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With critics awards almost completed and the Academy Awards a little over a month away, I felt inclined to share some of my favorite movies from the past year. Mine is just another list for people to roll their eyes at. I mean, who’s reading this? I’m just some guy who really likes movies. A guy who would rather stay at home on a Friday night to watch one, and then wake up Saturday morning to hit the matinee for another; a matinee that sometimes sparks an entire day in the theater. I wrote in an earlier post about this not being a banner year for film. At the time, summer had come and gone. The bombardment of overwrought blockbusters, sequels, reboots, and end of seasons dumps were coming to an end. As 2015 grew older, however, the output seemed stronger than in recent years past.

The sequel/reboot fad didn’t end with the summer season; however, this fall gave us two reboots that reinvigorated franchises beloved by millions. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though not as iconic or as unique as Episode IV or V, was an enjoyable movie-going experience. The first 30 minutes is as fun and exhilarating as anything released this year, even if the film is essentially A New Hope remix. Another reboot, what I would call my surprise of the year, Creed, knocked it out of the park (or ring?) for what amounts to the best of the Rocky franchise since the original.

The end of 2015 also re-introduced the world to the 70mm format. The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s mystery-western set in the 1800’s, is the first film projected entirely using the Panavision equipment since Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012). 70mm allows for a higher film resolution than the most frequently used 35mm, as well as capturing colors more vividly. It’s a glorious and exciting way to see a film. Questions arose about why a story such as The Hateful Eight needed to be shot in 70mm. It probably didn’t, but kudos to directors like Anderson, and Tarantino (as well as Christopher Nolan who has championed the idea of film use to the studios for several years) for attempting to bring this beautiful format (KILL DIGITAL) back to the forefront. These are filmmakers that truly care about the art. Whether or not every movie is a hit is irrelevant. They’re making them the way they want to make them about what they’re interested in. It’s something for anyone to admire.

The digital vs. film debate is a heated and contentious one as described by this Vox article.

***PRO TIP: Do not see The Hateful Eight and The Revenant back to back on the same day as I did. It was an endurance test I nearly didn’t survive. I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of either, though Hateful had some big laughs.***

There needs to be a willingness to find great movies. This is not to say that a movie not seen by mass audiences are always better, but in watching there’s a feel they’re made with more care. I’m coming off as a snob, but I point this out because much of the following list will not be seen during the Oscars telecast. Go and find them.

1. Phoenix

2. Queen of Earth

3. Carol

4. It Follows

5. The Clouds of Sils Maria

6. Spotlight

7. Sicario

8. Mad Max: Fury Road

9. 45 Years

10. Creed

11. The Diary of a Teenage Girl

12. Ex Machina

13. Tangerine

14. Heaven Knows What

15. The Duke of Burgundy

Twitter: @BobbyJDaniels

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

I witnessed a rare sight a few weeks ago while on the train.  There was a woman reading the New York Times which, by itself, is not so uncommon.  What was atypical was that the woman reading it appeared to be in her early twenties.  Many people still read the paper version of the The Gray Lady, but those reading it usually have graying hair.  It’s simply a generational thing.

We now live in the age of digital media.  Just as the horse carriage gave way to the automobile, and the typewriter to the personal computer, we are now in the midst of what appears to be, perhaps, the slow and eventual demise of the book.  Ride any commuter train and look around.  People are reading but they’re often reading Kindles, they’re reading Nooks, and they’re reading iPads.  Fewer and fewer people are reading books in traditional form.

In Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal lies Posman’s Books.  In the transient and frenetic human movement that makes up GCT lies this literary refuge where commuters can take a few of their precious moments and browse countless books, new and old, fact or fiction.  It’s a visceral experience to the avid reader; being inundated with a landscape of book covers, different colors, different photos.  There is a sensory component to the experience of searching and deciding which book to purchase next.  Then there is the tactile aspect of actually reading the book; feeling the book in one’s hands, physically turning its pages, using a bookmark that represents a keepsake while once traveling abroad.  These all compose the totality of the reading experience.  Yet, most of these attributes are lost when you’re reading a book on a device such as the Kindle.  The iPad captures the reading experience better than most devices.  With its color, page-turning simulation, and one’s very own bookcase case, the leap from traditional book to digital device is coming at a lower cost to the consumer.  What one loses in transition is slowly being diminished.

You can see these changes rather subtly at any bookstore.  I often see people typing into their phones just after glancing at myriad book titles.  I can only surmise that they are tallying a list of which books to purchase next for their respective e-readers or, for that matter, from Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com.  In a way, bookstores are becoming browsing venues for consumers while the actual product-purchase is a transaction that takes place in a different venue, often online, and often cheaper.  It is a challenging road ahead for small bookstores.

So how will this process play out?  If you live in New York, just look around.  Cars are ubiquitous, the only place you can really find a horse carriage is in Central Park, and the typewriter is a long lost relic of the past.  Are books doomed to the same fate?  Maybe, maybe not.  E-reading devices may not necessarily improve the reading experience but they clearly provide readers with a new channel of distribution in which to consume the product, and that matters significantly.  There was a time when most people listened to music on a Sony Walkman.  You’re now about as likely to find a Walkman as you are to find a typewriter – except on EBay.  And speaking of things that may be headed for extinction, there is the aforementioned New York Times newspaper.  But that’s a topic for another time.

John Brigantino is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.  He enjoys writing, non-fiction books, traveling and the many cultural and leisure experiences Manhattan has to offer.