2015 was a great year for movies. Jurrasic World broke box office records. Star Wars: The Force Wakens broke the internet and Jurrasic World‘s box office records. Mad Max: Fury Road blew our brains out. Inside Out melted our hearts. It has been a great year for indies too, with Tangerine paving the way for trans representation in movies and the idea that film making need not need to have a big budget to be successful. There’s a good crop of Oscar-worthy pictures as well from Tod Haynes’s elegant and moving love story, Carol, to Inarritu’s brutal and visceral Western, The Revenant. Narrowing 2015 down to a list of ten seems like torture. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, right?
So here’s our Top Ten Movies of 2015:
Mad Max: Fury Road is a hyperkinetic, post apocalyptic, heavy metal, fevered dream. Try to wrap your head around that. This is one of the best, if not the best, action movie to date. But this isn’t just an assembly of pretty pictures and frantic action. It speaks a lot about human nature, survival, redemption, heroism, revolution and freedom. Fury Road nails it as well with great storytelling. – Prudence
2. Ex Machina
The perfect way to describe Ex Machina is to say that it’s an intersection between Spike Jonze’s Her and Alfred Hitchcock’s directing style. The thrills provided here burns slowly as Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson) is caught between his employer, the charismatic but enigmatic Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac in an inspired performance), and Ava (Alicia Vikander), an artificial intelligence created by Nathan. A triumphant debut for the director, Alex Garland, Ex Machina is an exploration of desire, power, technology, and what it means to be human. – Benny
Through Emily Blunt’s character, Denis Villenueve’s Sicario will certainly drive its audience into a mess brought about by a covert operation on a Mexican cartel. Along with her, I yearned for information and I was dragged into uncertainty and dread. I especially loved the score that exceptionally matched the tone of the film and played a great part to the building of tension, in addition to the well-done editing and cinematography. Also, even with just a few dialogue, Benicio del Toro gave a very powerful performance. – Lily
4. Inside Out
Pixar has always been unprecedented when it comes to computer-generated animation. Inside Out is no exception. They have beautifully crafted a massive world inside the head of an eleven-year-old girl, with vibrant colors and dark corners alike. And we thought emotions was too complicated and too heavy a topic for an animated movie. – Prudence
Growing up seeing the Rocky films because of my father but not “really” watching them, I believe that one doesn’t need to be a master of the franchise to appreciate Creed. Sylvester Stallone as the fading Rocky Balboa is really good. Michael B. Jordan as the rising Adonis Creed, caught in the shadows of his father, did great. And their performances blended well in this tribute that integrates remarkable fight scenes with emotional sequences. Taking on a famous franchise and making this film was a risk but not a mistake. In fact, there’s a big chance that this could create its own legacy. – Lily
The first time I suspected that Todd Haynes was a genius was when I saw his experimental biopic of the music legend Bob Dylan. Carol, a story about two women falling in love during 1950s New York, confirmed my suspicions. Imagine Carol in the hands of an inept director and you may imagine it as a film with melodramatic characters engaged in grand gestures of romance but in Todd Hayes’ deft hands, falling in love is done thru stolen glances and meaningful touches. It doesn’t hurt that Todd Hayes is working with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, two of the greatest actresses working right now. – Benny
Spotlight has none of the cinematic acrobatics that one would normally expect from a predicted Oscar best picture nominee and it shines in its understatedness. This is investigative journalism in its most real form, the plain old dogged and passionate pursuit of truth. And despite it being a bit procedural the emotional pull is still there, but it is not overly sentimental. It is a well-written, well-executed and well-researched film that is terribly involving. – Prudence
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl utilizes a variety of camera angles and framing, hardly ever seen in YA adaptations where it’s mostly point and shoot. And the result is an engaging, whimsical and magical film that is equal parts a love letter to movie making and a hard look at coping with death and grief at such a young age. But what brings it home for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the emotional sincerity that will make you feel as fuzzy as a peach. – Prudence
9. The Martian
Aside from my fascination on movies about space exploration, I liked The Martian for its wit and humor. It is a breath of fresh air to see a story of survival in uncharted territories treated with so much hope. Although circumstances were too favorable and these people were just too unbelievably good at what they do, you will still root for them because the point is not how far-fetched this is from reality, but how we sometimes forget what humanity can be capable of when people come together and help one another towards a particular cause. The Martian is a nod to us, Earthlings, that we can do great and noble things even in the face of the seemingly unconquerable such as space. – Fern
In a world too preoccupied by success and the need to be essential, The Little Prince is a reminder for us to refocus our lenses and see the world again with childlike wonder. The movie adaptation was fitting, with its creative and various use of animation to go with the storytelling; the color palette and the montages; the storyline added to Antoine Saint-Exupery’s version. The Little Prince is one of my favorite books of all time and I’m pleased to report that the 2015 movie lived up to my expectations. – Bliss
There is a chance that some of the items on our list made its way into yours as well. There is also a chance that we have missed some of your favorites. Do tell us about it in the comments section below! Meanwhile, see you in 2016 for another year of great movies! Happy New Year!