David’s Top 10 Films of 2015
Yes, I know that we are now twelve days into 2016 and there’s nothing we want more than to pretend 2015 never happened; to leave it in our review mirror as we look to better ourselves (at least for a few weeks until we slip back in to our old habits). There is one thing we here at the Film Philosopher never want to forget though, and that’s the films we watched the past year that excited us, piqued our interest, and made us feel something we weren’t expecting. That’s why this list is being made: to remind you of some of the great films you watched last year, and some great ones you may have missed. Let’s get started :
This documentary was one of the more surprising films of the past year for me. When I started it, I assumed I would just be seeing more of the same story I already knew about the troubled singer, but what I got instead was a complex story, a sad story, that makes you not accept but at least understand why she was doing the things she was despite having so much to live for. It’s a dramatic documentary that packs an emotional punch and hopefully can serve as a warning for others that may be having trouble with addiction and don’t have anyone to help them.
Out of all of the comedies that were released last year, this is definitely my favorite. Not a perfect movie by any means (the ending was a little ridiculous and went on way too long) but still a strong debut film from Amy Schumer. All too often we get movies that feel watered down and unrealistic, but Schumer puts everything out there and tells it how it is.
8. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl“
Yet another film where I went into it thinking I already knew everything that would happen — boy befriends sick girl, girl dies, boy learns a lesson and matures — “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” takes this tired sub-genre and puts a fresh spin on things. Yes, some of the usual stuff is in this film, but the story didn’t get bogged down by the predictability, instead used it to further the story and add to the narrative. This is one of those films from 2015 that not a lot of people saw but should definitely get their hands on.
7. “The Editor“
While Astron-6 is not a comedy group that’s as well known as one like Broken Lizard, it won’t be too much longer before they’re a household name. An absurdist giallo-thriller that’s full of murder, mystery, and horrible dubbing, ‘The Editor’ is an off-beat comedy/horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but does make for an enjoyable film. Rey Ciso is a film editor who lived through a terrible accident that ended up taking most of his fingers and leaving him with wooden ones. When the actors of the new film he’s working on start getting killed off, he’s the prime suspect and must work to clear his name. After you watch this movie, you’re going to want to get your hands on everything else Astron-6 has done and your life will be better for it.
6. “Mad Max: Fury Road“
I don’t feel like I have to say a lot about this movie since it’s one everyone went out and saw this last Summer. One of the best action films ever made. Period. If you don’t like this film, we can’t be friends.
Shot completely on iPhones, ‘Tangerine’ was the most unique looking and written film of the past year. When a transgender sex worker realizes her boyfriend pimp is cheating on her on Christmas Eve, she will stop at nothing to put him in his place. Sean Baker’s comedy came completely out of nowhere; taking a cast of characters normally vilified in films or pushed to the background and making them the stars. You will grow to love pretty much everyone in this movie and pray that it spawns a sequel (something I don’t say casually). ‘Tangerine’ is currently streaming on Netflix and I encourage you to check it out.
4. “Ex Machina“
Yes this film has a pretty big twist, making it hard to talk about without spoiling at least one plot point. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, shame on you. Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander all play their roles to perfection. Caleb (Gleeson) is a young programmer who gets chosen by his boss (Isaac) to participate in helping him create the most sophisticated A.I. to date. Things are not at all as they originally appear as the role of villain gets passed around a few times and you constantly change who you’re rooting for. We need more smart sci-fi flicks like this one. So many social issues tackled in this film and all done in a stylized and truly entertaining way.
A young woman is kidnapped and kept as a sex slave for seven years. Two years into her captivity, she gives birth to a child: Jack (Jacob Tremblay). By the time we join the story, Jack is already five years old and his mother (Brie Larson) is already working on a way to not let her son live his entire life never knowing what the outside world is like. Phenomenal acting in this film really sells the story as it’s more about a mother and son’s relationship with each other than anything else. I guarantee you will cry watching this movie and I know that makes you think, “Then why would I want to watch it” and the only thing I can say to that is because it’s some of the most powerful work in cinema you will see in your lifetime. A heartbreaking (and heartwarming) story that shouldn’t be missed.
2. “Bone Tomahawk“
What starts out as a slow western with some dry comedy to keep you entertained, turns into a character study you can’t stop watching, and ultimately an ultra-violent action movie by the end of it. It’s a crime this film didn’t get more love this past year, but it’s not too late to discover it for yourself. When a cannibalistic native tribe takes a few of the townspeople captive, it’s up to four men to track them down and bring their loved ones back home. One of the most tense films you’ll watch, S. Craig Zahler really makes sure the horror of his story sinks in before he lets you face your new fears. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those who want a bad ass western film to add to their collection
God, I loved this film. From start to finish I was completely hooked and Benicio Del Toro turns in one of the better performances of his career. A war on the Mexican drug cartel is at the center of this fast-paced and thrilling movie and you won’t be able to catch your breath until the final credits role. If you care about yourself at all you’ll go watch this movie immediately.