Sunday, January 10, 2016

Best films of 2015

2015 saw a bunch of franchises restart, by basically going back to their original molds and trying to capture the original magic (see "Jurassic World" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"). Some were incredibly successful, others not so much (see the latest installment of the "Terminator" saga). Netflix also started dabbling in releasing features, and some truly interesting independent films made their way to the main surface (such as Sean Baker's "Tangerine" shot with an iPhone). It was a year that finally saw a great film from the prolific Ridley Scott, and welcomed the return of Todd Haynes and George Miller. It was also a year where some great performances were delivered, particularly Rooney Mara's in "Carol", Leonardo DiCaprio's in "The Revenant" and Charlize Theron's in "Mad Max: Fury Road". Another great year for films.

The Revenant
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Robert Moloney, Lukas Haas, Joshua Burge, Fabrice Adde

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley, Trent Rowland

The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Channing Tatum, James Parks, Dana Gourrier, Zoe Bell, Gene Jones, Keith Jefferson, Lee Horsley

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian D'Arcy James, Billy Crudup, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle, Len Cariou, Gene Amoroso, Doug Murray, Darrin Baker 

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy, Tom McCamus, Amanda Brugel, Wendy Crewson, Cas Anvar

Steve Jobs
Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, John Ortiz, Sarah Snook

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Enzo Cilenti

Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Stars: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

Inside Out
Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Stars: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Paula Poundstone, Paula Pell, Bobby Moynihan, Frank Oz

Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: George Miller
Stars: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, Richard Carter

Special highlights should go to the following films that were equally impressive: Alex Garland's Ex Machina, Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, David Robert Mitchell's It Follows, Justin Kurzel's Macbeth, Adam McKay's The Big Short and Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, who made a smart blockbuster for a series that seems to keep getting better. The biggest disappointments of the year were M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit and Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World.