The Top 20 films of 2015 (15-11)

15. Jurassic World


I’m no Jurassic Park fan. It just was never really my thing. I’ll admit, I wasn’t even really looking forward to this film. With all that said, Jurassic World won me over. I imagine a pre-teen watching this and genuinely being terrified. The dinosaurs look amazing and very scary. The film goes very dark at times with so much killing and everything looks so real.
Chris Pratt is not exactly in Guardians of the Galaxy mode as he plays things more serious instead. Still, even when Pratt is in more action hero mode than being a goofball, the man still exudes charisma. Pratt is joined by Bryce Dallas Howard who plays an uptight employee in charge of running the park. At first it seems as if Howard is simply playing the typical damsel in distress and while she doesn’t quite reach the levels of badassery that some of the other females on this list reach, she still gets her moments to shine.
I haven’t watched any of the other films in the Jurassic Park film series and yet I was able to jump right in to Jurassic World and enjoy the hell out of this film. This is a very easy watch that I look forward to showing to many people. That’s probably the biggest compliment I can give the film.

14. The Good Dinosaur


The fact that The Good Dinosaur is a Pixar film and that it came out the same year as their masterpiece Inside Out, means that this film was always going to get unfairly compared. The film looks stunning yet compared to the very cartoony look of the actual dinosaurs, it’s a bit distracting. It doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the film because a good story is a good story.
It’s a simple story of the youngest child trying to overcome his fears, yet it still manages to be a very emotional film. There’s not a whole lot to the film but man it looks beautiful. The film takes place in an alternate reality where the asteroid never destroyed the dinosaurs and the dinosaurs instead evolved over millions of years. The dinosaurs have different occupations and the family we are invested in are farmers. So things are switched as the human ‘Spot’ plays the pet to Arlo the main dinosaur character.
I enjoyed this film much more than some of the other Pixar films so I believe it ranks right up there with some of their best, probably somewhere in the middle. I won’t ever understand why the film wasn’t bigger or not getting so much love, but that’s out of my control as all I can do is judge the film for myself. Personally, I loved it and it’s a film I look forward to watching and revisiting many times in the future.

13. Mad Max: Fury Road


While it’s not exactly a non-stop car chase as some have claimed, this is an action-packed film, filled with amazing stunts and performances. It would have been interesting had Mel Gibson returned to the Max role as a very older and grizzled version of the character. Even so, Tom Hardy brings his A-game and a very wounded presence to the character. You can feel the failure of his family not being with him and he brings so much weight to the role.
Director George Miller fills the screen with so many interesting and disgusting characters. This is very much an Australian film and you can tell from the very first frame of the film. Fury Road feels so authentic and that has a lot to do with the practical effects that Miller decided to use. There’s no over-reliance on CGI and it drives the action into insane and ridiculous places.
Max is a great character but he almost is relegated to the background as Charlize Theron’s star shines brightest as she plays Furiosa, a tough woman with a mission on her mind. It’s not exactly a glamorous role for Theron as she has a bald head and is missing an arm, but it is such a juicy role for any actor out there, male or female. Theron stands side by side with Hardy as equals and they both play tough, no-nonsense warriors who attempt to survive in the crazy Australian world that George Miller has created.

12. Trainwreck


I love Amy Schumer. It only took me about five minutes of her TV show ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ for me to become a fan. Through humor she tackles feminism and sexism much in the same way Dave Chapelle tackled racism. By poking fun at herself, she exposes the ridiculous standards that the world puts on women. When I heard that Schumer was teaming up with director Judd Apatow, I was excited to say the least. Apatow’s fifth directorial feature is the only one that he did not write and to me that just shows how much faith he had in Schumer.
This is very much a collaborate effort, yet it really feels like it is Schumer’s idea through and through. It’s very close to her real life and you can feel her passion even if it is just a silly comedy. I call it that but of course it’s about more than that, the film has real heart mixed with the laughs that separates it from most of the stuff out there. Then again, you could also say that about Apatow’s four previous films.
Bill Hader has a strong showing as well as Schumer’s love interest. You wouldn’t usually see Hader playing the leading man but that is what attracts Schumer’s character and makes him different from all of the other guys in her life. Top to bottom, the cast brings the funny. Make no mistake though, Schumer is the star and this is her film from beginning to end.

11. The Martian


Yes, once again Matt Damon must be rescued. Despite the circumstances of Damon being stranded on another planet, the film is pretty light and surprisingly funny. Director Ridley Scott bounces back after the disappointment that was his last film Exodus. Everything looks spectacular and not a wrong choice is made yet the real winner here is the script by Drew Goddard who adapted it from the popular best-selling book.
Mars looks wonderful and the film gets so much right when it comes to the science aspects of the film, still the real-life revelation that Mars actually has water takes a bit away from the film even though the last minute discovery was out of their hands. The film is very much a science-fiction one but still you can tell that everyone involved aimed to be as scientific accurate as possible so it’s definitely a bummer.
The ensemble cast surrounding Damon all do great work while the always wonderful Jessica Chastain is a notable standout. The Martian is flat-out fun. It would be very easy for the film to take itself super-serious but what we got instead was a crowd-pleasing film. There seems to be more ‘space’ films released recently, and good or bad, I just hope the trend continues.


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