These are not the 10 most popular movies of the year and not the best either, but instead 10 films I enjoyed watching the most in 2015, listed in no particular order below.
In 2015 we got to walk across the void between the World Trade Center towers, we took a trip inside the mind of a little girl, rescued Matt Damon from Mars, roamed the wasteland with a cool dude named Max, tried to run away from an invisible STD shapeshifting monster, survived the trek across the frontier after almost being killed by a bear, saved the world in a stylish suit from an evil Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp, tried to figure out who’s the liar in a cabin during a blizzard, watched Apollo Creed’s son live up to his name and once again returned to a galaxy far, far away.
In short 2015 was fantastic, so much so that actually choosing just 10 films was almost impossible. For a time I was even toying with the idea of having 20 movies on here, but that’s just too much, so instead I’ll have those as honorable mentions before going into the big 10. Also keep in mind I couldn’t possibly watch every movie released in 2015, so if something you really liked is missing, chances are I haven’t seen it yet.
In a different year these titles could have been part of my top 10, but not in 2015. Here are the year’s honorable mentions: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, No Escape, Bridge of Spies, Crimson Peak, Straight Outta Compton and Spectre. If you haven’t seen them already these are all films you should absolutely check out in the near future.
And now without further ado here are my favorite movies of 2015, in no particular order:
I have no idea what’s the deal with saving Matt Damon in every movie but it sure makes for great cinema and The Martian only reinforces that. It’s probably the best work from director Ridley Scott since Black Hawk Down and thanks to The Martian I’m now way more excited for Alien: Covenant than I was before. It’s just a damn great movie from start to finish.
I’m sure my enjoyment of this movie was greatly enhanced by the fact I hadn’t seen Man on Wire prior to watching it, and basically all I knew of Philippe Petit came from various Youtube clips. But even so The Walk was a very well crafted movie by one of the greats, Robert Zemeckis, and it told a fascinating and often almost unbelievable tale of a crazy Frenchman who loved tightrope walking, a man who never stopped believing in his death defying dream.
I truly missed this Pixar and I’m glad they’re finally back with Inside Out, one of the very best animations made by a studio with an already stellar catalog. Ever wondered what’s going on inside the brain of someone else or your own? Inside Out answers that question with humor, drama and a lot of heart, dealing with things you don’t really see in kids movies. Few films made grown men cry this year, Inside Out was definitely one of them.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Often times to help the audience keep up with what’s going on, a movie will go to great lengths to explain things, to tell you what’s what instead of showing you. Mad Max: Fury Road is the exact opposite, never skipping a beat, almost non-stop action with the minimum amount of dialog needed to progress the story. When making Fury Road writer/director George Miller wanted something that could be enjoyed by everyone regardless of the language the movie was presented in. I believe he succeeded in that endeavor, making one of the best action movies of all time, one that will probably be studied for years to come in film schools.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
After coming out of Kingsman I said to myself that this would absolutely end up among my top 10 films of 2015. Well here we are now and as you can see Kingsman: The Secret Service made the list. It’s not a perfect movie and I know it might be too violent for some, but there’s just something about Matthew Vaughn’s directing style that speaks to me. Combine that with a well told classic/modern spy story and you get one of the most fun movies I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all year. I’m all for a Kingsman 2 as long as Matthew Vaughn returns behind the camera, I don’t think anyone wants a Kick-Ass 2 situation again.
If there’s one horror released in 2015 (seen by me of course) that I can recommend to fans of the genre, it’s this one. On the surface it might seem quite derivative, and don’t get me wrong, it totally is in parts, but there’s much more to it if you decide to dig deeper. Like for starters actually fleshed out characters that aren’t there just to be brutally murdered by the monster-thing at the end of the movie. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but for those that can appreciate (and stomach) a quality horror, It Follows might be right up their alley. Also don’t forget, if it seems like someone strange is following you, run, run and never stop.
After seeing just one trailer for this I knew I would probably love The Revenant and despite going in with pretty high expectations the movie did not disappoint, not one bit. I have so many things to say about this movie, almost all of them positive, but this post is already getting too big so I’ll save them for a proper review, probably for next week, before The Revenant‘s wide expansion on January 8th. Long story short, The Revenant is a movie you don’t want to miss.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Full disclosure, I’m part of the generation that grew up watching the new trilogy in theaters, so you could say I don’t hate them nearly as much as the rest of the internet does. I also grew up watching (in a theater no less, what can I say, I had great parents) and loving the original trilogy before the new one was even a thing. Now that I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, I get where most are coming from, why they were so let down by the new ones. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the movie fans wanted The Phantom Menace to be, it’s like fan-fiction, only it’s actually part of the official canon. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a strong urge to lift my hands and shout all sorts of sounds of joy as much as I did at least twice during The Force Awakens. Sure, it has its problems but in a year full of amazing movies this is probably my favorite and I can’t wait to go back and watch it again.
The Hateful Eight
It’s Tarantino’s latest, need I say more? At this point you know whether this is for you or not, and if it is then The Hateful Eight offers exactly what you would expect from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Fantastic characters, amazing dialog, outstanding cinematography and despite being almost three hours long, believe me when I say it will feel a lot shorter. Now it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there are a few problems towards the end and ultimately it’s not exactly his best work yet, and it’s definitely not Django Unchained if that’s what you’re expecting (seeing as both are westerns). The vast majority of the movie takes place in a single room, and if you’re waiting for buckets of blood, well The Hateful Eight “only” offers about one and a half at best (although there might be other gory elements that make up for that).
I didn’t think there was a way to make me feel something for a new Rocky film in 2015, that is until I saw the excellent Creed. And guess what, Sylvester Stallone can totally act, I swear this is a Stallone you haven’t seen in a very long time. I’ve never heard of writer/director Ryan Coogler before Creed, now I can’t wait to see what he’s doing next (hopefully Black Panther). Also Michael B. Jordan more than made up for Fantastic Four with his Adonis Johnson/Creed (not that Fantastic Four was his fault in any way).