2015 has to be one of the most standout years in cinematic history in terms of the quality of films that have been released. Blockbusters like Jurassic World, Star Wars and Avengers Age of Ultron have all been topping the box office, but cinema has also never been more diverse with films like It Follows, Diary of a Teenage Girl and What We Do In The Shadows garnering rave reviews, and more importantly a big enough audience that the big movie bosses are taking notice. I’ve tried my best to widen my film horizons this year and boy I haven’t been disappointed, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you guys some of my highlights of the year. Plus everyone knows that January is the month for hibernating and watching films so what better excuse than that!
Mad MaxThis more than any other film I saw this year complete blew me away in terms of sheer originality and being unlike anything else I have even seen at the cinema. They provide us with a lead female character deserving of modern cinema as well as stellar performances from every member of the cast, and special effects that will literally take your breath away.
It FollowsAs previously mentioned this is one of the greatest hidden gems of this year and has as a result been topping the lists of all the top film reviewers. It’s one of the creepiest films I’ve seen in years and with an awesome soundtrack that sounds like it belongs to an 8-bit game it’s a truly modern horror, with a truly modern “monster”.
Love and MercyInitially I was dragged to this by my father who’s a life long Beach Boys fan but I was blown away not only by the film, but the true life story behind it. It takes an innovative perspective in the use of two separate periods in Brian Wilson’s life which interweave to tell the story to great effect. But it’s the seamless performances by both Paul Dano and John Cusack representing Brian Wilson at opposing times in his life that brings the film together and allows you to fully appreciate the genius behind the fantastic songs.
Star WarsAfter years of waiting I was over the moon to find that Star Wars exceeded all my possible expectations. Not to mention my childhood joy to find that (SPOILER ALERT) the main protagonist and future jedi was a girl! And an incredibly bad-ass one at that. The chemistry between the new characters is fantastic and I loved the obvious effort that was made to ensure the film appealed to old and new fans alike. The fact I’ve already seen it twice should prove just how much I love it.
CinderellaAnother one for my inner child this was one of the most beautiful films I saw this year, from the costumes to the sets. Not to mention the perfect casting of Lily James and Richard Madden meant I fell completely in love with the story again, and left me leaving the cinema completely gutted that I was too old to be able to go buy a costume.
Crimson PeakThe opposite end of the spectrum here with what is probably best described as Guillermo Del Toro’s take on the Victorian Gothic. Another film that is perfect in creating it’s own complex world as well as displaying the level of stunning detail that’s expected when watching Del Toro’s films. It’s also brilliantly gruesome and chilling and is another film that completely overwhelms your senses and provides the perfect escape.
LegendAlthough this film does have some obvious flaws upon watching, it found its place on my list due to the brilliant performances by Tom Hardy and Emily Browning. While Hardy deserves a nomination of some sort for conveying both brothers superbly, it’s the attention to detail in creating the Kray’s world that really draws you in. Plus who doesn’t love a gangster film.
Jurassic WorldAnother one of the biggest films of this year this is probably the most unoriginal on the list but that’s exactly why I loved it. It makes no excuses and does exactly what it says on the *metaphorical* tin brilliantly. The scene with Chris Pratt riding through the forest with velociraptors sums it up best, it’s dangerous, exciting and most importantly just awesome.
Ex MachinaThis is one of those examples of films that even from the previews is so highly raved about that it almost has the opposite effect in that it puts you off wanting to see it. By the time I finally got round to watching it I was so annoyed at myself for wasting so much time as surprise surprise, it completely lived up to the hype. Another example that 2015 was the year of Alicia Vikander, while Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac round out the small yet perfectly formed cast, all giving subtle yet award winning performances. Without giving too much away it’s a science fiction film for the noughties, and frighteningly real enough that it leaves you seriously chilled.
The MartianAnother that I was dragged to by my father and another that taught me to always trust him when it comes to picking films. What I thought was going to be another stranded in space sob-fest (pretty much how I felt about Interstellar) it turned out I was completely wrong. While not only being one of the funniest films I saw this year it was also one of the smartest, and a welcome change from the serious, weighty recent movies of the genre such as Gravity and the aforementioned Interstellar.The vibrant soundtrack in combination with the real scientific truth behind it combine to create one of the most interesting and watchable films of the year.
Honourable Mentions: Sisters,Mockingjay: Part 2, Spectre, Inside Out, Steve Jobs.
I know this is by no means a definitive list as I have many more films from this year that I can’t wait to see, and that’s before you get me started on all the great films that are out now but I hoped you enjoyed this post and it’s given you some inspiration for something to watch during the cold nights ahead. Also please let me know what your favourite films of the year are because I’d love to know!