Best Movies of 2015: Best Theatrical Experiences

Be warned: I love lists, so I’m making plenty of them in December, both for movies and comics/graphic novels. Most of this month’s posts will no doubt include some type of Best of 2015 list, so if you’re into lists like I am, kick back and enjoy.

I’m starting off my Best Movies of 2015 (which will have several categories in the coming days and weeks) with the Best Theatrical Experiences I had this year. I qualify this by saying that (1) I go to very few movies in theaters, for which I have no excuse, since (2) I could walk to the nearest movie theater. Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing movies in theaters on big screens, but I prefer to do so with other people who love movies as much as I do, not with people who are going to talk, text, and who knows what else during the film. So, here we go…

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Annapolis Film Festival 2015 Final Report

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The 2015 Annapolis Film Festival was a very good experience and one that I would recommend to any film lover (especially in the Washington DC area). I had previously attended and enjoyed the first festival in 2013 (and missed 2014), but this year was several notches higher in organization, quality, and enjoyment. I look forward to seeing this festival grow even more in the coming years. The organizers are to be congratulated for a job well done.

The first three films are reviewed in full via the links provided. Unfortunately, time permitted me to write only capsule reviews of the other films. I hope you’ll find a few films here to seek out.

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Two Raging Grannies (doc 2013) Håvard Bustnes (Annapolis Film Festival)

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Slowly but surely, I plan on posting about all the films I saw at last week’s Annapolis Film Festival. Previously I reviewed The Rewrite and Runoff. Today we’ll take a look at the first of four documentaries I viewed at the festival.

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Two Raging Grannies (doc 2013) Håvard Bustnes
(1:18)

We meet 90-year-old Shirley Morrison (above left) as she’s driving her scooter along the sidewalks of Seattle, handing out clothes to the homeless. Later Shirley and her best friend Hinda Kipnis (who’s 86) go shopping for more items they can give to the homeless. Shirley is focused; Hinda, a bit cantankerous. “I love you dearly,” Hinda tells Shirley during the shopping excursion,”but we don’t see eye-to-eye on things.”

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Runoff (2014) Kimberly Levin

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Runoff (2014) Kimberly Levin
The Annapolis Film Festival Day Two
(1:30)

Runoff begins with a series of images from nature that transcend time – a clear running brook, rays of sunlight piercing through tree branches, bees producing honey – all of which show us something that was meant to be good, simple, and uncorrupted. Agriculture is part of that natural process, but you don’t have to be a reader of Wendell Berry to know that local farms are fighting an uphill battle against big business.

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The Rewrite (2014) Marc Lawrence – Opening of the Annapolis Film Festival

The Rewrite (2014) Marc Lawrence
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Castle Rock

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The Annapolis Film Festival opened last night with Marc Lawrence’s The Rewrite, a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei. In a way, it’s somewhat surprising that the festival chose a romantic comedy whose headliners are 54 and 50, respectively, yet in some ways, it’s refreshing not to have to sit through a rom com about teenagers or twenty-somethings. Maybe it was also a smart move, kicking off the festival with a film sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

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