Thursday, 24 December 2015

Top 20 Films of 2015

I'm running out of 2015 pretty quickly, so it's time to reveal my top 20 films of the year. As always, I'm going by UK release dates, so if you're from any other country, you might be thinking that I'm mental calling some of these 2015 films. But they are, so there. Are you sitting comfortably?


20. Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs is an impressive feat; it might not fulfill tech geeks' desires to see more of the machines, but it certainly makes the man behind Apple a fascinatingly flawed character who is tricky to love, but very easy to watch.


19. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


A very sweet film about the joy of film making, and the utter shittiness of cancer.


18. Birdman


Unlike the superhero movies it rails against, Birdman is super-smart and requires way more than one sitting to fully appreciate its complexity.

 

 17. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 


Mockingjay Part 2 is a fittingly dark end to the Hunger Games franchise, not as exciting perhaps as Catching Fire, but more politically charged. 

16. The Martian


The curious case of the science fiction survival drama that keeps getting labelled a comedy. It might not be as technically groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it more than Gravity.


 15. The Lobster



It loses its way a little in the second half, but for much of the running time, The Lobster is an absurd and highly inventive gem. 


14. Jurassic World



Whoever suggested the idea of setting the fourth film in the franchise at the park when it is now open to the public is a genius who needs a medal. Hugely entertaining, even with it's teeth-grinding sexism.


 13. Suffragette



Suffragette is a vital film, but feels like a strong start, rather than the definitive suffragette movie. More films on this movement would be most welcome, and for those dumb enough to think feminism is a dirty word; this is a timely reminder of its fundamental potential.


12. Testament of Youth



Alicia Vikander delivers a heart-breaking performance as Vera Brittain. From driven young woman to tragic heroine to fierce pacifist, Brittain endures incredible hardship and Vikander never puts a foot wrong even with the camera clamped to frequent close ups on her face.

 

 11. Monsters: Dark Continent


While its running time could have been trimmed slightly, Monsters: Dark Continent is thought provoking stuff. More Deer Hunter than Aliens, this is a heartfelt, angry film about the tragedy of ongoing modern warfare. 

 

10. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night features a wonderful cultural mishmash of music, arthouse and genre elements. It certainly marks Amirpour as a deliciously talented director to watch out for. Just hope that her take on the vampire lives on far longer than those (un)bloody Twilight movies. 


9. Red Army


Red Army exposes the strengths and the flaws of both capitalism and communism, all the while telling the deeply personal stories of some hockey legends. It is an absolutely fascinating documentary; heartfelt, hilarious and poignant. Charting the history of the Cold War and the rise and fall of the Red Army hockey team makes for a perfect combination of the personal and the political. Very proud to be quoted in the trailer for this film. 


8. Coherence


A little-seen gem. Sci-fi head-scratcher that starts off like a quiet little indie, but then goes to some brilliantly bonkers alternate reality places. I probably over-hyped this for anyone I spoke to about it, so all I'll say now is that I highly recommend it.


7. Ex Machina


Compelling, claustrophobic, cutting edge and clever, Ex Machina is as smart and satisfying as science fiction gets. Here's my interview with director Alex Garland.


6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Everything it should have been. Everything the prequels weren't. Everything the original trilogy promised. Exceeded my expectations, and that's f**king impressive. I wrote about The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back here.


5. Wild Tales


If there were awards for Best Fight or for Best Wedding, then this film would cream the competition. Szifrón dazzles with his direction and audacious storytelling. Wild Tales is one hell of a ride and a hilarious must-see.



4. Amy


For admirers of the singer, Amy is a definitive documentary chronicling the highs and lows of her short career. For everyone else, it is a chance to get to know the troubled woman behind the talent that was taken far too soon. 


3. Mad Max: Fury Road


Strap in, say goodbye to your fingernails and prepare for a white knuckle ride of epic proportions. Mad Max Fury Road is everything and more that you could hope for from an action film, and you'll be left shaken from its incredible levels of vehicular mayhem. Director George Miller may have taken twenty years to get this to the screen but his efforts have paid off with a film that rushes by in a breathless barrage of explosions and insane stunts. Check out my breakdown of the first scene where we meet Furiosa. Also, here's a Q&A with director George Miller. 


2. Inside Out


If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on inside someone’s head, Pixar have created a wonderfully inventive answer in Inside Out. Back at the absolute top of their game, Pixar’s latest is fresh, funny and positively bursting with emotions from joy to sadness. With its perfect blend of high concept idea with intimate themes, Inside Out is a new peak for Pixar. Bring tissues. 

 

1. White God


It's the dawn of the planet of the dogs in this exceptional Hungarian film from director Kornél Mundruczó. Featuring a cast of hundreds of canines and some striking imagery of the beasts unleashed and taking to the city streets, it effortlessly blends powerful and emotional social realism with an ultimately hilarious dog apocalypse. Furiously entertaining with a perfect ending, White God is like 280 Dogs Later; an underdog story with some serious bite. Check out my interview with the director and writer here.



What do you think? What was your favourite film of the year? Have I tempted you to see anything on this list? Please comment below or let me know on Twitter @ilovethatfilm And don't forget to share this with all your friends, imaginary or otherwise. RIP Bing Bong.