Top 20 Films of 2015

Coming about 3 months too late, but since most of these movies are released on home video they'll be easier for you to check out. S/O to Carol, which I haven't yet been able to see, and Cop Car/San Andreas, which just barely missed the list. No Foreign Films or documentaries are on the list because the list would be even more unwieldy
  1. 20.
    Sleeping with Other People: I was surprised at how a movie that is a cookie-cutter genre piece could end up with moments of serious reflection and subtle genre tweaks. A perfectly safe and enjoyable film packed with talented comedians.
  2. 19.
    Beasts of No Nation: I find the movie to be a problematic portrayal of Africa, but it certainly grabs hold of you. Attah and Elba bring their A-game and then some, and it was a strong first "big budget" Netflix Original
  3. 18.
    Blackhat/Furious 7: "high-brow" and "low-brow" action, both crazy and unbelievable. Visit Blackhat for amazing digital imagery and existential angst, visit Furious 7 for over-the-top action Stallone and Schwarzenegger could only dream of. And FAMILY.
  4. 17.
    Ant-Man/Avengers: Age of Ultron: Pick up a comic book post-2000 and you get Ultron, a movie that moves in every direction in very little time and expects you to keep up despite the bloat. Ant-man is lean, but has momentum problems, succeeding in large part due to it's casting.
  5. 16.
    The Revenant: I'm astounded that people cannot properly pronounce the title of this movie. Essentially a 90 minute revenge story masquerading as an art film, this not-a-western but actually a western tries to invert many tropes but does so half-heartedly, and at the end of the day it would rather be beautiful.
  6. 15.
    Crimson Peak: Filmed like an oil-painting of the works of Mary Shelley, the movie delights in throwing curveballs in terms of genre (just look at the marketing vs finished product). I'm pretty sure del Toro just pulled "Gothic Romance" out of nowhere rather than being an actual literary movement, but his story fits his definition so I won't worry.
  7. 14.
    Steve Jobs: A movie in which we kind of root for a scumbag and every actor has their chance to shine. I'm also impressed with the continuing maturation of Danny Boyle as a filmmaker, as it mirrors my own as a viewer.
  8. 13.
    The Overnight: a NSFW comedy that throws unexpected plot developments about every ten minutes. Shot over 21 days for $200,000, the movie continually makes your jaw drop, your brain work, and laugh incredulously. The best part is it runs a brisk 79 minutes.
  9. 12.
    Spectre: The movie is either 30 minutes too long or 40 minutes too short, but overall it is a better film than Skyfall. The sections in Rome and his "team" in London I could do without, but those in Austria, Morocco, and Mexico are more than enough to make up for it. Like Skyfall, however, it is too enamored with its own mythos for its own good
  10. 11.
    The Martian: Ridley Scott has left a huge impact on directing and modern cinema, and his talent is on full display in this film. It corrected what I perceive as many of the flaws of the book. I kind of like Mark Watney now!
  11. 10.
    It Follows: Maybe my experience in the theater clouded my judgment too much, but this independent horror film is filled with so much to chew on it's going to be talked about for years to come. Think Exorcist/Rosemary's Baby/Blair Witch level importance.
  12. 9.
    Mr. Holmes: A polite British mystery starring Ian McKellan as an aging Sherlock Holmes. Good, simple story, told very well.
  13. 8.
    Dope: I went into this expecting one movie, and getting another. A coming-of-age film filled with coincidence, fantasy, and frenzied storytelling had me laughing and hooked for its duration. I can understand this not being for everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised. Oh, and the soundtrack is amazing.
  14. 7.
    Inside Out: This movie made me very EMOTIONAL. Get it? ... I'll see myself out.
  15. 6.
    Mad Max: Fury Road: the best Mad Max? Certainly the best one with an actual budget and studio backing. I'm surprised it ended up this high on the list. A better, more direct version of the Revenant.
  16. 5.
    Brooklyn: A simple little love story that isn't quite sugarcoated but nevertheless ends up tasting very sweet. I'm not so sure I agree with how the film gets her back to Ireland, but the movie is just so well made, acted, and told that I'm willing to overlook it.
  17. 4.
    Creed: I was never a big Rocky fan, enjoying roughly half of them, but this one made me feel for a character I have no real connection to. Feel-good inspiration that ranks alongside the original.
  18. 3.
    Room: This felt like a 50s domestic melodrama twisted and contorted into a nightmare about domesticity, Parents, and growing up. I never stopped crying. In fact I still am crying.
  19. 2.
    Spotlight: Treat this movie as almost anti-cinema in that it deliberately restrains itself in acting, cinematography, and editing to not draw attention to itself with lofty moralizing and bombast. Instead, like any good reporting, it lets the facts speak for themselves.
  20. 1.
    Bridge of Spies: When people say "they don't make them like they used to," point to this movie. Except for one sequence set in the sky, this 2015 film is made by way of 1940s-50s Hollywood cinema, and my vote as best picture 2015.