With all the glam and hype, 2015 is a very exquisite movie year. Unlike previous years, which saw the rise of young adult novel adaptations and superhero movies, 2015 saw a completely different constellation. From the rise of espionage movies (from highest score for MI5 to the lowest for Mortdecai), the return of dormant classic franchises (from a 30-year cryo-sleeping Mad Max to 3-year long 007), to blockbuster record breakers (from Jurassic World to The Force Awakens), 2015 deserves my personal 3.5 star as a mega-entertaining year.
So, here’s the diagnostic.
Box Office – 4 star
Rating Average – 3 star
Surprise Hit – 3.5 star
Summer Blockbuster Season – 3.5 star
Award Season – 3.5 star
Average: 3.5 star
Runner-ups of the Year
To begin with, I present you the runner-ups of the year – the almost, which almost made it to the final top 20. Please know that I presented 25 movies in 2014, but decided not to do that again in 2015. Consider these movies are those of honorable mentions, which really deserve more than that.
05. Slow West
Dir: John Maclean Star: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee
When coming-of-age romance meets Wild West rules, even a Wes Anderson-esque picture cannot restrain the bursting climax – just because the protagonist is too tender.
Dir: Sean Baker Star: Mya Taylor, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez
This one-night anarchy is a tangerine-colored side of Hollywood like never before.
Dir: Kenneth Brannagh Star: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
A Shakespearean adaptation of the classic tale is an ambitious yet hearty piece by Ken Brannagh.
Dir: Rick Famuyiwa Star: Shameik Moore, Zoe Kravitz
There are three different definitions of “dope” and this is a vibrant bridge between those three.
01. It Follows
Dir: David Robert Mitchell Star: Maika Monroe
An allegory to STD and a clever horror is a terrific combination to give goosebumps.
Best Films of 2015
Without further ado, what follows is a countdown of 20 best films by personal picks and review curated during 2015 (whether full review on this blog or letterboxd). You can click on the title of the movies to read my review of it.
Dir: John Crowley Star: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen
While Ronan’s performance is a truly breakthrough, the real heart of Brooklyn is the sympathy lies deep in its script.
19. 45 Years
Dir: Andrew Haigh Star: Charlotte Rampling, David Constantine
The bitterness of a sweet, decades-long marriage is vivid in the eyes of Charlotte Rampling; thanks to an unseen character which occupies almost all spaces available in the background.
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie Star: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson
Not only does the stunt is tremendous and the pace is solid, addition of Rebecca Ferguson is one reason MI5 is the best among the franchise.
17. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (tie)
Dir: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon Star: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cycler
As a seemingly disease porn, it’s an optimistic one as much as it’s aware of its pretentious and vigorous quirkiness.
Dir: Marielle Heller Star: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristen Wiig
On the other side of coming-of-age life, a young girl story is cleverly tangled between sexual awakening and an anti-Submarine conflict.
Dir: Christian Petzold Star: Nina Hoss, Ronal Zehrfeld
Not an average holocaust drama, it’s a cleverly constructed identity drama which explodes bitterly towards its climactic end.
Dir: Quentin Tarantino Star: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Quentin Tarantino’s Greatest Hits is hilarious, explosive and not as good as his cult classic.
14. The Martian
Dir: Ridley Scott Star: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain
An uplifting survival story 140 million miles away from home is something you don’t see every year.
Dir: Dennis Villeneuve Star: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro
2-hour of tight thriller, loose action is a beauty of moral ambiguity and Villeneuve’s gripping mentality.
12. Ex Machina
Dir: Alex Garland Star: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander
A study of ‘what makes us human’ with 1) Alicia Vikander’s charm 2) pre-Star Wars chemistry 3) witty sci-fi toppings and fluid dance scene as a bonus.
11. Wild Tales
Dir: Damian Szifron Star: Ricardo Darin, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Argentinian omnibus of satire towards many aspects of the country is the blackest comedy of 2015.
Dir: Ryan Coogler Star: Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan
The Force Awakens of Rocky franchise saves sucker punches to all the skeptical.
09. The Revenant
Dir: Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu Star: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
The Oscar darling is visceral, brutal, unapologetic, and ambitious – off-screen and on-screen.
08. The Big Short
Dir: Adam McKay Star: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling
This public Economic class is the biggest jaw-dropping lecture you can’t regret to take.
Dir: Tom McCarthy Star: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams
The journalism drama returns to its top-tier with this honest, poignant, and clever depiction of news investigation team.
Dir: Taika Waititi, Jermaine Clement Star: Taika Waititi, Jermaine Clement
An Interview with the Vampire goes documentary and hilarious. Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
Dir: Xavier Dolan Star: Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément
The movie’s inventive and emotional prowess interacts directly with the audiences… in a sympathetically bizarre mode.
Dir: Lenny Abrahamson Star: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay
It’s impossible not to love Room.
Dir: Todd Haynes Star: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara
The romance of the year as well as the best human film of this year isn’t heterosexual but that’s sweet.
02. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (tie)
Dir: J.J. Abrams Star: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford
I’ve got 100 reasons to love The Force Awakens, whether you’re a Star Wars purist or not.
Inside Out (tie)
Dir: Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen Star: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
Psychology 101 is only a label, the real wonder is: it’s your mind unwrapped in a hilarious but ingenious way.
Dir: George Miller Star: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
High-octane Oz-ploitation rampage is cinematically and philosophically hardcore.
- Mad Max: Fury Road (AUS)
- Inside Out (USA) tied with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (USA)
- Carol (UK-USA)
- Room (CAN-IRL)
- Mommy (CAN)
- What We Do in the Shadows (NZ)
- Spotlight (USA)
- The Big Short (USA)
- The Revenant (USA)
- Creed (USA)
- Wild Tales (ARG)
- Ex Machina (UK)
- Sicario (USA)
- The Martian (USA)
- The Hateful Eight (USA)
- Phoenix (GER)
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (USA) tied with The Diary of a Teenage Girl (USA)
- Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (USA)
- 45 Years (UK)
- Brooklyn (IRL-UK-CAN)
- It Follows (USA)
- Dope (USA)
- Cinderella (USA)
- Tangerine (USA)
- Slow West (UK-NZ)