Matt Conway’s Top 10 Films of 2015
Even with this year’s Oscar season being a relatively weak one, 2015 still proved to be an incredibly strong year in movies. Before I get to my list, here are a few very honorable mentions. Brooklyn, End of the Tour, I’ll See You in My Dreams, Mistress America, What We Do in the Shadows, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Paolo Sorrentino’s meditative drama is an ambitious and thought-provoking effort, having a sincerely profound effect on its audience.
One of the best documentaries of recent memory, the film takes its audience on the heartbreaking high’s and low’s of Amy Winehouse’s short-lived life.
Denis Villeneuve continues to earn his ranks as one of Hollywood’s best directors, with this brutally honest and exceptionally made take on the underworld of the Mexican drug trade.
- Ex Machina
While simple in concept, Alex Garland’s mesmerising science fiction tale does what great Science fiction should do, tackling worldly concepts in a smart and thoughtful way. Alicia Vikander also gives one of the year’s best performance in her breakout role.
This is being touted as the Oscar frontrunner for a reason. Featuring an all-star cast at their best, along with a realistic portrayal of the tribulations of journalist work, this is a fascinating and hard-hitting drama.
- The Walk
Easily the year’s most underrated flick, The Walk is more than just a sum of its fantastic climactic sequence. Instead, it’s a great celebration of the triumph of man, while also paying tribute to the fallen Two Towers.
Critics and audiences seemed to be mixed on the film, but O’Russell’s latest is my personal favorite of his resume. Featuring Jennifer Lawrence in a commanding lead performance, Joy is a modern-day fairy tale, featuring beautifully crafted visceral storytelling and emotionally vibrant core.
- Steve Jobs
Featuring a commanding performance from Michael Fassbender as the enigmatic lead, Steve Jobs is an extremely visceral biopic that gets to the heart of its subject. Danny Boyle also continues to show his talents, with some alive and amplified sequences that pulsate compared to the conventional films.
- James White
A gut-wrenching, emotionally raw powerhouse, writer/director Josh Mond’s take on heartbreak and loss is shockingly honest. Featuring Christopher Abbot in the year’s best performance, the film explores the nuances of its characters and their situation. This film had a profound emotional effect on me that won’t be forgotten.
- Love and Mercy
Exploring the inspiration of Brian Wilson’s profound work, along with the anguish of his past, Love and Mercy is the best music biopic I have ever seen. Stars Paul Dano and John Cusack deliver well-realized and thoughtful performances as Wilson, with the stylish and unconventional storytelling capturing the nuances of him and his work. Elizabeth Banks also delivers a career-best performance as the loving and strong Melinda Ledbetter.