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Death Becomes Him

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TOP 10 FILMS FOR 2015 [29 Dec 2015|01:18pm]

I didn't get to see as much as I would've liked this year - including The Hateful Eight, Spotlight and MacBeth - and while I'm sure I will continue to catch up to films from 2015 in the beginning months of 2016, it would feel weird not to release this list before the year ends. That's not to say that I don't feel great about including the following films on my Top 10 of 2015 list. Picks like Nasty Baby and Chi-Raq divided critics this year, but each proved to break the mold of their respective genres, while producing heartfelt and unexpected performances from their casts. The female driven Mad Max: Fury Road exceeded all expectations of what an action film can accomplish, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens only needed to be good, but ended up being one of the greatest chapters of its story's saga. The same sentiment is shared by F. Gary Gray's fantastic N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, which would have still been a box office success had it been simply good, and could have veered into Lifetime movie-of-the-week territory, but instead delivered a poignant, timely, and moving look into the come-up of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. With Carol, Todd Haynes delivers his best work since 2002's Far From Heaven, while co-leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are both at their finest. Judd Apatow's Trainwreck starring and written by Amy Schumer was expectedly hilarious, and proved once again that Tilda Swinton is capable of anything on screen. EX MACHINA is a subtle and haunting sci-fi masterpiece that I expect to see on many end-of-decade best-of lists. Master of space epics Ridley Scott was back in form with The Martian, which never felt overblown or clunky, despite its running time and scale, and assembled some of the finest A listers and up-and-comers for its cast. And then of course there is David O. Russell's Joy: a messy, dysfunctional, ensemble piece that hit me like a truck. Led by a career-best Jennifer Lawrence, the cast of Joy deserves the lion's share of praise here, and the heart of the film - the ordinary meeting the extraordinary - stays with you long after you leave the theater. Its completely mixed reviews make it even more special to me, and I can't wait to watch it over and over again.

Dir. Sebastian Silva. Starring: Kristen Wiig, Tunde Adebimpe, Alia Shawkat and Sebastian Silva.

Dir. Ridley Scott. Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Michael Pena, Donald Glover and Mackenzie Davis.

Dir. Todd Hanyes. Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler.

Dir. Judd Apatow. Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn, Brie Larson, Lebron James, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, John Cena, Randall Park, Jon Glaser, Dave Attell, Method Man and Ezra Miller.

Dir. Spike Lee. Starring: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, D.B. Sweeney, La La Anthony and Dave Chappelle.

Dir. Alex Garland. Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno and Oscar Issac.

Dir. JJ Abrams. Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong'O, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and Mark Hamill.

Dir. F. Gary Gray. Starring: O'Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown, Jr., Marlon Yates, Jr., Alexandra Shipp, R. Marcos Taylor and Tate Ellington.

Dir. George Miller. Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton.

1. JOY
Dir. David O. Russell. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Dasha Polanco, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Elisabeth Rohm, Melissa Rivers and Bradley Cooper.
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