Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Top 20 BEST Movies of 2015!

Welcome to our list of the BEST MOVIES of 2015!!!

Here you have it, folks! We have finally decided our 20 favorites, the 20 best movies of 2015! Obviously, we cannot count the movies that we did not see, no matter how good or critically acclaimed they are. These are our picks, and as always, we welcome discussion, debate and disagreement, just do so respectfully, please! Each film is linked with our original review. Please enjoy! :)
20) "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (9/10): We know we will catch a little bit of flack for this, but damn it, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a good movie! Sure, it might not be as awesome as the original "Avengers" flick and it be a bit of a mess in its execution, but we still liked its mix of fun, exciting, and dark tones. There a lot of characters here, but the way the Marvel Universe is headed, it seems as though they are only going to get more rich and full with heroes and villains. We loved watching this movie in the theater, and with Marvel's signature (and winning!) combination of comedy and action, we had a good time with this one.

19) "Dope" (8.75/10): Poignant, funny, and different, "Dope" stands out in our minds as being one of the most unexpected and unexpectedly amazing movies of the year as far as content. Witty dialogue, a kickass soundtrack, and some incredible performances by newcomers Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, and Kiersey Clemons, "the way it melds the old 1990's style, music and habits with modern technology, a new sound and a fresh perspective, makes this a must see!"

18) "The Hateful Eight" (8.75/10): Though "The Hateful Eight" is not Quentin Tarantino's best film, saying this basically means nothing since all of his films are amazing. This one is really great, and even with a few minor gripes from us, it was still one of our favorite movies from 2015. Brimming with violence and juxtaposed with beautiful cinematography and one of the best scores of the year, this film is not for the faint of heart, but sure is a good freakin' time to watch!

17) "Paddington" (9/10): If you would have asked us when 2015 started if we thought "Paddington" would be in our top 20 favorite films of the year based solely on its trailer, we would have laughed in your face. Don't judge a movie by its trailer, folks, because this film about a talking bear is simply a delight! BigJ and I loved this one and left the theater with our faces hurting from all the smiling we did. The story is adorable, the acting is surprisingly great, and it is a movie kids will love for the cute little bear and adults will enjoy for the nostalgia factor. Give this flick a chance, please!

16) "Amy" (9/10): We rarely get to see documentaries in the theater because they just don't come to our area that often. As a huge fan of Amy Winehouse, I knew we needed to make the longish drive to an out of the way theater so I could see this film. Man, we were not disappointed. "Amy" is the brilliant documentary showcasing the life of a singer who was lost too soon. Winehouse, in her own words via clips and home videos, talks about her life, her music, her loves, and of course, her lyrical genius. "She had her demons, yes, but this does not diminish the incredible voice she had, and the soul she put into her records while she was on this planet. It does not lessen the gift she gave those of us willing to hear it." A superbly made documentary, one we will be rooting for at the Oscars this year.

15) "Kingsman: The Secret Service" (9/10): Completely kick ass, full of over-the-top violence, and brimming with profanity, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" was one of our most anticipated films of 2015, and it did not disappoint us one bit! The ending alone is worth checking out, but the entire movie is quite marvelous to say the least. Colin Firth shocked us by stepping brilliantly into a dominant action role, and as always, Samuel. L. Jackson impressed us as the film's resident baddie. Ballsy, cheeky, fantastic.

14) "Steve Jobs" (9/10): Even though this movie notoriously flopped at the box offices in 2015, "Steve Jobs" is a crisply, sharply written, dialogue heavy drama about the man who made Apple, well, Apple. Michael Fassbender truly transformed into Jobs himself, Kate Winslet was excellent as his assistant, and with Aaron Sorkin's dramatic flair and Danny Boyle's engrossing direction, needless to say, we were impressed.

13) "99 Homes" (9/10): The trailers for "99 Homes" made it look overly dramatic and supremely cheap. With low expectations, we came out of the theater heartbroken and blown away by what we had just watched. Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, two actors we were not overly fond of, put on spectacular performances in a depressingly bleak look at how two men turned a profit from the housing market collapse in 2007-2008. A very underrated and under-seen film, please, check this one out ASAP.

12) "The Big Short" (9/10): This film has been getting tons of backlash lately and quite frankly, we don't get it. Considerably dramatic and sharply written, "The Big Short" will leave you speechless about what really happened during the 2007 economic collapse. Mixing dark humor with real life drama, a documentary-esque filming style, and a breaking of the "fourth wall" (and subsequently all the rules), Adam McKay has directed a fantastic picture full of excellent performances by Christian Bale and Steve Carell that serves as "a timely warning and a stark reminder all at once."

11) "Straight Outta Compton" (9/10): As middle class white kids from the suburbs of San Diego, we were naturally big fans of N.W.A (they said ironically). "Straight Outta Compton" breezed by its longish run time so much so that we wanted more when we left the theater. With brilliantly executed performances, an enthralling true story, and a kick ass soundtrack, it goes beyond the music, also dealing "with pertinent political issues just as prevalent today as they were when N.W.A. was at its peak." Not just for fans of the rap group.

Click the link below to see our TOP 10 FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2015!!!

10) "What We Do in the Shadows" (9/10): In a year saturated with its fair share of horrible comedies, "What We Do in the Shadows" is positively hilarious, even more so after multiple viewings. Shot as a mockumentary, this movie is outrageous, underrated, fresh, and gory, a mix between slapstick humor and dry wit all at once. You're cheating yourself out of a hardcore laugh-riot if you don't watch this!

9) "Creed" (9.5/10): Who would have thought the 7th film in the "Rocky" franchise would have reinvigorated the series? "Creed" is, simply put, incredible. With one of the most likable characters in cinematic history by his side, Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Johnson, the son of Apollo Creed, tries to make a name for himself on his own without his father's moniker. The performances are heartfelt, and the direction by Ryan Coogler is nothing short of marvelous. Long, continuous shots, vibrant colors, and accurate sounds grace the screen in a fantastic fashion. "Creed" has "simultaneously resurrected the "Rocky" series and formed its own spin-off, honoring the films and characters before it and embracing the new found story."

8) "The Revenant" (9.75/10): You won't find a finer, better director working today than Alejandro González Iñárritu. His knack for gorgeous cinematographic shots is incomparable and his eye with a camera is breathtaking to say the least. "The Revenant" is intense yet exciting, and brutal yet beautiful all at the same time. With veteran actor Leonardo DiCaprio stealing the show, he will most certainly win awards this season for his role here. Tom Hardy is also wonderful, though he is outshined by DiCaprio. Carnal, primal, and rather poetic, it does feel a little long, but we certainly didn't mind it. See this on the silver screen since it's still playing in theaters.

7) "Brooklyn" (9.75/10): After 3 years of going to the cinema constantly, we started to lose hope that we'd ever see believable love story on the silver screen again, apart from the classics, of course. "Brooklyn" is such a love story. Oozing with gorgeous, colorful cinematography, chock full of deeply realistic characters, and above all, true love, this film is wonderful. Saoirse Ronan is a radiant marvel. "We haven't seen such stunning conviction in quite a while, and the film's faithful feel is rooted in her performance." Emory Cohen is great, and Domhnall Gleeson is quickly becoming one of our favorites; both of these men have super chemistry with Ronan, making it all the more genuine. The writing is crisp, the direction divine. We can already tell this is going to be a movie we will revisit over and over again, falling in love with it (and each other, by proxy) a little more each time we watch it.

6) "Ex Machina" (10/10): Deeply layered with complex characters, "Ex Machina" showcases 3 of the finest up and coming actors we have seen in a long time. "From its start, this movie manages to play on both our most basic fears of the violation of privacy in general, as well as the much bigger issue of what defines intelligence." The special effects for the robot Ava "are a beautiful, mind-bending combination of the actress (Alicia Vikander) herself, practical makeup work and CGI." Though it only got a few nods at the Oscars, it still got a few nods at the Oscars, something we never thought we'd see happen. Progress! This film is worth your Redbox or Netflix rental 110%.

5) "Sicario" (10/10): We are rarely kept on the edge of our seats the entire length of a movie. We were with "Sicario," the dark, tension-filled, seedy movie dealing with an FBI agent trying to track and capture those involved in drug cartels in Juarez, Mexico. Emily Blunt is fantastic and has never been better, Benicio del Toro is mysterious and intimidating and deserves more acclaim for his role here. "Sicario" "stews in its despondency and we loved every single second of it. It is extremely well paced and is beautifully shot from a cinematographic standpoint." Check this one out!

4) "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" (9.5/10): Okay, so, some of you might be wondering, if "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has a lower rating than the other films in the top 5, why the hell is it in your top 5?! If you've been reading this blog for long, you know we are HUGE Star Wars fans and have been since we were both kids. Needless to say, the anticipation level for the 7th film in the franchise was off the charts, and it sure didn't disappoint! Director J.J. Abrams didn't do us wrong and made a film so beautifully nostalgic and yet so formative on its own path that we were simply stunned by how good a movie this was. After seeing it twice on the big screen, we want to go again and cannot wait until it comes out on blu-ray so we can obsess some more. A cannot miss for fans, and a must see for everyone else!!

3) "Spotlight" (10/10): When a movie gets called a modern day "All the President's Men," it makes sense that you'd pay attention. Even though "Spotlight" is a tough film to watch because of its difficult subject, it is expertly crafted, sharply written, sublimely acted, well edited and directed, and an all around fantastic piece of cinematic art. Impactful, powerful, and meaningful, "it never feels the need to be showy, rarely fudging facts or dramatizing events, favoring the truth and honesty instead because the story itself is so dramatically fantastical and unbelievable that it doesn't need embellishment." Check this one out if you value the art of movies and wish to remember what journalism used to be.

2) "Inside Out" (10/10): "Pixar: making us feel things we didn't know we were still capable of feeling since 1995." "Inside Out" made us laugh, it made us cry, it made us explore who we are as people, where we've come, who we've been, and who we want to be. In traditional Pixar style, this is a film kids and adults will love on many different levels. "This movie will be one we will look forward to digging out again and again and viewing for decades to come. What a powerful, creative, cathartic and sentimental film!" It's a shoe-in for best animated picture at the Oscars this year!

1) "Mad Max: Fury Road" (10/10): Even though "Mad Max: Fury Road" came out in May, it did enough in 2 short hours to maintain a lasting impression on both BigJ and I until the end of the year (and beyond). Throughout the year, we kept coming back to this film, wanting to watch it again and again to immerse ourselves in the high octane chaos, the stunning visual spectacle, and the well written and executed characters and settings of this post-apocalyptic wasteland once more. Director George Miller hasn't lost a beat from his original Mad Max trilogy (well, we forgive him for "Beyond Thunderdome"), and we certainly took notice. Some viewers didn't care for this movie, but that's okay, because we love it enough for ourselves AND you, too. While Tom Hardy might be incredible as Max (and only uses grunts and groans to initially communicate), he can't hold a candle to Charlize Theron, who plays Imperator Furiosa, a kick ass female protagonist who exists as a fully developed action heroine. The visuals here are mostly practical, and it certainly shows as the film is both beautiful, brutal, and stunning as massive explosions, vast desert landscapes, and balls-to-the-wall car chases continue from beginning to end. "Exhilarating, violent, insane, wild and not afraid to show it, you will be missing out if you don't see this movie."

Do you agree or disagree with our list? Let us know YOUR favorite movies from 2015!

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