasmic soundtrack, an adorable cast (yay for Hugh Grant!) and a clever kind of parody-like humor that blasts the "Austin Powers" films to hell.

Nikolaus Leytner's
English Title: The Dead Man at the Pond
Austria, 2015

Splendidly entertaining and extremely well-made made-for-TV comedy-crime-drama that takes place in some rather desolate rural area in Upper Austria, and somehow feels like a mix of "Der Knochenmann" (=The Bone Man), "The Dark Valley" and "Dead in 3 Days". Very Austrian, very black-humored, tense, atmospheric and full of amazing actors.

Àlex & David Pastor's
International Title: The Last Days
Spain / France, 2013

Completely overlooked post-apocalpytic science-fiction drama from the massively talented directors behind the outstanding also-post-apocalyptic "Carriers". A perfect example of an intelligent movie about the end of all days without any zombies, oh-so-cool cars or stupid Mad-Max-surrogates. More of that please!

Chad Stahelski's
USA, 2015

The absolute worst trailer of the year (I mean it) turns out to be one of the most badass action-flicks of the year. Packed with ridiculously genius ideas, serious-but-not-that-serious plot points and a top-notch Keanu Reeves that makes you forget about his god-awful performance in the god-awful "Knock Knock".

Peyton Reed's
USA, 2015

Michael Douglas (my favorite actor of all time), the superhero-version of "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and Paul "Halloween 6" Rudd - what can go wrong? ;-) As a non-fan of Marvel and superheroes per se, this was one of the biggest surprises of 2015. A wonderfully bonkers movie with an insane finale that made me laugh my ass off.

J.J. Abrams'
USA, 2015

A fabulous-looking, highly diverting and very satisfying return to old-school "Star Wars"-awesomeness, made by fans, made for fans (not hardcore geeks ;-). After successfully re-calibrating "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek", Abrams once again proves that he is the most talented man in the business when it comes to big-budget reboots.

James Wan's
USA / China, 2015

James Wan proves that he is fully able to create something other than haunted-house horror or semi-torture-porn by delivering the absolute best entry in the "Fast & Furious" franchise with some of the best car-action since "Ronin", a tearjerkingly beautiful tribute to Paul Walker R.I.P and delightful performances by Jason Statham and Kurt Russell.

Ridley Scott's
UK / USA, 2015

A very welcome return to form for ex-SciFi-grandmaster Ridley Scott and surely one of the best, most epic and most amusing big budget science-fiction movies of the last years that makes you forget about frustrating and overrated blockbusters like "Gravity" or "Insterstellar". Matt Damon has never been funnier, and Mars has never looked cooler. In your face, Neil Armstrong!

David Wnendt's
International Title: Look Who's Back
Germany, 2015

Adolf Hitler is back, alive and very well - the starting point for a comeback-tour-de-force through Germany that is hilarious, entertaining, provocative, alarming and extremely thought-provoking at the very same time + the most interesting Hitler interpretation since "Downfall" and a surprising shocker ending that is simply genius and made various people in the audience stand up and applaud (incl. me).

James Ward Byrkit's
USA / UK, 2013

That's what I call one hell of a debut movie! James Ward Byrkit delivers a super-clever, highly captivating and deeply fascinating sci-fi/mystery-fest, somewhere between "Primer", "Triangle" and "Timecrimes". Starts out weird, gets more and more intense, and ends with an terrifically obscure Wow!-ending that just leaves you breathless.

Damien Chazelle's
USA, 2015

Not as mindblowing as I expected (8,5 on Imdb - WTF?), but still a fucking impressive juggernaut of a movie about the "battle" between a dictator-like music teacher and a slightly "Young Gerber"-like pupil. Outstanding performances by J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller, and the final "Caravan" drum solo is still ringing in my ears.

Hans Herbots'
International Title: The Treatment
Belgium, 2014

The third-best serial-killer-thriller of 2015 and surely one of the greatest Belgian movies I have ever seen. A tremendously directed and highly unsettling little shocker that came out of nowhere and knocked me off my socks completely. The best David Fincher movie not directed by David Fincher. I'm serious!

Matthew Vaughn's
UK, 2014

Who needs Ethan Hunt (kidding) or James Bond (not kidding) when you can have "Kingsman"? Who thought that Colin Firth could be such a fucking badass? Who thought that Samuel L. Jackson could be that hilariously silly? And who thought Matthew Vaughn was able to make a movie that is even better than "Kick-Ass!"?

Magnus von Horn's
International Title: The Here After
Sweden / Poland / France, 2015

A stirring and unbelievably depressing downward-spiral-like Swedish drama, dealing with the events in a small community where a teenager, who killed a girl, returns home from prison. In terms of build-up, intensity and heart-shattering drama, it strongly reminded me Georges Simenon's slightly overlooked novel "Chez Krull".

Alejandro G. Iñárritu's
USA, 2014

Undoubtedly the best, erm, superhero-themed movie of the year ;-) including Michael Keaton's most impressive performance in his entire career, the first really great Zach Galifianakis performance, an outstanding Edward Norton, a fantastic-as-always Naomi Watts and a mindblowing Emma Stone (a shame that she didn't got an Oscar).

Federico Veiroj's
International Title: The Apostate
Spain / France / Uruguay, 2015

Slightly Kafka-esque dramatic comedy about a young man who desperately tries to apostate. The main character reminded me a lot of my younger self which may be the the reason why I was completely gobsmacked by this movie. In addition, there's some magnificent acting, a couple of highly impressive shots and images, and a bafflingly eclectic soundtrack. Great!

Alberto Rodríguez'
International Title: Marshland
Spain, 2014

The second-best serial-killer-thriller of 2015, and surely the best Spanish movie of 2015. A mesmerising steamroller of a movie, so dark and grim, so powerful and intriguing, so eerie and unsettling, it's simply mindblowing, incl. career-redefining performances by Javier Gutiérrez and Raúl Arévalo. Forget about "True Detective", this is the real deal!

Sebastián Silva's
Chile / USA, 2015

I had to up the initial 8,5 rating to a 9,0 because I just can't get this extraordinary movie out of my head, which is actually so much creepier, so much more unsettling than what you might expect from a movie with such a silly title and such an ugly poster. What starts out as hipster-comedy/dramedy ends up as bizarre and strangely haunting, slightly grotesque mini-nightmare. A truly unique movie from a visionary filmmaker.

Denis Villeneuve's
USA, 2015

After "Incendies", "Prisoners" and "Enemy", the fourth piece of cinematic genius from the unbelievably talented Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. "Sicario" looks and feels like a sequel to Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" (one of my favorite movies of all time), yet somehow manages to be even more more grim, more intense, and happens to deliver the eeriest Benicio del Toro ever. Can't hardly wait for Villeneuve's upcoming "Blade Runner" sequel!

Danny Boyle's
USA, 2015

I don't care about how hard this movie bombed, "Steve Jobs" was just awesome! Another piece of high-quality work by genius Danny Boyle, based on a masterfully created three-act-screenplay by genius Aaron Sorkin, packed to the brim with insanely good rapid-fire dialogue and terrific performances by Michael Fassbender (great as always), Kate Winslet (I love this woman!), Jeff Daniels (wow!) and Seth Rogen (easily the best thing he has ever done).

Steven Spielberg's
USA / Germany, 2015

Steven Spielberg once again proves that he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and Tom Hanks once again proves that he is one of most likable actors of all time. Together, they created a fabulous historical opus magnum about the "1960 U-2 incident" during the Cold War. Fantastically written (Coen Brothers!), masterfully directed, beautifully photographed and with a brilliant musical score.

Wolfgang Murnberger's
International Title: Life Eternal
Austria, 2015

Not just the best movie prolific Austrian director Wolfgang Murnberger has ever made, but also the most entertaining AND most thrilling entry in the successful film series about ex-cop Brenner. A rollercoaster ride of black humor, sinister drama and gripping suspense, starring a super-hilarious Josef Hader, an even more hilarious Roland Düringer and a fucking amazing Tobias Moretti, delivering one of his most intense performances ever.

Scott Walker's
USA, 2013

Not just the most awesome 90s serial-killer-thriller not made in the 90s, but also the absolute best thriller in this thriller-heavy year, including one of the most impressive performances Nicolas Cage has ever delivered (I'm dead serious!), the absolute darkest John Cusack I have ever seen (yup!) and the most frightening-looking Canada since the early hey-days of David Cronenberg. Also: holy shit, Vanessa Hudgens can act!

Morten Tyldum's
UK / USA, 2014

Holy World War, this was one of the most touching, most emotional biopics I have ever seen! It taught me lots of cool, interesting and/or heartbreaking facts about Alan Turing and the Enigma machine, amused me, thrilled me, shocked me and eventually made me cry like a baby, thanks to a Benedict Cumberbatch that is so freaking amazing, it makes me wanna steal the Oscar from the horribly overrated Eddie Redmayne and give it to him!

Christopher McQuarrie's
USA. 2015

Not just better than Part 3 (which was my fave installment in the "Mission: Impossible" series), but actually the absolute best, most entertaining, most suspenseful M:I movie so far. Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg share a chemistry that is even more powerful than Pegg/Frost, the action scenes have never been as stylish and over-the-top as here, and, heck, I can't remember the last action movie that gave me such a great fucking time in the cinema. I want five more M:I flicks, all directed by McQuarrie!!

Alex Garland's
UK, 2015

No doubt, Alex Garland is an extremely talented writer of novels and screenplays. With "Ex Machina", he shows us that he is an even more talented director, delivering one of the greatest and most intriguing artificial-intelligence-themed science fiction films since "Blade Runner" + stellar performances by Alicia Vikander (next big thing?) and Oscar Isaac (I love that beard), and the best random dance scene of all time. A modern science-fiction masterpiece!

Todd Haynes'
UK / USA / France, 2015

My first Todd Haynes movie so far, and the first time I ever heard of the tragic lesbian relationship between Carol Aird and Therese Belivet, the main characters in Patricia Highsmith's novel "The Price of Salt". I cried several times during this marvellous movie, mainly due to Cate Blanchett who delivers a performance that is even more adorable than in "Blue Jasmine", and made me fall in love with her even more. Damn, Academy,
just give her another Oscar, will ya? She definitely deserves it!

The Spierig Brothers'
Australia, 2014

Just when I thought that "Primer" is the most fascinating time-travel I've ever seen, "Predestination" came along and showed me that it's possible to make time-travel even more fascinating. A mindblowing mind-fucker of a movie, created by two of the most overlooked Australian filmmakers of all time, featuring an Ethan Hawke that proves that he still has it, and a Sarah Snook who gives a performance that is so insanely breathtaking, it almost makes your testicles fall off.

Bennett Miller's
USA, 2014

My first Bennett Miller movie so far, and the first time I ever heard of the fascinating events surrounding the wrestling brothers Mark & Dave Schultz, and the super-eccentric multimillionaire John E. Du Pont. "Foxcatcher" is an absolutely incredible piece of cinematic awesomeness that taught me how grim the world of professional wrestling can be, that Channing Tatum is actually a fan-fucking-tastic actor, that Mark Ruffalo gets better and better with every single movie, and that Steve Carrell is able to scare the shit out of me. Outstanding!

Adam Wingard's
USA, 2014

Not just the greatest thing director Adam Wingard has done since the embarrasingly overlooked 2010 horror-thriller "A Horrible Way to Die" (I give a fuck about "You're Next"), but also the absolute best thing he has ever done. A freaking fantastic badass acion-thriller that also works as a homage to 80s horror, 80s sci-fi, 80s action and, well, the Eighties per se. Between May and June, I watched "The Guest" 7 times! I became, and I'm still addicted to this uber-gem. Like Vanity Fair said: "It's big, it's bold, it's badass!"

Alejandro G. Iñárritu's
USA, 2015

Just when you thought "Birdman" is THE highlight in director Alejandro González Iñárritu's filmography, he comes along with "The Revenant", undoubtedly one of the most impressive survival-movies ever made, and proves you all wrong.

"The Revenant" is an epic and powerful monster of a movie about one man's will to survive, more brutal, more emotional and more devastating than I expected it to be. Powerhouse-performances by Leonardo Di Caprio (Oscar!) and Tom Hardy (forget about "Fury Road"), breathtaking music, ravishing cinematography, pitch-perfect production design and an insanely high amount of blood and guts.

150 minutes of pure fucking awesomeness, from the slightly "Saving Private Ryan"-like opening massacre to the gut-wrenching and totally merciless finale. A masterpiece that will stay with you long after you've left the cinema - and definitely the best movie I've seen in 2015!

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