With Fall season on its way, I guess it's time to look back, because why not. What an interesting summer we've been given. There have been a lot of ho-hum blockbusters, big name disappointments, and wave of films that were merely just decent. There were also a few that were truly great, but didn't receive quite the attention they merited. I don't really blame anyone; It can be very easy to miss all the little gems that are thrown in the shadows. That is why I am here to shine a light! One of the main reasons I write is because of my never ending crusade to showoff and praise under appreciated visual narratives. So without further adieu, let's dive deep into the best underlooked movies and TV shows of the this past sun-scorched season. 5. Mr. Robot
Premise: Elliot - vigilante hacker by night, cyber-security engineer by day - finds himself in a web of intrigue and corruption ingrained so deep in a corporation, he doesn't know where it ends or where it begins.
Mr. Robot had the strongest opening of anything we've seen this year. It may have lost steam after its brilliant introduction and premise. That being said, Rami Malek's star making performance is compelling enough to push through most of the sludge. Furthermore, we can't forget the eerie way that we are taken through this hacker's world in the most beautiful and inventive of ways. This coupled with the best possible use of narration and interaction with fully realized, three dimensional characters pushes Mr. Robot to be better than most everything on TV this year.
Premise: It's a fictional setting that follows a group of reality TV producers on a show made in the image of the Bachelor as they instigate drama between the girl contestants and try to qualm their own wacked out issues in their own lives.
Dare I way that UnReal is the best TV show of 2015? Dare I say that? No, it probably isn't. Though let it not be said that this small gem didn't try to be. Unreal goes deep into issues many shy away from whether it be gender identity, public perception, physically and mentally abusive relationships to suicidal thoughts. It doesn't always have perfect scores on these fronts; but at least it tries, which is more than I can say for most television. Sherri Appleby - playing the damaged lead of our show, Rachel - deserves all the praise in the world. She is outstanding, providing an empathetic, yet disturbed performance. Many others are also outstanding along the way as well, bringing this show all the humor, drama, and malevolence you could expect from TV show about reality TV.
Premise: A young, Scottish immigrant (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) is taken under the wing of an outlaw (Michael Fassbender) to find the woman he loves in the new, crazy land of America.
Slow West is a film I almost didn't see. Being a fan of the ever versatile Magneto (um, I mean Michael Fassbender), I felt compelled to give it a try. I'm happy I did because this film is delightfully bizarre and beautiful. Sure, slow West may succumb to its title here and there, but there is enough going on with plot and colorful interactions to compensate. That along with some gorgeous scenery and cinematography to go with possibly the most brilliant finale of anything this year makes Slow West a hidden piece of delicious art, if a somewhat flawed one.
Premise: An unexpected "acquaintance" from high school runs into well established, posh couple, beginning the unraveling of their lives right before their eyes.
This may just be the best film of the entire year from a critical standpoint. However, as an audience member it didn't hit me as hard as I thought it would have and it doesn't really have replay value. Don't let my needless negativity get to you though. The Gift is so good. It has such a ridiculously brilliant plot, cinematography, pacing and all of the above. Rebecca Hall also gives one of the best female performances we've seen all year to go along with some stellar acting from Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton. You almost couldn't ask a film to be better. So yeah. . . it deserves its place.
Premise: This biopic focuses on two points in the famed musician from the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson's life: both of which show him in different fluctuating states of emotions as he comes to grips to what his life means and his seemingly uncontrollable nervous breakdowns.
There is a reason I love John Cusack so much. The guy is just oozing pure talent. Love & Mercy undoubtedly showcases an Oscar worthy performance from him (whether he is nominated or not). Though I would be lying if I said if it was just him that makes this film so special. Paul Dano also gives a bloody impressive display of acting talent as Cusack's younger self. There also is some great supporting actors, with a sympathetic, nuanced performance from Elizabeth Banks and a deliberately hateful, and wrathful performance by Paul Giamatti. Though, let's not forget our leads. John Cusack and Paul Dano are so dang good that I just want to reach into the screen and hug them. I could also mention some of the best cinematography and editing montages seen all year, but this would all be for naught if Love & Mercy didn't have a great narrative. It has a timeless, beautiful story. Love & Mercy truly is one of the best if not the best of all of 2015.
Show Me a Hero
Far From the Madding Crowd