Vulture/New York critics David Edelstein and Bilge Ebiri have chosen the best movies of 2015 so far, catching up with the list of the year’s best TV shows posted two days ago by Matt Zoller Seitz and Margaret Lyons. Edelstein and Ebiri split the duties almost evenly, offering an alphabetical list of 12 titles, while Seitz and Lyons divide up returning shows and new shows, respectively.
The movie list features such familiar titles as “It Follows,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Timbuktu,” all of which scored high in Criticwire’s mid-year poll, as well as “Inside Out,” “Tangerine,” and Amy,” which hadn’t been released before the poll deadline. The most surprising entry is Seoung-Hung Kim’s “A Hard Day,” a Korean action thriller that is barely on most critics’ radar, but Edelstein goes to bat for hard:
A South Korean thriller with so much narrative and visual wit that you’re simultaneously laughing and crying out in fear. Kim Seong-hun’s hairpin bloodbath charts approximately 24 hours in the life of a police detective named Choi (Lee Sun-kyun) who attempts to dispose of a body he hit while driving — slightly inebriated — to the funeral home to bury his mother. The first half has an uproarious exponential logic: For every action Choi takes, there’s a greater and opposite reaction, meaning every problem solved creates two more.
The TV list likewise boasts an intriguing standout in Lyons’ citation of “Deutschland 83,” which airs to little fanfare on Sundance Channel.
A spy thriller centered on an young East German soldier recruited for a mission that has him living under cover in West Germany, “Deutschland 83” is propulsive and confident and layered. Action sequences blend with tightly specific period details, family drama, and political grandstanding, all coming together to ensure that any one moment is never about only one thing. The narrative is tense and exciting, which frees up the characters to be charming and funny for one another, or to be sad and grouchy, or to be just so-so at spycraft. The show has plenty in common with “The Americans,” but it doesn’t feel or move like that show at all: The aesthetic is lighter (though often the colors feel a bit desaturated) and the attitude more buoyant and curious. “The Americans” is so much about dread, and “Deutschland” is much more a coming-of-age story — sometimes that includes dread, but oftentimes not.
The Best Movies of 2015
The Best TV Shows of 2015