I saw so many movies in 2015, and I wish that I had seen a few more! I haven’t seen “Son of Saul” or a lot of the documentaries, but I do plan on watching them and updating this list as time goes on. But for now here are my Top 20 Films of 2015.
19. Bridge of Spies
18. The Look of Silence
16. 99 Homes
15. 45 Years
12. Mad Max: Fury Road
Pixar doesn’t quite knock it out of the park like they did in the late 2000s, but “Inside Out” can comfortably be listed among their best. It’s an incredibly imaginative film with a detailed script and calculated direction.
This French film about a Turkish family is executed so well both in its direction and its editing. You start the film cautiously optimistic, but by the end you feel as trapped as the characters do. Brilliant filmmaking, uncompromising story.8. The Boy and the World
At one hour and twenty minutes, “The Boy and the World” is an ambitious and unapologetic political statement that tells its story through a seamless motion of beautiful animation and composition.7. It Follows
There are still great horror films being made. “It Follows” utilizes filmmaking techniques from some of the greatest horror masterminds, centered around a premise that provides haunting scares, rather than jump scares, that resonate.6. Beasts of No Nation
Fukunaga didn’t sacrifice story for statement. “Beasts of No Nation” is a harrowing film that doesn’t hold back, and it shouldn’t. Attah and Elba deliver two of the greatest performances of 2015. The film is more than just a PSA that this is happening out there, right now, it is a reflection of humanity, good vs. evil, and innocence.5. The Big Short
You can feel director Adam McKay’s passion for the subject matter throughout the film. A hard film told in a comedic way about real life events. “The Big Short” works not only because it is smart, but because it embodies an unique style and doesn’t allow that style to get in the way of its shocking subject.
4. When Marnie Was There
Studio Ghibli will be fondly missed, and “When Marnie Was There” was a perfect final film. The film stays within the realms of childhood imagination, but holds firmly onto the dark, emotional cynicism of its lead character. There’s never a moment when we aren’t feeling the emotions of the main character, we drag through the hopelessness and fear of her as she journeys through this troubling stage in her life.
J.J. Abrams took on a very risky project and came out on top. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” balances fan service with newfound ambition. Abrams and Kasdan successfully pinpointed the secret ingredient to the original trilogy – interesting characters. The next step was to create and develop them, and they did. We’ll be talking about Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren for a long time.
“Anomalisa” asks you to enter the emotional world of a despicable character, and through his eyes we see beauty, fear, depression, anxiety, and anger. The film is an emotional trip, but the approach Kaufman and Johnson took with the animation, the voice acting, and the storyline tied this beautiful film together.
Alejandro G. Inarritu’s ambition pays of in his best film yet. With the help of Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant” is gorgeous in every single frame. “The Revenant” is based loosely on the story of Hugh Glass, we are shown the cards early in the film and as we journey through the cold wasteland with Glass we are asked to reflect on vengeance, morality, life, and death as the film steps back to allows us to draw our own conclusions.
What a tremendous year for film, a lot of great titles though I wouldn’t give any of them a perfect score. This is the first year I haven’t given a single film a 4-star review. Still, it’s great seeing all these amazing movies. Now onto 2016 films…