Top 10 Best Films of 2015

TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2015

As much as there were some really bad films in 2015, this year also gave us some truly great films and it really made me glad that I went to the cinema more than ever this year to see them because I saw a lot of great films. However this meant that I had to cut off several films from this list that I have really enjoyed that in any other year would have made it, such as Big Hero 6, X+Y, Me, Earl and The Dying Girl and since I was limiting my honourable mentions to five films I also had to leave off a couple of films that I also really enjoyed. A few films also surprised me, like, Danny Collins and even the funniest film that I saw this year Ted 2 didn’t make the list as well as the awards contenders, or what I believe will be award contenders. Once again same rules as the worst films of 2015 apply, it had to be a film released to its general paying audience in the UK in 2015 in the cinemas or on DVD, so long as the film did not receive any sort of DVD or cinema release in previous years. This is basically so I can include Direct to DVD releases over here as well as many of the anime films that I like to review. I did not see everything so there are a lot of films that received really good write ups such as Lilly Tomlins, Grandma, Idris Eldba vehicle Second Coming and I also took a complete break over the Christmas period so I didn’t see any of the films released between Star Wars and new years day, which includes, Snoopy and Charlie Brown, In the Heart of the Sea and Daddy’s home, oh and this time picking the top ten list was the hardest decision I have had to make, to such an extent that I couldn’t even limit my honourable mentions down to 5, so I had to give it 8 because I didn’t feel comfortable eliminating any one of these films.


So, let’s begin with the honourable mentions, once again these are in alphabetical order so this isn’t mistaken for a top 18 list.

Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Yes this film wasn’t perfect, I am fully aware of that, and it was very much affected by too many studio mandates, but I really enjoyed this film and I still think I laughed at this film more than pretty much any other comedy that came out this year. The reason it doesn’t make the list, however, is it spends way too much time bigging up the rest of the Marvel movies that are going to be coming out and it didn’t tell as much of its own story. Plus it’s pretty much the film’s broken Joss Weedon and there was a better Superhero movie out this year.


Black Mass.

A fresh and brutal gangster movie, based on the true life story of fugitive James Whitey Bulger, that really should earn Johnny Depp a best actor nomination at the Oscars. This one is a really brutal film that really gets down to the truth behind the gangster lifestyle and everyone looks dirty by the end of the film with its brilliant all star cast. It doesn’t make the list, however, because it really can be quite overbearing and leaves a bit of bad taste in your mouth but in a good way.


Inside Out.

Pixar is back on beautiful form with this unbelievably good animated film. It just happens to not be in my favourite animated films of the year as 2 films outdid it, which is the only reason it didn’t make the list and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I saw it again on a re-watch. This is still an excellent animated film and you should track it down if you haven’t seen it yet. I hope it get’s some Oscar nominations next week.


Justice League Gods and Monsters.

This was the best of the DC Animated movies to come out this year but it also didn’t quite make the list either though it was great to see Bruce Timm back at his best.

 


Lady In The Van.

Alan Bennett’s biopic based on an old woman that came to live in his driveway for 15 years. It’s a beautifully charming film that barely missed out on making the list and the only reason is because Star Wars came out and I had to have it in the top ten. This is still a fantastic film, however, so check it out.


The MartianThe Martian.

Ridley Scott comes back with his first excellent film in years. This film makes the list just because, since 2010’s Robin Hood, it seems like everything’s been downhill for the director and it’s just great to see him make another great film again. It didn’t quite make the list though because there just happened to be a few more films I preferred than this one, but that’s not to overlook it because on a lot of levels it was fantastic.


The Walk.

This is the final film that didn’t quite make my list. It’s the story of a man who walked the high wire across the twin towers which has some amazing effects and some of the best 3D that I have seen all year. It doesn’t quite make the list however, because I do admit there are a couple of faults with it that I couldn’t quite overlook, but this was still thoroughly enjoyable.


Now the actual list and believe me with the amount of good films that I saw this year in order to make the list they had to be fantastic.

It Follows imdbNo 10. It Follows

Probably the most controversial pick for my list. It Follows is not only my favourite horror film of the year it is probably my favourite horror film of the last 5-10 years, but I know this one divided audiences, including me and my friend Simon who I went to see it with. We argued about it all the way home, he didn’t really like it because it didn’t scare him, though he did concede to me that it is really well written. Which it definitely is. Feeling like a John Carpenter film that got lost in the shuffle in the 80’s and has suddenly been resurfaced, the film deals with a young woman being stalked by a sexually transmitted curse that takes several forms of seemingly random people which plays excellently on the old horror trope of ‘have sex in a horror film and die’, but does it in a clever and creepy way that will have you on the edge of your seat and looking at the entire screen throughout the film, and yes, my earlier statement does mean I did like this more than The Babadook and that was an excellent horror film in itself.


No 9. Straight Outta Compton

This biopic based on the life and career of Rap Group NWA really was one of the hi lights of the year for me. Taking a story that is really well known and making it seem this engaging is really an excellent feat and while I have heard a lot of criticism about what’s been left out of the movie, what it leaves in the movie is still done excellently and I still don’t think the band come out looking great by the end of it, but it is because of those omissions that it doesn’t quite make it higher up the list, though I seriously recommend the movie if you are at all interested and I would suggest you check this out even if you, like me, aren’t really a fan of Rap music.


STEVE-JOBS-IMDBNo 8. Steve Jobs

A film that probably, unfortunately has missed out on the awards this week and next week, with the exception of Michael Fassbender’s performance, but really, not rightly so. Danny Boyle’s latest film really delivers the goods again, giving us a fantastic film that’s very different to your average biopic, where every scene seems to count and it delivers some excellent drama, cinematography and a beautiful plot that really will get you interested in the life and career of one of the biggest innovators of the 21st Century. That’s largely due to the performances of Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslett, Jeff Daniels and even Seth Rogan. I loved this film and I will be disappointed if it doesn’t receive a best picture nomination.


No 7. Ant-Man

Who’d have thought you could combine a superhero movie with a heist movie? Probably one of the big surprises of the year, I was expecting it to be an average filler movie to take us into Captain America Civil War, but if this is what Marvel consider filler, then all their movies will be excellent. The film’s biggest strength is it largely exists in itself with very few ties to the overall Marvel Universe continuity at this point and also delivers some excellent characters including Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and of course Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym, Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne and even Michael Pena’s Luis, who has also had a fantastic year, appearing in The Martian, which has really made me take note of the actor. There is no major weakness in this film and it really had a lot of the fun that Age of Ultron had, but because it wasn’t concerned about building up other films, just made it slightly the better Superhero movie this year and I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend it.


No 6. Mad Max Fury Road

Yes, I know, I should be crucified for not having this in the top 3, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love this film, I fully agree. This will be one of the best action films of the decade, if not the best. Between this and Star Wars it’s been an excellent year for female driven action films, with this film’s strong feminism message as well as excellent practical effects for the action scenes, amazing high thrills action, choreographed beautifully by director George Millar who really should get a best director nomination at the Oscars and some of the best backgrounds that I have seen in any scenes this year which was made even more surprising when I found out that most of the backgrounds were CGI and whoever made those cars deserves an Oscar themselves because they are fantastic. Tom Hardy may be a bit under done in this film, but he at least does a good job playing Max, but of course the real hi lights are Charlize Theron’s Furiosa and Nicholas Hoult’s Nux who are both excellent characters, plus how great was it to see a really great villain in Immortan Jub. Yes this film is absolutely insane and over the top, but it’s Mad Max and I will agree this film is absolute genius. The only reason it isn’t higher up on the list is there were just five films that I couldn’t ignore.


No 5. Dear White People

Director Justin Simien gives us his first feature film and he does a fantastic job giving us an amazingly interesting film about four black college students living through their own internal confusions about race, sexuality and identity. The amazing thing is the film doesn’t take sides and doesn’t offer any easy answers. It tackles several ideas and issues, such as the main characters feelings of isolation from the fact that she comes from a mixed race family, a character desperate to be famous for means of attention and worth, someone trying to fit in but feel they have to deny their race in order to do so and a gay student feeling like they aren’t part of any group as a result. It’s really worth checking this one out because it barely played in any cinemas when it came out in July, it wasn’t advertised and didn’t even get a review on Mark kermode’s programme. The film could have been very easy ‘these are the good guys, these are the bad guys’ but makes it much more intelligent and worth a re watch. It’s available on DVD now. Please check it out, this film deserves to be much better known than it is. You will not see a better film that questions the idea of when ‘the freedom of speech versus the freedom to not be offended’ becomes one or the other.


No 4. The Tale of The Princes Kaguya

I feel awful not putting a Studio Ghibli movie in the top 3, because it really is my favourite series of films and I still think they are all beautiful works of art, but I can’t deny that this is my feelings on the film and this is where it belongs. I think this is down to the fact that I didn’t think this had as good an ending as previous Studio Ghibli films, but that doesn’t deny the fact that Isao Takahata’s swan song is probably his best film to date, it’s a beautiful piece of work with some stunning hand drawn animation that’s both well detailed and incredibly abstract at times. It tells this amazing story that can be traced back to the 10th Century. I have since seen the film in its original Japanese and once again you gain some extra authenticity from watching it in that language, but the English dub starring Chloe Grace Moretz and James Caan is also absolutely fantastic. This is really a brilliant film and I would urge anyone to check it out. I am really looking forward to Studio Ghibli bringing out their final film When Marnie Was There over here next year .


No 3. Kingsman The Secret Service

Holy hell this came out of nowhere to be one of the best films of the year. Bought to us by the same people that gave us the Kick Ass films. Kingsman The Secret Service takes what was a rather mediocre and mean spirited comic and makes one of the most interesting adrenaline rushed films of the year with an amazing sense of humour and a truly loveable cast. Taron Egerton has really become my new favourite actor of the year having given not only an excellent leading role in this film but also his amazing supporting roles in Legend and Testament of Youth and he really should be an actor worth checking out now especially with his role playing Eddie The Eagle later in the year. Does it have any deep meaning or incredibly insightful ideas, no, but that’s not the point, it’s just a lovely tongue in cheek parody of the classic Bond Films, which you seriously should not overlook and I preferred this in so many ways to Spectre, plus who would have thought that Colin Firth could do an amazing action role. Plus you have the amazing villain role from Samuel L Jackson. Check out my review if you want more information. But, seriously if you haven’t got this film in your collection go out and buy it now, who would have thought you would get a film as good as this in January.


No 2. Star Wars The Force Awakens

Yes, yes, I know, this film has barely been out and we haven’t really had time to digest it, but I really loved this movie. It was exactly the back to basics shake up that the Star Wars franchise needed after all the baggage we got from the prequels and the expanded universe plot lines that came out of those films. Feeling like a brilliant bonanza reunion by almost the entirety of the original series cast and characters whilst giving us amazing new cast menbers to like, this film was one of the most enjoyable cinema experiences I had all year. It was pretty much the only film that was hyped up big time and managed to live up to it this year and it makes me upset that J J Abrams will not be sticking around to do episodes 8 and 9. By the end of this film I just wanted to keep going, I said, ‘bring on episode 8’! However I will freely admit, the only reason this isn’t No1 is because there were some flaws that I couldn’t ignore, but those flaws seemed like they were necessary to tell its story so I can’t hold it back on that basis. It was my most recent review so it won’t be too hard to check it out to see my full thoughts on the film. Believe me, this is one you should definitely check out. Star Wars is probably still in the cinemas now and will be for some time.


song-of-the-sea-imdbNo 1. Song Of The Sea

Yes, I seldom have loved a film as much as this one this year. It is totally my film of the year. Star Wars came close, but I can’t think of a flaw with Song of the Sea. It’s just an unbelievably good movie. Director Tom Moore who previously bought us ‘Secret of the Kells’ gives us what is really the film that will define him as being the Miyazaki of Ireland. The film uses beautiful animation to tell a heartfelt story about Selkies and the myths and legends of Ireland as well as giving amazing backdrops, story and a cast that can boost it up brilliantly. I was completely in awe when I was watching this film on a cinema screen. It’s just come out on DVD and Blu Ray, so please pick it up, this deserves to be one of the well known films of the year. Not only of the best animated films, but my best film of the year and believe me, considering how many great animated films that I didn’t even mention that came out this year, that is saying a lot. I love this movie so much.

So what are your thoughts on my Top Ten List?

What were your top films of 2015? If you disagree with my list, that’s fine, more power to you. Your opinion is as valuable as mine. If yours didn’t make it on my list, don’t be upset, I probably just didn’t like it as much as you. This was the hardest year for me to pick my Top Ten. Considering I want to expand the amount of films I see next year, I think I will have as difficult a year in 2016 to pick my Top Ten.

These lists next year will be coming out a week later because of Assassins Creed’s very late release and I want to get a review of it done, but I will make sure I have this out by at least mid January.

Now it’s time to move on. Next week The Oscar Nominations are going to be out and I have decided for January I am going to skip as much of the dreaded pieces of rubbish that studios release this time of year to check out some potential heavyweights that are coming out and I am going to start with Quenton Tarantino’s latest film The Hateful Eight which I will be releasing a review of on 15 January.

Thanks for reading this Top Ten List, I hope I have given you some films to go out and buy in the New Year sales or when they come out on DVD. I would also like to hear of some film recommendations from yourselves.

Thanks for reading, it’s always appreciated.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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