2015 was an incredible year for films, we were spoilt with a plethora of huge blockbusters. Lots of films released from established franchises including new ones from Bond, Star Wars, Mad Max, a couple from Marvel, Jurassic World and one of the best Pixar films we’ve ever seen. But there were also new and fresh stories to be told, other worlds to be taken to and other times we haven’t seen before.
It’s hard to come up with a top 10 of the year however I feel these were the best movies released in 2015. What do you think?
- Still Alice
The movie the won Julianne Moore an Oscar for Best Actress (one of the few awards which was handed out to the right person during that particular ceremony), here she plays Alice Howland, a professor of linguistics whose life slowly seems to be deteriorating due to Alzheimer’s. It’s a real mark of an actor when they can be as accurate as possible when playing a character with such a debilitating disease and Moore did just that. Her research went above and beyond to ensure that she treated those who had it with respect and with that came a heartbreaking performance that will never be forgotten.
- Mad Max: Fury Road
A dam good choice to replace Mel Gibson as the title character, Tom Hardy is Max in this blisteringly brilliant reboot. It was praised for having a tough female character in Charlize Theron’s who rebelled against the oppressive regime of Immortan Joe. Theron’s performance was different to most female characters we see on our screens these days, she was tough, fearsome, had a not-to-be-messed-with attitude, even when it came to the brutality of Max. Director George Miller mostly shunned visual effects and all of the vehicles were built as we see them and made to work. The stunning landscape shots were created by Cinematographer John Seale, who was able to show the harsh realities of surviving in a baron wasteland, an incredible achievement. The small part of VFX that was used is in the sky where they changed the colour, pretty much. It’s nothing and that’s one of many reasons why this film is so enjoyable.
- Steve Jobs
It was very surprising that this film made it into production after the lead actor and first choice director both changed hands a couple of times. How they pulled of something as entertaining and smart as this is beyond anyone. Well, it’s not beyond the likes of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin. A dream duo team, who proved you can make a good Steve Jobs film. Not only is it good, it’s great, it’s funny, it’s whip smart, it has trademark Sorkin lines and fast talking in it, it has Boyle’s direction. It’s hard to find fault with this film at all. It takes place at three product launches all of which Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender, is involved in. The story is everything that’s happening in the background of these launches, his confrontations with various people in his life which is pretty much everyone. The beauty in this film lies within the script, one which I described as a Sorkin sharp script in my review. The one liners he has composed along with his exceptionally long speeches (yet another Sorkin-ism) for the characters are quintessential traits for the writer and something that makes all of his movies and TV scripts a joy to watch.
- The Martian
There was a lot of buzz surrounding this one, mostly because of how accurate most parts of the book were. The author, Andy Weir, did a painstaking job when it came to research by posting bits of his book online and asking those within the science community for feedback on his books authenticity. After a while he had a brilliant and almost accurate piece of science fiction in his hands. This became The Martian last year, starring Matt Damon as the lead character who needs to be saved from Mars after a few things go wrong. Damon is a very reliable star, however we rarely see him do comedy, but it turns out he’s dam good at it! The Martian has plenty of laughs in it, as well as on the mark scientific terminology, but not so much that it bores you. It keeps you entertained with the fact that it’s not dumbed down, smart enough to keep you interested, you become emotionally invested in Damon’s Mark Watney as he shows what astronauts are probably really like when they go on a mission. Frankly it looks like a lot of fun! (Minus the peril, obviously.)
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
A horror movie without the horror, pretty much. This vampire movie is set in the fake Bad City and creates an atmosphere just like any other horror film but with a couple of added twists. This isn’t a film who sexualises its main character, she a vampire out to kill, simple as that. And that’s what she does. It’s a black and white film and told mostly from the perspective of The Girl who goes after those who have wronged anyone else. She seems to be a peace keeper in her own way, even following a delinquent young boy just to threaten him. Within the film, there are some stunning shots and an even more stunning soundtrack, using the song Death by White Lies in a scene that almost looks like it could be written for the track. A horror movie with little horror shouldn’t work but the director, Ana Lily Amipour has almost created a sub-genre: the non-horror horror.
- Star Wars. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
I don’t have to say too much about this but it has now become the biggest grossing movie of all time. But this isn’t a surprise and it’s not the reason why it’s in my top 10. I get occasionally nervous before watching a film and for this the anticipation was incredibly high, but I did wonder if we would have something as disappointing are the prequels. Fear not, you should always have faith in J.J. Abrams. What were given was a true return to form, an end lightsaber battle for the ages, enthralling action and a great new cast who mix well with the old ones. It makes me excited to see what’s coming next but it’s safe to say the Jedi has returned. For my full review, click here.
- Inside Out
One of the best Pixar films we’ve ever seen, Inside Out was yet another emotional ride for anyone who watched it. Who else cried when the toys almost died in Toy Story 3? Pixar are far too good at doing this most of the time. Inside Out was the film that used emotions to play with our emotions, those clever guys! It showed what it’s like to grow up; not knowing much about life, not knowing why things are happening, not knowing who you are. We’ve all been there when growing up and it’s brought to the screen so eloquently. From the imaginary friend, to emotions bonding with one another, to the turmoil the girl is put through, it’s presented in a relatable way that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you appreciate the childhood you had. This is one of the best films you will see.
The premise of Sicario sounds very generic, as if we’ve been here so many times before: a task force is taking on the war on drugs between the U.S and Mexican borders. Not much to it right? Wrong. This is one consistently created an extremely tense atmosphere in several scenes, used one piece of music which sounds like a heartbeat, the landscapes are stunning whilst at the same time being hot and harsh. Sicario will put you on the edge of your seat and leave you there with your heart beating faster than before.
- Bridge of Spies
From the trailer, you wouldn’t expect this film to be funny at all. It had the feel of a Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy thriller but this was far from the case. Bridge of Spies turned out to be a brilliantly witty, smart take on the spy movie genre, with Mark Rylance being the best thing about it. His delivery and timing of the lines fed to him by the Cohen brothers and Matt Charman was spot on and the constant calming look across his face was a delight to watch. Directed by Steven Spielberg and also starring Tom Hanks, this felt like a totally different spy movie, that turned the genre on its head, it didn’t have as many intense scenes. There were conversation, explanations and interesting interactions, but they saved they best until last with the end scene creating an intensity that it had slowly been building to throughout the movie.
I had been looking forward to watching this ever since I heard they were making it and it did not disappoint. The death of Amy Winehouse shocked me and didn’t surprise others; her constant abuse of drink and drugs, to some, made this inevitable. But not to me, I was saddened and in a state of shock. Mostly because she hadn’t fulfilled her potential as a recording artist. There was so much more to give, so much more to do, so much more to record. This documentary shows her slow decline and how it happened without pointing the finger too blatantly. Asif Kapadia, the man behind Senna, has created a film out of archive footage, new and old interviews, mobile phone clips and unheard tracks. It’s a superb documentary that appears to remain neutral about its subject matter.
Keep. It. Reel.