The Best Movies Of 2015

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It’s my favorite time of year and my favorite review to write – MY FAVORITE MOVIES (OR FILMS) OF 2015!!!! This year was a solid year, especially in the genre films department. Now I have a couple of disclaimers.

  • I go see at least three or four movies a month, but it’s hard to catch everything. So films on other peoples’ lists like Straight Outta Compton, Room, and Carol won’t be on the list.
  • I really wanted to see The Revenant, but it won’t be out until a week after the new year, so it’s unfortunately not a contender.
  • There are a few movies you’ll see on this list and think, “Hey, why didn’t you review or mention this?” It’s because I either saw them before I launched this blog or after they were released on video.
  • A grade doesn’t mean I have to rank an A+ over an A. There’s even a movie I gave an A+ that’s not on the list at all!

On that note, I have some honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut, but are still worth mentioning:

  • Beasts of No Nation (the only A+ movie not on the list) was a beautiful and harrowing war film about innocence lost, featuring Idris Elba’s finest performance to date.
  • Creed restored my faith in the Rocky franchise, thanks to Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.
  • The End of the Tour is the best road trip movie I’ve seen in the last few years and featured Jason Segel’s finest work.
  • Ex-Machina was a disturbing and suspenseful sci-fi thriller that had great commentary on objectification.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service – was the best spy movie I saw in a year loaded with spy movies, and featured one of the most innovative and memorable fight scenes to date.
  • Trainwreck was a very funny and surprisingly dramatic comedy that introduced me to the talented Amy Schumer.

And now let’s get down to it! My top 10 favorite films of 2015 are:

10) It FollowsIt Follows may have the ridiculous concept of a dark sex comedy, but it’s also a very disturbing commentary on teen sexuality and a strong message to young kids about safe sex.

9) Sicario – Perhaps the darkest and most nihilistic movie on my list, Sicario shines through the darkness, thanks to Denis Villeneuve’s visceral direction and powerful performances from both Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. This is one cartel thriller that isn’t for the faint of heart.

8) The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino’s newest Western is also not for the faint of heart, but still an absolute blast. Part murder mystery and part classical Western, Tarantino’s beautiful direction brings out the best work from its cast, particularly Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins.

7) Love & Mercy – I hate music biopics, but Love & Mercy is more of an engaging psychological study of a broken man than a generic Brian Wilson biopic. Paul Dano plays young Wilson with frenetic energy while John Cusack portrays the older fragile version of Wilson in this unique music film.

6) Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for giving us a great Star Wars movie for Christmas. New and old blood, nostalgia mixed with more character-driven storytelling, Star Wars ranks among the best Star Wars installments to date.

5) The Martian – Ridley Scott returns to form and directs the year’s most optimistic movie featuring this year’s most likable protagonist, Mark Watney (Matt Damon in his best performance). This is a survival sci-fi tale that will have viewers laughing while engaged in science and disco music.

4) Steve Jobs – Director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin crafted the best film that no one saw this year! Shame on the film goers for skipping a visionary fast-paced biopic, featuring a brilliant performance from Michael Fassbender as the titular character.

3) Spotlight – Likely this year’s Best Picture winner, Spotlight is a gripping and important journalism piece that follows people (not heroes or villains) and their struggles writing an investigative piece on molestation in the Catholic Church. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel MacAdams all deliver standout performances as our protagonists.

2) Inside Out – Pixar is back with the very beautiful, funny, and emotional Inside Out. Director Pete Docter (Up, Monster’s Inc.) continues to combine basic genre formulas with innovative storytelling in the form of an animated film. In this case, a disaster movie with insight on emotions.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road – What a film! WHAT A LOVELY FILM! That’s the fanboy part of me talking, but the reason why Mad Max is #1 is because George Miller rebooted his own franchise and topped his previous installments. Between the action sequences with stuntmen and reliance on basic props for visual effects, we rarely get an action movie with as much effort put into it as Mad Max: Fury Road. Also, I can’t remember the last time I saw an action movie that treated an ensemble of female characters as powerful people and passed the Bechdel test. These reasons are enough to please all film goers and not just action fans.

Thanks a bunch for reading this countdown! At the bottom, tell me if you agree or disagree with my list. Also, what was your favorite film of 2015?

 

The Worst Movies of 2015

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It’s that time again… Reluctantly speaking… Time to share the crappiest, worst movies of the year, so none of you have to see them! If you skipped them in theaters, good!

10) The Loft – I’ll admit I’m a sucker for erotic thrillers (see my Knock, Knock review), but there’s nothing erotic about The Loft. Five guys rent a private loft to have extramarital affairs? One rapes prostitutes? One has feelings objectifies a prostitute? One films his friends’ affairs as a fetish? All of this is gross and none of it works.

9) Chappie – Another movie that shows Neill Blomkamp (District 9) is a one-trick pony. Chappie makes us sit through an unintentionally funny ultra-violent tale where we have to root for a gun-toting engineer who gets away with threatening his coworkers in the office, another engineer with a god complex, an overly childlike robot, and Die Antwoord. The worst part of Chappie is it’s nothing but a two-hour Die Antwoord music video.

8) Taken 3 – The silliest and most soap opera-y installment in the franchise and it’s just as lazily directed as Taken 2. We clearly didn’t need a second Taken and we sure as hell didn’t need a third one.

7) The Gunman – I couldn’t put my anger over “buying” a Redbox copy aside thanks to Sean Penn’s half-assed action sequences and overkill on shirtless scenes. What’s even more sinful is casting Idris Elba in a very pointless role and Javier Bardem in a very hilariously melodramatic character who dies after 45 minutes of onscreen time.

6) Unfinished Business – Unfinished Business screams poor taste by picking on the mentally disabled, homosexuals, disabled veterans, and glorifying infidelity while trying to make us sympathize with three unlikable morons. Further insult to injury is added due to its uneven balance of mean-spirited humor and attempt at being inspirational with Vince Vaughn’s bro-ish logic.

5) Jupiter Ascending – It’s sad knowing that the creators of The Matrix have fallen. They had some interesting ideas, but they’re lost in a frenetic, plot hole-fueled epic that features the year’s worst performance (an embarrassing Eddie Redmayne).

4) Lost River – Did you guys know that Ryan Gosling tried to make a surreal noir film reminiscent of David Lynch and Nicolas Rending Refn? It’s just an expression of Gosling’s weird fetishes that will make you shrug your shoulders in the end.

3) Fifty Shades of Grey – It would be a waste of breath and finger strength to type out fifty reasons why you know this is a piece of crap.

2) The Green Inferno – Eli Roth is officially the Michael Bay of horror movies in this poop-stained, weed-drenched, idiotic, pretentious, anticlimactic gorefest. Not only couldn’t Roth execute his promising artistic pitch, but he couldn’t even gross me out effectively. Also, if you start to see the cast’s twitter addresses in the closing credits of movies from here on, you can thank Roth for the tacky product placement.

1) Fant4stic (Fantastic Four) – This movie makes me sad every time I think this was the worst movie of 2015. There was such potential with Josh Trank’s (Chronicle) vision and cast. Well, I’ll give this to Fox – they did a great job in the trailers covering up the movie’s messy effects, poor pacing, wooden acting, rushed narrative, and lack of personality.

That’s it for 2015, thanks for reading! What were your picks for the worst movies of 2015? You can share in your comments below!