I’m thrilled to be writing for The Script Lab, which offers reviews, writing tips for aspiring screenwriters, and other film news. On the site today, I offer my TSL-sanctioned list of favorite films of the year heading into awards season. The feelings of Inside Out are popular characters in my household, but others on the list include Amy, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, The Gift, Phoenix, Straight Outta Compton, Timbuktu, and Mad Max: Fury Road.
At age 70, director and co-writer George Miller reinvigorates the post-apocalyptic franchise he began with 1979’s Mad Max with intense action and unexpected depth. Charlize Theron plays Furiosa, a woman rebelling against a patriarchal warlord (Hugh Keays-Byrne) by releasing his “breeders,” as the most-striking futuristic badass since Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in Aliens. Stumbling into their flight, drifter Max (Tom Hardy) becomes their ally along for the ride – and what a wild one it is. A flame-throwing guitarist, chrome-crazy warboys and motorcycling valkyries round out the odyssey across the Namibian desert, which cinematographer John Seale paints with rich golds and blues. Not bad for a film that’s existed as storyboards since 1999. There’s not a weak link in the cast, which includes Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough and Zoe Kravitz. Theron and Hardy especially convey loads of pain and mad respect through their eyes alone.