Quick word of warning, these are all movies that I personally loved, looking at other top tens throughout the years I’ve noticed that quite a few people can get particularly passionate about the subject of the best films of a year, so I just want to say if you don’t like my picks then go ahead and make your own list, that’s what makes them so fun, the fact they can all be different.
Now, films like The Revenant, Creed and The Hateful Eight won’t be coming out over here in the apparently “not as cool as America” UK until January, worth a mention seeing as they’ve appeared on other top ten lists and I don’t want people thinking I didn’t like them now do I? I just haven’t seen them, and to keep the list neat and tidy, I have a rule that dictates that it doesn’t matter if a film was released during 2015, if IMDB counts it as a 2014 release, I can’t include it, which is also why you won’t be seeing Whiplash, Kingsman or John Wick on this list.
Now let’s get started:
- Straight Outta Compton
A movie I did not expect to like, a film that had more than a few reasons to be terrible, a film that completely blew me away. Energetic doesn’t even begin to cover it people, rap has always been a polarizing music genre but the film about NWA seems to have something for everyone, along with the perfect acting, snazzy dialogue, lack of ego and sense of scope, the film never forgot to bring the boom and burst it from the screen, it’s a music biopic that’s great; that’s saying something.
A modern western with more intensity than an apple on Halloween, with soul piercing performances by Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, perfect cinematography and direction and a harrowing tone that refuses to leave you alone, Sicario is a beautifully gritty film, vile in all the right ways, teaming with the filth of corruption all building to ending that made me want to bathe in bleach, this is a powerful and hard hitting film that left me broken and hopeless, a job well done I think.
I can’t say I love this movie enough, a romance made with professionalism and maturity that does away with the tropes of lovey-dovey rubbish and actually succeeds in producing knots in throats, Carol is the kind of film that stays with you, a poignant love story with true emotional payoff, the kind that can reinvigorate romance as a genre and restore it to long lost glory. I cried during this film, I mean I really cried, the acting, the direction, the story, the characters… Good God the greatness.
- Avengers: Age Of Ultron
OK, I think here is where I have some explaining to do… oh wait, no I don’t; it’s my list, haha. The entire way through, I waited for something to rub me the wrong way, but that never happened. I’m a big comic book freak so I suppose it makes sense that I loved this movie, I loved the characters, the chemistry they have together, the fun the actors seem to be having and the action is insane, from the climactic group shots among waves of destruction to the fight between Hulk and Iron Man. I know explosion based action has fallen out of fashion thanks to Transformers, but just because Avengers has plenty of things going boom doesn’t mean it’s exactly like the sexist/racist masterpieces of crap that are the transformers films. Yes there are a lot of characters but this is Avengers, that’s kind of the point.
I seriously don’t get the hate against this film, Tom Hardy delivers a fantastically realized duel performance as the Kray twins, people who look alike but couldn’t be more different, it’s not just about gangsters, it’s about a man torn between his family by blood and his family by marriage. The film is fun, energetic, bursting with witty dialogue, captures and tells its story perfectly and in my opinion is completely flawless. I’ve heard people are down about the tone but I simply cannot agree, it starts out fun and vibrant but begins to casually descend into darker territory as it draws to a close, very well handled I thought. I’ve heard some negative comparisons to Goodfellas, like the film just wants to be Scorsese, but if you ask me, a film about the Kray twins in the style of a Scorsese movie sounds more than awesome.
- Inside Out
Pixar has always been a safe bet in my opinion and Inside Out isn’t just an example, it should be a staple of just how good they can be, this is a film that stands beside the Toy Story films and Finding Nemo in terms of greatness, I suppose it’s a given that a film about emotions should also be teaming with them. It tackles a subject that very few films have dared to, particularly animated family films, it’s about depression, growing up, the way in which we can look back at our lives or how we move along with them, it brought tears to my eyes during quite a few scenes and should be shown in psychology classes; I could actually make children smarter – happy days.
- Ex Machina
Looking at this film one would think Alex Garland had been directing for years, but no, this is his directorial debut, and a more than impressive one at that. Ex Machina is a haunting and deeply disturbing experience that never puts a foot wrong, every scene, every shot, every moment reeks of bright futures for all involved and you would think a film of such seriousness and frightening atmosphere would be ruined by a quick blast of disco dancing, but that’s actually one the reasons Ex Machina is so unique, and of course – great.
- Black Mass
Johnny Depp is a great actor who has long been kept at bay from achieving his full potential and in Black Mass he doesn’t just excel, he rockets through the roof and into space. Johnny is absolutely terrifying in this film, his portrayal of real life gangster Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger is so scary, so nerve racking and unrelenting I forgot I was watching a gangster biopic and thought I was watching a full on horror film. This is a brutal and nasty film that fills it’s stage with a cast of villains and the results are spooky to say the least. Its scope is huge, its handling of its story is spot on, the false or wrong moves, everything just feels right, it’s perfectly shot, perfectly written, perfectly paced and yet, just like Legend, it received negative comparisons to Goodfellas, is that some kind of fad, comparing everything to Goodfellas? Is that what all the kids are doing now?
- The Martian
This is why we make and watch movies, Ridley Scott’s grand sci-fi adventure epic is 100% a perfect film, I don’t care what anybody says, I think it’s as flawless as a film can be, literally everything about it is beyond great, from the acting to the cast, the effects to the sets, the story to the humor, the cinematography to the editing, everything, and I do mean everything, was out of this world. At the end I wanted to cry, not just at the emotional payoff but the fact that everything went down so well and I could feel it, I could feel the perfection everywhere I looked. It’s upbeat, powerful, fun, charming, poignant, uplifting and all around likeable. Now only one question remains, what the hell was Ridley doing when he made Exodus and the Counselor, how could those be so terrible when he can make something as grand as this?
- Mad Max: Fury Road
Honestly, what else could the film of the year have possibly been? Mad Max Fury Road is one of the best action films ever made, if we were to put together a portfolio of those that define film as a whole, this would certainly be one of them. This movie is to action what Carol is to romance, what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy, what Star Wars is to sci-fi, George Miller has crafted an experience like no other, it seems to be the year of both Tom Hardy and practical effects, as much as I love films like Age of Ultron and Man of Steel as I have no problem with CGI, the practical effect has become what CGI was back when it was this great new thing. It’s exhilarating, a truckload of fun, impactful, just plain awesome and the fact that lines of dialogue have taken the Internet by storm and its characters have been hailed as some of the best ever prove that there’s a place in the history books for this one, oh yes.
It’s frustrating because I really wish I could include these films on the list, but there simply isn’t room, you could say I should just make it a top 20 but that’s a bit of a cop out is it not? Just imagine that including them as honorable mentions is still an indication of their greatness and that they haven’t been pushed aside or deemed not good enough.
Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens
Star Wars is certainly back guys, no more of that prequel rubbish, I lovely return to form, can’t wait for Rogue One.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
In a world where 5th installments often suck, Rogue Nation is freakin’ brilliant, constructed masterfully in every way, it has a gun disguised as a musical instrument for heaven’s sake.
Now that’s more like it, after the abomination starring Ashton Kutcher, simply good would have done, but this was simply great instead, an example of a brilliant biopic that all others should follow.
Dark, gritty, well directed, haunting, atmospheric and who could have believed it, Arnold Schwarzenegger can actually act, he’s great in this, no really, he’s legitimately great.
Joel Edgerton has always been a great actor, but is he a good director? Absolutely, while not being the horror thriller the trailer would have us believe, it’s certainly a thriller, with no shortage of thrills, can’t wait to see what he does next.
Author: Jamie Robinson