So it’s the Oscars tomorrow and like most people I don’t agree with what they say are the best 8 films of the year (although several of them were only released this year in the UK). So I have instead decided to make a list of my favourite films this year.
10) Crimson Peak – I’m not the biggest horror fan in the world. But Guillermo del Toro is absolutely one of my favourite directors, and in Crimson Peak he succeeded at creating another gothic masterpiece with a hugely creepy tone. Helped by a wonder performance from Jessica Chastain, this might not be one of Del Toro’s absolute best, but even a less good del Toro film is still very entertaining in my eyes.
9) Ant-Man – So it was not a stellar year for Superhero films, Fantastic Four and Age of Ultron both suffered from studio interference (especially Fantastic Four), whilst Ant-Man was a middling success both commercially and critically. Ant-Man did bring us something new to the Superhero genre, a heist film with more elements of straight up comedy. An excellent cast lead by Paul Rudd and with a brilliant comedic turn by Michael Peña certainly made this the stand out from the genre in 2015.
8) Straight Outta Compton – The biopic of NWA absolutely delivered for fans of the band. Telling their story from their formation to break up, through to the death of Eazy-E, the film delivers emotional punches carried by three great central performances. It is criminal that the only Oscar nomination it received was for Screenplay, and none of the central three actors found themselves amongst the awards.
7) Sicario – Sicario was a film that slipped completely under the radar for me, and I only saw it recently on DVD. But it was hugely impressive as a brilliantly acted thriller that managed to create a hugely tense atmosphere. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and especially Benicio del Toro are all excellent and can consider themselves unlucky that they didn’t receive more award support.
6) The Martian – Ridley Scott has had a few misfires recently, especially Prometheus, but the Martian was a great return to form for me. Matt Damon’s stranded astronaut manages to carry a film that sees him alone on Mars for much of it. The film has a lot of laughs (although it’s not best comedy Golden Globes) and some moving moments, in a great year for Sci-Fi, this was another top effort.
5) Kingsman: The Secret Service – In a year where Bond looked back to all its old tropes to create what was a quite forgettable film, this graphic novel adaptation came along and it better, funnier and cooler. This made Colin Firth the suavest secret agent since Bond first came to our screens, and has made a huge star of newcomer Taron Egerton.
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens – As I said when I reviewed it, the new Star Wars is certainly one of my favourite films, third from the Star Wars franchise. But in this year that doesn’t give it enough to crack my top 3. This was such a great reinvigoration for the franchise and has left me so excited to see where it’s going to go in Episode VIII.
3) Mad Max: Fury Road – From a film that’s almost all dialogue to a film with almost none. Mad Max is one of the best cinema experiences I had last year, and I did not expect to love it as much as I did, especially as someone who is not a die-hard fan of the originals. It created one of the best new characters of the last couple of years, Furiosa, and deliver as the best spectacle of the year.
2) Ex Machina – Picking between my second and third favourite films this year was nearly impossible. Ex Machina is one of the best and original Sci-Fi films I’ve seen in a long time. It is almost all dialogue based and features 3 great performances at its heart. Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac are all superb, and it’s a film that leaves you thinking long after it has finished.
1) Inside Out – I reviewed this earlier and the year and loved it then, nothing has changed since. It completely succeeds in taking what could be a very complicated subject matter and portraying it in both a realistic, yet fantastical way. The jokes, be they obvious or more subtle, are great and this is truly a super family film, and it was the only film I saw that year which brought me to tears.
So that’s my 10 favourite films of the year. Let me know what you think of my choices and what your favourite films of 2015 were.