By Eddie on 21/12/2015
I must admit, 2015 didn’t exactly set the world on fire in my books when it came to feature films, but that’s not to say there hasn’t been a raft of well-made and enjoyable tales.
It’s been a huge year box office wise for lots of films that have over performed and a year that has thrown up quite a few surprises.
Below is my personal list of bests and worsts and sadly a list that is unfortunately lacking in content thanks to being a film fan based in Australia and some may realise that this list also contains films that in other territories may’ve been released during 2014, so please forgive me for there is nothing I can do.
Films that missed out on this list due to both not being scheduled to appear locally in 2015 or due to lack of availability were amongst others unmentioned – Spotlight, The Revenant, Sicario, Legend, Creed, Carol, Steve Jobs, the Room and Brooklyn.
As always happy reading and happy watching and here’s to a great 2016 for film fans.
For Jordan’s list, click here.
10 Best of 2015
An almost hypnotic tale, Foxcatcher is a slow burn that ever so surely crawls (on the mat) to an unforgettable climax. Features career best work by Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum. Read my review here.
9. Bridge of Spies
Showing us all once more that his the “man”, Steven Spielberg’s cold war thriller is a fantastic ride that has a winning script overseen by the Coen Brothers and a great central turn by Tom Hanks. Read my review here.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
If you still like to have fun at the movies then The Force Awakens would’ve bought a great big smile to your face in these preceding days. A rollicking return to the great film series, this is a rare film that lived up to expectations and delivered on its promise to thrill, entertian and respect moviegoers the world over. Read my review here.
With more hearty laughs than most so called comedies and with a career redefining turn by Michael Keaton, Birdman is an absolute blast and a true feat of movie making wizardry. A deserving winner of this year’s Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Read Jordan’s review here.
6. Beasts of No Nation
After his work on the hit HBO show True Detective, Cary Joji Fukunaga had a lot of pressure riding on this Netflix backed feature film but thankfully for all Beasts of No Nation is a powerful and stunningly well captured tale of innocence lost that features one of the great child performances of all time in the form of Abraham Attah’s Agu. For my review click here.
Original Sci-Fi at its best and most engaging, Ex_Machina is a great debut by famed novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland and a career making vehicle for its leads in the form of Domnhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander and yet another feather in the cap of the ever good Oscar Isaac. Read my review here.
4. A Most Violent Year
A brilliant thriller, A Most Violent Year is this year’s film you’ve probably never seen or heard of and that’s a shame as you’re missing out on some brilliant stuff. An absolute must watch for any cinema lover. Read my review here.
3. The Homesman
A western unlike any other, it’s a shame Tommy Lee Jones’s film didn’t find itself an audience upon release earlier this year and with many critics failing to fall in love with it it seems likely that the Homesman will fall into obscurity which is a real shame for such a great film. For my review read here.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
What a lovely day! What a lovely film! Fury Road is the Mad Max film we’ve all been waiting years upon years to see and is a blockbuster unlike any other. An explosive, thrilling and unrelenting ride to the wastelands, Fury Road drove the series to all new heights. Read my review here.
The only film of 2015 I found worthy of handing 5 stars out to (mind you I’ve sadly missed out on quite a lot thanks to Australia’s strange release schedule and often lack of opportunities to show films on more than a few screens nationwide), Virunga is a documentary of incredible power and beauty and as a featured Netflix film, is a doco that all must try and see, Virunga is the year’s most emotionally loaded film that also is one of the year’s most important. For my review read here.
10 Worst of 2015
As lifeless as a zombie, Maggie is a dire attempt at creating a dramatic vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger that is neither emotionally engaging or thrilling, just boring. Read my review here.
9. The Humbling
An odd and very unlikeable Al Pacino starrer that sees him team up with Greta Gerwig in Barry Levinson’s horribly misjudged dramedy that works on no levels no matter how you look at it.
8. Good People
What on earth was anyone thinking when they signed up to this preposterous thriller that sees leads Kate Hudson and James Franco make dumb decision after dumb decision in a film that somehow gets worse as it goes. See my review here.
7. Jupiter Ascending
Money, likeable stars and a seemingly interesting story combined to create an over budgeted turkey that marks a low point in the falling career of the Wachowski siblings. This is Sci-Fi at its very worst. Read my review here.
No one wanted it, no one now cares for it, Poltergeist is one of the most unneeded remakes in sometime and provided about as much scares as a field of sunflowers overrun with fluffy bunnies would. Read my review here.
5. The Interview
It almost caused World War 3 but in the end the true atrocity of this comedy is just how unfunny it is and just how annoying James Franco can be when he mugs a films screen time with overacting and mistimed comical musings. Read my review here.
Michael Mann and Thor himself couldn’t save this pulseless hacking thriller from the depths of movie haplessness. A real disappointment considering the talent on hand. Read my review here.
3. The Human Centipede 3
Why on earth is there a third movie in this franchise and why on earth is this film so bad? Questions that no one can ever answer.
2. The Cobbler
He may be about to compete at next year’s Oscar ceremony but director Tom McCarthy went to some very low depths with this misguided Adam Sandler star vehicle that went to all new levels of odd before reaching even lesser levels with a badly portrayed finale. Cringe worthy on so many levels. Read my review here.
The last film in many moons that I can remember being truly unredeemable in any way, shape or form, Mortdecai is a zero star piece of rubbish that should never have seen the light of day let alone attract a name brand cast. Watch at your own peril. Read my review here.
George Miller – We all wanted Miller to produce the goods with Fury Road but what we got was arguably the great Australian directors finest effort behind the camera, proving that age shall not weary him. Preferring practical over the imaginary, Miller showed his young counterparts just how action should be directed and injected his film with an energy that is sadly missing from most modern event films.
Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year, Ex_Machina, Star Wars and the supposedly ace HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, 2015 was a fantastic year for Isaac who looks likely to become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand lead actors and on the back of his recent work, it’s a well-deserved recognising of a great talent.
Alicia Vikander – Testament of Youth, the sadly disappointing Man From U.N.C.L.E and the fabulous Ex_Machina (in which Vikander delivers an awards worthy turn), its been a big year for Sweden’s Alicia Vikander and a year in which we can safely say she hit the big time and doesn’t look set to ever go back. Vikander has a strong on-screen persona and already in a short period of time has developed a range of acting attributes that suggest type casting will not be a problem for her in the future. With a great line up of films already slated for 2016, Vikander’s profile will only continue to rise.
The Wachowski’s – Yes they made the Matrix and Cloud Atlas was a lot better than many gave it credit for but The Wachowski’s have ever so slowly been slipping over the last decade and Jupiter Ascending saw them throw a lot at audiences and ideas were plentiful but the final product seems like the death knell in a once promising sibling career behind the camera.
Johnny Depp – He was great in Black Mass but it was all too little too late for Depp after he decided to star in the stinker that was Mortdecai, a role that saw Depp lose the plot in more bizarre character hijinks and with his filming of yet another unneeded Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp has seemingly sold himself out to the highest bidder once more.
Chloe Grace Moretz – Suspect recent roles in If I Stay, Equalizer and Dark Places have showcased that the once promising career of Moretz is going down the path of simple annoyance and with her next film hitting cinemas being the atrocious looking The 5th Wave, things look set to get a whole lot worse. Read my review of Dark Places here.
3 Overrated films
3. Jurassic World
Fun but undeserving of the heights it reached. Read my review of the film here.
2. Straight Outta Compton
Something akin to a bigger budgeted TV movie, Compton was solid but not the classic some herald it in as. Read my review of the film here.
1. It Follows
Had its moments but overall this creepy horror failed to live up to all the hype that was heaped upon it, especially with a seemingly simple solution to its central plot device. Read Jordan’s review of the film here.
3 Underrated Films
Unfortunately for director Brad Bird Tomorrowland never reached any great heights but it was undeserving of its standing as one of the year’s biggest flops and some critics seemed overly harsh on a film that was a lot of fun when watched with the right state of mind and was more inventive than most of its counterparts. Read my review of the film here.
2. A Most Violent Year
Critically lauded but lost on most audiences around the world, A Most Violent Year is a wonderfully constructed tale of ambition and is yet another reason to suggest that its director JC Chandor could one day become one of the true greats of the modern era.
It’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone, but first time feature length director and creator of the acclaimed TV show Mr. Robot Sam Esmail created a visually striking and unique love story in Comet that’s a real blast of fresh air in a genre that has long become stale. Well worth a watch. Read my review of the film here.
Black Mass – A bizarre true story, a fantastic cast, a promising director and a return to form from Johnny Depp weren’t enough to save Black Mass from somehow being very watchable but utterly forgettable and for a film with all the elements to make a classic, this is an extremely disappointing outcome. Read my review of the film here.
Mad Max: Fury Road – We all wanted it to be good and the trailers got us all giddy with excitement but really there was no predicting just how good Fury Road was going to be. One of the greatest surprises in recent memories, Fury Road shook up the industry in all the right ways and here’s hoping the Academy recognises this next February.
2015’s Best Poster
2015’s Worst Poster
(aka How to Tell the Whole Story in 2 Minutes).
Read my review here.
Top 3 scenes of 2015
3. Ex_Machina – Oscar Isaac dancing up a storm with his artificial buddy
2. Birdman – Michael Keaton’s walk of shame through Times Square
1. Mad Max: Fury Road – the film’s explosive final chase
What films made a mark on your 2015? We’d love to hear what you loved and hated about the year gone by in film in the comments below so please drop us a line!