The Top 10 Films of 2015
1. Ex Machina
Alex Garland’s masterpiece is one of my favorite films of the decade. It is an exploration of artificial intelligence, sentience, love, creation, loneliness, freedom, morality and trust. All of that is wrapped inside a tightly wound thriller that has you intrigued from the first moments to the pitch perfect ending. Everyone is perfectly cast… especially Vikander, who manages to create intense sympathy as Ava. Also, the movie features one of my all time favorite scenes as Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno tear up the dance floor to a disco classic.
9.9 / 10
“Sicario” is a masterclass of direction by Denis Villeneuve. The film is shot so beautifully and edited so tightly that it is impossible to deny its greatness. Emily Blunt leads the line as our guide to the machinations of US / Mexican border politics. Josh Brolin delivers great work as the secretive CIA honcho who seems to be calling all the shots. Benicio del Toro absolutely nails the role of a hit-man with a tragic past. The film builds to a massively satisfying and breathtaking crescendo.
9.6 / 10
Todd Haynes revisits the palette of his 2002 film, “Far From Heaven”. This is a gloriously elegant and graceful romantic drama starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Every glance, every word, every thought is filled with a lifetime of emotion. “Carol” captures the ideology and ignorance of 1950’s America — a time and place that could not come to terms with same-sex relationships. The two leads both deliver Oscar-worthy performances in an exquisitely beautiful film.
9.5 / 10
Saorsie Ronan is a massive talent. I think I felt that before watching “Brooklyn”… but I knew it for a fact after seeing it. She carries the entire weight of this project on her shoulders — appearing in practically every scene. In some ways, “Brooklyn” is a small intimate story about a young woman making it on her own in a foreign country. However, the film feels larger than that — representing the very concept of America itself. The cinematography is gorgeous here. The story is heartfelt and uplifting. I enjoyed myself so much more than I thought I would.
9.4 / 10
5. One Wild Moment (FRA)
A remake of the 1977 film, “Un moment d’égarement”, “One Wild Moment” is the story of two friends, divorced fathers, who take a trip to Corsica with their respective teenage daughters. Vincent Cassel plays one of the fathers, and he is subsequently seduced by his friend’s daughter, Louna (Lola Le Lann). The film is funny, sexy, dramatic and honest. All four leads are perfectly cast. Lola Le Lann is a born star, giving her first ever performance. Her face carries the emotions of an actress with decades of experience. A film not to be missed.
9.2 / 10
6. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise never fails to amaze. In the hands of someone else, this “Mission” franchise might have become stale. However, Cruise keeps finding ways to make us rise up and jump on sofas, cheering loudly with excitement. This entry in the Impossible saga is the best one since the legendary first, way back in 1996. The stunts are superb. The story is relentlessly energetic. And, perhaps most importantly, the supporting cast is excellent. Top notch action adventure!
9.2 / 10
7. Mustang (TUR)
A wonderful Turkish film about a group of sisters locked away from the poison of modern society. They are sheltered by strict parents, but still find ways to be rebellious and rambunctious. The film is a restrained slow burn that sneaks up on you and concludes with a riveting burst of energy and drama. I felt every moment of these lives. I laughed with these girls and cried when they felt pain. The entire cast is magnificent… especially Güneş Şensoy as Lale. Hers is one of the best performances of 2015.
9.2 / 10
8. Irrational Man
A depressive college professor gets involved in a relationship with one of his students, while simultaneously trying to plan the murder of a bad judge. It is a superb Woody Allen screenplay with two of the best actors in the world today bantering witty lines at breakneck pace. “Irrational Man” is one of the best Allen films of the past decade.
9.1 / 10
9. The Martian
For a massive scale sci-fi like “The Martian”, it is odd to claim that the entire film rests on an intimate and solitary performance from Matt Damon. The visuals are spectacular. The concept is grand and expertly crafted. However, everything rests on the shoulders of Damon — who uses wit and intelligence and an everyman quality that gets viewers truly caring about the fate of our protagonist. This is a superbly entertaining movie.
9.1 / 10
10. No Escape
Perhaps a strange choice for a year-end Top 10 List, “No Escape” does only one thing and does it brilliantly. It thrills. The set-up is slightly perfunctory… introducing us to a family of four who are moving to what presumably is Thailand (it is never fully established) for a job opportunity. The crux is that the country is on the verge of an uprising / rebellion against the government. Owen Wilson is forced to protect his family, “Die Hard”-style… navigating from one impossible set piece to another. It is simple filmmaking — but it is exhilarating to no end.
9.1 / 10
(Please Scroll Down the Page for More — Acting Awards / All Movie Ratings / The Worst 10 List… etc.)
Best Actors of 2015
1. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
2. Benicio Del Toro – Sicario
3. Ethan Hawke – Predestination
4. Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
5. Matt Damon – The Martian
6. Mads Mikkelsen – The Salvation
7. Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina
8. Vincent Cassel – One Wild Moment
9. Chiwetel Ejiofor – Z for Zachariah
10. Tom Cruise – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
11. Sylvester Stallone – Creed
12. Joaquin Phoenix – Irrational Man
Best Actresses of 2015
1. Zhao Tao – Mountains May Depart
2. Rooney Mara – Carol
3. Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
4. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
5. Lola Le Lann – One Wild Moment
6. Güneş Şensoy – Mustang
7. Laia Costa – Victoria
8. Bel Powley – The Diary of a Teenage Girl
9. Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
10. Go Won-hee – The Silenced
11. Margot Robbie – Z for Zachariah
12. Emily Blunt – Sicario
(Other Good Films Released This Year)
(Forgettable Films in the Middle of the Pack)
(Movies That Just Didn’t Work on Any Level)
The Worst of the year
(Hate-Filled Pieces of Crap)
Yes… There is a Section Lower than the Worst Movies of the Year!
I Present a List of Films That I Absolutely Refuse to Watch… (Because I am a Pretentious Film Snob).
“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
Because Guy Ritchie is, without question, the worst director of all time.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Because I would be ashamed to go see a film with the word “Ultron” in the title.