MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2015
I saw a lot of things. These were my favorites.
- 1.SpotlightNo star turns. No flashy cinematography. A well-made procedural top to bottom with everyone doing their job without trying to stand out. Just like the people in the movie.
- 2.CreedAdonis Johnson/Creed just wants to build his own legacy. He has to figure out a way to address his famous pedigree while making a name for himself. Working with the people who produced Raging Bull and Rocky and Sylvester Stallone, Ryan Coogler may have felt a similar pressure. But man, does he deliver. I can't wait for the next 5 Creed films.
- 3.Mad Max: Fury RoadIn a surprisingly great year for late films in a franchise, Fury Road stands above the rest (tentatively). You could look at this film all day. A welcome respite from the loveless imagery we see associated with post apocalyptic films. For as grim as this world is, George Miller loves it and it shows in every frame. Oh, and Charlize Theron of course.
- 4.Star Wars: The Force AwakensIt's the best Star Wars movie. Ever. Need I say more? Okay I will: Daisy Ridley's Rey is the best lead a Star Wars film has ever had, Kylo Ren puts all recent movie villains to shame and John Boyega's Finn is one of the most lovably insecure heroes I've yet to see.
- 5.CarolYou probably won't find a stronger screen pairing in...ever than Blanchett/Mara. Todd Haynes found a way to tell a story that was equal parts beautiful, tragic and joyful without cheapening any of those qualities. Also, Carter Burwell's score is the best thing that'll happen to your ears outside of the 'Hamilton' soundtrack.
- 6.BrooklynI haven't stopped thinking about this film since I saw it. It lives and breathes through Saoirse Ronan's performance and I couldn't be more grateful for that. She could win any award with 5 minutes from any portion of the movie. If there were an Oscar for Best Color Palette this film would win for the next 10 years.
- 7.RoomThis film could've leaned heavily on gimmicks and succeeded. A whole film shot in a 10x10 room with two main actors! But it's so much more than that. Everything from the direction to the performances work to make you forget you're watching a film. You shouldn't want to spend two hours in this world but the film gives you no other choice but to fully engage in a really remarkable way.
- 8.Mission: Impossible - Rogue NationAnother late, great franchise film. Chris McQuarrie (one of Hollywood's smartest screenwriters) proves himself one of its smartest directors by starting the film big and getting bigger by going smaller and more personal. Rebecca Ferguson deserves a franchise of her own and Robert Elswit should shoot every action/spy movie ever.
- 9.Bridge of SpiesSpielberg remains relevant by going into the past. He takes Hanks and makes him go full Jimmy Stewart (to great effect). Mark Rylance is the standout here - like the film, he emotes a lot with very little.
- 10.Straight Outta ComptonYet another film that doesn't revolutionize its genre, just works within it at a very high level. F Gary Gray's biopic is close to 2 and a half hours long and lacks one dull moment. It features three star turns without ever feeling crowded. It's also a painfully relevant film without even trying to be.
- 11.TrainwreckJudd Apatow's best film. Not a coincidence that it comes from a script by Amy Schumer. There's nothing groundbreaking here, it's just a scene-to-scene hilarious rom-com from a voice we needed to hear.
- 12.Honorable mentionsFurious 7, The Martian, Inside Out, Sicario, The End of the Tour, Steve Jobs, The Big Short
- 13.Dishonorable MentionThe Revenant