Here is my current listing of my top 10 of 2015! These reviews are a combination based on the filmmaking, nostalgia, and my own enjoyment. This is based on what I have seen so far... (Still waiting to see Room, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Joy, and Spotlight)
  1. 1. Mad Max: Fury Road
    Fury Road set a new standard for what action movies can and should be. With intense and thrilling sequences and strong characters in Tom Hardy's Max and Charlize Theron's Furiosa, Mad Max was a welcome return for director George Miller.
  2. 2. Inside Out
    Pixar has long set the standard for animated features, but with a series of subpar entries in their canon, many wondered if they had lost their magic. With Inside Out, however, Pixar was able to return to the depth of storytelling for which they were known. Few animated features have moved me in such profound ways. A must see.
  3. 3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Need I say more? With a hype level greater than any film in history, the newly reformed Lucasfilm had to deliver a film that appealed to both the generations that grew up with the original trilogy, as well as a new generation of movie goers. JJ Abrams succeeded by delivering a movie that feels real, magical, and with characters you care for, and that which George Lucas could not give us with his ill-received prequels- heart.
  4. 4. The Martian
    The ad campaign for Matt Damon and Ridley Scott's NASA rescue film was surprisingly deceptive. What we thought we were getting was a tense, space thriller. What we got was a smart, witty, optimistic film full of wonderful performances and something rare for cinema- a lack of cynicism.
  5. 5. Sicario
    Dennis Villeneuve has established himself as a modern film auteur. Just as he did with Prisoners and Enemy, Villeneuve creates taut and tense scenes without resorting to cheap gimmicks. Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro deliver awards-worthy performances in this tale of drug trafficking and corruption on the US/Mexican border.
  6. 6. Ex Machina
    Before they shared the screen in Star Wars, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson both starred in the sci-fi drama Ex Machina. Asking the same sorts of questions regarding humanity that Blade Runner does, Ex Machina manages to do so in a sleek, sexy, modern way. Alicia Vikander is the real standout here, though.
  7. 7. Bridge of Spies
    Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are always a winning combination when it comes to film making. Bridge of Spies is no exception, with a fantastic dialogue, beautiful production design, and another incredibly "root-able" hero in Hanks. Mark Rylance is not to be missed as the Russian spy, rounding out one of Spielberg's best films in years.
  8. 8. While We're Young
    Noah Baumbach is perhaps the one filmmaker who has his finger on the pulse of our generation. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are brilliant as an aging couple struggling with their identity in a rapidly changing world. Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried round out the cast as a young hipster couple who teach our main couple a few things about communication and relationships in a digital world.
  9. 9. Kingsman: The Secret Service
    One of the year's best surprises was Guy Ritchie's graphic spy flick- Kingsman. Starring Britain's finest actors, as well as a breakout performance from Taron Egerton, Kingsman is edgy, shocking, and refreshing in a market of cliche, unremarkable action movies.
  10. 10. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
    Tom Cruise still has it! In a surprising turn, the Mission Impossible franchise has gotten better with age. Yeah stunts are better, the story more appealing, and the acting more impressive. Cruise brings the crowds in with his death-defying stunt work, but it's newcomer Rebecca Ferguson who keeps the audience invested this time. MI-5 is what Spectre should have been.
  11. Honorable Mention: Jurassic World, Spy, Trainwreck.