The movies that came out in 2015 showed a lot of promise throughout the year. Even when the year wasn’t the best around the world, the best place to escape during troubling times is in the dark theater in safety, hopefully, enjoying a pleasing experience from any genre. From exploring a man stuck on Mars to wondering what’s goes on inside our heads, these were my Top 10 favorite movies of 2015.
Also, I wish I was able to love a few Oscar-nominated movies like everybody else, including The Big Short, Carol, or Spotlight. And I’ll admit I do feel Spotlight to be kind of the “O” word a few weeks after I saw it, which explains why I didn’t fully appreciate it.
Honorable Mentions: Ant-Man, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Bridge of Spies, Trainwreck, The Peanuts Movie, It Follows, Straight Outta Compton, The Revenant, Paddington
10) ‘Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation’ (Christopher McQuarrie)
After Ghost Protocol, there’s no way Tom Cruise could top climbing the tallest building in the world. But he totally did. Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation is the best film in the franchise by far. Christopher McQuarrie has taken the series on a new level with these jaw-dropping action sequences. Cruise still owns it as Ethan Hunt along with his team in the best installment yet. And Rebecca Ferguson was a welcome addition to the series.
9) ‘Steve Jobs’ (Danny Boyle)
One of the most underrated movies of the year. Steve Jobs was always going to be better than 2013’s Jobs. Brought together by Danny Boyle’s directing and Aaron Sorkin’s script, this unseen film that just takes place at three events in Jobs’ career just grabbed me by how fascinating the entire two hours were. Steve Jobs is flat-out amazing. Great directing, fantastic script, and outstanding performances from Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels.
8) ‘Ex Machina’ (Alex Garland)
Alex Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina came out of nowhere. This was an original sci-fi that’s unpredictable. Such a shame I didn’t see this in theaters when it first came out. This story is smart and we, the viewers, just don’t know what’s coming. Ex Machina was one of those movies where I had to think about after I watched it, and minus the slow pace, it’s a sci-fi piece that more people should like later on. The performances are also phenomenal with Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac. But Alicia Vikander as the artificially intelligent, Ava, was outstanding.
7) ‘The Hateful Eight’ (Quentin Tarantino)
The Reservoir Dogs of westerns. Nobody should ever doubt Quentin Tarantino as a writer or director. The Hateful Eight was a breathtaking action/western that only Tarantino himself could come up with. It had that old school western type of feel of filmmaking. Beautiful cinematography to full the landscape, the dialogue is top-notch, Ennio Morricone’s score is absolutely perfect, and the performances were great, especially from Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Not better than Django Unchained, but it’s still great for his eighth film.
6) ‘The Martian’ (Ridley Scott)
Ridley Scott hasn’t made a good movie in a few years, and The Martian is his best work since American Gangster. Matt Damon gives an outstanding performance as Mark Watney as an astronaut stranded on Mars and does whatever’s possible to get help back home. Love the ensemble cast, Drew Goddard’s screenplay, and Scott’s direction. It perfectly captures a consistent tone of action, humorous moments, and heart-pounding from every moment.
5) ‘Room’ (Lenny Abrahamson)
Room is a heartbreaking and powerful story based on Emma Donoghue’s novel (also wrote the screenplay). Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay gave tremendous performances, respectively, as a mother and son stuck in a shed and discovering the world from the inside and outside. Just an emotional movie throughout that makes you wonder about everything and everyone in life.
4) ‘Creed’ (Ryan Coogler)
Ryan Coogler came up with the idea of following Apollo Creed’s son, and it worked out perfectly. Creed is the best Rocky movie since the original 1976 film. It’s great, emotional, phenomenal, and well-directed boxing scenes, including this awesome one-take boxing sequence. Coogler teaming up with Michael B. Jordan once again after Fruitvale Station is becoming the best collaborators as Jordan’s performance as Adonis is amazing and Sylvester Stallone giving the best performance of his entire career returning to his role as the iconic Rocky Balboa.
3) ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (George Miller)
Mad Max: Fury Road ended up becoming one of the best action movies of the decade so far. This was a spectacular adrenaline action ride from beginning to end. Did I have to follow a story? No, but it doesn’t matter. George Miller directed the hell out of his with these amazing action sequences and practical effects. Tom Hardy was perfect as the titular Max, but this was Charlize Theron’s movie as Furiosa became one of the best heroines in movie history. It just keeps getting better with countless re-watches.
“You know, hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll, uh… you’ll go insane.”- Max
2) ‘Inside Out’ (Pete Docter)
Inside Out is Pixar’s best film since Toy Story 3, and it hits nearly every emotion. It’s such an original, beautiful, and just a masterpiece of animation. This story of how emotions can work inside anyone’s mind is brilliant and smart. This is one of those rare times where I cried three times, and that shouldn’t be a problem. Pete Docter has become the best Pixar director after Brad Bird and I can’t wait for what he comes up next. Best animated movie of the year.
1) ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ (J.J. Abrams)
The force has awoken. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is THE best Star Wars movies since Return of the Jedi. J.J. Abrams did a mesmerizing job taking us back into this universe that we all love for decades. The new and old characters were awesome and fascinating, and action set pieces were well-shot, and just about everything else about The Force Awakens is all-around fantastic. Newcomers to the franchise Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Issac (Poe Dameron), and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren, great villain) worked well with the original cast nicely. It’s about time we got the Star Wars we needed after the prequels.