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THE BEST FILMS OF 2015?

SHE WATCHES TOO MANY ART HOUSE MOVIES

Reviewing the best films of 2015 from a British perspective is always slightly frustrating, as several of the big Hollywood films actually come out here in January - or just before Christmas, so we cannot say for sure if The Danish Girl, Creed, Trumbo, the new Tarantino, The Revenant, or indeed the new Star Wars* may actually be the year's best.

However, bearing in mind this is a not very definitive blog, one can still say the following TEN THINGS ABOUT TEN MOVIES IN 2015, based on what we have seen...

1. THE JAMES BOND WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT - MORE MOONRAKER THAN THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MORE THUNDERBALL THAN GOLDFINGER. TIME FOR IDRIS AND A NEW DIRECTOR, LIKE NOLAN, SPIELBERG OR TARANTINO.

2. BROOKLYN IS A TAD TOO MADE FOR TV AND SICKLY SWEET TO BE A MASTERPIECE, BUT IS STILL A GENUINELY FUNNY AND MOVING PICTURE OF OLD-FASHIONED DELIGHTS.

3. MAD MAX'S LATEST INCARNATION IS WITHOUT DOUBT ONE OF THE GREATEST SPECTACLES EVERY PUT ONTO FILM AND ONE OF THE YEAR'S TEN BEST.

4. EVEREST HAS SUPERB PERFORMANCES AND WAS MORE THRILLING AND POWERFUL THAN MOST THIS YEAR.

5. THE MARTIAN IS ONE OF THE BETTER ADAPTATIONS OF A SCI-FI BOOK IN MEMORY, WITH A BRAVURA CENTRAL PERFORMANCE BY MR DAMON.

6. BRIDGE OF SPIES IS DULL AND WORTHY AT TIMES, BUT BEAUTIFULLY FILMED WITH SOME GREAT ACTING AND A POWERFUL SCENE OF POLICE INTOLERANCE IN AMERICA CONTRASTED WITH STATE BRUTALITY IN (EAST) BERLIN.

7. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION WAS ACTUALLY A REALLY FUN, WELL-MADE FILM, BUT PROBABLY SUFFERED FROM A SENSE THAT WE HAD BEEN HERE BEFORE.

8. AMERICAN ULTRA WAS NOT AS FUNNY OR AS SMART AS IT THOUGHT IT WAS BUT THEN I WASN'T STONED OR 16 WHEN I SAW IT.

9. JURASSIC WORLD WAS BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS IT WAS BASED ON, MUCH LIKE ALIENS IS BETTER THAN ALIEN.

10. CAROL BY TODD HAYNES IS THE GREATEST FILM OF 2015 - A POWERFUL, STYLISED, HUMANE AND TERRIFYINGLY, ACHINGLY POIGNANT RUMINATION ON LOVE AND/OR DESIRE, SEXUAL AND SOCIETAL TRANSGRESSION, HETERONORMATIVE JUDGEMENT, AND, FINALLY, AMERICAN FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY.

*we have now seen The Force Awakens and it is not the best film of the year, but surely the best Reboot of a Franchise ever, including smart works by Nolan, and Casino Royale.

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Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

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JOHN ASHBERY HAS DIED

With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.