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Top 10 Films of 2015
Movie list created by LWinters
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Little-known director Sean S. Baker came out of left field with an aesthetically unique, darkly funny and surprisingly moving film shot completely with iPhones, made on a shoestring budget and featuring mainly non-actors, yet containing more heart than most other movies that came out the same year.
Knight of Cups (2015)
Another visually unparalleled movie by Terrence Malick that is edited and structured like an abstract poem, but is full of moments of straightforward and emotionally satisfying drama.
Cemetery of Splendour (2015)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul makes possibly his best movie, filled (like nearly all of his movies) with quiet sadness, mystery and spirituality.
The Witch (2016)
On the rare occasion that a horror film comes out that prioritizes subtlety and mood-building over gratuitous gore (which can be fun sometimes, don't get me wrong) and jump-scares, it's worth seeing and supporting. The Witch doesn't disappoint when it comes to scares, and is an impeccably made movie to boot. Looking forward to the next thing from Robert Eggers.
Entertainment is a nihilistic hellscape of a movie that makes you want to curl up into a ball once it's over. Rick Alverson knows his craft well enough to get to a deep, dark and empty place inside that I've seen very few filmmakers tap into with as much success. Props to John C. Reilly & Michael Cera for being involved.
The Lobster (2015)
The Lobster manages to be sad, funny, disturbing and frightening all at once, and in pretty much every scene in the movie. Yorgos Lanthimos truly possesses a style of his own and is one of the few directors I've seen who can direct his actors to act like planks of wood and somehow make it work.
Mountains May Depart (2001)
Mountains May Depart would be higher on this list, however I found the last third of this film to be such a jarring shift in style, mood and story. I understand this was intentional, but I honestly wish the film had just stuck with the strong sense of understated beauty that it had had up until that point. I also wasn't too fond of the teenage son's performance. By all means still a beautiful film, and worth seeing based on the lead actress's performance alone.
Son of Saul (2015)
Out of the countless movies that have depicted the holocaust, I can't imagine a single one of them feeling more "real" in their depiction than Son of Saul. Probably because the movie shows us every atrocity with a completely unwavering eye, and shows characters who have become so desensitized toward the horrors surrounding them that they show little emotion, rather than the usual Hollywood tearjerker treatment.
Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
I'm of the belief that in order to make a successful documentary, you have to talk about your subject in the most objective, honest & truthful manner possible. This can be difficult when your subject is a legendary pop culture icon like Kurt Cobain, who is deified by so many people. But Brett Morgen portrays Cobain as who he really was, an exceptionally creative and imaginative person with serious debilitating personal issues and character flaws. Some people may not like the uncompromising portrait Morgen shows of one of their idols (apparently Cobain's Mom yelled at Morgen during a screening of the film for some of the footage he used), but I applaud him for reminding us that despite their immense talent, rockstars are deep down usually just insecure people like the rest of us.
I'm a sucker for films like Demon that stylistically blend elements of art-house and horror. Like The Witch, Demon is a horror film that understands the importance of setting, atmosphere, subtlety and performances. Also lots of respect to lead actor Itay Tiran for pulling off probably the most convincing portrayal of an individual possessed by a spirit I've seen in any film probably ever.
What I found to be the 10 best films that came out in 2015. List is subject to change as I see more films from that year.
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