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My 2015 Favorites -- Xanadon't

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Top 20 Films of 2015

People who added this item 1089 Average listal rating (786 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Ex Machina (2015)


Part chamber drama, part sci-fi thriller, Ex Machina packs tremendous intrigue and implication into one masterfully crafted film, destined to endure. Ex Machina trades in big themes (What's it mean to be human? What's it mean to be a sexualized human? Power vs. Submission, Survival Instinct vs. Self-Destruction, et al) but drives home the ideas with an accessible, minimalist approach. Three impressive central performances, stunning technical effects, and an assured, seductive visual language drive this film to the top of 2015's crop.

Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 256 Average listal rating (153 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Trumbo (2015)


Far from your average bio-pic, Trumbo is at once an inspired movie about the movies, a fascinating history lesson, and a shrewd indictment condemning some of the less desirable socio-political tendencies that still threaten our culture as it exists today. Sure to raise many a right-wing hackle, Trumbo is unapologetic in it's polarizing message, yet never feels sanctimonious. Credit this largely to a film that deftly balances comic tone with tender heart-warm, and near faultless handling of the dramatic and serious that comes in-between. From both a visual and narrative standpoint, this film is impossibly light on its feet, and never would I have guessed that Jay Roach had such a nimble and impactful directing effort in him. Trumbo achieves and achieves and achieves, and it does so brilliantly.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 723 Average listal rating (508 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Spotlight (2015)


Two prominent Michael Keaton roles in two years is just plain good for cinema. One can only hope that it's the beginning of a young trend and that the projects Mr.Keaton takes on continue to be of such high quality.

Director Tom McCarthy has given us what is possibly his best film to date with Spotlight. Quite the departure from McCarthy's usual narrative dealings of "unconventional families just trying their best", the same qualities that make his work work are all here-- immense empathy for his characters, a keenly instinctual directors lens that reveal those characters to audiences, and an agreeable insistency that good films start with good scripts. McCarthy is the least visually flashy filmmaker around, but among the most efficient storytellers working in film.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 331 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7


An overachiever in every sense, this intimate coming of age tale follows a young man's first encounter with love and loss as he struggles to accept the impeding death of a friend. Grim reality is never allowed to rule the day, however. Our young protagonist is an aspiring filmmaker whose passion spawns inventive recreations of classic -and not so classic- movies. Cinephiles will delight in this love letter to cinema; I was equally enthused by the larger story at hand.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 180 Average listal rating (125 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
Slow West (2015)


Shamefully, this New Zealand production never received a stateside theatrical release. Michael Fassbender delivers some of his best work in this offbeat, stylish western. Somehow this movie manages to trade in the very elements that make westerns as durable as they are, while also introducing new ideas, even characters, to the genre. Beginning to end, a fun and unique movie watching experience.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 495 Average listal rating (349 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7

Another year, another welcome addition to cinematic vampire lore. This one comes in the form of a "mockumentary" following a group of undead flatmates struggling to coexist and cope with the world of the livings. Centuries old, our subjects have seen many eras, trends, and social climates come and go. We meet them in modern day, faced perhaps with the most challenging, infuriating, insipid, or otherwise problematic time and place they've encountered. Hilarity and blood ensue.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 108 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6


A troubling but always fascinating adult fairy tale of sorts that follows the obsessions of a 29 year old Japanese woman and misfit determined to unearth a fictional treasure buried in the frozen plains of the upper Midwest, United States. The treasure is none other than the cash filled briefcase Steve Buscemi's character frantically buries under the snow in the Coen Brother's iconic film, Fargo. Two separate film crews operating in Japan and Minnesota, one final product featuring one of the finest central performances of the year.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 242 Average listal rating (160 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3


Noah Baumbach has his finger directly on the pulse of "first world white people problems" and I don't see a use in resenting him for that. It's what he knows and his films wear it well.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 61 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1
5 to 7 (2015)


Criminally underseen, this is the best love story put to film all year.
Xanadon't's rating:


While the James Bond series starts and stutters, the Mission Impossible franchise has redlined its way into my popcorn-munching heart for three consecutive installments and shows no sign of slowing down. Comic timing and adrenaline spiking action sequences abound, Rogue Nation follows the simple formula that makes these movies work-- Put Ethan Hunt and co. into impossible situations, and let's see how he gets out of them. Raise the stakes. Rinse. Repeat. It's fun, but it's not brainless, and only curmudgeons dislike this stuff. Tom Cruise remains a legit action star. Deal with it.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 645 Average listal rating (457 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Big Short (2015)
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People who added this item 553 Average listal rating (397 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
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People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Phoenix (2014)
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People who added this item 147 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 117 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
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People who added this item 1178 Average listal rating (838 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
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People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
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People who added this item 245 Average listal rating (154 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Dope (2015)
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 239 Average listal rating (137 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
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Cutting Room Floor

Films that didn't quite make the list
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Standout Horror of 2015

People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.7
Honeymoon (2014)
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 67 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 4.7
Zombeavers (2014)
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.7
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People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.8
Last Shift (2015)
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People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
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Sights Unseen

Films I still need to catch up with.


2015 was a curious year in movies. While there were plenty of worthwhile offerings, films that I truly loved proved scarce. A number of disappointments punctuated the year ranging in severity, and often coming from some of my favorite working directors. Tarantino, Innaritu, Cronenberg, Woody Allen, and Danny Boyle all, in my eyes, missed the high marks they've set over the course of their careers. It wasn't all grim, however, far from it. A lot of good movies released this year and plenty of pleasant surprises came through theaters. And a year that offers not one, but two Noah Baumbach offerings is okay by me. And of course there are still a number of promising 2015 films that I've yet to see, and much of the crop looks to be high quality indeed. How much will this list evolve as I catch up? Time will tell. For now, I'll happily note 2015 as a good year at the movies, even if greatness was hard to come by.

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