2015 has been a bipolar year for movies. For every classic, there's been a dud. One day we watched The Theory of Everything and the next, we endured Ted 2. Here are our 10 favourite films.
10. Steve Jobs
Okay, we were annoyed at this film first. From the perspective of someone who read the Steve Jobs biography this film was "loosely based upon," this does change the real story a lot to benefit the plot. You will get mad when Steve creates NEXT purely to be a trojan horse and charge back into Apple after being fired. The frustration will be felt at the mistelling of Jobs' relationship with his daughter.
But forget the true story, and what you have is another great 'maverick entrepreneur takes on the world' movie. This is not on the level of The Social Network, but it's a great watch nonetheless.
Upon first impression, we enjoyed this film a lot. This was actually set to be higher on the list, but some key problems knocked it down a few places.
Taking the Skyfall recipe of seeing the classic character adapt to a modern time, but blending it further with the cheese of classic Bond storylines, Spectre is a quintessentially British film that is just downright enjoyable to watch. Sure its got problems: the attitude towards women has gone backward to Pierce Brosnan, and it's definitely not as good as Casino Royale.
But this is a Bond film through and through.
8. The Good Dinosaur
This one demonstrates Pixar's strength at telling a human story with non-human characters, and takes it one step further by reversing the relationship between dinosaurs and cavemen. With a simple heartwarming moral embedded in a quirky alternative universe, The Good Dinosaur is a great watch for anyone who ever got emotional about the opening 20 minutes of Up.
7. Jurassic World
The fact you can perfectly sync WWE commentary to the final battle of Jurassic World shows that this film is not taking itself too seriously. That makes for a perfect rebirth of the dinosaur franchise.
In a great modernisation of the original story that turns meta-commentary on itself (kids don't find dinosaurs entertaining anymore? Who knew!), we follow a corporate-sponsored genetically engineered dinosaur on its murderous rampage across the theme park.
It's completely brainless, but that's the attraction. Sit back and enjoy a summer blockbuster.
This one we did not expect to like so much. On the face of it, it's a fairly lazy Macbook screen recording-turned-horror movie. Look deeper and you see a great little commentary about the overuse of social media. It's the millennials' version of Blair Witch Project; a short 90-minute romp that you can't help but watch. In terms of the greater horror film genre, this one is easily forgotten in the noise. But take some time and give it a watch.
Finding Nemo with Bradley Cooper, drugs and a bucket load of swearing. The story does take some almost operatic turns, feeling kind of comedic in these moments. But what you have here is a great all round film, providing the right level of character development as an added layer of complexity to the simple storyline.
The chemistry between characters really fuels what could've been a boring movie if put into the wrong hands. But this turns into one of our must-sees of 2015.
4. Straight Outta Compton
Since The Social Network, people have been clamouring for a good rags-to-riches story. Straight Outta Compton achieves that with an added bleak commentary on racial adversity in the late 80s and 90s. Look past the writers' swerve around the whole 'Dr. Dre is abusive to women' situation, and the allowances the team give themselves on ignoring other situations, then you get a gripping film. Plus it got us back into N.W.A. So that's always a winner.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Warboys! When it comes to summer blockbusters, this was one of the best we've seen in a long while. The story did not intrude on the unadulterated action, shot almost pornographically, to the point that the story is the action. Sit back and enjoy what is a colourful feast of non-stop chaos and action.
2. Bridge of Spies
Proof that Steven Spielberg hasn't lost a step in the creation of tense wartime thrillers, Bridge of Spies checks every box for being the best film of the year, bar my own opinion on what should be at the top. Tom Hanks is excellent as the role of a legal negotiator for the United States, the action is suspended in place of amazing character development, and the tension builds through legitimate suspense. Simply put, you have to watch this and enjoy.
1. Star Wars Episode VII
A decade after we saw the last of the prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens introduced a pitch perfect balance of retro callbacks and new story, along with a kick-ass female protagonist, to become our favourite film of 2015. You can read our full thoughts in the review, but there is a reason why this has been the quickest film to gross $1 billion. Our resident Star Wars nerd watched it three times, his girlfriend (who hadn't watched any of the films before seeing this one) liked it too. You must watch it. Let the trailer convince you of one fact: this is the film you're looking for.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.