Retrospective: Best Movie of 2015

2015 has come to an end, and so many movies have captivated me this year. This was actually a tough decision on what I thought was the best movie of the year. So I decided to take the 10 movies that I think were the most memorable and introspective experiences of the year and put them in order of which were the best. Granted, not all of them can make it. So here are some honorable mentions of movies that I didn’t get a chance to see, or films that didn’t quite make the final cut.

Honorable Mentions:

Trainwreck, Spotlight, The Big Short, Sicario, Room, Bridge of Spies, Creed, Straight Outta Compton, It Follows, Steve Jobs, Carol, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Paddington, The Good Dinosaur, Anamolisa, Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Revenant

10. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Perhaps the most honest portrayal of chemotherapy in cinematic history, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl presents a raw and emotional journey of two friends helping a girl through the worst chapter of her life. It can be hysterical one moment and then gut-wrenching the next. Olivia Cooke as Rachel and Thomas Mann as Greg have excellent chemistry as two strangers trying to become friends. The most underrated movie of the year, it teaches an important lesson: Cancer sucks.

9. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

2015 was a year chock full of action blockbusters, with more to appear on this list. To be honest, I was growing tired of Tom Cruise trying prove that was still an action hero. But he still has the charisma and energy to carry a movie, and Rebecca Ferguson surprised with one of the stronger female characters in recent action history. From the opening sequence when Ethan Hunt jumps onto a real plane to the ending credits, Rogue Nation is a nonstop thrill ride that never ceases to entertain.

8. The Hateful Eight 

Quentin Tarantino closes out the year in true style with another Western epic. The film combines an excellent cast into a story about eight intriguing strangers who take refuge in stagecoach stopover during a blizzard in Wyoming. Great dialogue and beautiful cinematography are shown in glorious 70 mm format. All wrapped together with Ennio Morricone’s musical score, and you have one tense mystery that can keep you engaged throughout it’s three hour run-time.

7. Ant Man

Alright, raise your hand if you expected this movie to be Marvel’s first true bomb. Now put your hand down if it entertained you beyond expectations. That should cover just about everyone. Who would have thought that a heist movie could have starred such an unconventional superhero? Paul Rudd gives an extremely charismatic performance as the titular superhero trying to redeem himself by helping scientist, Hank Pym, steal his technology. It remains one of the funniest superhero movies of the decade, highlighting how ridiculous the whole idea actually is.

6. Ex Machina

One of the most surprising movies of 2015, Ex Machina proved to be a breath of fresh air in what seemed like a dying genre. It features great performances from both Domnhall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac as an employee who wins a contest to spend a week with his reclusive CEO to take part in the Turing Test. The Turing Test is used to test the intelligence and emotions of an A.I., played by standout Alicia Vikander. Not only is it visually stunning, but it also introduces complex themes and messages too numerous to count that will leave audiences thinking for quite a while afterwards. And from a directorial debut, no less.

5. Brooklyn

You didn’t think it would just be all action and sci-fi, did you? Brooklyn was a unique look at life inside of one New York’s most populace areas. Saoirse Ronan shines as a shy Irish immigrant adjusting to life in America and falls in love with someone from a culture that’s generally disrespected by hers. The beautiful cinematography and costume designs reinforce the feeling of nostalgia from the 1950s. I may not be a fan of period dramas, but Brooklyn really made branch out from my typical boundaries of movie genres. This is what Jane Austen WANTED to craft, but could never.

4. Inside Out

Easily the best animated movie of the year, Inside Out is perhaps the most mature and emotional story from Pixar yet. Telling the story of the five personified emotions of an eleven-year-old girl, the movie takes it’s time to show off the gorgeous animation and soundtrack by Michael Giacchino. The superb voice cast is led by Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith as Joy and Sadness, in a film that is well-paced by director Peter Docter. Inside Out proves that Pixar is still capable of original stories and is as close to perfection as any animated movie can ever get.

3. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Let’s face it: there was no movie in 2015 more hyped up than the seventh installment of the Star Wars Saga. In fact, were it not for it’s derivative structure, it likely would have made it even higher on this list. With memorable new characters and updated old ones, J.J. Abrams has revived yet another iconic franchise for a new generation of film-goers to enjoy. The fantastic soundtrack by John Williams injects so much life and emotion into every scene when necessary. It’s also worth noting how well it manages to seamlessly blend practical effects with state-of-the-art CGI. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver all have promising futures ahead of them, thanks to what is now the highest grossing movie in North America.

2. The Martian

Ridley Scott continues to prove his status as one of the greatest directors in science fiction with The Martian. Matt Damon leads an all-star ensemble cast as Mark Watney, an astronaut who accidentally gets stuck on Mars after a dust storm forces his team to abandon their manned mission. Watney must do everything in his power to contact NASA while also keeping himself alive by growing food from his shit on a planet where nothing grows. Exhilarating and surprisingly funny, it faithfully adapts Andy Weir’s scientifically accurate novel right down from the character traits to the science behind each of the events. I would not mind watching it again, especially considering it’s uplifting theme of people coming together to save a man from a bad situation.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

A post-apocalyptic experience like almost no other, George Miller returns to his signature franchise with the 4th installment of Mad Max. In an age flooded with CGI-driven films, it’s nice to see a movie most filled with real stunts and stuntmen. Max Rockatansky helps the warrior Furiosa transport herself and a number of concubines away from Immortan Joe and to a safe haven known as the Green Place. The action sequences are absolutely insane, bolstered by the fact that these are actual people, and not CGI recreations. The themes and undertones in the film prove that George Miller is capable of making stories deeper than they appear to be. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron riff off each other nicely, even though there’s minimal dialogue and the two really didn’t get along on-set. In the end, despite a relatively simple plot, Mad Max: Fury Road will go down in history as one of the greatest action movies of all time.

Alright, so do you agree with me? What was your favorite movie of the year? And for that matter what movie did you hate most in 2015? Whatever your thoughts are, be sure to leave a comment. And if you like what you see, be sure to like this post and follow my blog for more posts.

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