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Shaun's Top 10 Movies of 2015


The Guys from {FILM} is a discussion on movies and films from all eras and genres

Shaun's Top 10 Movies of 2015

Shaun Cordingley

As is always the case with lists like these, there was no way I could see as many films of 2015 as I would like, so I am sure there will probably be something that I miss on this list, but that would more apply to the 'favourite 'new to me' movie' list we do later, generally on the {PODCAST}

That said, I am more than comfortable to talk about my favourite 10 movies from 2015, as it was quite an entertaining year in film this year...which is a bold statement I know, but it really was...because I got a whole pile of nostalgia back into my like, and that makes me really, really happy.

Oh, and you will probably notice a severe lack of movies that were released in late December--most Oscar films do that annoying 'released in 2015' thing where they show up in New York and Los Angeles, and the are everywhere else in January...but yeah they totallycame out in 2015. Just not anywhere near where I am.

So without further ado, here is my top 10:

10) Infini

Coming in first was this outright surprise. I was alone, cruising around Netflix for something to watch before bed and spotted this in the 'New Releases' section, I watched the (above) trailer and, being the gigantic Alien fan that I am, and got a bit of a 28 Days Later vibe from it, thought "what the hell". It turned out to be a very enjoyable, tense, and occasionally freaky sci-fi horror. I know that it wasn't the best reviewed film (I think critically aggregating at around a 5/10) this little known Australian film really caught my attention and is well worth a look.

Be warned, it does have some cliches, and it does not 100% nail all of the ideas that it could have (making it a truly amazing film) but I wanted to give my number 10 to a film that I think got under-appreciated, and often overlooked.

9) Jurassic World

I picked the original trailer (with the admittedly poor CG...that they totally fixed in later trailers, and the film) because it completely exemplifies why this movie is both on my list, and why it did not push itself any higher: the piano.

This movie was a nostalgia monster clomping around and being awesome at reminding me about Grade 2 Shaun seeing Jurassic Park for the very first time and falling madly in love with movies. Now don't get me wrong, I thought Jurassic World was great, but I think that a lot of it, for me at least, was getting to sit back and appreciate all the fun of seeing a functional Jurassic Park, and getting to go back into that world.

Personally, I didn't much care for the Vincent D'Onofrio side plot, despite really liking the actor, it felt a bit off to me, and I just wanted to get back to dinosaurs getting out, chasing kids, and the Chris Pratt/Bryce Dallas Howard scenes. Plus, there were a few things that just felt out of place and 'because it was necessary to movie this movie', but I was still grinning for giant chunks of the movie, and had a great time.

8) Avengers: Age of Ultron

I don't see why so many people were upset with this film. I mean, I get that there were a lot of seemingly 'forced in to set up the next wave of movies' references, and we were once again struck with a one-off bad guy, but I had a lot of fun. Perhaps I had lower expectations than most going into it, just kind of accepting of what it had to be, as opposed to expecting it to be as mind-blowing as the first Avengers film (which was just not going to happen). I do wish that it didn't try to do so much, and that Marvel wasn't so hard pressed to get pushing into Infinity Wars and what not (with 67 characters?!) and were able to settle in and really tell a more intricate story, but that would probably get in the way of explosions, and the upcoming Civil War (which I'll have some thoughts on soon...).

However, I still enjoyed it a lot: it was quippy, it made Hawkeye more human, it had a crazy love story we totally didn't see coming (but is really kinda sweet), and stuff got punched. What else do I need?

7) Kung Fury

Another awesome surprise, but at the same time, when you watch the trailer, you pretty much know exactly what you are going to get out of it. It's half an hour, primarily funded via Kickstarter, and it's just a retro, ridiculous comedy/action about a kung fu, renegade cop hacked back in time to kill I can't even really explain it other than to say that it's really, really awesome. If you're looking for a silly, fun 30mins, and you enjoyed the trailer, just watch Kung Fury

Like right here:

6) The Martian

Winner of Best Comedy at the Golden Globes...somehow...The Martian really is a very enjoyable, ride. Essentially space Castaway, The Martian is the story of how mankind needs to save Matt Damon again, because we keep sending him places and problems happen.

Well really, it's the story of an astronaut being stranded on Mars and forced to try and survive until NASA can figure out a way to save him. It's an excellent near-future science fiction story, based on an internet serial (that was novelized), which means that there are all sorts of problems, and mini-cliffhangers, etc. that really push the film into being one of the better overall sci-fi/thriller (sorry, comedies) of the past few years.

5) The Final Girls

My favourite horror movie/horror comedy of 2015 comes in at number 5: this film came out of nowhere and was one of the best times I had watching a movie this year. Period. Essentially the story follows a group of friends who get sucked into a slasher movie (essentially Friday the 13th) where the main characters' late mom is one of the girls in the film. It's hilarious, it's meta, and it demonstrates a pure love for the slasher genre that is so very, very rare that it makes The Final Girls a very special film.

This is also one of those films that did not move out across a full cinema release outside of festivals, so I would totally recommend catching this one on VOD (as that's how I saw it).

Seriously, The Final Girls is a must watch for horror fans.

4) Ex Machina

This little British sci-fi film was absolutely spectacular, and is a very quiet and simple film: a young programmer is chosen out of a massive company to go visit with the CEO in his private, forest..compound to execute an advanced Turing Test on his bosses latest project: humanoid AI.

It is brilliant, it is quiet, and it focuses in on questions that, when you actually sit and think about it, could need to be answered tomorrow; if Google came out with a press release tomorrow and said "Meet Carly, an AI" would any of us really be surprised? Scared, maybe, but not really surprised....which is in itself what adds so much to the brilliance of Ex Machina.

Plus: every single actor in the film is spectacular: understated, but brilliant.

3) Kingsmen: The Secret Service

How much I enjoyed Kingsmen: The Secret Service, and how just...good it was, is perhaps my biggest surprise of the year when it comes to movies. I am a very big fan of the James Bond franchise, and always have a soft spot for spy thrillers, and this adaptation of a graphic novel (I had admittedly never heard of, read, and preferred the film) just hit so many notes that made me really, really happy.

On the surface, it is a structural James Bond style film, where there is an English intelligence service that runs around protecting the world. There's a gigantic, rich super-villain who has a crazy scheme that will totally work if he is not stopped, and the (sort of) twist of bringing in and training a new, young spy adds a hook into a new franchise. The action is really, really good and it just has a good time with the spy genre. 

If you haven't given Kingsmen a shot yet, you should, and I believe it is available on Netflix, so it is not tricksy to get.

2) Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

OMG OMG OMG. Star Wars was good again!

As I still know some people who haven't seen it (SOMEHOW), I'm not going to say anything outside of: Star Wars has mattered to me, and been important to me my whole life. Seeing this movie was literally one of the high points of my year, and it made me so very happy. I cried...I think 3 times, and it was entirely due to nostalgia, my love of Star Wars, and then maybe there was a story one too... 

It was great. It was what we needed, and it was fan-service-y without relying on it completely to push the film (*cough* Jurassic World *cough*). As for the complaints people have (you know, because everyone thinks they know what the **** they are talking about when it comes to everything, on the internet): 99% of them are missing the point completely, and the other 1% just couldn't get out of their own way.

The Force Awakens is amazing, I loved it more than (almost) anything this year, and I cannot wait to see more Disney Star Wars.

However, it did not unseat my #1:

1) Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie blew my damn mind. I adored this movie so bloody much that I cannot really put it into words, and as we keep talking about lists and things, I end up having to.

Characters: Amazing. Furiosa was spectacular, and I wish we got to spend more time with her in future movies...

Production Design: Better win an Oscar, or got totally screwed.

Stunts: Insane, and an achievement unto themselves without all the movie around it.

Cinematography: I can imagine The Revenant winning, but it shouldn't.

This was George Miller's masterpiece. This film...I think if I watch it a few more times (which I will, I've already seen it 3 times) is going to make a push into my Top 10 of All time. I always enjoyed the Mad Max world, and films, but THIS was a film and a half. I...yeah.

Mad Max: Fury Road is like an action movie tone poem that, while light on dialogue (and simple plot) is one of those movies that is borderline perfect.

There you have it, my Top 10 movies of the year.  What were your favourites? How wrong am I? Let me know in the comments, or as per usual, on Twitter.

-S (@Shauncord)