My Top Ten Movies of 2015
10. Straight Outta Compton
I don’t like biopics very much, especially music biopics. And yet I liked Straight Outta Compton. Maybe its because its a bout a group and their dynamic as opposed to an individual? I’m not sure. The first two thirds of this movie are really strong (the last act not so much). There are two scenes in particular which stand out: one in which the cops harass them outside the music studio, and the other when they put on their concert in Detroit.
9. Ex Machina
Ex Machina could very well be the most over-rated movie this year, almost “movie fan” circles anyway. It is getting a ridiculous amount of praise right now. Its a very good movie with cool ideas and visuals, and I liked it a lot (obviously, its on my top ten list). However, I do feel like its a little thin and the ideas and analogies it presents aren’t really stretching things that much. I mean, its pretty standard fare for a story about artificial intelligence. But a very well told story, in this case.
8. The Martian
I was surprised by just how accessible and fun The Martian was. Its no stiff-collared sci-fi flick this one, its a legitimate great time at the movies. Matt Damon does a great job as Mark Whatley the left behind astronaut who somehow survives and keeps his sanity on Mars. Great stuff.
7. It Follows
One of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. The slow, methodical, persistent creature is wonderfully creepy. The main concept is both fascinating and metaphorical (an obvious metaphor, but it works nonetheless). This one will get under your skin.
Thriller of the year. Tense and meticulously crafted, Sicario is one awesome movie. The border crossing sceen alone had me pumped, but the whole movie is quality tension.
5. The Big Short
Man I liked this movie. The Wall Street jargon washed over me as I got caught up in the drama of high finance. The performances were enjoyable. Some of the “dumbing down” scenes were annoying, but whatever. There was so much interesting stuff happening here, and they hit it with the right tone of comedy and sadness, that I had a great time watching.
4. Inside Out
Pixar does it again. Clever concept, emotional core, lots of fun details. And Sadness. Sadness makes this movie.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
I mean, what else is there to say at this point? This movie is a wonder. A franchise comes back after 30 years with an aging director who has focused on children’s films, and somehow we get one of the most high-octane action films ever produced. Its brilliant.
2. The Revenant
Could end up being one of the great frontier epics. Visceral, beautiful, haunting.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I heard an interesting idea on a podcast I was listening to the other day, that those of us that grew up with Star Wars likely don’t remember actually watching it for the first time and therefore dont remember falling in love with it. So really, this is the first moment we can remember falling in love with Star Wars. I think I agree with that.
The Force Awakens is being attacked by movie fans left and right, and some of those complaints are legitimate. But I can’t help wondering if many are being over-cautious because they don’t want to be burnt again like we were with Episode 1. And while I understand some of the problems like having a Death Star again, I have to be honest with myself and how I felt throughout that entire viewing. I wholeheartedly fell in love with Star Wars again.