Best Movies of 2015
By R.K. Priddy
Here is my annual list I hope you all enjoy. I added a bit of a twist to my article in the fierce debate and trying to gather my thoughts on the matter .There is a list of who I thought gave the best performances of the year…Here it goes I hope you enjoy!
He Named Me Malala
The Danish Girl
The Night Before
The Big Short
Addendum: The Reverant – While I don’t necessarily think the movie itself is one of the best movies I have seen. The acting in the movie was exceptional. If this isn’t the film that gets DiCaprio his long awaited accolade. I don’t know what role he could tackle that would be more challenging. Domhall Gleeson has somehow managed to stay under the radar and has avoided being typecast in roles. He can be a villain in one movie and like in this one a man truly trying to do the right thing but not always making the right decision. And of course Tom Hardy’s cold callous portrayal of a man operating on his most baser of instincts.
10) Far From The Maddening Crowd
O.k. I admit this pick more emotional than anything else. Truly because I love Thomas Hardy. He was a controversial an d talented author. Often overlooked in his era. I have also grown to become a Carey Mulligan Fan. Plus there is a the matter of the brilliance of Michael Sheen. The film itself was beautifully made. While this has been the fourth time this novel has been made into a movie, until now no one could rival Julie Christie’s take of Bathsheba. Mulligan knocks it out of the park. And is the only one to date that could hold a candle to Christie.
Again another emotional pick on my part. However in my defense the movie featured Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan tackling a significant historical time that most were unfamiliar with. It was both educational and compelling. The actresses played very different woman all exuding the same sort of inner strength. Each actresses performance were layered and well play out. It was nice to see Carter in a serious role again. And Streep’s quirky portrayal was one for the ages.
8) End Of The Tour
What is it about Eisenberg? Again he tackles a character that you are unsure if you empathize with or you hate. Siegel is phenomenal as David Foster Wallace. The movie is filled with insightful refreshing dialogue. Both of these actors together were powerhouses. Wallace’s death went unnoticed to perhaps the average person however as a writer you wonder what caused the downward spiral of someone as talented as this acclaimed author. Siegel’s conveyed both his brilliance and his desolation in a way that truly blew me away. And of course the soundtrack set the tone for this indie gem.
7) Kingsman: The Secret Service
This movie came out during Valentine’s Day weekend here in the states. It was overshadowed by “that” movie with the whips and chains. Sadly it went overlooked by many. I have been a fan of Matthew Vaughn as a director since since Stardust. Of course there was Kick Ass and I liked his take of X-Men First Class. However, I feel like all the things I loved about his style came together in this comic to movie. Colin Firth has played many memorable and lovable roles. Firth as Harry Hart a.k.a Galahad goes down as one of my favorites. Samuel Jackson as Valentine gets the award for most lovable villain of the year.
6) Black Mass
Another film I believe is truly getting lost in the shuffle. It’s almost tragic that we have come to expect greatness from Johnny Depp every time we see him of the screen. Because when he nails a role like Whitey Bulger it is commonplace. What make this performance so riveting is in any thing Depp does there’s a quirkiness about the character so Depp-esque quality we can come back to a thumbprint of him as a person. Depp as Bulger leaves no remnants of his personality as Depp. He truly became Whitey Bulger to me. His artful way of playing both sides makes a brutal subject matter more interesting. Also his outstanding supporting cast that includes Cumberbatch and Bacon helps cement it’s place in my top ten.
5) Bridge of Spies
Let’s be honest there is very few roles that Tom Hanks takes on that isn’t successful. Add The Coen Brothers writing it and Spielberg directing it, there was little doubt this movie was going to be fierce. Even though the movie is not historically accurate to the events surrounding the 1960 U-2 incident during The Cold War or of some of the roles of the people during it. While the movie itself was a drama/thriller it also has the classic Coen dark humor moments. Many people seemed to forget because of Tom Hank’s illustrious career that he was first recognized for his comic genius. This movie provided a subtle look back into that aspect of his talent. Which is something that was thoroughly enjoyed and savored throughout the film .
Everyone that knows me personally knows that I am a football nut. In fact I am often referred to as “The Crazy Football Lady.” While I love the sport I also am very aware of the dark side of playing such in such vicious venue. Because the game is so beloved the ramifications of blows to the head and the mental stability of the game often gets washed away. This film put a unforgiving spotlight on the matter. And educates us on how long this has been going on. One of the best and once again overlooked performances of the year was delivered from Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. The supporting cast of Baldwin and a young Roger Goodall by Luke Wilson was spot on. So much so that many long time football fans have talked about it in depth after seeing this. While the NFL tried to separate itself from the film. It gave us valuable insight as to why the players have been so much more aware of the long term effect of playing the game and demanding safeguards are met.
3) Hateful Eight
This is why it took me so long to get this out. I flip-flopped back and forth between which of these films were either two or three on my list. Up until this very moment when I placed Hateful Eight as my third favorite movie of the year. I think what gives this movie so much cred in my eyes is Tarantino’s ability to keep a vested interest in his characters and the storyline. What makes this even more entertaining is for the majority of the movie you are in one single room. The dialogue and talent of Jackson, Russell, Leigh, Roth, Parks Madsen, Dern and Goggins keep you at the edge of your set. While some scratched their heads at the casting of Tatum. I felt as if he had a chance to show he was more than just a pretty face. The one performance that I say was hands down probably the best performance of the movie was Walton Goggins. He starts as that annoying friend we all put up with. Somehow before our eyes he displays the toughest grit out of the group where even though he is a clearly bigoted character at the end you have to tip his hat off to him.
As I said I flipped flopped back and forth between Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Coogler’s ( from Fruitvale Station fame) Creed. It was easy after watching Fruitvale Station to see why Michael B Jordan was cast as the boxing movie icon Apollo Creed’s son. While it may shame most to admit I have no problem saying I was first introduced to this actor from his soap opera days. Perhaps again this is a emotional pick. I did grow up in the eighties where Rocky Movies ruled supreme. Why it ultimately took second in my list of films was I truly honestly believed that after the Rocky Balboa Movie there was closure everything that could be done had been done. There would be no Rocky Jr following in his father’s footsteps. What I didn’t see coming was them continuing the saga through Apollo’s legacy. Something we always knew about but never had a true chance to get into the story as ultimately about Rocky and his journey. By giving this generation a new but yet deeply rooted in the franchise face, it rejuvenates the Rocky-verse to a new generation of movie goers but at the same time pays homage to those you have been yelling “ROCKY!!! ROCKY!! ROCKY!!” all our lives. What makes this movie so wonderful as well is Stallone in his eye we see his journey all the movies and instances he has gone through and why he reluctant to go it it one more time. His quiet resignation that somethings can not be change. Until he meets Adonis and suddenly his life has new meaning. Just like the return of this franchise.
1) Star Wars The Force Awakens
Everyone can giggle all they want. Yes I am a Star War Geek. Yes I can name things and characters in the movies that most can’t. Yes we dressed up in costume to go watch this movie. Most of us fans have been waiting decades for this movie. It had humungous shoes to fill as did JJ Abrams. Why I made this my number one movie of the year was because it had the insurmountable task of being expected to be a movie classic before the opening scene rolled in yellow letters in space across the screen to us. We wondered how they were able to get Ford, Fisher and Hamill to revisit these character that at times in their lives they wished the world would forget. Somehow in someway it managed to deliver to us. Give us enough of that first trilogy magic to have us cheering on the screen. Somehow it managed also to unite the fans as well. No one until perhaps a few weeks into after the released use social media to give away the gut wrenching plot point that left most long time Star Wars fans rocking back and forth in their seats. The Force Awakens leave us with questions and debates that will claw through us until 2017. Plus of course there is BB-8 the little droid that stole the show. Like Creed this movie had the difficult task of uniting the old with the new. Appeasing the life long fans and at the same time trying to gander the attention of a much more tech savvy and less naive movie goers of this generation. Watching the pure joy on my son’s face during the movie affirms Abrams is a force to be reckoned with.
As Promised, what I thought were the best performances of the year…
10) Jada Pinkett Smith- Rome Magic Mike XXL
9) Colin Firth – Harry Hart a.k.a Galahad
8) Harrison Ford – Han Solo Star Wars The Force Awakens
7) Will Smith- Dr. Bennet Omalu Concussion
6) Johnny Depp – Whitey Bulger Black Mass
5) Tom Hanks James B. Donovan Bridge Of Spies
4) Michael B Jordon- Adonis Johnson Creed
3) Walton Goggins -Sheriff Chris Mannix Hateful Eight
2) Leonardo DiCaprio- Hugh Glass The Revenant
1) Brie Lawson – Ma Room