Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Movies of 2015

Hello, Bloggers. 2015 is over, which means it is time to compile my top 10 films of the year. Although I haven't seen The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Son of Saul, Anomalisa, or 45 Years yet, that'll likely change soon. Also, this list wasn't easy to make because 2015 has been such a great year for movies. So before I dive right into my top 10, here are some honorable mentions that just missed my top 10:

End of the Tour 
It Follows 
Kingsman: The Secret Service 
Love and Mercy 
Steve Jobs 
Straight Outta Compton 

Now let's get into the top 10:

10. Ex Machina: A three-person show that serves as a demonstration of artificial intelligence as well as battle of the sexes but with a Turing test. Ex Machina is one of those gems that shows how less is more as it features only three main actors in a limited setting, yet uses its small scope to ask us the universal question of what it means to be human. Who says good sci-fi needs heavy green screen effects and explosions left to right?

9. The Big Short: Writer/director Adam McKay had a very Herculean task with this film: to get me invested in the subject of economics. Because economics involves a lot of numbers and people engaging in conversations, McKay is able to infuse the subject with both humor and complex characterizations. It may seem odd to inject humor into a film about the recession, but in order to widen your audience, you kind of need to inject some caffeine into it whether it comes in the form of the caffeinated editing or the script's witty dialogue and use of celebrity cameos to explain economics. This was fun to watch yet it also left me thinking about the issue at hand.

8. The Martian: Few films this year left my face smiling as wide as this one did. After Gravity and Interstellar, we have another film about astronauts stranded in space. But what makes this one more enjoyable in tone is its use of meta-dialogue, a 70's soundtrack, and its sympathetic leading performance by Matt Damon. It also touches on the subtle theme of togetherness as it demonstrates people of different races, genders, and even countries coming together to achieve one goal. Ridley Scott, you are back!

7. Sicario: Since this was made by the director of Prisoners, I knew I wasn't going to be left smiling by the time the credits rolled. But I sure as hell saw a masterful film that's for sure. It's got terrific performances by its main cast, tension-filled editing, a haunting score, great cinematography, etc. It's got everything you could ask for in a movie and even if it isn't uplifting, it's still succeeds as a challenging work of art.

6. Spotlight: Perhaps the scariest film I've seen all year, Spotlight will likely do for going to Church what Jaws did for going to the beach. No other film this year had me feeling such anger and disgust towards humanity. To think, that it mostly involves journalists going around asking questions. It manages to be challenging, but it doesn't do so by showing flashbacks of what the victims went through or anything like that, but rather having them explain what they went through and even having a scene where one of the journalists realize that one of the accused pedophile priests lives in his neighborhood. By the time the credits rolled, I couldn't stop quivering in fear.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road: Thanks to the works of director George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road proves that summer blockbusters can be entertaining as well as an aesthetic, cinephilic exercise. Ranging from the beautiful cinematography to the colorful set and costume designs to the editing to even the performances, every detail is put into great focuses. Once you watch this, you'll be in for a lovely day indeed!

4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: While we have several tentpole franchise films reaching a billion dollars and attempting to break records, you simply can't be THE franchise. I had an absolute blast watching this film, going back to the old characters that I love, like Han Solo, as well as the newer batch of characters we have. I also loved how J.J. Abrams is able to capture that old school magic by using practical effects and real locations and only using CGI when necessary. This is the only film I've seen twice this year, but after walking out of it the second time, I was like "Again!"

3. Inside Out: Inside Out is Pixar's absolute best work in years! I loved how it is only hilarious and has such colorful world building, but it teaches kids a valuable lesson that even resonates with adults as well: It's okay to be sad. You can always try and feel Joy, but take a little piece of Sadness with you everywhere you go.

2. Brooklyn: Brooklyn is such a delight to watch. From its nostalgic, 50's setting to the chemistry between Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen to Julie Walters' scene-stealing turn as the main character's landlady, I just couldn't help but succumb to Brooklyn's charms. But it also demonstrates a message that is quite universal and doesn't just resonate with the immigrants portrayed in the film: Home is where the heart is. Whether we move to a new city or go off to college, if we call our new place home, then we might do just fine, even if we get homesick for a while. Its universal message is just another thing that adds to the film's heart.

1. Room: No other film left me as speechless this year as Room did. While a film like this about a mother held captive with her young son might not seem like a good time, there is still something uplifting about it. Even in the first half of the film, where Ma and her son Jack are imprisoned in Room, we see how Ma's love and devotion for her son is what gets her through her torment. But the second half, which is after their escape, the film shows how Ma can rebuild and Jack can discover the wonders of the world. This isn't just the best film. But this is one of the best of the decade.

So that was my own personal top 10 of the year. Please feel free to share your own top 10 in the comments section and here is to hooing that 2016 is an even better year for film. Thanks for reading!