Top 10 Best Movies of 2015


http://invisiblekidreviews.blogspot.de/2015/12/top-10-best-movies-of-2015.html

Has there ever been a single year that made Hollywood so much money and was so heavily filled to the brim with good movies? - (probably some year in the 80s, but anyway...)
2015 will not only go down as a financially ridiculously successful year for the movie industry but also as the big year of franchise revivals. After many years dominated by sloppy remakes and disappointments, it was for once harder to choose between the best movies of the year than between the worst.
And even though the superhero genre's dominance in yearly release schedules seemingly doesn't stop, it's kind of refreshing to see that not even one comic movie made it into this year's Top 10 List (even though they still were good movies). Of a total of 77 movies watched and rated this year, these are the best.

This is Invisible Kid's list of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2015!

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#10
Steve Jobs
directed by Danny Boyle


After the very ill-received adaptation of tech-visionary Steve Jobs' life from 2013 starring Ashton Kutcher, Danny Boyle's take on the Apple giant turned out to be much more to be what people hoped for and added a good notch of unpredictable criticism to it.
Instead of a simple celebration of Steve Jobs' career, his persona, attitude and ideas, Danny Boyle's biographical picture was much more than that. Being surprisingly critical in its take on how Jobs lead his company, marketed his products and simultaneously dealt with his family life, director Danny Boyle presented Steve Jobs not in the light of an untouchable genius but rather as a remarkably imaginative and self-confident visionary who is far away from perfect and still makes faults that he has to learn from along the way. Additionally brought to life by Michael Fassbender's stellar performance as Jobs himself (although he doesn't necessarily look very much like the real Jobs), Steve Jobs manages to be a biography that both simultaneously praises and criticizes one of the most influential people in computer technology to great effect. Though not necessarily a movie for everyone, it's still one the most standout biopics of the year.




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#9
The Gift
directed by Joel Edgerton


Who would've thought that fairly unrecognizable actor Joel Edgerton would unexpectedly bust out one of the best old-fashion thrillers in recent memory.
With The Gift, Joel Edgerton made his directorial debut, and delivered in unsuspected amounts. Focussing on a married couple, Simon and Robyn, who get stalked by a former classmate of Simon, Gordo, The Gift does great in constantly keeping you guessing what reasons are there for the psychological terror ensuing. Without being bloody, gory or anything horror related, The Gift still manages to be unnervingly eerie in its atmosphere throughout the entire experience. And while it mostly works like an old fashioned mystery thriller, it's most notably the twists and turns that The Gift takes that make it standout among the usual crowd of run-of-the-mill thrillers. With the story suddenly taking such unexpected turns that you question the roles of some main characters as a whole, The Gift is a great slowly building-up mystery puzzle whose big picture and ending will undoubtedly leave you shocked.
 



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#8
The Revenant
directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu


Leonardo Dicaprio's hunt for his deserved but never granted Academy Award continues. Yet this time he isn't alone, but accompanied by recent Oscar-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu who returns with The Revenant.
Being a tale based on the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, who got attacked by a bear, left for dead by his comrades and fought through the wilderness to get his revenge, The Revenant is best described as uncompromising, realistic, beautiful and cold...very cold. Dicaprio sure enough didn't exaggerate when he claimed that The Revenant was his toughest shoot yet. Fighting off wild animals, eating raw meat, diving countless times into ice cold rivers and wandering through snowy landscapes with barely any clothes on, this sure was no easy paycheck for him. Thus, aside from another expectedly top-notch acting performance by Dicaprio, Leo visibly had to push himself to his physical limits here. The Revenant's simple yet solid enough storyline is engaging, yet honestly really plays second fiddle though to the harsh conditions and situations Dicaprio's character is constantly thrown into and which he has to endure and go through to survive. Topped up with beautiful cinematography work and a consistently bleak atmosphere, The Revenant is a tough survival trip worth taking.

For the recap review click here.
  




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#7
The Walk
directed by Robert Zemeckis


Robert Zemeckis is one of those directors who manages to make even the most boring sounding stories on paper look and feel larger than life when on the screen by injecting it with that special sense of "movie magic".
Very much comparable to some of his previous efforts like Forrest Gump, The Walk tells the real life story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
The Walk sadly though marks one of the most criminally underappreciated movies of 2015. While it was admittedly somewhat uneffectively marketed and presented as quite a predictable and boring affair, The Walk is anything but. Filled with a suprising amount of comedy along with some heart and drama, The Walk turns out to be an inspiring feel-good movie with heist elements that nevertheless manages to make your hands sweat during the tense final act on the WTC even though you already know the outcome.
On top of that, Joseph Gordon-Levitt once again showcases that he very well has what it takes to hold an entire movie up on his shoulders through his acting chops and sheer charisma alone.
With The Walk so full of energy, a great cast and a highly talented director at the helm of it, all it takes is for more people to give the movie a chance in order to find out how surprisingly fun and special it really is.




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#6
 Inside Out
directed by Pete Docter


With 2015 being the first year that successful animation studio giant Pixar released two feature films in theaters, Inside Out is hands down the best of the duo (the other being the average The Good Dinosaur).
After the underwhelming Brave, Monster University and Cars movies, Inside Out marks the first really big success for the studio - especially critically. Instead of rehashing stories and ideas that we've seen a hundred times already in countless other kid-friendly movies, Inside Out bursts with imagination regarding how it depicts the ways in which the human mind works.
Being set set in the mind of a young girl named Riley, the movie mainly focusses on five personified emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, who try to lead her through life as her parents move the family from Minnesota to San Francisco and as Riley now has to adjust to her new life.
As already mentioned, Inside Out shows that Pixar took full advantage of the premise that gave them huge amounts of creative freedom. With Imagery and ideas, like memories in the shapes of balls being essential to the person's character, each of the emotions having its own specific purpose, and manifestations of fantasy (like imaginary childhood friends) roaming freely in one's mind, Inside Out does ridiculously well in just getting you struck by awe through the sheer amount of creativity that got put into it. And with some entertaining action, fun comedy and a heartwarming moral thrown on top of it, you got yourself the best animated movie of the year.

For the recap review click here.




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#5 
The Martian
directed by Ridley Scott 


Not many highly regarded directors in Hollywood can show off such a roller-coaster of a career like Ridley Scott.
After milestone efforts like Alien, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down or Gladiator, for every good movie Ridley Scott makes, he seemingly always releases three disappointing or barely average ones.
Yet with the adaptation of the highly praised novel The Martian bei Andy Weir, Scott seems to be back on track.
Held up by the charismatic and extraordinarily optimistic Mark Watney play by Matt Damon, an astronaut/botanist who is mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on Mars, The Martian proves that the sci-fi genre is where Scott feels right at home. Even though we already saw the "Lost on Mars"-premise countless times already in movies like Red Planet or Mission to Mars, no movie to date has pulled off said concept with such expertise. Being realistic, scientifically accurate, comedic, serious, sad and intense all at the same time, Ridley Scott did great in striking a perfect balance to make this mix of Apollo 13 meets Cast Away work out so incredibly well.
Hopefully The Martian not only marks the most financially successful movie of Ridley Scott's carreer, but also the end of Scott's roller-coaster career. Please let all of your future movies from now on be at least this good, Mr. Scott. 

For the recap review click here.




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#4
Ex Machina
directed by Alex Garland


Ready for some eerieness, thought provoking topics and mind games? Then you should definitely check out Ex Machina.
As the directorial debut for screenwriter Alex Garland, responsible for the scripts of movies like 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd, you can be sure that you are not given just your average kind of slapped together sci-fi garbage ala Transcendence. Alex Garland is a very talented writer who knows how to bring forth a movie's strong aspects and topics to make it actually achieve its goals and be what it wants to be.
With that said, Ex Machina is not a movie for everybody. It has quite a slow pace and relies heavily on conversations, yet the premise it utilizes and how said premise ultimately plays out towards the end feels like one huge scary labyrinth that blurs the lines between truth and lies.
Focussing on programmer Caleb, who is invited by his employer, the eccentric billionaire Nathan Bateman, to administer the Turing test to an android with artificial intelligence, after a short while this experiment turns out not to go as planned. Just as much as Caleb himself, you will be left just as clueless after Ex Machina's first secrets and twists in the story reveal themselves. Instead of going the easy hyper-emotional Spielberg route of approaching the "robot who has feelings"-plot, Ex Machina feels vastly more mature than other comparable movies tackling the same topics. With a consistently unnerving and sterile atmosphere, a fittingly cerebral plot and an ending that will leave you thinking about it for quite some time, Ex Machina is a storybook example of a good screenplay writer's first directed feature film.




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#3
It Follows
directed by David Robert Mitchell


It can be safely said that pretty much 80 to 90 percent of all released horror movies nowadays turn out to be garbage. Either failing right from the start or turning out to be a misguided attempt to rehash a classic formula that has already been done to death, actually good horror movies seem to be just as rare as original ideas in Hollywood as a whole today.
Yet along comes It Follows, a unique horror movie with little to no hype around it, until it gained critical acclaim and some resulting word-of-mouth advertisement that quickly spread out.
The plot of It Follows centers around a girl, Jay, pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter.
It Follows' success is best described in three words: simple but efficient. Without any big backstories, CGI-extravaganzas, gore, shaky cam or jump scares, It Follows' biggest strength is its core idea of how its antagonistic supernatural entity works. Without giving too much away, from the moment on, from which Jay is told how the entity acts and works, the entire movie completely works from start to finish by simply setting a constant immensely tense and scary tone of paranoia. With the entity being able to literally show up at any given time, neither the character nor the viewer feels safe for one single moment.
It Follows shows that good horror movies need creative ideas to work and be actually scary. While It Follows might come off as a simple old-school throwback slasher flick from the outside, its premise and story are anything but. This is once again a movie that will leave you thinking about it long after the credits already rolled.



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#2  
The Hateful Eight
directed by Quentin Tarantino


After the more genre-muddled Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight marks a return back to classic form even for Quentin Tarantino.
Just like in pretty much every movie of his before it, Tarantino once again showcases that he is not only an extremely good writer when it comes to penning great dialogue of all kinds, but also that he is a director who manages to bring very strong performances out of all of his actors.
Very well comparable to Tarantino's very own Reservoir Dogs, The Hateful Eight is a western set crime mystery thriller with eight strangers who seek refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover in a mountain pass. Little do they know that one or more of them aren't what they claim to be. What ensues is a well paced "Whodunnit?"-kind of story full of suspense-filled conversations, bloody situations, detective-like investigations ala Clue, and a nailbitingly intense finale.
Though its running time of roughly 3 hours might scare off some potential viewers, those hours will just fly by since The Hateful Eight is so great in immediately pulling you in and not letting you want to get out until its over. The Hateful Eight is classic Tarantino and can already be regarded as one of his very best efforts.

For the recap review click here.
 



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#1
Mad Max: Fury Road
directed by George Miller


As already said, 2015 can rightfully be described as not only a very financially successful year for the Hollywood movie industry, but also as the big year of franchise revivals. Yet next to the likes of Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens, no movie managed to hit the nail so precisely on its head like Mad Max: Fury Road - the continuation of the long dormant Mad Max franchise.
With the director of the original trilogy returning, yet plenty of years having gone by since the last entry, a recast of the titular protagonist Max and plenty of production difficulties delaying Fury Road's release for quite some time, Mad Max: Fury Road seemed to have almost all of the odds working against it. Thankfully though, the hard road to get the movie made was very well worth it.
Unlike any other of the aforementioned franchise revivals, no movie felt so much in-tone with the spirit of the originals like Fury Road. George Miller has a clear vision for the Mad Max world and it shows. Everything feels spot-on, the sets, the story, the writing, the effects and especially the movie's insane stuntwork during the action scenes. Mad Max: Fury Road sure enough could easily be shoved aside as just a 2-hour-long chase sequence, yet the movie manages to immerse you so much in its world and the story that you will absolutely never get bored. Even in a franchise whose most obvious strength is its chase scenes, Mad Max: Fury Road is no redundant non-stop action-overkill but effectively utilizes pace changes that make way for necessary character and story development. That way, each of the various characters, subplots and the main story itself is given a rightful purpose among all of the action mayhem, leading to the movie itself ultimately feeling like a satisfying complete adventure without any cliffhangers or unnecessary sequel-baits that we are used from blockbusters nowadays.
On top of all that, Tom Hardy turns out to be a very worthy fit for a new Max Rockatansky alongside Charlize Theron's great performance as the badass female protagonist Furiosa.

Mad Max: Fury Road fired on all cylinders and managed to hit every mark, making it THE must-see movie of the year and Invisible Kid's pick for the Best Movie of 2015.


For the full review click here.     

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Honorable Mentions:

Bridge of Spies
The Big Short
Spotlight
Cop Car
Creed
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Dope
Straight Outta Compton


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