It’s often hard for me to trim down a list of top 10 great films because I genuinely like a lot of movies. With that said here is a list of films I really liked, but they just didn’t make the cut. This list is going to be in alphabetical order rather than a ranking.
The horror/comedy genre is a tough nut to crack, but when it’s done right it’s so entertaining. Cooties is a fantastic poke at the zombie genre with a stellar cast of actors.
Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan re-team after Fruitvale Station and make another drama worth seeing. Who would’ve thought the Rocky franchise still had some gas in the tank? And even Stallone feels like he’s back in the saddle with this iconic role. Hands down the best sports film of the year.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
Bel Powley comes out of the gate with an unbelievably strong performance that guarantees she’ll be getting more work in the not too distant future. It was refreshing to see a film talk about teen sexuality in a very frank way rather than using it to make crass jokes.
THE FINAL GIRLS
Another horror/comedy that was worth watching. In a Post-Scream world it’s hard to ape the slasher genre and remain entertaining. Stacked with a strong cast including Taissa Farmiga, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch, and Adam DeVine this is a film that is far better than the trailer makes it out to be.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
I seem to be in the minority who really enjoyed this film. Aside from the beautiful visuals this film has a lot to offer that the trailers skimped over. The voice cast is strong all across the board and I loved the western genre overtones at times. It reminded me of Don Bluth’s style at times and that to me is a great thing. PS: The short film SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM is one of Pixar’s best.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Quentin Tarantino returns the the western genre and crafts a whodunit? that far exceeds Django Unchained in story and overall entertainment. All of the actors slip into their respective roles with ease, but it’s Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins that make this film fantastic.
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
In a year where we got the most dour Bond film it was nice to see a spy film that seemed to enjoy itself. Taron Egerton does a great job not only in the role of Eggsy, but in holding the screen with strong veteran actors like Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Mark Strong. I can not wait to see this get a sequel.
LOVE AND MERCY
It seems like it has been years since John Cusack has had a role that really allowed him to stretch his acting ability. With his portrayal of Brian Wilson we get a strong return to form. I must also say that Paul Dano as young Brian is a great mirror to Cusack. Both performances gel together to make one of the better biopics of the year.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
Everything that I disliked about The Fault in our Stars was thrown out the window with this film. There was a grounded feeling here that I really liked. These characters came to life and dealt with cancer the way I’d assume teenagers would. I will say the first 20 minutes are kind of slow, but once it picks up it doesn’t relent.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROUGE NATION
It’s hard to believe that a franchise nearly 20 years old is still going strong. Tom Cruise continues to impress doing some of the most amazing action sequences of recent years. I’m excited to see what Christopher McQuarrie will do with M:I 6.
In spite of a trailer that sold this as another goofball kids film what we actually got was a real treat. I’m glad that they didn’t try to make Paddington “hip”. This felt like one of the cartoons I watched as a kid. It was a nice bit of childhood nostalgia. As an added bonus the film co-stars Peter Capaldi.
It’s safe to say that this is definitely an instance where style trumps story, but it’s done so well that you can enjoy it. DiCaprio and Hardy give such strong performances that the lack of any real through narrative is easy to forgive. It’s main strength is the visuals achieved using all natural light.
On the opposite side of The Revenant is a film told almost completely indoors. Sorkin’s script conveys a man who through three different points in his life stayed the same as much as he changed. This was a film that hung on Fassbender’s shoulders and he carried it to the finish line. Both Winslet and Rogen were great co-stars that added layers to the story. Another fantastic biopic this year.
And there you have it. Next we discuss my 10 favorite films of 2015.