Every year we experience the highs and lows of film and film making and 2015 has been no exception. In order to have the good, we must have the bad and vice versa. One thing to always remember when watching an incredible amount of films per year like we here at Movie Critical do, is that you tend to embrace the mediocre films as much as the brilliant films as they make you appreciate the latter even more.
This year we watched 72 films which were part of the 2015 Australia cinema release schedule and the following are our top ten films from those that we viewed. Please note that some of the films which are included in this list were not necessarily made in 2015, but were released in Australia in the calendar year.
Stay tuned at the end of the list for our bottom five films of 2015! We would also love to hear your feedback or what films were your favourite for 2015.
Happy New Year!
Release Date: 6 August 2015
Amy Schumer's semi-autobiographical Trainwreck has been hailed by many as the comedy of the year with it's incredibly witty, hilarious and highly 2015 relevant screenplay. The Judd Apatow directed film catapulted Schumer to superstardom and made her a household name, and it is clear to anyone who has seen the film why. She is the perfect leading lady for the times and shows her versatility with not just a hilarious performance, but one that is also raw, emotional and real. Bill Hader is also incredibly convincing as her leading man and the cameos are a great deal of fun.
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Release Date: 17th December 2015
The most anticipated film of the year which is currently breaking every box office record it possibly can is also one of the best films of the year. Star Wars: The Force Awakens excels as a standalone film and not just as a franchise film. While it is an absolute treat for all those loyal Star Wars fans, it can be enjoyed by those who are not typically sci-fi film fans for it's incredible action sequences supported by impressive special effects and interesting and well-rounded characters. The Force Awakens also takes full advantage of having a strong female lead in Rey (Daisy Ridley) which is what movie goers have been calling for and Star Wars has answered.
8. The Martian
Release Date: 30 September 2015
The Martian is an incredibly intelligent film which is also a whole lot of fun at the same time. Unlike many other smart sci-fi films, it explains itself so well that the audience understands the how and why of everything that occurs during Mark Watney's (Matt Damon) desertion on Mars. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, the screenplay written by Drew Goddard is surprisingly witty and comical which gives an overall feeling of fun as well as intrigue. Matt Damon also gives a brilliant one man performance.
7. Inside Out
Release Date: 18 June 2015
Only Disney Pixar could make a film about emotions as lead characters and have it be not just the best animated film of the year, but be right up there with the best films of the year. Inside Out had many grown men openly admitting that they sobbed at the end. The pure emotion extracted in the closing scenes of the film struck a chord with many and there is so much beauty in how pure and innocent it is. With a wonderful screenplay with beautiful and creative visuals, one has to believe that Inside Out must be the front runner for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards this coming February.
Release Date: 6 June 2015 (Sydney Film Festival)
2015 was a massive year for documentary and this will be one of the most interesting categories at this year's Academy Awards. Documentary mastermind, Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief is an incredible piece of non-fiction film making. It takes you on an intriguing ride through the world of Scientology where the viewer is firstly informed as to the origins and doctrine of the cult and then they are challenged by a wave of emotions that leaves them feeling utterly shocked and terrified. Going Clear is incredibly well researched and compiled on film which also informs as well as challenges.
Release Date: 19 February 2015
Ava DuVernay's Selma is an incredibly powerful piece of cinema that chronicles Martin Luther King's historical march from Selma to Montgomery in the name of equal voting rights. Shocking, but at the same time rather beautiful, Selma is a triumph with it's stunning cinematography and stellar performances, especially by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King.
Release Date: 1 October 2015
Justin Kurzel's adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth is a hypnotic, beautiful cinematic triumph that does something exquisite and creative which the much told tale of the king gone mad. Visually, the 2015 Macbeth is nothing short of absolutely stunning with stellar cinematography, amazing costume design by Jacqueline Durran and beautiful period set design. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are absolute perfection as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with both giving emotional performances and delivering the Shakespearean dialogue with ease and beauty.
Release Date: 6 June 2015
Listen To Me Marlon is a documentary like no other. With the discovery of a number of personal tapes in which Marlon Brando recorded himself talking about his life and movies, we are given the incredible opportunity to learn about one of cinema's greatest and most complex figures straight from the source as though he has risen from the grave. One comes to understand Brando in a way never thought possible with the aid of his own personal recounts accompanied by archive news and film footage. A must for any classic film or Brando fan.
Release Date: 1 January 2015
Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game is an incredibly entertaining and enjoyable film which serves as a biopic of the mathematician Alan Turing which focuses primarily on his little known role in World War II. The screenplay by Graham Moore, which took away the Oscar for Best Screenplay last year, is extremely tight and strong with brilliant dialogue and moments of both emotion and hilarity that gave it's stars the opportunity to turn in spectacular performances. Benedict Cumberbatch shines as Turing and is supported by an incredibly strong cast which compliment each other perfectly.
Release Date: 15 January 2015
Our favourite film of the year is also the film that earlier this year took away the big one at the Academy Awards. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has it's share of lovers and haters and many will probably disagree with our choice to have this as Movie Critical's best film of 2015, but we see Birdman as being an all-round brilliant piece of cinema. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's direction is exquisite, the editing is brilliant and acting by all involved superb. The film indeed relishes in it's quirkiness as it knows what it is and what it is doing and it is this creative quirkiness that gives it it's intrigue and makes for an incredibly entertaining cinematic experience.
Movie Critical's Worst Films of 2015
5. Jupiter Ascending
3. Fifty Shades of Grey
2. Penguins of Madagascar
1. Seventh Son