2015 Top Ten

Well, I’ve left it long enough, either forgetfulness or not knowing where to start has seen it shuttle through eight days of January 2016 so it’s only right that before February hits us I run down my top ten movies of last year. This was hard, because I still haven’t seen some films that may have landed in the list, i.e. ‘Star Wars’ or because I had to drop some films I liked and found interesting, i.e. ‘It Follows’ or ‘Shaun the Sheep: The Movie’! Also please comment on agreements and disagreements you have and what you would put in your 2015 top ten, that would be cool! Enough pre-amble…on to the main event, in at #10…

10) Love and Mercy


Wonderfully crafted and somewhat magical in the way it constructs the making of music and Brian Wilson. Paul Dano and John Cusack are equally fascinating and bring an engaging damaging sense to the man behind the Beach Boys. Read my Good Vibrations for this film by clicking on Love and Mercy.

9) Kingsman: The Secret Service


Bundles of fun can be found within this secret service as we see probably the best spy movie of 2015 hit heights of energy, spoofing and class sequences. The mix of action and spy story-telling is sublime and the comic substance really makes for a riveting watch. Manners maketh man over at my full review for Kingsman.

8) The Lady in the Van


Perhaps I loved this quite a lot because of the whole writing aspect. The Alan Bennett wit is ever present, Maggie Smith is a delight to watch and the mystery of who the lady is becomes a great narrative alongside Bennett’s typical Brit routine of politeness. The Lady in the Van review.

7) The Theory of Everything


Here mostly for Eddie Redmayne’s brilliant immersion into the part of Hawking but also because Felicity Jones weighs up the other side of the relationship with captivating poise. It’s a well-told story done in a typically awards season way buy wow is it ever emotional. Review here.

6) The Voices


I’d love this to be higher I truly would, but pretty much all of the following films became hard for me to order. This quirky dark comedy is so masterfully made, the performance by Reynolds is fun and disturbing and you just never know where you are with the film which is just great. See Voices and read my words at my review.

5) Inside Out


When Pixar releases two films in one year, you know at least one of them will be reaching top ten lists everywhere and without any hesitation it must be this one concerning Riley and her head full of emotions that try to do their best to help her move to a new state. The movie is smart, emotional, fun, colourful and emotional…welp, I know I said that already but it is. I’ll need a minute, check out my review while I mull over sadness.

4) Whiplash 


At one moment in 2015 this was my favourite film but it sadly drops a few places, that doesn’t make it any less exhilarating though. The music is phenomenal, both Teller and Simmons are incredible acting off each other and for a film about drumming this becomes one of the best edited and tense features I’ve seen for a while. My Whiplash review at my tempo.

3) Ex Machina


Ugh, I adore this film, the sleek quality, the worrying theme of technology, the beginning of Alicia Vikander’s rise, the Oscar Isaac dance and the fantastic ending. It’s so well shot and written and I may just have to watch it again right now. Ex Machina review.

2) Room


This has not even hit UK screens yet but I’m writing it up for 2015 because I was lucky enough to be studying in America when it was released there. Hopefully you’ll agree once you see it that the story is beautiful and raw, the performances from the two leads are heart-wrenching and engaging and the whole world and tragic darkness of its past are effortlessly created by Abrahamson and the source material of the novel. Review of Room.


1) Mad Max: Fury Road


What a film, what a lovely film. I’ve seen this race in at a lot of top spots recently and it’s not difficult to see why as we get introduced to a dystopian world full of sandstorms, cars and strong women. The shots are absolutely amazing, the sequences and practical effects make the film stand out as true testament to what can be done and this really needs to be up for Best Picture because it isn’t just entertainment, it’s a greatly crafted feat of film-making too. Hop on down to my Fury Road review by clicking on Mad Max.








The Theory of Everything (2015)


I love this time of year, new beginnings and resolutions may be some people’s great outlooks but I happily accept the influx of heavyweight movies lining up for award ceremony recognition. This is one of those movies. A biopic of one of the most famous male icons is developed through touching and beautiful storytelling led by two tour de force performances.

This film journeys from 60’s Cambridge to detail the relationship between physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and literary student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). It tells of their growing love and togetherness, strongly shown as Hawking is diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease leaving him declining in abilities and putting Jane front and centre as strong caring wife and mother as Stephen continues with his scientific theories.

By far this is the sentimental piece of the possible nomination crowd, the romantic biographical stance feels like the ’12 Years A Slave’ type and so that bodes well for this James Marsh directed story. On the whole, the romance is never sickly and forced, at least shared with Stephen and Jane it’s developed fantastically. The relationship feels so real and chemistry between the two actors is precise and authentic that you honestly believe you’re watching people and not stars doing their job.

If you want to see an emotional tale that not only feels but looks beautiful then this is the one for you. Cambridge couldn’t be more of a perfect English setting to backdrop the coming together of this strong willed minds and Benoit Delhomme captures the posh stunning landscape of the area in a great way that compliments the tone of the film really well. In general this film is softly felt, the look is not glowing but kind of rounded in the edges, making that romantic side of things more pronounced and most of the time this works to its benefit.

There’s creative and lovely imagery to be found in relations of subject and character. As Stephen begins his thoughts on black holes and the start of life, milk in his coffee begins to dance reflecting the vision of rolling black holes, once again as he’s weaker and relying on Jane to help him pull a jumper on his determined character makes him see a light-bulb moment that aids his theory. This is shown through the fireplace manifesting as swirling stars and burning orange mirroring space and the spark setting off in Stephen’s mind. The end cycling back through past events and stopping back on the young Jane and Stephen is also a wonderful moment in helping us relate to Hawking’s poetic yet scientific comment on there being no boundaries in life.

It has a good dose of humour that stops the film from being as overbearingly sentimental as it may otherwise have been. The smart and witty remarks from Stephen are brilliant and the way his disability is spoken of is funny, not taking the mick but lovingly poking fun at a man who can clearly take it. This humourous shine distracts just enough from the clear audible shoving of music to try and make you well up.

I think the main problem the film has are in a few certain moments where it pushes you to feel a specific way. Flaws laying in wishy washy manipulation aren’t to be overlooked and perhaps without the rising orchestral score being ever present, the emotion wouldn’t be as strong and tears wouldn’t be shed. The Wagner show for instance is a tad too dramatically done to but some backing to Stephen’s predicament, so too in a stained glass window magically glowing with sunlight as two characters kiss, it’s a little bit manufactured making it feel like a movie and losing the amazing reality Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne are bringing to the picture.

Eddie Redmayne is in one word – outstanding. There’s no shadow of a doubt that he’ll be nominated and though I haven’t seen all of the other possible Oscar nods for lead actor, I’d agree with him winning. The immersion into this intelligent, funny man and the shocking heartbreaking disease that takes over his and Jane’s lives are so lovingly done, it’s like Stephen Hawking is on screen and not Redmayne. The twitches and crooked movements, the wide smile and the general absorbing presence he exudes make it one of the best male performances I’ve seen in a long time. Felicity Jones should also get nominated as she brings a forceful heroine onto the screens, she’s at first delicate and then tired but strong. It’s clear to see the way she feels from just the look in her eyes, she’s exhausted and needs someone else, Jones polishes the loving yet possibly lost wife with magnificence.

Aside from a handful of twee moments, this is a phenomenal biopic with pristine direction, hair, make up and costume and two magnetic and marvelous lead performances that’s it’s paved the way for 2015 very well indeed.