As the 2015 comes to a close, now is the time when everyone and their mother looks back over the previous 365 days and makes their lists of the best movies to come out during the year.
And since I’m the resident Nerd around these here parts, I’ve also come up with my own top 10 list.
Now, just about this time last year I thought 2015 would be the biggest year ever in movies, mostly because of the amount of movies I was exited to see. Some of those movies delivered on the hype, others not so much. But what I wasn’t expecting was that 2015 would turn out to be the year of the spy. There were so many good spy flick this year.
Some of my top 10 choices may surprise you, and what’s not on the list may surprise you too. For instance: there are no Marvel movies on my list. Not because I didn’t enjoy “Ant-Man” or the Avengers sequel, but because there were so many other movies I liked this year.
And now it’s time for my top 10 movies of 2015. But as always, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
1. I ranked the movies after seeing them at least twice. Meaning my earlier reviews may not always apply.
2. There are some movies I haven’t seen, so don’t be shocked if “The Hateful Eight,” “The Revenant” and other big movies are missing.
I think that’s about it. I’ve wasted enough time, so now, without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2015:
10. Ex Machina
With “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland delivered one of the best directorial debuts in recent memory. This is a movie about morality, and in a weird way, love. Tis movie is scary, thought-provoking, and so much more.
“Ex Machina” is one of the most deeply engrossing films of the year, made all the more impressive by the fact that it features only four characters and one big set.
The stellar cast of Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander, all deliver award worthy performances. And I’m very disappointed they haven’t been nominated for many of the big awards.
If for some reason you missed “Ex Machina in theatres, do yourself a favor and track it down. It’s definitely worth it.
The role of Susan Cooper, a long-standing CIA analyst who has never gotten a chance to show her stuff, is one Melissa McCarthy seems born to play. And if filmmakers really wanted, that probably would have been enough to sell this movie.
Instead, “Spy” chose to turn things up a notch with scene stealing performances from Jude Law, Jason Statham and villain Rose Byrne.
Even if you’re not a McCarthy fan, believe me, Jason Statham alone is worth the price of admission.
8. Furious 7
“Furious 7” is an absolutely ridiculous movie. But its also one of the most fun movies of the year.
Every member of the ensemble is used perfectly, from Vin Diesel’s team leader Dom, to Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs. And Jason Statham as the villainous Deckard Shaw is perfectly matched to the material. Even when he keeps showing up without explanation.
But the reason it makes my list is because of the way the filmmakers handles Paul Walker tragic passing. His death loomed large over the entire movie, and adds an extra layer of poignancy to every scene he’s in.
And I will admit there were a couple of times during the movie I was about to sob like a little kid.
7. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman is one of the most fun over-the-top action movies I’ve ever seen. Matthew Vaughn took another Mark Millar story and brought out the heart and insanity from the comic pages for young and old to enjoy. Well, maybe not the really young.
This movie is filled with great action, solid humor, the Colin Firth church scene and Samuel L Jackson being as one of the best villains of 2015.
What’s not to love about “Kingsman: The Secret Service”?
6. The Martian
Director Ridley Scott took us into space for a rousing adventure starring Matt Damon (in one of his best performances ever) as a botanist turned astronaut stuck on Mars.
“The Martian” is a suspenseful and simultaneously generously funny film. This movie was an exhilarating and immersive cinematic experience that celebrates intelligence, resourcefulness, expertise, and creative problem solving, not just by Matt Damon, but by all who worked hard to try to bring him home.
“The Martian” is science fiction that plays like science fact. “In your face, Neil Armstrong,” indeed.
5. Jurassic World
Okay, so no movie is without flaws, and “Jurassic World” is no exception. I mean, really, was I the only one watching this movie hoping those two damn kids would get eaten?
Anywho, despite a couple of missteps, I really enjoyed this film, and thought it was an excellent starting point for old and new fans alike. The dinosaurs looked amazing, the film is visually stunning, and most important of all: “Jurassic World” was just plain fun!
4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Simply put: Without Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” would have been just another entry in the Mission Impossible franchise.
However, with Rebecca Ferguson, Rogue Nation became the best entry in the 19-year-old franchise.
And let’s face it, it’s not every day when a co-star steals the spotlight away from everyone’s favorite couch jumping action star, Tom Cruise.
Daniel Craig returned for a fourth appearance as James Bond. But the grittier, angrier James Bond we’d seen before was all but replaced.
This film had 007 emotionally involved in a way that we hadn’t seen during the Daniel Craig era. “Spectre” even had an ending unlike any other Bond film to date.
But you know what? I loved the fact thus film is both a love letter to classic elements of the Bond series, and a timely, poignant plot parable highlighting the dangers of the increasingly symbiotic global surveillance state.
My only complaint would be the theme song by Sam Smith. But to be fair, whoever went after Adele was going to be a let down probably.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The latest Star Wars movie couldn’t possibly live up to expectations, right? Yes, yes it does.
The launch of a new Star Wars trilogy, is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. Tt echoes the original three films, but it also breathes new life into the mythos of this far away galaxy.
Episode VII introduces compelling new characters, in particular scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley, who steals the movie) and AWOL stormtrooper Finn (John Bodega), who join old favorites Han, Leia, and Chewie on a grand new adventure to destroy a terrifying new mew threat.
The action is engaging, the pacing is quick, the dialogue witty, the emotions are high, and the performers are again having fun and it shows. And for Star Wars fans, that’s cause for celebration. One last thing: Daniel Craig is the best stormtrooper ever.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s hard for any movie to stand out amid comic-book superheroes, rampaging dinosaurs and the return of the cash cow known Star Wars. But director George Miller pulled off one of the greatest action films in history by dusting off his greatest creation… Max Rockatansky.
The funny thing is, Max really isn’t the real star of his own movie, instead, it’s Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa who rules this epic masterpiece.