I love movies, I always have. I grew up watching some fantastic movies and fell in love with the format of cinema early on. To me, there is nothing quite like sitting and watching another world, another life unfold before your eyes on the big screen. I love going to the cinema and watching a new release and every year, I pick out my ten favorites.
It was quite hard this year, there were a lot of good films that didn’t make the list. Despite it being a strong year, one film held the top spot for 10 months before being knocked down to second place at the last minute. Hold on to your hats folks, here are my top ten films in 2015.
Please note these are my views only. My taste can be considered somewhat eclectic and I am not a film critic, I’m just someone who loves films and thinks way too much about lists.
10. The Martian
This one took me completely by surprise. When I heard Ridley Scott had directed a new film set in space and saw the cast attached, I was very intrigued. However I didn’t keep track of the film or what it was about and the viral trailer introducing the crew did little to excite me. However after hearing so many good things, I finally went.
I was very glad I did because I think this is Scott’s best film since Gladiator. A great story about an astronaut stuck on Mars and how he essentially solves one problem at a time in order to stay alive.
The film is fascinating to watch, beautifully made, and really well acted. It’s also surprisingly funny in a lot of ways and it was well worth seeing. I’m hoping it gets an Oscar nod for picture, director and best actor for Matt Damon.
9. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
I loved the Avengers and I loved this film too, a lot. I felt this film was a much smaller, more personal story than the first one. I enjoyed it and pretty much think it delivered everything the first one did but in a different way.
I really liked the introduction of the new characters and although he wasn’t quite the same as the comics version, I thought James Spader’s Ultron was fantastic. I think a lot of people give this film a hard time because it not only had to follow up to the previous Avenger’s but also the fantastic Guardians Of The Galaxy.
It was a great superhero film with a good story and some great action scenes and performances by the cast. What else do you really want from an Avenger’s movie?
8. Mr. Holmes
It comes as a surprise to no one that I am a massive Sherlock Holmes fan. When I heard about a film featuring the brilliant British actor Ian McKellon as the legendary detective, I knew I was in.
This film worked for me on so many levels. I loved the mystery, I loved how McKellon played it and I loved that it showed a version of Holmes never quite seen before. Here was a Holmes who was more like the man behind the myth. Not quite the one we know but somehow all too familiar at the same time.
It was a more personal story about the title character as the movie’s name would indicate and it worked incredibly well. It is a must see for fans of Sherlock or Elementary.
There’s a lot of controversy about this film and the departure of Edgar Wright but rather than compare it against a film that will never get made, I went into this on face value.
This was a much smaller (no pun intended) scale Marvel movie than we’ve had in a while with a lot of great humour and performances. It managed to make Ant-Man pretty damn cool.
It was a little more off beat than any Marvel film we’ve had so far and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. It was nice to almost go back to the early days of the Marvel cinematic universe where it was just how a hero came to be and fighting his villain for whatever reason.
It was quirky, it was funny, and I think it took a lot of people by surprise, including myself in many ways.
I grew up on the old school Bond films and while this does poke fun at them somewhat it’s in a very respectful way that also plays tribute. I haven’t read the comic and I’m told this is quite different so I’ll talk about this movie on its own merits.
The film is a very funny, compelling, and sometimes surprisingly on the ball when it comes to culture commentary within a spy adventure. In the film it’s stated that perhaps spy films have gotten too serious and this one certainly isn’t played like a straight parody but it reminds us you can make a fun spy film while maintaining an overall serious story in the meantime.
It also has some fantastic stuff from Colin Firth who plays a character who seems like he could kick James Bond’s ass with one hand tied behind his back. The film was just a lot of fun and reminded me a lot of the first time I saw Kick Ass which makes sense of course, all things considered.
5. Jurassic World
The park is open. This was a film that showed that if done right, a powerful franchise can come back and still dominate. After the deservedly forgotten atrocity that was Jurassic Park III, a film like this gave the franchise a much needed new lease of life.
Having the park open in full scale was great to see and for the first 20 minutes or so I felt like I was being treated to the best love letter to Jurassic Park I could imagine.
There is a lot of love given to the first film but this film creates its own identity too by making a newer, deadlier dinosaur as well as bringing back some faves. We also had Chris Pratt once again completely owning a film and showing he is the coolest guy in the room.
Films like Jurassic World show that even though there can be missteps in a franchise that with the right direction, cast and director it can still come back. I’m not sure where the franchise will go next but I’ve already got my ticket booked for opening day at the park when it comes to pass.
4. Crimson Peak
I was really excited for this one because of Del Toro’s usual directorial vision and the cast involved, I certainly was not disappointed. On the surface Crimson Peak seems like a mystery but it is more akin to a Gothic love story with lots of sinister twists and turns.
The whole film is staggeringly beautiful with the majority of the shots almost looking like a painting come to life. The performances draw you in and the whole thing reminds me of the old school Hammer Horror movies but brought back bigger and better.
It’s the type of film where its set in a world I wish to see more of but that’s what makes it special. I doubt whatever Del Toro does next will be anything like this and that’s what will set the whole ambiance of this film apart.
3. Inside Out
When they’re on, Pixar often makes everyone look like they aren’t trying. They’ve had a run of stunning and emotional films for the past number of years and Inside Out is no exception. While I think this movie perhaps goes a lot older than Pixar tends to deal with in their subject matter, I still loved it.
There are so many things I enjoy about the film but I think what hit me most was how personal it was. Essentially, Inside Out is an animated movie about someone suffering from depression. I have battled depression for many years so this film really spoke to me and it had parts that made me laugh, while others had me barely holding onto the tears in my eyes.
It’s getting a lot of buzz to be only the fourth animated movie to be nominated for best picture and I think it more than deserves it. Once again Inside Out to me shows that animation can be just as provoking and even have higher quality filmmaking than most live action movies out there.
2. The Theory Of Everything
This one held strong for the majority of the year in the top spot for many reasons. I’m a sucker for biopics or films based on real events, especially when they’re of interest to me. Seeing the story of Stephen Hawking and how despite his illness he managed to become the man he is today was a very emotional experience.
At the heart of the quality of this film is the performance by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne who delivers a stunning portrayal of Hawking. Watching this movie and seeing this brilliant man struggling to make it up the stairs was an experience I found hard to leave me. The film is well made with strong performances by Felicity Jones and the other cast members while also telling a captivating story in a very sublime way.
I’ve heard that when Hawking himself watched the film, he at times forgot he was watching a film and I think that says more about it than I ever can.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
So remember what I said about how franchises can come back? I went in to this one expecting a lot without trying not to. I didn’t want to expect the film to be all things to everything and be let down. I think that was the problem people had with Phantom Menace and even with this film, they went in expecting something that is impossible to deliver.
That being said, about 20 minutes in I could have happily stood up and left the screen, satisfied at the experience I had gotten and that’s still with an extra two hours remaining. To me everything from the story, the characters, the return of practical effects, the direction, the music, and all things big and small in this film worked.
Watching the film, I could tell that a tremendous amount of care and respect went into making it. We were treated to effective marketing that did not give the game away (I went in not knowing what it was about despite over a year of hype) which shows you can create interest in a movie without giving everything away.
I thought it was just fantastic and at times, I was nearly moved to tears both out of nostalgia and the emotion the film delivered. Stars both old and new shone through, laughs were had and a new captivating villain was introduced.
Plus the film didn’t lay out its entire hand. I left the theatre with questions that made me want to see the next one immediately but also felt I got a complete experience. This is a delicate balance that can be difficult for a franchise film to achieve but I felt this movie delivered in spades.
Its probably the safe answer for my best movie of 2015 but I searched my feelings and I know it to be true.
I am looking forward to 2016 and what it has to offer because it has got quite an act to follow! Thanks for reading.