square-eyed-geek’s Top Ten Best Films of 2015

Another year over and done with, and another year filled with great films. From sequels to original stories to a reboot or two, 2015 has been a blast yet again. And the end of 2015 also means it’s time for a round-up of my top ten films of the year. As usual the same rules apply – the list features films released in the UK in 2015. So without further ado, here’s square-eyed-geek’s top ten best films of 2015.

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Although it wasn’t as perfect as the first Avengers film, it can’t be denied that in terms of action, laughs, and overall ambition, Joss Whedon’s sequel was truly incredible. Whedon built on his previous story, adding to the mix a new super villain in the form of an evil AI called Ultron, as well as a few other iconic comic book characters. People bemoaned certain story twists, but once again Whedon brought his brilliant knack for creating something special out of a multiple-character script, with a much darker story that still had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments to enjoy.

9. Mistress America

Mistress America

Frances Ha (2012) is one of my all-time favourite films. So when Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach reunited again to make Mistress America, I was overjoyed before I even went to see it. Featuring another Gerwig character determined to get her head around her own life, Mistress America is funny, heartwarming, and has a brilliant soundtrack too. Lola Kirke and Gerwig have perfect chemistry as the half-sisters who suddenly find themselves in each others company, with Gerwig particularly magnificent in another comedic, yet emotional, role.

8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yes, I’ve never seen a Star Wars film before (I know, I’m as shocked as you are), which is why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed J.J. Abrams sequel. A rollercoaster from start to finish, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is gritty, action-packed and, most importantly, fun. While the return of old characters made the fans happy, it is the new ones that are the most impressive, particularly Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Daisy Ridley as the resilient Rey. When I left the cinema all I could think about was how much I wanted to watch all the other films so I could see it again with fresh eyes.

7. The Martian

The Martian

Ridley Scott returned to sudden form with his latest film, an adaptation of Andy Weir’s book about an astronaut mistakenly stranded on Mars and the attempts to rescue him. Kept afloat by a brilliant central turn from Matt Damon as the stranded man, The Martian also excels due to a gripping story, great effects, a brilliant all-star cast, and also a surprising amount of humour.

6. Birdman

Birdman

This 2015 award season favourite was a favourite for a reason. A technical marvel that also has a brilliant story to match, Birdman is a non-stop rollercoaster ride of emotions and action, not least because of those stunning continuous shots. Michael Keaton is exceptional as the washed-up star of a comic book franchise trying to stage a play to prove he still has it, with flawless direction from Alejandro González Iñárritu adding to the overall thrilling energy of it all.

5. Carol

Carol

A beautiful score, story, cinematography, performances, and more, all work together in Todd Haynes latest film to create a wholly gripping film that is quite simply a sublime masterpiece. While Cate Blanchett is incredible as the headstrong title character, Rooney Mara impresses even more with a fragile and muted performance as Therese Belivet, the younger woman entering into a controversial relationship with Carol. Emotionally devastating and endlessly breathtaking, Haynes’ film is all the more powerful for its use of restraint and silence. It is certain to be the talk of the upcoming awards season.

4. It Follows

It Follows

I first viewed this at the 2014 London Film Festival, yet no matter how many times I watch it I still get chills. One of the scariest, effective horrors of recent years, writer-director David Robert Mitchell puts a clever spin on a central idea used in countless horror films, creating a fresh angle on the whole sex equals death aspect when Jay (the fabulous Maika Monroe) finds herself being stalked by a silent, deadly monster after one night of passion. With a strange dreamlike feel (we’re never quite sure what time period it’s set in) It Follows is a terrifying, nightmarish film that crawls under your skin and stays there for a long time.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

‘Reboot’ is a word met with equal parts joy and horror in the film world. So plenty of people were overjoyed when this inevitable reboot (or should that be reimagining?) of George Miller’s original trilogy rolled around, with Miller himself taking the wheel again. While those stunning action sequences impress, as does the bizarre tone and dark humour, what is most notable about Mad Max: Fury Road is the surprising female-orientated angle to the story, which brings women to the fore of the action for once. Indeed, while Tom Hardy excels as the almost wordless Max trying to make his way in a post-apocalyptic world, it is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa who is the most memorable – a stunning performance and a fabulous new character who will hopefully be in any inevitable Mad Max sequels.

2. The Lobster

The Lobster

One of the strangest films of 2015, and surprisingly the funniest. Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou’s dystopian tale follows Colin Farrell’s potbellied loner David and the other residents of a dreary holiday retreat as they try to find love before they are inexplicably turned into an animal of their choice. Filled with stunning yet bizarre and emotionless (emotion seems to be a weakness in this future) performances from a stellar cast, The Lobster is beautifully shot, disturbing and dark, and also completely laugh-out-loud from start to finish.

1. Whiplash

Whiplash

I’ve already watched Whiplash four times now, and each time it feels just as fresh and gripping as it did when I first saw it. But the reason for this being number one isn’t because of the amount of re-watches, it’s because of pure, perfect quality – something that Whiplash has at every turn. Featuring two of the most riveting performances of 2015 from Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, this is also one of the most superbly directed and beautifully edited films you’re likely to see, writer and director Damien Chazelle turning every moment into music before our very eyes. With an effective yet simple story about the power struggle between a teacher and his student, Chazelle also finds tension in every moment and in every drum beat that Andrew (Teller) makes…or fails to make. It was certainly an easy choice for my number one film of 2015.

And so we say goodbye to 2015, and hello to 2016. I already know that there will be a couple of films on this list next year, namely The Revenant, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, and Hail, Caesar!, as well as many, many more. There was even one that could have easily taken the top spot this year: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Curse UK release dates… (although I’m sure it will make an appearance in next year’s list). I will also be working on updating this blog more regularly, something that I haven’t been able to do as much this year as life got in the way a bit. Hopefully next year I can bring you as much square-eyed-geek goodness as I possibly can. So Happy New Year everyone! See you all in 2016.

(Agree or disagree with any of the choices in my top ten? Think I’ve missed anything off the list? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think!).

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~ by square-eyed-geek on December 31, 2015.

2 Responses to “square-eyed-geek’s Top Ten Best Films of 2015”

  1. 4 of these films are on my top 10 and 2 of them just missed out! Love the reasons you have given for picking each of the films, and I must had that It Follows and Mad Max are two that I missed and know I need to catch up with!

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