Movie Favorites: SF/F/H 2011-2015

For a while now, I’ve been catching up on science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural horror movies released from 2011-2015. Counting short films, I recently logged my 300th title, meaning I would have seen well over one per week if I’d been watching them as they came out. It’s easy to imagine serious fans seeing many more, but to me, it feels like a milestone worth summarizing. So here are very brief notes on the ~17-18% that I still recall with particular interest (categorized and alphabetized but not ranked).

Edit (10/22/2018): Liza the Fox-Fairy was unavailable in English at the time I posted this, but having watched it since, I think it belongs here too.

Edit (01/16/2022): Savageland probably belongs here too.

Action / thrillers (very few surprises here)

Attack the Block (2011; trailer): awesome concept/situation
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014; trailer): superheroic spy thriller
Chappie (2015; trailer): Chappie’s dialogue is the best part
Gravity (2013; trailer): especially exciting to see on the big screen
Hanna (2011; trailer): barely SF, sometimes quiet/thoughtful thriller
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015; trailer): nearly a requirement for cultural literacy
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015; trailer): yay!
The Avengers (2012; trailer): Avengers fan since 1979; director’s issues relevant though
The Hunger Games (2012; trailer): among the best of SF novel adaptations

Anime (rated 9+ to 13+ on Common Sense Media)

A Letter to Momo (2011; trailer): sweet, simple, slice of life story … with yōkai
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings (2012; trailer): a re-edit of the awesome TV show
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Eternal (2012; trailer): the re-edit continues; skip the third movie
The Boy and the Beast (2015; trailer): thumbs up for the spectral whale
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013; trailer): a beautiful film that gets even more beautiful
Wolf Children (2012; trailer): poignant story with scenery that reminds me of my own childhood

Children’s (rated 4+ to 7+ on Common Sense Media)

Arthur Christmas (2011; trailer): out of a straightforward premise, some pretty funny moments
Big Hero 6 (2014; trailer): made something great out of a mediocre 90s comic
Ernest & Celestine (2012; trailer): nice friendship story with origins as a children’s book
Frozen (2013; trailer): my sympathies to folks who had to watch it too often, but I still love this
Inside Out (2015; trailer): just a charming, funny story about emotional self-regulation
Paddington (2014; trailer): I have no Paddington nostalgia, but I really liked this
Rise of the Guardians (2012; trailer): the premise is bananas, and it works out pretty well
Secret of the Wings (2012; trailer): the best of several good Tinkerbell videos
Song Of The Sea (2014; trailer): delightful animation; resembles a children’s book
The Book of Life (2014; trailer): fun movie with great character designs

Horror-themed (mostly not scary though)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014; trailer): tries a bit hard to be cool but still succeeds
He Never Died (2015; trailer): tough guy urban fantasy story with just enough deadpan wit
Housebound (2014; trailer): hilarious and also scary ghost story; great premise
It Follows (2014; trailer): maybe my most favorite; beautiful & dreamy, yet tense & rule-driven
The Cabin in the Woods (2012; trailer): brilliant & funny, though director’s issues still relevant
The Lure (2015; trailer): very strange and often beautiful fairy tale—good music too
Under the Skin (2013; trailer): tries a bit hard to be mysterious & cool but also achieves it
What We Do In The Shadows (2014; trailer): more smiles than lols but still brilliant
Savageland (2015): pretty good pseudo-documentary investigating a horror crime scene

Miscellaneous (e.g. romance and SF with a ‘literary’ feel)

About Time (2013; trailer): very sweet time travel / romance story
Cemetery of Splendour (2015; trailer): quiet, subtle, warm & captivating magic realism
Circle (2015; trailer): wow; like a trolley problem crossed with a game of Werewolf
Her (2013; trailer): problematic premise redeemed by posthumanism akin to written SF
Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013; trailer): sort of an art history documentary, full of fun SF content
Liza the Fox-Fairy (2015; trailer): exaggerated, sympathetic/moving fractured fairy tale
The Beauty Inside (2015; trailer): makes Hallmark films look gritty, but I liked it a lot
These Final Hours (2013; trailer): low-budget wonder akin to The Last Policeman

Short films (many free online)

A Single Life (2014; watch): packs a lot into almost no time at all
Bag Man (2014; watch): SF short film evidently being made into a feature film
Cargo (2013; watch): clever zombie short, now already a feature film too
Get a Horse! (2013; trailer): cute 4th-wall-breaker; resurrects Disney’s actual voice too
One-Minute Time Machine (2014; watch): cute, silly, and surprising
Possessions (2012; trailer): nice; in Japanese the title evokes old objects becoming self-aware
Poulette’s Chair (2014; watch): reminded me I had a little chair I liked when I was very small
Prospect (2014; watch): good little story; I loved the greenery too
The Answers (2015; watch): simple idea, well-executed; poignant
Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation (2011; watch): this series > Marvel One-Shots
Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex (2012): I lol’ed; best of this series
Toy Story Toons: Small Fry (2011; watch): the discarded toys were delightful
World of Tomorrow (2015; trailer): super smart, super funny, and in tune with very current SF

Board game rank change report for 2018Q1

Here’s an update on what games have moved up a lot recently at BoardGameGeek. The dates covered by the data are actually 11/17/2017-03/31/2018—a bit more than 2018Q1, but close enough for this purpose.

Fast, positive movers among 'Board games':
018 (+482) Gaia Project
037 (+344) Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
044 (+456) Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition
061 (+439) Azul
063 (+348) Spirit Island
065 (+143) Clans of Caledonia
078 (+422) Rising Sun
098 (+402) Charterstone
128 (+242) Codenames Duet
141 (+131) Lisboa
174 (+115) Sagrada
195 (+305) This War of Mine: The Board Game
216 (+119) Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin
252 (+248) Clank! In! Space!
343 (+117) Flamme Rouge
344 (+156) Dinosaur Island
355 (+145) Photosynthesis
359 (+106) Dice Forge
367 (+122) Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures
400 (+100) Mythic Battles: Pantheon

Fast, positive movers among 'Strategy games':
006 (+494) Star Wars: Rebellion
008 (+245) Gaia Project
015 (+485) Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
025 (+475) Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition
054 (+446) Rising Sun
059 (+441) Charterstone
137 (+363) Clank! In! Space!
186 (+314) Dinosaur Island
211 (+289) Mythic Battles: Pantheon
225 (+275) Rajas of the Ganges
299 (+201) Pulsar 2849

Fast, positive movers among 'War games':
002 (+498) War of the Ring (Second Edition)
209 (+210) Holland '44: Operation Market-Garden
224 (+276) Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain

Fast, positive movers among 'Family games':
084 (+416) Queendomino
115 (+385) Bunny Kingdom
139 (+361) The Fox in the Forest
171 (+329) Majesty: For the Realm
208 (+292) Rhino Hero: Super Battle
228 (+272) Meeple Circus
256 (+244) Viral
262 (+238) Stuffed Fables

Fast, positive movers among 'Collectible games':
032 (+468) Dungeon Command: Curse of Undeath
034 (+466) Dungeon Command: Blood of Gruumsh
038 (+462) Dungeon Command: Tyranny of Goblins
039 (+461) Dungeon Command: Heart of Cormyr
041 (+459) Pixel Tactics 2
042 (+458) Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth
134 (+366) Romance of the Nine Empires

Fast, positive movers among 'Thematic games':
005 (+495) Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
029 (+471) Captain Sonar
038 (+462) Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin
087 (+413) Flamme Rouge
090 (+410) Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
167 (+333) High Frontier (3rd edition)
174 (+326) Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
181 (+319) Fog of Love
188 (+312) Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous – Base Set
195 (+305) Fallout
199 (+301) Stuffed Fables
204 (+296) DOOM: The Board Game
227 (+273) Whitehall Mystery
231 (+269) Legacy of Dragonholt