Didn’t go to the cinema much in 2015? Wondering what you missed? Don’t want to cruise through the crap to find the ones worth watching? Well, luckily for you, we here at Oxygen.ie have formed a Top Ten List of the Best Films of 2015.
This list excludes films like The Revenant and Room, as even though they’re out in America, they’ve yet to hit our Irish shores.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
While many argue that Star Wars: The Force Awakens perhaps stole fire from its own gods (i.e. copy-and-pasted A New Hope), no one can deny it’s a ridiculously enjoyable instalment in a seriously damaged franchise. Surprisingly hilarious from start to finish, and with galactic mysticism aplenty, it’s pure escapism at it’s best.
Weird and wonderful in equal measure, Ex-Machina plays into the same futuristic techno-phobia as Black Mirror, resulting in a tense and disturbing film. Ex-Machina is bolstered by fantastic performances, with Domhnall Gleeson quick becoming one of Ireland’s best exports.
Going way back to the very start of the year, multi-Oscar-winner Birdman took cinematic technology to new art-house heights, creating a film that appears to have been filmed in one shot. Perhaps too technical for some, Birdman was still a remarkable achievement, with Michael Keaton playing Michael Keaton better than anyone else ever has, including Michael Keaton.
Much like Birdman’s director Alejandro Inarritu, Bennett Miller makes art-house with A-listers. Foxcatcher is no different. It’s not a popcorn flick, more a ‘late-night-alone-existential-crisis’ flick. With more tension than most thrillers, better acting than most Oscar winners, Foxcatcher is not for everyone, probably for no one, but is one hell of a film.
A film that only twelve people saw in Ireland, Dope is a comedy/gangster/coming-of-age/romance/satire/political film unlike anything else. Dope is hilarious without feeling flimsy and dramatic without ever feeling heavy. It has a tone so unique that each second is worth savouring. If it still exists, watch it.
In an era of cinema when campy superhero crap is making a return, and onscreen violence has been neutered to an all-time low, it’s refreshing and exciting to see a film that feels real. Such a film is Sicario, a Mexico-based tale surrounding the unending War on Drugs. Sicario is brutal and terrifying; with the tensest traffic jam ever put on screen. Just be careful the soundtrack does blow out your eardrums.
A film that grows on you more and more over time, Carol’s excellent performances almost make you forget you’re watching world class filmmaking. Carol is beautiful in every sense, from actors to camera, from clothes to cars. It’s like a nice warm cup of hot chocolate that happens to have ties to illicit homosexuality in 1950’s America.
Its low box-office results have made people doubt its excellence, but fear not: Steve Jobs is a masterpiece. With Boyle’s kinetic vivacity, Sorkin’s rapid fire dialogue, and award worthy turns from all the cast, the film may have suffered from Jobs-fatigue in its release, but is the most energetic film out this year.
Another film released very early in the year, Whiplash feels like it came out of nowhere. A first-time director, the guy from the terrible 21 & Over, and JK ‘I want pictures of Spiderman!’ Simmons: could this really be the team behind one of the year’s best films? Of course it can. Closer to a war film than a musical, Whiplash is inspiring in the most uninspiring way. Completely riveting.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad by name, Mad by nature. In an era where action flicks are either CGI nonsense or shakey-cam crap, it’s exhilarating to find a film that revels in being as practical as possible. Absolutely bonkers, yes, but with Tom Hardy grunting and growling and Charlize Theron giving as good as she gets, Mad Max has raised the bar on action films. Ambitious, remarkable, and a testament to what can be achieved; Mad Max is this year’s best film by a fury road mile.
Straight Outta Compton
Think Rían missed something, or included something bad? Go argue with him on Twitter.