SPECIAL: The Best Movies of 2015

12. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE —
ROGUE NATION

Ever since J.J. Abrams did his magic with the Mission: Impossible series in 2006, the franchise that began as a James Bond also-ran has managed to out-do the spy in the tux three times around. By embracing the spectacle and magnitude of the Brosnan era 007 films, Mission: Impossible III and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol became the Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back of modern spy movies. Following Abrams’ and Brad Bird’s turns, director Christopher McQuarrie (writer of The Usual Suspects) delivers a gripping tale of disavowed agents, double-crosses, and car crashes. In fair form, Rogue Nation fits as the Return of the Jedi of the trilogy: it feels slightly repetitive, but it’s an excellent, 4½-star action movie that mostly just suffers from the weight of following two 5-star predecessors.

(Read my full review here.)


11. IT FOLLOWS

My rule of there generally only being one great horror movie a year held true in 2015, and the movie that did it was the brilliant It Follows. Submitted for your approval: There’s a monster in the world that slowly comes after one accursed person and if it catches them, it brutally kills them. You get the curse from having sex with the previous host; the only way to rid yourself of it is to sexually pass it on to someone else. But… if the creature kills its target, it then comes after the previous host again. It’s the most fiendishly clever horror movie since at least The Cabin in the Woods, if not the original Scream. Brilliantly paced by writer-director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows may not be your cup of tea if you thought Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was underrated, but it’s a marvelous breath of fresh air in a generally stale genre.

(Read my full review here.)


10. THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Quentin Tarantino is one of those directors who makes masterpieces with the same frequency you and I renew our driver’s licences. Just three years after the brilliant Django Unchained, Tarantino returned to the Western genre with this locked room mystery and it’s another work of genius. An all-star cast including Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh highlight this wonderful tale of an octet of ruffians, rogues, and rapscallions stuck at a stagecoach stopover during a particularly brutal blizzard. So anchored in tradition is The Hateful Eight that it was shot in 65mm, features a score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and even comes with an overture and intermission. If Agatha Christie and Sam Peckinpah had a child, it would be The Hateful Eight.

(Read my full review here.)


9. THE FORCE AWAKENS

Only eleven movies have ever held the elite title of “The Highest-Grossing Film of All-Time,” and if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that they’re all great movies. No truly bad movie could ever become the most popular ever, and in that respect, The Force Awakens belongs in the same company as Avatar, Titanic, Jurassic Park, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial before it. What more can be said about it? If you’re the one person who still hasn’t seen it: 1) It’s the best movie in the Star Wars saga since 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, 2) You don’t need to know or remember anything from the other movies, and 3) J.J. Abrams has made a reboot so good, it managed to please die-hard fans and newbies alike. If Star Wars was never your cup of tea or you just never bothered to catch those prequels a decade ago, The Force Awakens is your ticket back in.

(Read my full review here.)


8. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Mad Max: Fury Road should have stunk. It came out 30 years after the final movie in the series, it replaced Mel Gibson, and the entire production was plagued with there basically being no script the entire time. Yet through the visionary brilliance of George Miller (director of the original three), the benefits of technology that wasn’t available to him three decades ago, and nearly carte blanche to do whatever he wanted out in the Namibian desert and Australian outback, Mad Max: Fury Road is not just the best in the entire series, it’s a dizzyingly powerful piece of action entertainment as a standalone picture. It’s more reboot than sequel, and truly the movie Miller wanted to make in the ‘80s. It wasn’t the most perfect film of last year, but it was certainly the most singular artistic vision to hit cinemas.

(Read my full review here.)


ON THE LAST PAGE: The five best of the year

One thought on “SPECIAL: The Best Movies of 2015

  1. Chris,
    You had me until the Revenent. This for me was the most overrated movie of the year. Although DiCaprio has deserved an Oscar for many of his roles to date, this isn’t one of them. The film itself had to many anochromisms to be believable and the many death defying stunt are tedious!

    Like

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