Best of 2015!!!!! (Film Friday)

It’s that time once again! Where everyone rolls out their “Best of 2015” list for just about everything. Good thing you have me to protect you from the lack of originality that is the “Best of…” topic…

Ok, I kid. I love those lists. I read as many as I can the last week of the year (and the first week of the new one.) I too enjoy compiling these lists. So I shall provide my much-desired thoughts on what was the best to come through the cinemas this past year. Mind you, these are only for films that I actually saw either at home or in theaters. The release for the film had to be in 2015, but I did not have to see it in theaters for my list. That means there may not be as many films that are “critically acclaimed” as I usually wait until just before the next Oscars to binge those. So without further ado, here are my Best Films of 2015.

8) Crimson Peak dir. by Guilmerro del Toro and written by del Toro & Matthew Robbins

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This film makes it to my list based purely on the technical achievements it had. Let me get my complaints out of the way: I did not connect with the characters, I felt many of the actors were either forcing it or were fast asleep, and story-wise I saw the big twist at the end coming from a mile away. However, it was probably the best costume, set, and maybe even sound design in any movie that came out in 2015. All three categories should be heavy favorites for Oscar consideration. I didn’t enjoy this film as a moviegoer, I enjoyed it as student of film and the machinations that turn the wheels in films.

7) Kingsman: The Secret Service dir. by Matthew Vaughn, written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

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This is what happens when James Bond is written by comics superstar Mark Millar and adapted by Matthew Vaughn. Balls to the walls (or batshit crazy may be more applicable) action with plenty of humor throughout. What Vaughn does with a story and twists everything on its head is just genius. He did it with X-Men: First ClassKick Ass, and Layer Cake and will continue to do so in the future. Colin Firth proved he was more than just a romantic leading man, he could be an action superstar. Samuel L. Jackson hams it up as a mix between Lex Luthor and a major Bond baddie. Taron Edgerton oozes charisma and marks his place on the map as an up and comer to look out for. The action scenes were wildly inventive and the breakneck pacing means you never get bored. There are some moments you have to watch with a strong stomach (let me say this is a VERY violent film) but trust me, it is worth pushing through for.

6) Ex Machina dir. and written by Alex Garland

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Probably the biggest gamble I took going to the theaters all year. Most of the time when I venture to the cinemas there is a good chance I’m going to be a fan of the feature I go to see, simply because I’m fairly selective with my moviegoing dollars. This one I only went to go see because A) Alex Garland was involved, who was involved with 28 Days Later and B) My cousin R wanted to check it out. Man am I glad we went! This movie was not only visually stunning, but had powerful performances across the board. And it gets under your skin. As you are watching the slow burn buildup to the final few scenes, you can’t help but start questioning everyones motives and wondering who you should be trying to root for. Plus, it has a dance with Oscar Isaac that just messes with your mind in just the right way.

5) It Follows dir. and written by David Robert Mitchell

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Ok this one just barely qualified for the list. The wife and I didn’t watch it until just a few nights ago but this shows how impactful it was. Usually, when I watch horror movies I can’t get in to it due to the idiotic, paper-thin characters, the needless gore, and the cheap thrills for the sake of cheap thrills. Sometimes though, a movie comes along that just grabs me by the throat and doesn’t let go; It Follows is one such movie. From the opening, tension filled scene to the ambiguous ending, my wife and I were on the edge of our seat for the entire movie. So much so that I can recall multiple times that we both said “Nope, not finishing, nope nope nope” and yet still kept watching because it was just soooo good. Because this is one of those films that sticks with ya, we had to watch several episodes of Scrubs right after to get the feeling the film left is in off of us. I myself will eventually attempt making a feature length horror and I pray it is at least a quarter as good as this one.

4) Inside Out dir. by Peter Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen and written by Peter Docter, Meg LeFauve, & Josh Cooley

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To me, this film pulled the heartstrings the hardest. Don’t get me wrong, it is downright hilarious. How could it not be with Amy Poehler voicing the lead (Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec is one of the greatest TV characters of all time.) Visually amazing and with a strong, relatable story about growing up and the emotions that come with that journey, it had something everyone could hang on to. And the character Bing Bong? I don’t think I’ve cried harder because of animated character ever in my  life.

3) The Martian dir. by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard

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This is the one that may cause the divide. First, for having it on my list and second, for having it so high. But this is my list so I can do whateva I want!  The Martian was Ridley Scott back in top form. His last few films were either hated by most or had too many nagging plot holes to truly enjoy. Yet, with this Drew Goddard script he turns in a powerful Sci Fi feature that is breathtaking in so many ways. I had read most of the book beforehand so I knew most what was going to happen yet that didn’t stop me from being surprised as everything that was taking place was brand new information. Mr. Scott, I’m glad to see you back in tip top shape!

P.S. Of the two most recent Matt Damon space movies (The Martian and Interstellar), this one is by far the better movie.

2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens dir. by JJ Abrahams and written by Lawrence Kasdan and JJ Abrahams.

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What more can be said about the highest grossing movie of 2015 (and possibly the highest of all time?) I’m going to keep it brief and just say this: This movie made me become a Star Wars fan. Now, I want SW everything.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road dir. and written by George Miller

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This is me watching MM:FR

No film this year made me sweat and breath heavy like this one (eww, don’t be gross.) Seriously, from the first 45 seconds to the final fade out, I was being dragged along a face melting 2 hour long chase scene that was going to drag you by head or your balls, but it was going to drag you regardless. The music, the world design, the action sequences, FURIOUSA!!!!, the list could go on and on and on about how amazing this movie is. George Miller wanted to bring insanity to the silver screen in ways we had never seen before and he achieved it. Not only is this my favorite film (and the BEST film) of 2015, but it is one of my all time favorite films…ever.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

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