As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on all of the great cinema from this year! And this year was very exceptional. There are still a few films I never got a chance to screen due to availability in my area, but I certainly watched more of my must see list than ever before.
So, without wasting anymore time, here are my top 15 must see films of 2015!
15. What We Do in the Shadows
A hilarious, reality tv style, horror/comedy with fantastic characters and spot on comedic timing. One of the funniest films in recent memory.
14. Mississippi Grind
Incredible performances by Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds (whose chemistry works wonderfully), Mississippi Grind is a terrific road movie about two gamblers chasing that pot of gold.
13. He Never Died
Henry Rollins plays biblical figure Cain, giving an incredibly subdued, hilarious and ultra violent performance. I enjoyed this more than just about anything else this year and see myself watching it over and over again.
Tom Hardy takes on a double role as real life mobsters the Cray brothers, in what is essentially a British Goodfellas. Watching Tom Hardy act out both of these completely different/volatile characters is nothing short of amazing.
A romantic comedy that is actually funny, Results is the story of a couple of personal trainers who come to terms with their bizarre relationship. Eccentric characters abound here and it earns extra points with me, as it perfectly nails the various types of insane mind sets of people who make fitness a lifestyle.
10. Inherent Vice
While it’s not my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson film, it is a Paul Thomas Anderson film. Which means it’s gorgeous, eccentric and hilarious. This film is worth watching for the incredible back and forths between Josh Brolin and Joaquin Phoenix alone.
9. Ex Machina
A brilliant film on the subject of AI and it’s inevitability. Spectacular performances by Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac make this an absolute must see.
8. Bone Tomahawk
Much like He Never Died, Bone Tomahawk is another film in which I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. On the surface, a gritty/realistic western…but also a surprising horror film. Just brutal, brutal, brutal.
Simple on plot, but big on performances, Youth is an astounding film with some of the best cinematography/locations I’ve seen in a long time. This is a film where you immerse yourself in the world with these characters and get lost for a couple hours. Rachel Wiesz also gives what is undoubtedly one of the best performances/tirades I have ever seen.
Set in a dystopian future/present/it doesn’t really matter, Partisan is an incredible film. Vincent Cassel runs what is essentially a commune where he raises children to be hitmen. A really interesting take on nature versus nurture, with wonderful performances by Cassel and newcomer Jeremy Chabriel.
5. Hateful Eight
I saw the special Road Show version of Hateful Eight in glorious 70mm and it was astounding. One of the greatest opening scenes in recent memory, a killer score by Ennio Morricone, spectacular performances of some truly loathsome/lovable characters and it’s got that Tarantino wit to boot. Be prepared to laugh and be equally repulsed as Samuel Jackson tells what is arguably the most disturbing fellatio story ever.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
At 70 years old, George Miller has created one of the greatest action films, well, possibly ever. Fury Road never lets up and never lets you catch your breath. There is also some tremendous world building on display here, as every vehicle, character and set piece tell a thousand stories while not even saying a word. With the hellish production this film went through, it’s amazing it was made at all, let alone turned out this good.
This thriller puts you right in the shoes of Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) as she goes into the seedy underbelly of the Mexican drug cartel. A dirty, violent, palpably tense and brutal film.
2. It Follows
Probably the movie I’ve seen the most this year, It Follows is a modern horror masterpiece. The fear that this movie manages to put into your head is incredible. What it doesn’t tell you about the monster is arguably more horrifying than what it does. A killer soundtrack by VG musician Disasterpiece adds a genuine terror to this film that compliments the visuals wonderfully. An absolute must see.
1. 99 Homes
While scarier than It Follows, 99 Homes is not a horror film whatsoever. What it is, is a very realistic and terrifying look at the modern housing market model. One of the things that 99 Homes does best in my opinion, is leave a rather ambiguous hero/villain role. The premise of kicking people out of their homes is certainly not an easy one to side with and I like that Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield’s character arcs are so well written and have valid points for both sides of the argument. This in itself is such a rarity, a topical film that doesn’t have an agenda, it’s just stating the facts. 99 Homes is gut wrenching and certainly not an easy film to watch subject matter wise, but is an important film and easily my favorite of 2015!
The following are all films that either came close to making my top fifteen, or I just really enjoyed…either way, I highly recommend seeing all of these.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Beasts of No Nation
Big Short, The
Bridge of Spies
Call Me Lucky
Drunk Brilliant Stoned Dead
Escobar: Paradise Lost
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Night Before, The
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Z For Zachariah