Sean’s Ridiculously Late, Still Awesome Top 10 Movies of 2015
It’s been another great year for movie releases this past year and though it pains me to say that I didn’t have the opportunity to review some titles that could have made this list such as Anomalisa, there were enough good times at the movies last year to make doing this list very fun. So, ladies and gentlemen without further ado, here are what I consider to be my top 10 movies of 2015.
Ryan Coogler not only figured out a clever and logical new direction to take the Rocky franchise, but manages to inject some very impressive technical craftsmanship that makes everything seem new and fresh and bringing emotional depth to the series on a scale that hasn’t been seen since John G. Avildsen and Silvester Stallone delivered a K.O. in 1976. Coogler captured an amazing performance from Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station and they double down with an enormous payoff in Creed, not to mention the most moving performance I’ve seen fromSilvester Stallone in decades.
This harrowing drama will get deep underneath your skin and wreck you emotionally before providing some soulful closure at the end of this dark tunnel and for better or worse, seeing Room is an experience you won’t soon forget. Brie Larson and newcomer Jacob Tremblay give heartbreaking performances in a bleak and ultimately moving journey that provides no easy answers or false resolutions.
8. THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Quentin Tarantino’s latest is a tension filled, dialogue driven standoff with vibrant shady characters and a metaphorical ticking time bomb under the table that would make Alfred Hitchcock nod in approval. Only Tarantino can make a three hour movie that thrives off of humor, thrills and deception in one setting and keep his audience engaged as the tension builds to a high boil and lets his trademark bloody carnage explode like fireworks on the Fourth of July, leaving another satisfying addition to his solid filmography.
7. INSIDE OUT
Every so often a motion picture comes along that reminds me why I fell in love with movies in the first place. It made me exit the movie theater and reflect on the world as well as understand it a little better as I made connections through all other movies. That’s the experience I had with Inside Out. Much like the Train of Thought that exhibits the world of Riley’s mind, Inside Out is an adventure that I am enticed to revisit again and again.
Asif Kapadia’s haunting and voyeuristic documentary is a no-holds-barred examination of an extremely talented singer/songwriter struggling with addiction, fame, personal demons and her own sense of reality. Many talented musicians have stories similar to Amy Winehouse but rarely are they told in such raw honest fashion. Amy does a wonderful job of allowing an audience to love someone who didn’t always love herself and brings a whole new light to the genius of her music. Amy is revealing and touching in the best possible way.
5. THE BIG SHORT
This razor sharp stab at the corrupt financial crisis of 2007 is equally revealing and entertaining, making for one of the best cinematic surprises of 2015 and it would be criminal to allow this movie to go unseen. Boasting a top notch game cast that includes Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, and Brad Pitt, The Big Short proves Adam McKay is much more than Will Ferrell’s go to comedy guy and a director to be excited about in the years to come. The Big Short will make you laugh, cry and become rightfully upset at people who prefer to keep their heads in the sand as the poor get taken advantage of in a broken system. The Big Short is eye-opening and it means business.
Spotlight is a movie that I immediately want to revisit and observe more of the lavish detail that was carefully constructed in this impressive production. Tom McCarthy’s provocative and straight-forward approach doesn’t waste time with convoluted exposition or pointless diversions from the matters at hand, McCarthy isn’t interested in heroes and villains, or black and white. He wants to explore the pulse of hard-hitting journalism. Much like how The Last Picture Show showed the Golden Age of cinema through the prism of the old west, Spotlight is in some ways a showcase for the last hoorah in investigative reporting and journalism that would never quite be the same shortly after.
3. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
George Miller’s fierce return to the savage dystopian sands is the most exhilarating Mad Max outing to date and proves he is one of the best action directors working in Hollywood today. Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is the star of the show and the most exciting female character to grace the silver screen in years. Mad Max: Fury Road blasts at full speed and volume from and never misses a step, full of insightful subtext and thrilling visuals, nothing will boost your adrenaline or capture your imagination in quite the same way. In short Mad Max: Fury Road is a wonder to behold.
2. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Hands down, flaws and all, no movie in 2015 has given me as much pleasure and fun than
Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I immediately felt something familiar and exciting just after the opening scrawl of text prepared me for an brand new galactic adventure set 30 years after the Return of the Jedi and that excitement never slowed down for one second. The influence of the original trilogy is safe but lovingly genuine. It allows a loyal audience with this property close to their heart and a young fresh audience just being introduced to be captivated by the old fantasy in harmony with a new journey featuring fascinating and exciting new characters with their own stories. This Star Wars adventure was fun and exciting enough to make me excited that Star Wars is back and here to stay.
1. EX MACHINA
Alex Garland’s screenplays have received mixed results from different directors in the past but his directorial debut Ex Machina is his baby and shows that this man is an extremely talented filmmaker that everyone should have their eyes glued on. Ex Machina is thought-provoking, sensual, disturbing and an example of how science fiction can be the most intelligent, exciting and reliable form of storytelling in any medium, especially cinema. It rarely gets any better than this.