PGCMAs: Best Animated Film, Foreign Language Film, and Action Film (2015)

Posted: February 20, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

PGCMA 2015

*The above image represents 2014’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.

Best Animated Film

Over the last few years I had abandoned this award, but given that I actually saw some animated films in 2015, I thought it time to bring it back. I unfortunately was unable to see Anomalisa.

The Good Dinosaur: I almost didn’t nominate this film as on the whole I don’t think it’s good, but the animation is impressive. The backgrounds in particular are pretty striking.

Inside Out: The general vibe upon Inside Out’s release was that Pixar had returned to the greatness they had built their name on. I don’t quite love the film, but it is certainly a lot more ambitious, intellectual, and emotional, than anything they’ve done post-Toy Story 3.

Shaun the Sheep Movie: Though it didn’t have the same hype, Shaun the Sheep Movie was quietly one of the most praised films of the summer. The film itself is charming, funny, and it’s always nice to see Claymation enduring.

And the winner is…

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Inside Out

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I did really enjoy Shaun the Sheep Movie, but there was never any doubt this would win my animated award. The film is at times funny, at times sad, and often very thought-provoking. It isn’t always perfect, but in its best moments, Inside Out really is great.

Best Foreign Language Film

I don’t get to see a lot of foreign films due to what the theaters are like in my area, so the two nominees you see here represent the totality of what I’ve seen from 2015’s foreign cinema. It’s a shame because there is a lot I’d like to see, but the two I did get to check out are both quite good.

White God: White God is a strange breed. The film contains a minimalist story about a young girl growing when she has to stay with her father, but there’s also the magical realist side involving her mutt dog and the parallel journey he makes. It’s a captivating watch all the same with some beautiful imagery and one hell of a climax.

Wild Tales: Most of the highly acclaimed foreign cinema which is heralded in North America is of a certain serious demeanor, but every once in a while something a bit more comedic will get through. Wild Tales is no light romp, but the film’s satirical tone and pitch bleak humour do stand out amidst the heavier films people think of when they hear “foreign cinema”.

And the winner is…

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White God

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Wild Tales may be the more fun film, but I found myself reflecting on White God infinitely more. The film is an interesting meditation on what we do with a more violent aspects and we instil training in others. On a surface level, the film just also tells a really compelling story and is pretty accessible to an open minded audience.

Best Action Film

Mad Max: Fury Road: Two decades away from the franchise and George Miller was able to step back without losing a beat. Fury Road is an absolutely insane action film with audacious chases and breakneck action. The fact that Miller is not only able to make these scenes legible, but also pace them in such a way they don’t overwhelm the audience is a testament to his craft.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Like its predecessor, Rogue Nation delivers a collection of really awesome and suspenseful set-pieces and stunts. As an added bonus, the film takes on a slightly darker tone with a greater emphasis on espionage and spy craft while still keeping the action scenes a plenty.

The Revenant: In the vein of Children of Men, this isn’t really an action movie, but the set-pieces are too awesome for this to be ignored. Between the opening ambush, the bear attack, the horse theft, and the finale, this has some really amazing action scenes.

Spectre: This was the last film to make the cut of nominees, narrowly beating out Furious 7. Pound for pound, the action scenes in Furious 7 are better than what you get in Spectre, but the latter provided me with a sense of escapism and fun that no Fast and Furious movie ever could.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: After three dull, downright depressing Star Wars prequels, The Force Awakens finally returned the series to its fun, escapist roots. The film presents a series of very exciting action sequences anchored around some charming heroes and threatening villains. Even beyond the baggage and hope, The Force Awakens thrives as a strong example of how to make a fun action movie.

And the winner is…

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Mad Max: Fury Road

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In a move that will surprise no one, Mad Max: Fury Road has won Best Acton Film. There was never any doubt that Fury Road would take this prize. Not only is the action stupendous and amazingly well crafted, but it also is used to advance plot and character in a way a lot of action scenes do not. Fury Road engages in a form of visual storytelling few blockbusters even dare. This is evident in the film’s production design, cinematography, and most certainly in its action.

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