Top 10 of 2015

 

2015 was another interesting year in film. Dinosaurs and Jedi’s ruled the box office, an imaginary friend made us sad, Vin Diesel saying bye to his real friend made us sadder. Matt Damon was stranded on Mars, Chris Hemsworth was lost at sea, The Avengers’ assembled again, Clooney took us to Tomorrowland, James Bond returned, Katniss said goodbye, The Rock took on an earthquake, and N.W.A took the stage one last time.

There was a lot to sift through, but here are my 10 favorite films of 2015:

10.Creed

The Rocky franchise had some big shoes to fill. Ryan Coogler and Michael B Jordan filled those shoes and then some. With help from Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone, Creed tells a powerful story of identity, purpose, and family. There are a lot of great things in Creed, but the most impressive thing is the film’s ability to make Stallone an Oscar nominee. Who saw that coming?

Favorite Scene: Rocky and Adonis heartbreaking conversation in the locker room

9. The Revenant

The Revenant is a revenge film seen through the artistic lens of Alejandro Inarritu. Everyone is talking about Leonardo DiCaprio vs. The Bear, but the real star is Tom Hardy. He matches Dicaprio’s energy and intensity during every scene. DiCaprio may take home the Oscar this year, but Hardy deserves to be in the conversation as well.

Favorite Scene: Fitzgerald trying to convince Glass to “blink”.

8. The Big Short

It’s rare that a movie can make you feel sad, angry, and fascinated at the same time. Based on a true story, The Big Short retells the housing credit bubble in the mid-2000s that destroyed the economy. Adam McKay, who is known for his comedy, uses the year’s best ensemble performances (lead by Steve Carell and Christian Bale) to tell  one the best dramatic stories in recent years.

Favorite Scene: Ben chastising Charlie and Jamie after they celebrated in the Casino.

7. It Follows

It Follows never explains why what’s happening is happening. You’re inserted into the middle of a horror story and forced to figure out what’s happening. It’s unclear what year it is or what city these kids are in. What is clear: Having sex in this movie will lead to your death and you’ll never see it coming.

Favorite Scene: Jay and her friends are enjoying an afternoon on the beach when they’re interrupted by a guest.

6. Inside Out

Pixar made its triumphant return this year with Inside Out. Living inside Riley’s 11 year old brain is more entertaining and heartfelt than most non animated films. In true Pixar fashion there are laughs, smiles and lots of tears. The most touching scene involved her imaginary friend Bing Bong. The Bing Bong scene gets me every time.

Favorite Scene: Bing Bong and his rocket powered wagon. “Take her to the moon.”

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5. Ex Machina

Alex Garland gives an interesting take on what the future of artificial intelligence could look like. Spoiler: the future is really sexy and really scary. Oscar Isaac and  Domhnall Gleeson give phenomenal performances, but it’s Alicia Vikander’s hypnotizing portrayal of  Ava that landed Ex Machina on the list. The story is as intimate as it is thrilling and its ending will leave you speechless.

Favorite Scene: Caleb telling Nathan what he did to the security system.

4. Mad Max: Fury Road

If you explained the plot to Mad Max: Fury Road it would sound like a ridiculous movie. But when you watch it, you’re in heart pounding rollercoaster ride that’s entertaining from start to finish. Gorge Miller took a story with more vehicles than pages of dialogue and delivered a masterpiece. A red onesie and a flaming guitar never looked so cool.

Favorite Scene: Max and Furiosa’s fight in the desert.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Keep all the think pieces and nitpicking articles, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of the best films this year. J.J Abrams did it. HE DID IT. If you don’t like Star Wars, you don’t like fun. The franchise is in great hands with John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and BB-8.

Favorite Scene: The final lightsaber showdown in the snowy forest.

2. Room

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay star in this harrowing tale of survival. Larson gives an Oscar worthy performance in one of the most emotionally stirring films of the year. The less you know about Room, the better. Just know you’ll be glued to the screen and might need a Kleenex or two.

Favorite Scene: Jack’s escape sequence.

1. Sicario

It’s hard to put Sicario into words. It’s captivating, heart-pounding, intense, gripping, beautiful, depressing, and jaw dropping all rolled in one. It’s is an unapologetic look at the war on drugs. From the second we see Kate raiding a house in Arizona to the film’s final frame, Sicario grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Emily Blunt is fantastic and she’s flanked by Josh Brolin and Benecio del Toro who gives the best performance of his career. Denis Villeneuve adds his name to the ballot for Best Director in Hollywood and he might get my vote.

Favorite Scene: The extradition scene from Jaurez, Mexico to the U.S.

Honorable Mentions: Dope, People Places Things, The Overnight, What We Do in the Shadows, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton, Beast of No Nation, Me Earl and the Dying Girl, Cartel Land, Magic Mike XXL, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The End of the Tour.

 

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