It's that time again where I round up my top ten movies of the year. 2015 had a lot of great memorable movies. Some even broke box office records. But before we go to the list, here are some honorable mentions that I enjoyed but didn't quite make the cut.
THE HATEFUL 8 (Directed by Quentin Tarantino)
SICARIO (Directed by Denis Villanueve)
SPECTRE (Directed by Sam Mendes)
INSIDE OUT (Directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen)
BRIDGE OF SPIES (Directed by Steven Spielberg)
THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Directed by Joss Whedon)
ANT-MAN (Directed by Peyton Reed)
Which ones made the list? See my picks below!
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Studio: Warner Bros., MGM
Stallone returns to the role that made him a household name. But this time his Rocky Balboa serves as a supporting character to the film’s lead, Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan. With powerful performances by Jordan and Stallone (who just got nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as an aging Rocky), very well choreographed boxing matches and top notch directing, it's one of the best movies I've seen this year. It's not about winning in boxing, it's about winning in life. A great way to continue the Rocky legacy is to embrace the legacy of his greatest opponent and closest friend, Creed.
2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
Studio: Warner Bros.
George Miller returns to his beloved franchise that gave Mel Gibson his breakthrough role. This time around, Tom Hardy takes on the role of Max. But what stood out the most was Charlize Theron’s performance as the ass-kicking Imperator Furiosa. Even with one arm and battle damaged, Theron still manages to look as beautiful as ever. Mad Max was a nonstop roller coaster ride of pure adrenaline rush. "What a lovely day!"
3. STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson
Studio: Disney, LucasFilm
Already breaking box office records, this movie is filled with nostalgia, familiar faces, a new generation, epic set pieces and the force is still strong with this one. Seeing it with a crowd on a large format screen (IMAX) is the best way to appreciate and experience the magic of Star Wars. Looking forward to see what happens next in this new saga.
4. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Fergusson, Ving Rhames
Studio: Paramount Pictures
The Mission Impossible series always manages to stay fresh with each new installment and Tom Cruise manages to outdo himself every time. This time we see Cruise pulling off much crazier stunts like hanging off the side of a plane during take off. But the breakout performance came from Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust. Hope to see more of her in the next one.
5. EX MACHINA
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac
Studio: Universal Studios, DNA Films
Alicia Vikander plays the seductive Ava, an artificial intelligence housed inside the body of a beautiful girl who interacts with the film’s lead played by Domhnall Gleeson. Ex Machina was terrifying. Not in a horror movie type of way, but terrifying in a subtle, psychological and mental way that makes me wonder if artificial intelligence is really such a good idea, let alone to put inside a body.
6. JURASSIC WORLD
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, B.D. Wong
Studio: Universal Studios, Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures
We’re back in Isla Nublar, the home of Jurassic Park, or in this case, the new Jurassic World. The park is finally open and this film brought me back to a lot of fond memories when I was a kid watching the original. This new installment shows how far scientific technology has come and how it’s used to be an advantage and disadvantage to the world, especially when it comes to enhancing prehistoric DNA. When are they going to learn that they should never, ever open the park, ever again!
7. THE MARTIAN
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Studio: Scott Free Productions, 20th Century Fox
Once again, the world is looking for Matt Damon in this film based on the novel by Andy Weir. But this time, he’s on a distant planet. I love space exploration and astronomy. Afterall, Interstellar was my favorite film of 2014, which Matt Damon was also a part of. But what I enjoyed about this movie is how much science and technology plays a vital role into the plot of the film. Very well directed with a star studded cast.
8. THE WALK
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale
Studio: TriStar Pictures
Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives one of his best performances as Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between New York City’s Twin Towers back in 1974. What I love most about this movie is how beautiful the Towers were portrayed and had a life of their own. It felt like a subtle tribute to 9/11. What an experience in IMAX 3D.
9. THE REVENANT
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Writer: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hard, Domhnall Gleeson
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Leonardo DiCaprio gives a performance of a lifetime in this beautifully photographed film. Give the man an Oscar already. Enough said!
*By the way, this is the third film on the list starring Domhnall Gleeson. This guy's been keeping busy!
10. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella, Mark Strong
Studio: 20th Century Fox
This movie was pure awesomeness! Great fight choreography, action packed and a lot of fun. An overall enjoyable movie from the spy genre with a breakout performance by Taron Egerton. This movie makes me want to buy a well tailored double breasted suit with matching tie and shoes. “Manners maketh man.”
So that's my list for 2015. So many great movies and I know 2016 will have even more. On behalf of Eternal Lion Studios, Happy New Year!
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