Donald Strohman’s Top 10 Movies of 2015
- Mad Max Fury Road
In an industry dominated by CGI, whether spectacular or cheap, it’s nice to see a studio return to more realistic effects. Fury Road’s grand spectacle of satisfying action, well developed characters, and excellent cinematography more than make up for the film’s minor flaws.
- Ant Man
When Edgar Wright left this project due to creative differences with Marvel, many speculated this to be the studio’s first bust. However, both audiences and critics were surprised, as not only did Ant Man add another satisfying superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they even managed to turn the ability to shrink, something that many would consider a silly power, into one of epic proportions.
- The Good Dinosaur
We’ve all seen the “journey back home” movie before, but none stuck with me as well as Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur in recent memory. The beautifully animated world sucks you in immediately, but the characters of Arlo and Spot is what keeps you there. Thanks to the beautiful moments between them, I can easily say this is one of the year’s most underrated pieces.
- Avengers Age of Ultron
How exactly do you top the extravaganza of the first Avengers film? By adding a much more intimidating villain and treating the characters like real people rather than blank gods. Also, I’d be hard pressed not to admit the Hulkbuster scene tickled my nerdy side.
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
To be honest, very few of the Mission Impossible movies have ever caught my attention. I remember seeing MI3 in a drive in, and getting bored very fast. That all changed, however, with the introduction of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Who would’ve thought that this year’s Mission Impossible would even top last year’s grand effort? Ramping up the action, character development, and welcomed Simon Pegg-isms, Rogue Nation stands as one of the finest action sequels in recent memory.
Pedophilia in the church system is certainly a tricky subject to talk about in general, let alone in an entire film. Yet, Spotlight manages to delve into the uncomfortable subject matter with ease, and provides one of the most interesting true story films of the year. Not to mention, well performed actors Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton are also a plus.
- Bridge of Spies
Much like Spielberg’s earlier film Lincoln, you shouldn’t go in expecting a lot of action. This film isn’t your typical cold war espionage piece, rather, it treats the true story with the highest respects by keeping it calm, yet suspenseful. Not to mention, the fine performances from Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance are what makes this excellent film superb.
- The Martian
A welcome return to form for director Ridley Scott, and easily one of Matt Damon’s finest performances. It’s grand and spectacular when it needs to be, and surprisingly funnier than it had to be. This is the film I wanted to see when I went into Gravity in 2013, except this time my expectations were blown away.
- The Hateful Eight
What do you get when you combine one of Hollywood’s finest directors and several of Hollywood’s finest performers in a snowy western? Another grand, engaging and all around incredible picture from Quentin Tarantino, I am more than happy this film actually came to be, instead of its initial cancellation almost becoming reality.
- Inside Out
This year, we saw plenty of animated films that lacked any sense of emotional depth behind their bright colors (Cough Minions cough). However, one such film stood above all the others, thanks to its simple, yet beautiful message and the fantastic characters/casting. Inside Out is, without a doubt, one of Pixar’s finest films to date, and in my opinion, trumps all other competitors without breaking a sweat.