I liked a lot of movies in 2015, so I decided to do a Top 30.
There were a wide range of movies I liked in 2015, so I thought a longer list would give a better view of what mattered to me this past year.
20. What We Do in the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows is just a really funny movie. It comes from people who worked on the Flight of the Conchords TV series and has a very similar sense of humor. If the movie had had any songs like Flight of the Conchords it definitely would have been higher, and I do kind of find it forgettable, but damn I laughed a lot when I saw it. There are a lot of good jokes here.
I kinda had Dope over hyped for me, and it just didn’t quite hit. I’ve had a hard time wrestling with my feelings on it but it’s a good movie. There are problems I have with it in terms of how heavy handed it is with its point, and how much coincidence the plot relies on, but that’s all forgivable because the movie is funny. There’s some ridiculous stuff in this movie and that shit does hit.
Despite the obvious James Bond allusions Kingsman is really just Men in Black again, but it does that successfully and I’ve seen enough sequels to know that that magic is hard to recapture. The church scene is a fucking amazing action scene, but none of the other action in the movie stands up next to it. It also does a little too much pointing at movie cliches while still being full of movie cliches. That one action scene though, holy shit.
17. Inside Out
Inside Out relies on creating an emotional connection with the audience and succeeds at it. It also just has a great visual energy that made me excited to see it; something I haven’t gotten from the visuals of Pixar movies in years. I think the movie’s a little confused on the emotions’ relationship with Riley (Whether they ARE her or just parental towards her.) and it doesn’t hit me as hard as my favorite Pixar movies. Good stuff though.
16. Cop Car
Cop Car remind me a lot of White God, and while it’s climax isn’t as amazing it’s a much more surefooted movie all around. I was pretty sure I was gonna have a good time when the movie opened up with a scene of kids practicing cursing and I was not wrong. A movie that nails both child wonder and brutal violence. A good movie that could have been great if its ending had been tighter.
15. Peace Officer
I can get really frustrated with movies that take really good material and either squander that, or just don’t do enough with it. For me the onus is on the movie to prove its worthy of covering that material. Peace Officerdelivers on this, because while the cold irony of its premise is what got me into the theater, it’s Dub Lawrence and his skills as both an investigator and speaker that make this movie sing.
14. It Follows
So many horror movies have been built around the idea of a faceless killer, but so many of them fall into the trap of eventually giving the monster a face. (Whether that face is an actual face or just a mask.) Once you do that you’ve given up on your idea for why this was scary, and you’re no longer tapping into that fear. It Followsgets a lot of bonus points from me for following through on that. The movie does break its own rules a couple times, and the climax isn’t great, but the final shot is real good and I really like the tone and pace overall. This is quality horror.
At its core Creed is just Rocky again, but it’s also kind of the best Rocky. (At least in terms of filmmaking, the lack of a good Apollo Creed analogue really hurts Creed in the comparison) This is the best boxing onscreen in the series. I buy into all the characters and their roles here immediately. This is one of those ideas that was too good to not exist.
12. The Martian
If The Martian were a serious drama, its litany of flaws would have put it lower on the list. Good thing it’s basically a comedy in terms of how fun and consistently funny it is. The situations are serious, but it’s all so ridiculous that primarily you’re here to laugh. Matt Damon carries the movie, as much of it relies on him on his own and he’s fantastic. The scenes back at NASA are so dumb and keep the movie out of the top ten for me, but they’re acceptable in a movie that you’re not really supposed to take too seriously. This is a fun adventure movie, the kind we barely get. It’s so refreshing to get a space movie that’s just fun.
11. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Rogue Nation is just a great blockbuster. The stakes are high, the set pieces are great and the villain is compelling. In a lot of ways Rogue Nation is just a weaker version of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (It certainly isn’t as impressive visually.) but it has a much better villain, which makes up for a lot of that. Also, Rebecca Ferguson is a revelation here: the scene where she daintily steps onto a dude and then snaps his neck gracefully is amazing, and when she lifts up here leg to aim her sniper rifle…. yeah… She also gets to have a really rad knife fight!