Now that 2015 is officially over, we can now look back on all of the great films of the year. There were so many wonderful films to be seen; some fresh; some filled with nostalgia; and some that were just exceptionally made. However, there are some I wish I could have seen (The Revenant, Youth, and a few others) so that I could potentially put them on the list. But time and circumstance don’t always allow that, oh well. While these films may not be the “best” of the year, there is a mixture of ones that highly appealed to me with others being exemplary films that deserve to be recognized.
Without further ado, I present to you the first half of my Top 10 Films of 2015:
Some honorable mentions that, if I were doing a longer list, would have surely been featured:
Released just last week, Quentin Tarantino’s grand, epic, and thrilling The Hateful Eight is, in many ways, a reflection on his own work. Inhabiting the same “one room” scenario that first burst him onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs back in 1992, it shows just how far he has come as a filmmaker in 23 years. It has his now-signature styles, Sam Jackson, an obvious tie to Westerns, and bloody-good violence. It also is a meditation on human nature–a theme he has touched upon in earlier works, but it is a much more heavy-handed film than his past few films like Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds. With two more films promised, one can only wonder where he will go next, but it should be a helluva ride.
I am a huge fan of Rocky, and if you don’t believe me click here, so you can understand my immense excitement–and hesitation–at the release of Creed. Ushering in a new era for the boxing series, Rocky takes a backseat to Adonis Creed, the son of the great Apollo from the first four Rocky films. Portraying him is Michael B. Jordan, a young, fresh actor with a bright demeanor, and even brighter future. Sylvester Stallone turns in what might possibly be the best performance of his career as an aged, withered Rocky who might not have much left in the tank. Is there going to be a sequel? Maybe 3? I certainly hope so, I’ll be there.
In terms of textbook filmmaking, Spotlight exceeds and more. It is a tightly-wound, compelling journalism film in the same echelon as All the President’s Men. Focusing on the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church in the early 2000s, and their coverup of decades of rape and molestation, it is a stark subject matter handled with clarity and authenticity. Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo all excel, giving some fine performances along the way as they try to figure out the truth–a reminder of just how powerful the news used to be.
Sneaking into theaters over the summer is the haunting, intimate film about loneliness, happiness, and ultimately–friendship. Jason Segel gives an absolutely game-changing performance as the now-deceased author David Foster Wallace. Funny, bitter, and incredibly complex, The End of the Tour also has a great turn from Jesse Eisenberg as the Rolling Stones writer tasked with interviewing the cryptic and recluse author. It may not be the most thrilling movie of the year, but it certainly is one of the deepest.
6. Inside Out
Pixar returned to soaring heights with this funny, inventive, and devastatingly emotional romp through the mind of a young girl. Voicing her emotions is a fun, memorable cast that features Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Phyllis Smith. Pixar once again grasps the hardships of growing up, gives it a cute makeover and still somehow makes us all cry even as adults. It really is a splendid film.
Check back tomorrow for the Top 5!