Richard Martin’s Top 10 Films of 2015
Admittedly it has been a very poor for me on the film front (plenty of stellar TV to fill my precious free time), watching under a measly 35 films in 2015, of those, 17 were released this year and only 12 were feature length so bear with this rather hodgepodge Top 10!
Top 10 Films of 2015 in reverse order!
10. Jurassic World (Cinema)
JW was a pretty decent popcorn movie and was made for the big screen. Great to see the park open finally, a really immersive world was created here. I really wish JW was a real park! Daydreaming aside, beyond the gorgeous visuals there wasn’t much substance to the story. Character actions were sometimes completely nonsensical and this pulled me out of the illusion. Had some elements been presented a bit differently JW could have gone from good to great with little changed from the core viewing. I still enjoyed it though, go T-Rex!
9. Spectre (Cinema)
One of two spy thrillers on this list; Spectre was quite enjoyable to watch. It has been criticised for its relevance in this day and age, with the character himself in-film, getting criticised for his own relevance since Goldeneye. Well I agree in so much that how can you tell the same story for 50 years; tall, dark, handsome international man of mystery, secret spy, kills the baddies, finds the hidden liar, gets the girl and drives the car. Albeit for newer audiences Spectre is another solid entry into the already jam packed back catalogue of Bond movies. It just fell a bit flat for its third act, not as good as the previous Skyfall.
8. Ant-Man (VOD)
I didn’t end up seeing Ant-Man when it first came out in the cinema. As with a lot of people I didn’t feel a lot of hype around the character and assumed it was just Disney cashing in on Marvel’s b-listers. Sitting down one recent Sunday to Netflix and chill and decided I’d watch AM. With no expectations going in I was blown away at the quality of the film, its story, action and humour rivalling that of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Assemble. Paul Rudd fits the role perfectly and I look forward to future entries in the series that incorporate the Ant-Man!
7. The Martian (Cinema)
Being at the butt of a few jokes regarding Matt Damon’s uncanny ability to be on the receiving end of a retrieval in a few films to date, The Martian still managing to tell a convincing and relatable story. The problem with these types of rescue films however, is that you can be fairly sure the stranded character is going to be rescued; be this person lost at sea, an island, a prison and in this case another planet. If they don’t survive the 90mins runtime the emotional investment is wasted. This aside, the banter had with Damon’s character and him coping with rationing and survival is worth the journey.
6. Terminator: Genisys (Cinema)
As a lifelong fan of Arnie, it could be a bit biased of me to include the 5th instalment of the Terminator franchise on this list. Boiling it down, it’s a reimagine of T1 and T2 set in a staggered future, telling the same story for the fifth time; Skynet vs Sarah and John Connors and Kyle Reese. But let us be honest with ourselves, nobody was expecting story telling brilliance. Great action and nostalgic quips with Arnie reprising his role as an aged T-800 Model 101 named “Pops” was worth the ticket price alone. A recommended watch for both Terminator and Arnie fans alike.
5. The Babadook (VOD)
As this film came out in late 2014, it’s a bit of a cheat that it made this list, but I feel it deserved to get a mention in this year’s line up, as I was blown away by the quality of this horror movie. My initial thoughts were; here we go again, another haunted house/possessed child rehash but the overall commentary on stress, grief, PTSD, anger, frustration, parenthood, was such a breath of fresh air and a credit to the team that put this masterwork on the screen. Having slipped under my radar last year I’m so glad this one didn’t pass me altogether. Highly recommended for any horror fan, which I assume we all are, this being read on UKHS after all 😉
4. Kung Fury (VOD)
Had Kung Fury been a feature length or even just 15min longer it would have made number 1. I followed its Kickstarter from the beginning, the wait was intense. The whole concept in its ridiculousness was exactly what I love; 80’s cheesy action, Miami, neon, synthwave tunes, cop drama, tongue ‘n cheek approach. It was such great fun to watch at only 30min runtime and freely available on Netflix and YouTube, I highly recommend this passion project!
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service (Cinema)
The year for spy thrillers as two have made this list. Kingsman knows what it is and thus, has some fun with it while not making it a complete cheese fest. Yes that means plenty of gadgets, girls and tomfoolery, presented in a convincing and engaging manner and doesn’t devolve into the crudeness of say Austin Powers. Highly entertaining and surprising as this was completely off my radar with no hype around it, I didn’t even watch the trailer so I was completely blind going in, which is a rarity in an age of teaser trailers and pre-teaser trailer teaser trailers (so meta).
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (Cinema)
A fine spectacle of cinema goodness; I say cinema as this film was made for the big screen. What is essentially one long chase scene; has us at the edge of our seat from start to finish. The burnt out wasteland of post-nuclear Australia where both water and fuel are king is very engaging and entertaining. Saturated vistas and plenty explosions, you can almost smell the clutch, rubber and petrol of the war machines. Charlize Theron steals the show as the one armed Furiosa putting Tom Hardy’s Max in her shadow, which is very refreshing to see a strong and convincing female lead in a summer blockbuster action film. Mad Max narrowly misses the top spot on my list with a very late entry! Mad Max however, is sheer brilliance in simplistic storytelling, fine acting and breath taking action, all perfectly executed as far as I’m concerned.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Cinema)
There is little I can say that won’t give away major plot spoilers, as this is a very late addition to this list. For old and new fans of this long running franchise, fret not. This far exceeds the prequel trilogy and really adds new flare and talent. The music, the transitions, the set pieces, the characters, are all stunning. Hitting a fine balance of humour, action and stoicism from the characters, it is a testament to J.J. Abrams and his very talented team. A must see for anybody, Star Wars: TFA is a great way to end 2015 cinema!
Dud 1: Avengers: Age of Ultron (Cinema)
After enjoying the first film this dull, carbon copy of the original brought nothing new to the table and was an absolute snooze-fest. The previous villain swapped out for a new one presenting the same treat as before, a cataclysmic event that will wipe out the planet, the plans (again) foiled after the resolution of the (again) conflicts within the team for them to (again) realise they should work together to (again) defeat the Big Bad. Seriously the height of laziness and a real let down, with less humour and less action than the previous it was pathetic.
Dud 2: Fifty Shades of Grey (Cinema)
A true talent is needed to make a film that which I’d the lowest expectations for, to even be worse than anticipated. A PG-13 take on the world of BDSM. Painting the female lead as a complete puppet and Mr. Grey as an egomaniacal, borderline rapist is so far removed from the truth of this subculture its embarrassing. What was hyped up to be a porno could never have been as it’s a mainstream studio making this for the mainstream audience. Admittedly only watched out of curiosity, it failed to even arouse that, never mind anything sexual! 50 Shades of Tame.