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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  /  Best of 2015
Posted by: James McClung, January 8th, 2016, 4:41pm
That time of the year again... or perhaps a few weeks late. I always have fun with end-of-the-year lists regardless. Still have to catch up on a few prospective Oscar contenders (e.g. Room, Carol, etc.), but other than that, I'm all caught up with my must-sees, with a small handful being released in the coming months.

My top flicks of 2015 (in as much order as I could muster):

1. Wild Tales
2. Inside Out
3. The Revenant
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Ex Machina
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Anomalisa
8. Love
9. Bone Tomahawk
10. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Honorable mention (alphabetical):

Backcountry
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Krampus
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
Sicario
Slow West
Spotlight
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Straight Outta Compton

Worst film: The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)

Any other thoughts/lists for 2015?
Posted by: Angry Bear, January 8th, 2016, 5:49pm; Reply: 1
James,

have you seen The Experiment with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker? If so, which one was better, The Experiment or The Stanford Prison Experiment? I thought The Experiment was great and I really don't like Brody at all.

Other than that I don't have any comments on your list. 2015 was yet another year I didn't go to see one single movie. :B

I did watch A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night though, but I watched it on NetFlix. It was okay.  

Now I remember! I did start to watch The Human Centipede, but I found it unwatchable and gave up after 20 minutes.
Posted by: Demento, January 8th, 2016, 6:01pm; Reply: 2

Quoted from Angry Bear
James,

have you seen The Experiment with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker? If so, which one was better, The Experiment or The Stanford Prison Experiment? I thought The Experiment was great and I really don't like Brody at all.


I thought the German one was the best out of the three. But wasn't too big of a fan of any. The one with Bordy and Whitaker I would rank as the worse.
Posted by: Dustin, January 8th, 2016, 6:39pm; Reply: 3
I thought Gone Girl was a pretty good film and I don't really like the main actor. However, he played that part pretty well. I almost didn't go through with watching it as the first five minutes turned me off. Once I got into it though it was all right. Lots of similar stories out there, but you could say the same about all of them.
Posted by: Angry Bear, January 8th, 2016, 7:17pm; Reply: 4
What was the name of the German one?

Dustin, I liked Gone Girl too, but I had read the book, so the "twist" wasn't a surprise. Besides, films are seldom as good as the books.  :)
Posted by: TonyDionisio, January 8th, 2016, 7:32pm; Reply: 5
James,

The little film called The Force Awakens didn't make the list? Heh.
Posted by: albinopenguin, January 8th, 2016, 7:53pm; Reply: 6
I dig your list James. It's not only unique, solid as well. Mine's a bit more mainstream, but here it is...

10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
9. The Gift
8. Room
7. The Hateful Eight
6. Ex Machina
5. Inside Out
4. Anomalisa
3. The Revenant
2. Bone Tomahawk
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
Posted by: James McClung, January 8th, 2016, 7:59pm; Reply: 7

Quoted from Angry Bear
James,

have you seen The Experiment with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker? If so, which one was better, The Experiment or The Stanford Prison Experiment? I thought The Experiment was great and I really don't like Brody at all.


I did not see The Experiment. Just watched the trailer, though. Honestly, the two look like completely different films. The Stanford Prison Experiment generally remained true to the source material. All the characters had the same names as their real-life counterparts, and there were a good handful of scenes towards the end that were basically line-by-line recreations of video footage from the original experiment. Not sure how many liberties they took in the end (I'm sure they had to take a few), but The Experiment, in comparison, looks like complete fiction inspired by elements of the original experiment.

I have not seen the German version. Been on my Netflix saved list for a few years now. If there's an easier way to access it, short of blind-buying a super expensive copy on Amazon, I haven't come across it yet. On my radar in any case.

Regardless, I've been hoping they'd make a faithful adaptation of the original experiment for years now. I think it has a lot to say about the concept of good and evil, power, and how circumstances define an individual more than their own values and perceptions of themselves. Fascinating shit.


Quoted from TonyDionisio
James,

The little film called The Force Awakens didn't make the list? Heh.


I didn't see it. Fuck me, right? Seriously, it's in the double digits at this point how many people have asked if I've seen it.

Honestly, I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan and haven't seen the originals since I was a little kid, but the real reason I missed the new one was because I basically underestimated how accessible it'd be upon its release. I figured it'd be sold out for months, so I didn't even bother to pursue it. That said, not a single person I've talked to hasn't liked it, even though everyone has their gripes. I'm of a mind to check it out very soon and honestly think I'll enjoy it just fine.
Posted by: Dustin, January 9th, 2016, 4:35am; Reply: 8

Quoted from Demento


I thought the German one was the best out of the three. But wasn't too big of a fan of any. The one with Bordy and Whitaker I would rank as the worse.


I haven't watched any of them as I see them as an extension of the Milgram experiment. However, I did watch a film called Stoic several years ago that I believe gives some real insights into true human nature.
Posted by: Heretic, January 9th, 2016, 1:31pm; Reply: 9

Quoted from Dustin
However, I did watch a film called Stoic several years ago that I believe gives some real insights into true human nature.


An Uwe Boll shoutout! That's a rarity...

***

A great year for film. There's still so much I'm stoked to see.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Room
3. The Hateful Eight
4. The Gift
5. Mistress America
6. Creed
7. Wild Tales
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Final Girls
10. The Visit

Haven't seen:

Tangerine
Carol
Tom at the Farm
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Mommy
Love
Spotlight
The Big Short

Worst film, honourable mention: Brooklyn
Worst film: Jurassic World
Posted by: Demento, January 9th, 2016, 4:59pm; Reply: 10

Quoted from Angry Bear
What was the name of the German one?


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250258/
Posted by: Penoyer79, January 10th, 2016, 2:41am; Reply: 11
The Revenant (though technically it's a 2016 movie), Bone Tomahawk, The Martian, and Star Wars top my list... not necessarily in that order.

----

I have to say, I wasn't impressed with The Hateful Eight. That's not to say it was a waste of time, nor was it a bad movie by any means.

But I hold Tarantino to a very high standard. and this one just didn't even come close Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds. Both of which IMO are among the best movies of the last 10 years.
I've also kind of grown bored with Sam Jackson. He's a one note wonder.

I didnt like the way H8ful ended. i thought it kind of went out with a whimper.

With that cast, and that premise - It should have been a slam dunk. It wasn't.

---

I didn't care for Mad Max either... i thought it was actually pretty ridiculous.

---

i need to see Creed, Heart of The Sea, and I want to see Everest as well.
Posted by: Toby_E, January 10th, 2016, 10:38am; Reply: 12
The top-spot is a close toss-up between:

1. Whiplash
2. Girlhood


Rounding out the rest of the top 10 (in no particular order):

--45 Years
--While We're Young
--Bridge of Spies
--Hateful 8
--Sicario
--Birdman
--A Most Violent Year
--Foxcatcher


Still need to see:
--Star Wars
--Ex Machina
--Reverent
--Slow West
--Mad Max
--Inherent Vice
--Carol
--The Tribe

I've got most of these films above either recorded or on DVD (or I plan to watch them at the cinema over the next two weeks), so I will update this list as I go :-)
Posted by: James McClung, January 10th, 2016, 12:59pm; Reply: 13

Quoted from Toby_E
The Tribe


Rest assured, while it was not on my list, this was a great film.

I'd watch on the big screen if possible. Can't imagine watching it at home. Too many distractions. Unless you can read sign language, you'll be missing a substantial chunk of the plot anyway (which is part of the point, I suppose). Feel like in the wrong environment, you might have not watched much of anything at all when the credits roll.

Fascinating viewing experience anyway. Difficult to describe, honestly. But well-worth it.
Posted by: Toby_E, January 10th, 2016, 2:06pm; Reply: 14
Unfortunately I missed it when it was out...so the DVD copy that I got for Christmas will have to do! I'm seriously intrigued to see how they manage to pull off what is, essentially, an unsubtitled foreign film.

I shall post back in here when I get round to watching it!
Posted by: JonnyBoy, January 12th, 2016, 9:04am; Reply: 15
Lots of films from the 2nd half of last year yet to come out over here in the UK, but based on first release dates (US or elsewhere), by my calculations I saw sixteen of 2015's films. An embarrassingly small number, but I've bought a cinema membership card (unlimited films for a monthly fee) now so planning to see dozens this year.

Of what I saw, top 5 in no order would probably be:

- Ex Machina
- Inside Out
- Steve Jobs
- The Martian
- Carol

In the Heart of the Sea, Joy and The Hateful Eight are out but haven't seen them yet. Looking forward to catching Room, Trumbo, Creed, The Revenant and The Big Short when they finally appear over here.

Biggest disappointment? Spectre, probably. Really good reviews, but after the searing opening sequence in Mexico City it's just all a bit 'meh'. Even Christoph Waltz is only passably interesting.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 12th, 2016, 10:23am; Reply: 16
My top of 2015 were... and these are as an overall viewing experience, not at a specific story or script level!

1) Inside Out
2) Mad Max
3) Star Wars
4) Ex Machina
5) The Green Room
6) Mr Holmes
7) Beasts of No Nation
8) It Follows
9) The Witch
10) Kajaki

Hateful Eight would have made it but it's a 2016 release in UK.

At the cinema I saw 30 films last year and watched another 40 on other media (Sky, Netflix, DVD) for a total of 70, a bit above average for me.

Anthony
Posted by: Angry Bear, January 12th, 2016, 11:17am; Reply: 17
I only watched one movie in the theaters. The Martian. It was good, but IMHO, if that was one of the year's 10 best, I don't think I missed much.

I did see Ex - Machina. That too was good, but nothing spectacular.
I saw It Follows as well. I LOVED the premise, but thought the film sucked.

I probably watched another sixty or so films during the year on TV or NetFlix, but I tend to seek out weird fare for my own entertainment.  :)
Posted by: Dustin, January 12th, 2016, 11:45am; Reply: 18
Beasts of No Nation is an excellent film. I also enjoyed the latest Mission Impossible, mainly because of Sean Harris who is a brilliant actor.
Posted by: Heretic, January 12th, 2016, 2:21pm; Reply: 19

Quoted from AnthonyCawood
5) The Green Room


Damn. Missed this one when it came through town. Very excited to see it. Blue Ruin and Murder Party are both fantastic.

Saw Bone Tomahawk thanks to this thread. Fantastic film. Makes so much sense that he's a novelist -- you feel the research and detail right from the start.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 12th, 2016, 2:34pm; Reply: 20
There's a really good interview with Zahler in the new Ashley Scott Meyers podcast, think it went up yesterday.

And yes, was lucky to see Green Room at Leeds Film Fest last year, it was part of one of the Horror events so I watched with 400 hardened gore hounds... didn't stop the gasps and the winces as the story unfolded.

Believe it's getting a limited release this year.

Anthony
Posted by: JonnyBoy, January 12th, 2016, 5:59pm; Reply: 21
Though can we all take a second to contemplate the ridiculousness of The Martin winning prizes in 'Musical or Comedy' categories at the GGs? How is that right?! It's a sci-fi action/drama film.
Posted by: Demento, January 12th, 2016, 7:47pm; Reply: 22

Quoted from JonnyBoy
Though can we all take a second to contemplate the ridiculousness of The Martin winning prizes in 'Musical or Comedy' categories at the GGs? How is that right?! It's a sci-fi action/drama film.


Awards in creative fields that are subjective are nonsense.

That was clearly a set-up, so It'd have a chance to win something.

Remember when Ethan Hawke was nominated for best supporting actor and Denzel was nominated for best lead in Training Day? When Ethan Hawke appears in like every frame of that movie! The movie starts with him waking up and ends with him arriving home. We follow him the whole way through, but somehow he's the supporting character?
Posted by: James McClung, January 13th, 2016, 6:42pm; Reply: 23
Saw Room. Beautiful film. One of the year's best.

There is a turning point after which the film starts to drag a little and jump around narratively speaking. A little jarring after such a tight first act or so. At the same time, it sorta makes sense, and I wonder if that wasn't part of the point; after said turning point, there is sooo much to unpack, to the point where it could've ran for four hours and still not been at a loss of content and urgency. Nevertheless, I sorta wonder if a smaller, more concise second half wouldn't have been the better way to go, especially with how subtle and classy the final scene is.

Highly recommended in any case. I'm thinking Brie Larson'll probably nab the Best Actress Oscar.
Posted by: Equinox, January 14th, 2016, 3:28pm; Reply: 24

Quoted from Angry Bear
James,

have you seen The Experiment with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker? If so, which one was better, The Experiment or The Stanford Prison Experiment? I thought The Experiment was great and I really don't like Brody at all.

Other than that I don't have any comments on your list. 2015 was yet another year I didn't go to see one single movie. :B

I did watch A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night though, but I watched it on NetFlix. It was okay.  

Now I remember! I did start to watch The Human Centipede, but I found it unwatchable and gave up after 20 minutes.


There's a german version of the story as well which I thought was very good quality for a german film:

Posted by: Equinox, January 14th, 2016, 3:30pm; Reply: 25
Besides that, I thought Terminator 5 was a positive surprise in 2015.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, January 14th, 2016, 4:08pm; Reply: 26
loved Star wars...perhaps too much. its flawed but it allowed me to drift away, forget where i was, and thats not bad for a film

loved Inside out, the good dinosaur not so. can't get everything right

missed mad max and i was furious...now have it on DVD (not watched) but won't be the same as on the big screen

disappointed with bond

perhaps ill go and see the reverant - does that mean something??
Posted by: kev, January 14th, 2016, 6:50pm; Reply: 27
I thought this was a pretty great year for movies, there's probably a quite a few gems that I'm missing.

1) It Follows
2) Wild Tales
3) Mistress America
4) Mad Max: Fury Road
5) Spy
6) The Lobster
7) Room
8) Clouds of Sils Maria
9) Dope
10) Inside Out
Posted by: spesh2k, January 14th, 2016, 7:38pm; Reply: 28
1. Creed (it's the Philly boy in me)
2. Whiplash
3. Sicario
4. Inside Out
5. It Follows
6. The Big Short
7. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl
8. Dope
9. Straight Outta Compton
10. The Suicide Theory (yeah, I know it's douchie of me to include the film I wrote... but fuck it. I wanted to see it in a top 10 list)

Still haven't seen: The Revenant, Spotlight, Room, Hateful Eight, Anomalisa
Posted by: Dreamscale, January 15th, 2016, 11:33am; Reply: 29
Call me crazy, but why hasn't anyone included Jurassic World?  Not even op 10?  Really?

Pretty shocking, if you ask me.
Posted by: JonnyBoy, January 15th, 2016, 11:34am; Reply: 30

Quoted from Dreamscale
Call me crazy, but why hasn't anyone included Jurassic World?  Not even op 10?  Really?

Pretty shocking, if you ask me.


Didn't see it!
Posted by: James McClung, January 15th, 2016, 12:12pm; Reply: 31
I honestly didn't care for Jurassic World. Not a bad flick, as I recall, but too campy for my taste and without many memorable dinosaur moments other than the final scene, which was admittedly great. More importantly, even writing this, I'm straining to remember specifics about the film, good or bad. Whatever the issues, I think it just didn't really make much of an impression on me in the end. I'll stick with the original.
Posted by: Dustin, January 15th, 2016, 12:25pm; Reply: 32
My kids liked Jurassic World because they didn't see the first one. I zoned out about 10 minutes in. I suppose it boils down to one's mentality.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 15th, 2016, 3:07pm; Reply: 33
I thought JW was a reasonable reboot, decent enough action scenes and Chris Pratt is always watchable... but it just wasn't special imho and the script felt a bit patchwork  
Posted by: Demento, January 15th, 2016, 3:54pm; Reply: 34
I thought Jurassic World was horrible :) Same old, same old.
Posted by: JonnyBoy, January 23rd, 2016, 2:10pm; Reply: 35
Now managed to catch up on Room, Creed, The Big Short and Mad Max: Fury Road. The latter finished about half an hour ago - think I'm still coming down from the adrenaline...!

Think I'm gonna have to revise my 'Best of' list once I've also seen a few more of last year's US releases, which are now appearing over here. One question: is Brooklyn worth seeing on a big screen, will I be missing out on the cinematic experience of it if I wait for it to appear on Sky/Netflix/similar?
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