The Movie Waffler The 50 Best Movies Of 2015 | The Movie Waffler

The 50 Best Movies Of 2015

Best Movies Of 2015
We've reached the end of another great year of movies and it's time to count down our 50 favourites.

50. Bridge of Spies
Best Movies Of 2015 bridge of spies
We said: Stories like this and Lincoln are an uncomfortable fit for Spielberg, a touchy-feely director making thinky-talky movies. That said, there's enough in Bridge of Spies to keep most viewers interested, but ultimately it's a waste of an entertainer. And in these troubled times, we could really use some of that old Spielberg magic.

49. Pasolini
Best Movies Of 2015 pasolini
We said: Abel Ferrara may not be the greatest Italian-American filmmaker, but he's arguably the most Italian-American filmmaker. His latest work, a tribute to Italy's most controversial filmmaker, is film as funeral mass.

48. Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Movies Of 2015 mad max fury road
We said: An AC/DC concert on wheels, Mad Max: Fury Road may not live up to the first part of its title but it's certainly a furious road trip, one a certain other vehicular based blockbuster franchise would do well to study.

47: Mississippi Grind
Best Movies Of 2015 mississippi grind
We said: Once you accept that Mississippi Grind doesn't have an original thought in its head, you can settle back and enjoy it as a somewhat superior buddy movie, albeit a highly derivative one. The opportunity to see Mendelsohn stretch himself, playing a character more pathetic than petrifying, justifies the admission price alone.

46. Wild Tales
Best Movies Of 2015 wild tales
We said: Anthology films are generally hit and miss, but four gems out of the six tales presented here make Wild Tales one of the more satisfying examples of this format.

45. Pelo Malo
Best Movies Of 2015 pelo malo
We said: As with most South American movies, the acting here is top-notch. Zambrano is a revelation in the lead role and really sells his sense of confusion as he is torn between the agendas of his mother and grandmother.

44. Steve Jobs
Best Movies Of 2015 steve jobs
We said: There are times in Steve Jobs when you stop to assess just what it is the characters are arguing about, and you realise there's not really much in the way of drama here, but Sorkin's words and the ensemble performance keep you so engrossed, it's difficult to quibble.

43. Lost River
Best Movies Of 2015 lost river
We said: Gosling's film has a tone all of its own, and reminds me of the cult oddities that turned me into a raving cinephile in the early '90s, when Twin Peaks and BBC's Alex-Cox-hosted Moviedrome were required viewing for those seeking unconventional thrills.

42. Love & Mercy
Best Movies Of 2015 love and mercy
We said: All too often, biopics of troubled artists focus more on the troubles than the art, but Love & Mercy strikes a fine balance, and both elements dovetail effectively. Cusack's performance is one of the great acting comebacks of recent decades.

41. Unfriended
Best Movies Of 2015 unfriended
We said: At a brisk 80 minutes, director Levan Gabriadze and screenwriter Nelson Greaves milk their intriguing premise with mostly satisfying results, finding clever ways to create tension and suspense from what initially seems like a highly limiting concept.

40. While We're Young
Best Movies Of 2015 while we're young
We said: Unlike Baumbach's previous effort, Frances Ha, a movie that tried far too hard to convince us of its protagonists charm, While We're Young instead gives us the sort of couple in Josh and Cornelia we're glad we don't know in real life but are more than happy to laugh at for 90 minutes. And laugh we do.

39. Ex Machina
Best Movies Of 2015 ex machina
We said: Playing out like an adaptation of some newly discovered Isaac Asimov novel, Garland's film is intelligent without being heady, and should satisfy hardcore sci-fi buffs and casual viewers alike.

38. 99 Homes
Best Movies Of 2015 99 homes
We said: Writer-director Ramin Bahrani is one of American cinema's best kept secrets. With Spiderman and General Zod headlining his latest, maybe Bahrani will finally take his place at the head table of adult American drama.

37. Catch Me Daddy
Best Movies Of 2015 catch me daddy
We said: With its grim world of tacky nightclubs, all-night Kebab shops and crumbling council estates, even the Baskervilles' hound would think twice before venturing out onto these moors.

36. Clouds of Sils Maria
Best Movies Of 2015 clouds of sils maria
We said: There's a lot wrong with Clouds of Sils Maria, but its deficiencies, of which there are many, are overshadowed almost entirely by the enthralling performances of its two leads.

35. Timbuktu
Best Movies Of 2015 timbuktu
We said: Timbuktu won't change anyone's mind on this issue - Jihad isn't something you sit on the fence over - but it adds a host of human faces to the statistics on the six o'clock news.

34. Eden
Best Movies Of 2015 eden
We said: Eden expresses itself in such a low key manner that it's all too easy to mistake its subtlety for superficiality. It's arguably the most interesting look at the power of language since Godard's King Lear.

33. Spotlight
Best Movies Of 2015 spotlight
We said: This is a story of professionals simply doing their jobs, and doing them well. Spotlight never asks us to be angry at the Catholic Church. It shouldn't have to. That's the job of newspapers like The Boston Globe. May they continue to do their jobs well.

32. Tangerines
Best Movies Of 2015 tangerines
We said: While it's a scenario we've seen countless times before, several factors make Tangerines taste as fresh as its titular fruit, and writer-director Zaza Urushadze proves that the world is a big enough place to provide enough variations on a theme for a long time to come.

31. Life
Best Movies Of 2015 life
We said: James Dean's films haven't aged well, and Dean even comments here on how he feels East of Eden is too over the top. That's not a criticism you can level at Life, a movie so subtle many may find it alienating, but through DeHaan we get to see Dean as the melodramatic cinema of the '50s never allowed us to - an Ordinary Joe.

30. Big Game
Best Movies Of 2015 big game
We said: While it has its share of one-liners and amusing beats, Big Game plays its premise with a commendably straight face, and a beating heart. Alongside the thunderous set-pieces we're treated to moments of sweetness between the film's unlikely heroic duo.

29. Irrational Man
Best Movies Of 2015 irrational man
We said: While his previous recent non-comedic dabblings, Matchpoint and Cassandra's Dream, have been misfires, Allen finally gets it right with Irrational Man, his darkest film to date.

28. A Walk in the Woods
Best Movies Of 2015 a walk in the woods
We said: Ken Kwapis's film is more of a casual stroll than an exhausting hike, and he struggles to visually convey the wonder of the geographical setting (the heavy use of green-screen backdrops doesn't help), but the real landscape of this film isn't that of the Appalachians; rather, it's the leathered faces of two screen greats.

27. 11 Minutes
Best Movies Of 2015 11 minutes
We said: For a movie made by a 77 year old, 11 Minutes moves with an energy you might expect from some prodigious future auteur, and its Altman-on-uppers approach makes it one of the year's most fascinating watches.

26. The Martian
Best Movies Of 2015 the martian
We said: There are few things more compelling than watching someone who is really good at their job, and seeing Watney apply scientific ingenuity to every problem posed by a planet whose dirt was never meant to be trod on by human feet is genuinely awe inspiring.

25. Sicario
Best Movies Of 2015 sicario
We said: As a story of a talented woman who comes to realise she's been given a job for reasons other than her professional skill, Sicario serves as an allegory Blunt, and so many, too many, female stars can sadly identify with.

24. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Best Movies Of 2015 the diary of a teenage girl
We said: It's a rare movie that will appeal as much to teenage girls as adults. A teenage audience may well nod along to Minnie's words and actions, but the rest of us will frown, chuckle, and worry. In our own ways, we'll both be correct.

23. Les Combattants
Best Movies Of 2015 les combattants love at first fight
We said: Azais and Haenal make for a great straight man / wacky girl combo, winning us over instantly as they share their awkward adventure. The ambiguous ending sets their characters off on an uncertain path of discovery, and it's impossible not to wish them well.

22. The Salvation
Best Movies Of 2015 the salvation
We said: It may be a pan-European production shot on location in South Africa (a perfect stand-in for Monument Valley), but The Salvation is as thrilling a western as any we've seen from Hollywood recently.

21. The DUFF
Best Movies Of 2015 the duff
We said: Ari Sandel's film manages to play with the tropes of this genre in a fresh, satisfying and more believable manner than the countless generic high school comedies whose well worn path it treads on.

20. A Second Chance
Best Movies Of 2015 a second chance
We said: The premise of A Second Chance is so high concept it's a wonder no filmmaker has tackled this subject previously. It's a scenario that comes loaded with debates about class and state interference.

19. Mr Holmes
Best Movies Of 2015 mr holmes
We said: Unlike the 'grey pound' movies, which usually take a very patronising view of old people, Mr Holmes isn't afraid to present a realistic look at the aging process, and the result is the best portrait of an OAP since The Straight Story.

18. Far From the Madding Crowd
Best Movies Of 2015 far from the madding crowd
We said: Cutting a swathe between stuffy British period drama and the crassness of Baz Luhrman and Joe Wright, Vinterberg has created that rare breed of classic literary adaptation that strikes the perfect balance between respecting the material and delivering cinematic thrills.

17. Whiplash
Best Movies Of 2015 whiplash
We said: Writer/director Chazelle was previously best known for some unremarkable genre screenplays but his own background in music means we're in safe and confident hands here as he immerses us in the backstabbing milieu of the conservatory, where being told you're not good enough hurts like few other truths, a blow to both your planned career and your greatest love.

16. Mia Madre
Best Movies Of 2015 mia madre
We said: Anyone who has ever experienced the stress of maintaining a full-time job while dealing with personal issues will sympathise with the plight of Mia Madre's protagonist. As with life itself, Mia Madre doesn’t climax with a happy ending, but its final image is one of comfort.

15. Southern District
Best Movies Of 2015 southern district
We said: Valdivia's film is clearly a comment on his country's political situation, but where most state of the nation movies are overblown and grand-standing, he keeps things confined to one house, one family, one mother, his drama quietly bubbling like an unattended pot of chili.

14. Blackhat
Best Movies Of 2015 blackhat
We said: After the disappointments of recent Mann snoozefests (Ali, Miami Vice, Public Enemies), Blackhat finds the Chicago auteur returning to the hyper-realism of his best work (Thief, Manhunter, LA Takedown) and all the Mann staples are present and correct.

13. The Lobster
Best Movies Of 2015 the lobster
We said: This brand of humour will prove impenetrable to some, and those lured in from the mainstream by the presence of household names like Farrell and Weisz will likely recoil at the darkness on display, but if you can tune into Lanthimos's nihilistic wavelength, this is a comic treat like few others in recent memory.

12. The Tribe
Best Movies Of 2015 the tribe
We said: There's something exploitative about The Tribe's use of sign language as a narrative device, but if it's a gimmick, I can't deny it's one I thoroughly appreciated.

11. Force Majeure
Best Movies Of 2015 force majeure
We said: Force Majeure is a sitcom in its purest form, albeit one of a decidedly dark nature. It's landscape may be white, but its humour is black as night.

10. A Girl at My Door
Best Movies Of 2015 a girl at my door
We said: July Jung makes an impressive writing and directing debut, displaying maturity in her avoidance of any showy camerawork, allowing the faces of her characters to communicate story and mood. We eagerly await her next work.

9. Taxi Tehran
Best Movies Of 2015 taxi tehran
We said: Panahi packs an awful lot into his movie - satire, pathos, charm, discontent and bubbling rage. If it means we get more movies like Taxi Tehran, perhaps more filmmakers should have such restrictions placed upon their craft. Keep the meter running Jafar!

8. The Visit
Best Movies Of 2015 the visit
We said: The movie manages to juggle several moods without ever feeling tonally confused. It's funny, it's scary, and in its exploration and exploitation of senility, it's at times deeply upsetting. Shyamalan reminds us he never lost confidence in his abilities, even if we did. Shame on us.

7. Slow West
Best Movies Of 2015 slow west
We said: It sadly won't stick around for long, so forget those so called 'big' summer movies - this deep fried Scottish spaghetti western is one to see on the largest screen possible. Saddle up for the summer's best adventure, and bring coffee and beans.

6. Spring
Best Movies Of 2015 spring
We said: Spring is a movie you'll fall in love with, one that leaves you with butterflies in your tummy; now adults can experience the effect Twilight has on teenage girls.

5. The Invitation
Best Movies Of 2015 the invitation
We said: The dinner party has proven a fertile setting for a host of great movies. Karyn Kusama's engrossing new psycho-drama is in heady company, but holds its own at the table. If you're offered a chance to see it, accept that invite.

4. Tangerine
Best Movies Of 2015 tangerine
We said: Most great comedies contain a layer of melancholy, and without shoving it down our throats Tangerine never loses sight of the sad truth of its protagonists' dire situation. We grow so fond of Sin-Dee and Alexandra that by the end of the movie we have an almost paternal attachment to the pair, making a late incident of intolerance absolutely tear-jerking.

3. It Follows
Best Movies Of 2015 it follows
We said: A teen horror with actual teen actors, imaginative set-pieces and villains, and even plenty of subtext to chew on without detracting from its more explicit thrills. This is a horror movie that stimulates your synapses while sending shivers down your spine.

2. The Duke of Burgundy
Best Movies Of 2015 the duke of burgundy
We said: The Duke of Burgundy is far more than a polished genre pastiche; this is one of the best studies of a relationship to hit our screens in many a year.

1. Mommy
Best Movies Of 2015 mommy
We said: With an array of cinematic tricks, Dolan displays an unashamed love of cinema, finding the magical in moments of mundanity. Pilon's Steve pulling apart the borders of the screen will likely be the most memorable image of 2015, and I suspect Dolan will imprint many more in the years to come.

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