Top 10 Films of 2015    1.   Room   dir. Lenny Abrahamson   Two of the most intense hours I’ve ever spent in a cinema, sometimes unbearably so. It’s also an incredibly quiet film, with the horrific setup pushed to the backdrop, the result being that a film that is also wonderfully human.  As expressions of wonder and innocence and childhood and the redemptive power of love go, I don’t think a film comes close to  Room .    2.   Mad Max: Fury Road   dir. George Miller   One of the biggest cinematic surprises of the decade: a third sequel to a thirty year old franchise, not starring the original actor, and with a plot in which the titular Max is actually a secondary character?   A testament to the skill of George Miller and team in crafting one of the most breathtaking, progressive, meme-ready films of the year. What a ride.   3.   Star Wars: The Force Awakens   dir. JJ Abrams    The force is strong with almost every frame of this film. Boyega is a born star, and Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and BB8 sizzle and delight in equal measure.  Yes it pretty much amounts to a scene for scene retread of the original, but genius, as they stay, steals. And  A New Hope  never had PoeFinn.   4.   Magic Mike XXL   dir. Gregory Jacobs    Just a joyful, inclusive experience. Yes, even for straight white dudes.   5.   It Follows   dir. David Robert Mitchell    An utterly original vision from writer/director Mitchell, at turns creepy, unsettling, and jump-inducing, the heavily allegorical tale of teenagers being stalked by sexual stigma is a masterfully crafted horror film.   6.   Mistress America   dir. Noah Baumbach    Can Greta Gerwig do no wrong? Her mile-a-second New York society girl – as seen through the eyes of her shy soon to be sister-in-law – is a wonderful comedic creation. Laugh-out-loud hilarity from start to finish.   7.   Inside/Out   dir. Pete Docter    One of the most beautiful expressions of the human experience I’ve ever seen. Cried for days.   8.   Cartel Land   dir. Matthew Heineman   A compelling documentary about the real war in America’s War on Drugs: the fight to free the towns around the border on both Mexican and US soil from cartel control, and how the alternative might be just as bad.   9.   Ex Machina   dir. Alex Garland   Frankenstein for a new millennium, and an extremely powerful meditation on what it means to create life, and the perils of trying to play god.   10.   Lost River   dir. Ryan Gosling   Beautiful and weird like all the best things.    (Honourable mentions:   Sicario, Slow West, Going Clear, The Lobster, Spy   Not seen yet:   Brooklyn, Carol, Spotlight, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Big Short)

Top 10 Films of 2015

1. Room dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Two of the most intense hours I’ve ever spent in a cinema, sometimes unbearably so. It’s also an incredibly quiet film, with the horrific setup pushed to the backdrop, the result being that a film that is also wonderfully human.

As expressions of wonder and innocence and childhood and the redemptive power of love go, I don’t think a film comes close to Room.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road dir. George Miller

One of the biggest cinematic surprises of the decade: a third sequel to a thirty year old franchise, not starring the original actor, and with a plot in which the titular Max is actually a secondary character? 

A testament to the skill of George Miller and team in crafting one of the most breathtaking, progressive, meme-ready films of the year. What a ride.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens dir. JJ Abrams

The force is strong with almost every frame of this film. Boyega is a born star, and Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and BB8 sizzle and delight in equal measure.

Yes it pretty much amounts to a scene for scene retread of the original, but genius, as they stay, steals. And A New Hope never had PoeFinn.

4. Magic Mike XXL dir. Gregory Jacobs

Just a joyful, inclusive experience. Yes, even for straight white dudes.

5. It Follows dir. David Robert Mitchell

An utterly original vision from writer/director Mitchell, at turns creepy, unsettling, and jump-inducing, the heavily allegorical tale of teenagers being stalked by sexual stigma is a masterfully crafted horror film.

6. Mistress America dir. Noah Baumbach

Can Greta Gerwig do no wrong? Her mile-a-second New York society girl – as seen through the eyes of her shy soon to be sister-in-law – is a wonderful comedic creation. Laugh-out-loud hilarity from start to finish.

7. Inside/Out dir. Pete Docter

One of the most beautiful expressions of the human experience I’ve ever seen. Cried for days.

8. Cartel Land dir. Matthew Heineman

A compelling documentary about the real war in America’s War on Drugs: the fight to free the towns around the border on both Mexican and US soil from cartel control, and how the alternative might be just as bad.

9. Ex Machina dir. Alex Garland

Frankenstein for a new millennium, and an extremely powerful meditation on what it means to create life, and the perils of trying to play god.

10. Lost River dir. Ryan Gosling

Beautiful and weird like all the best things. 

(Honourable mentions: Sicario, Slow West, Going Clear, The Lobster, Spy Not seen yet: Brooklyn, Carol, Spotlight, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Big Short)