Monday, March 9, 2015

AFT Awards: Top 15 Scenes of the Year

This is a special category of the 8th Annual AFT Film Awards, my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. These are my fifteen favorite scenes of the year, listed in alphabetical order by film title. Click here to see previous years of this category. Beware spoilers for these films.

After its slow, eerie start, the highway to New York was the setting an equally powerful and visually striking scene in the middle of the film, as the same driver accosted in the opening moments got robbed again and wasn’t going to be taken advantage of, leading to a gorgeous and haunting attempt at a getaway.

After experiencing hijackings from afar, Abel is conveniently close to the latest theft and opts to pursue those who have stolen from him personally. For a few minutes, as he follows the unknown hijackings in his vehicle, this film becomes something altogether different, never losing its pacing but intensifying the sense of mystery and intrigue magnificently.

Set to Fall Out Boy’s “Immortals,” the tech geeks transform from ordinary young scientists into superheroes in a wonderful montage that demonstrates how the things that interest and excite them most are what they use to harness their abilities externally.

It’s difficult to pick out standout scene or monologue in this film full of sharp writing and grandstanding performances, but the one that stands out most is Mike’s first time in front of an audience, during which he belligerently berates them for their attitudes and denies his own intoxication.

The first scene or the viewing of the video could place here, but I’ll opt for the most frightening and suspenseful scene in the film, in which the police go through the Dane house to make sure that Russel can’t get in as a rainstorm begins. It’s a terrifying and utterly gripping scene which has to be seen rather than described.

There’s so much terrific humor in this film, none more evident than when a curious Jon sees Frank’s giant head on the floor while he is in the shower and decides to sneak a peek, only to find him wearing another giant head in the shower, pleasantly washing the rest of his body, affirming his sense of normalcy of his behavior.

This film is a series of spectacular interactions, and the most wondrous of them all is when its two protagonists meet when they have grown up and try their best to counteract the universe by spending just a few seconds too long as opposites.

Tickle Head’s residents are so eager to have their new doctor like the town that they bother to design uniforms to make it seem like his favorite sport is a local pastime, only they don’t have any idea how the game is actually played. When he comes too close, the only logical option is to celebrate, since both teams have apparently won!

There are many signs that Jacob is headed down a dark path, but it becomes excessively clear when he and his friends solidify their path in life by committing a robbery and not taking any chances when it comes to his aunt, showing a frightening picture of children growing up way too fast.

Mark Ruffalo’s bipolar Cameron is maniacal and unpredictable for most of the film, but when he bursts into his apartment and rips through the chain, he is more deliberate and purposeful than ever, demonstrating that the chain is just an illusion and can’t keep him apart from his family.

One of the early visits to a potential new homeworld finds the team in the middle of a vast ocean looking up at mountains in the distance. Only they’re not mountains but giant waves which unforgivingly come crashing down as the team makes a desperate and daring escape that costs them more than they realize.

Mann delivers a grandstanding speech to Brand and Cooper as he attempts to forcibly dock aboard the ship. The mechanism isn’t responding properly, resulting in a sudden and finite muted explosion in the middle of Mann’s sentence emphasizing the emptiness of space.

Joe’s internal rage comes to a head when he is pulled over by an unsuspecting cop and he loses it on him, demonstrating how even the most tranquil and avoidable of moments must be turned into something because of the emotional attachments Joe holds, aided by a tour de force performance by Nicolas Cage.

The glee with which Giovanni approaches his new status as his brother’s stand-in is perfectly contrasted by the subtler brilliance with which he recites collections of intellectual knowledge designed to impress without inherently saying anything, evident most in his grand speeches to the public.

This film’s unique portrayal of an antiquated futuristic technological landscape is illustrated best when Jerome is reunited with his loyal machine and uses its recording feature to learn the dismaying irreversible truth about what really happened to his father.

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