The best movies of 2015, in alphabetical order.
Superhero fatigue was starting to set in last year. Thankfully, Ant-Man scales down the usual bombast into a relatively simple heist film. It’s incredibly well cast, and actors like Michael Pena and Evangeline Lilly outshined their smaller roles. Also, before Deadpool came along, this was the first of the Marvel movies not to take itself to seriously. All these things easily made it the most enjoyable superhero film since the Avengers.
Kingsman: the Secret Service
This movie is a commentary on how ridiculous the James Bond franchise can be. A refrain spoken by multiple characters is “It’s not that kind of movie”. The brilliance of Kingsman is that it is that kind of movie and it is not. It has all the fun of the over the top gadgets, villains, and spy training but also turns the violence up to 11. So it gets to critique the Bond films while being a turbo charged version of them. And it’s certainly more entertaining than any other modern spy film.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Fury Road subverts the usual action movie formula. Instead of a movie with a lot of set-up to a big chase/action scene at the end, it’s just one long chase/action scene that is sometimes interrupted by plot, character development, and back-story. It captures the audience’s attention throughout.
Miss You Already
One of the greatest tear-jerkers in recent memory. Miss You Already is brutally honest about cancer, death, and female friendships in ways most movies are afraid to be. If it was honest about just one of those topics and sugar-coated the other two it would be already be a great movie. But the honesty makes it all the more moving and the all the more great. To cap it all off Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette’s chemistry as onscreen best friends is so great it feels like you’re watching a genuine friendship.
Star Wars: Episode VII – the Force Awakens
Director J.J. Abrams took everything good about the original Star Wars trilogy and re-packaged it in a Force Awakens. That might seem cynical but he also addressed a lot of the complaints about the original series. This makes the Force Awakens feel like a contemporary film, not just a retread of the past. The Force Awakens adds new classic characters and new big moments to the Star Wars series. 20 years from now a new generation will likely be looking back on this movie with nostalgia.
Straight Outta Compton
Music biopics often seem to lose their way somewhere between the second and third act. Not this film, it was kinetic throughout. It will likely go down as one of the best music biopics of all time. This is because it was well plotted and paced, the performances were great, and the filmmakers really helped you understand what made the rap group N.W.A N.W.A.
the Hateful Eight, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Paddington, The Peanuts Movie, Spotlight, Ted 2
Notable Titles Missed
Boy & the World, Creed, the Danish Girl, Ex Machina, Furious 7, It Follows, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Mr. Holmes, Steve Jobs, Trumbo, What We Do in Shadows