Judy Thorburn's Top 10 Films of 2015
In a year filled with medicore comedies, dramas and action adventures, the flicks, either fiction or based on a true story, that stood out from the rest as the most memorable for being deeply moving, inspiring and/or thought provoking were the following. Each and every one deserved to be on my Top Ten List of 2015 and brought to mind why I love movies as much I do.
Here is the list:
1. Spotlight – The true story of the 2001 investigation by the Boston Globe's Spotlight cracker jack team of reporters that exposed the systematic cover up of pedophile priests within the Catholic church is the focus of this intelligent, immaculately crafted, crime drama starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. Not since 1976's Oscar nominated, All The President's Men, has there been a film to show the power of journalism working at its best.
2. Ex Machina - Alex Garland makes an impressive directorial debut with this smart, compelling sci fi thriller, Ex Machina (derived from the latin phrase “deus ex machina” which translates to “god from the machine”) that explores the subject of artificial intelligence and what it means to be alive and human.
3. The Gift – Aussie actor, Joel Edgerton, proves be a triple treat, with his feature film directorial debut, a first rate psychological thriller that he also costars in and wrote. There is much more than meets eye in this cleverly written story that revolves around an odd, mysterious man that intrudes into the life of a married couple.
4. The Martian - Ridley Scott's best film since his Academy Award winning Best Picture, Gladiator, stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars who uses his smarts and skills to stay alive, and the relentless efforts back on earth to bring him home. Damon is sensational, charming, likeable, and easy to root for.
5. Room – A “boy meets world” heart wrenching, suspenseful drama, like no other, as seen though the eyes of a five year old child born into captivity features outstanding, breakout (no pun intended) performances by Bri Larson as a loving mother and newcomer Jacob Tremblay as her young son.
6. The Revenant – Harrowing, gripping story of survival and revenge that pits man against nature and man against man. Leonardo DiCaprio totally immerses himself, both physically and emotionally in this demanding role, that has made him the odds on favorite to win Best Actor Oscar.
7. The Danish Girl – Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne are magnificent in this sensitive, beautiful and ultimately heartbreaking love story based on the lives of Danish artists Gerda Wegener and her husband, Lili Elbe who became the the first transgender woman to openly undergo sex reassignment surgery.
8. Suffragette – Carey Mulligan delivers a beautifully restrained performance as a woman who sacrifices everything in this powerful, moving story about women's fight for equal rights in early 20th century England.
9. Mr. Holmes – Ian MacKellan is superb in his portrayal of fictional sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, as an old man struggling with the effects of dementia as he tries to solve his final case.
10. Beasts of No Nation – Brutal, heart wrenching, effective drama about child soldiers in war torn West Africa featuring outstanding performances from 13 year old newcomer Abraham Attah and Idris Elba.
The Hateful Eight