Top 50 English Language Films Of 2015
After going through around 200 films I am finally exhausted. So, following the yearly ritual, here are my Top 50 English Language Films of 2015 :
The Suicide Theory | Director: Dru Brown.
What goes around comes around the corner and puts a bullet in your head. Dru Brown‘s absolutely stunning film had weird amalgamations of retribution and self-pity. While it’s essentially a hit-man tale, its surreal and twisted story-telling is compelling and touching at the same time.
50. The Final Girls | Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson.
The Final Girls is the God of meta-horror films. It shreds one convention after the other as it tries blending surprisingly effective emotions with an utterly bonkers homage to the 80s slasher films. It builds up on the stoned adventures of Joss Whedon’s The Cabin In the Woods & Eli Craig’s Tucker and Dale Vs Evil.
49. Kingsman: The Secret Service | Director: Matthew Vaughn.
While Mad Max: Fury Road takes away the cake for the best action movie of the year, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service takes away the cake for the best action scene of the year. Stylish, funny and charmingly entertaining, Kingsman was, over everything else, a good show.
48. The Voices | Director: Marjane Satrapi.
If you take Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, blend him in a blender making him an introvert who talks with his pets, the resulting mixture would turn out to be Jerry. Marjane Satrapi‘s black comedy about a lonesome guy features the single greatest performance by Ryan Reynolds. The Voices works perfectly on multiple fronts. It’s a charming black comedy that has the perfect amount of surrealistic gruesomeness. One that not only entertains but enthralls and horrifies in equal measures.
47. 99 Homes | Director: Ramin Bahrani.
Above everything, the film is about the desperation of a human being. It’s about that thought in the brain which leads you to hang around the bridge that can take you both ways. It also channels out the fact that the dark side is not always wrong, and the right side is not always right. 99 Homes is a powerfully acted human tragedy that works mostly because of a taut screenplay and its ability to bring out real emotions out of the people watching without being overly manipulative.
46. The Martian | Director: Ridley Scott.
A disco opera in space. More than anything, it’s a collection of brilliantly written scenes and niche low-key sci-fi jargon. Ridley Scott’s The Martian is an entertainer. One with an intelligent man-child as its centerpiece and a surprisingly straightforward low on dread – storyline. The space-pirate (Matt Damon) embraces his circumstances and doesn’t throw signs of feeling low. Which makes The Martian, Ridley Scott’s cutest film till date.
45. Love | Director: Gaspar Noé.
Gaspar Noé’s Love has a very loosely constructed narrative which might be the reason why it was so harshly treated. On the offset, you can call the film as melodramatic, overly long, abstract artsy porn. But it’s about memories & dreams and also about the greatest love affair of one’s life. Noé’s Love is taking a trip down the sexual dreams which are sometimes beautiful, sometimes filthy & sometimes heart-breaking.
44. The Overnight | Director: Patrick Brice.
The film explores a lot of intertwined relationship dynamics. How comfortable are you with your significant other? Are you okay with sharing your intimate details with other people? How willing are you at being sexually exploitative? There are a lot of fascinating and totally bizarre things that The Overnight touches on. Brice’s film is awkward. It will make you uncomfortable with every passing second. Just when you expect it to go easy on the eye, it goes a peak higher, also, it never goes in the direction you will want it to go; even if you are as bizarre and as strange as Jason’s fake penis, lined with well cropped pubic hair. Read Full Review.
43. Tale Of Tales | Director: Matteo Garrone.
Tale Of Tales is a bloody reminder that fairy tales were never really meant for kids. Matteo Garrone’s film looks terrific. Based on three stories, the film accounts what beauty does to people. It shows the beauty in ugliness and vice-versa. Tale Of Tales is a surreal vignette that will boil your heart and eat it without changing its skin.
42. Bridge Of Spies | Director: Steven Spielberg.
A film that displayed colors of hope, perseverance and the true heart-warming spirit of being a human being. Bridge of Spies is essentially a film about an American Hero. But this Spielberg grand spectacle visualizes it in such a way that it feels like he is in complete control of the emotions that will flow as the film progresses. The sly wit that surrounds this story about the cold-war never falters and always hits home. Yes, even when it’s trying to be emotionally manipulative.
41. The Revenant | Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
A sorrow-stricken Hugh Glass walks, crawls and dies a little to get the devil by his throat. A gory, breathtaking and absolutely terrifying portrayal of survival and revenge. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant features one of the most stunning camera-work by Emmanuel Lubezki. His shots present a cold-blooded, brutal and violent scenery which feel like a traumatizing dance of death. Leonardo Dicaprio gives it his all and is exceedingly matched by Tom Hardy’s uni-dimensional role.
40. The Big Short | Director: Adam McKay.
When Margot Robbie explains economics to you in a bubble bath, you Listen. Then you rewind and listen to her again. Adam McKay’s The Big Short has a ridiculously smart execution. The director takes on the high road breaking conventions, making his film feel like a documentary, mockumentary and a fictional account at the same time. While the monetary jargon is a hit and a miss, the film’s energy is astonishing on multiple grounds. The cast plays a very important role in making this film sound better than it actually is.
39. The Duke Of Burgundy | Director: Peter Strickland.
The Duke Of Burgundy is a story about two women and their sexual cycle, mostly concerning control, jealousy, betrayal, and insecurity. I’ve never seen a more specific exploration of sexuality on film. Using and enhancing its style, the director uses moths/butterflies to enunciate metaphors relating the two people here. The film has been deliberately slow-paced and is almost excruciating to watch but its also equally exhilarating and rewarding.
38. Night Owls | Director: Charles Hood.
Featuring one of the most magnetic chemistries of the year, Night Owls is a subversive romantic-comedy that doesn’t push back from insulting, kicking or pulling the hair of the person in front. It talks about the obsession and desperation to be loved by the right ‘one.’ It questions as to what should be done when it’s too hard to leave things be and simply walk away. It’s also about trying to figure out the easier and the right path in a world that seems to push you towards following the said God.
37. 45 Years | Director: Andrew Haigh.
Every single expression on Charlotte Rampling’s face makes you skip a beat. 45 Years is a heartbreaking portrayal of a couple who are so in love with each other that they don’t realize how lonely they really are. This character study is so serene that even when people want to shout, the time and reality that binds them together just wouldn’t let them shed a tear or two.
36. The Mend | Director: John Magary.
The Mend is a terrific first feature. It inspects the life of two brothers who are oil & water in a tank of wastewater. Josh Lucas, in particular, is a revelation here. His character pisses on random thoughts & wishes to keep himself afloat with a broken laptop & a leather bag. His brother, on the other hand, is in love with a girl who may or may not be the right one. The Mend has an energy that shows more life in its mundane, monotonous moments than any other film does in an hour or so. The energy & intelligent editing shows the power of cinema in transforming similarly themed results into fresh & new packages. Also, has one of the best opening scenes of the year.
35. Queen of Earth | Director: Alex Ross Perry.
Queen of Earth is about chronic depression, about paranoia and that single figurative perspective of life that sends you to a descent into unfamiliar & heart-breaking territories. Alex Ross Perry’s film relies heavily on the atmosphere that surrounds it and succeeds greatly. It works like a horrific account of a woman on the edge of losing herself to insanity. Bolstered by one of the best performance of the year by Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth is a film that, in spite of its timid & dark subject, chalks out with engaging vibrancy.
34. The Little Death | Director: Josh Lawson.
A film that tells us how the different versions/flavor of sex can alter, manipulate, play with and destroy love. A film that has intense moments of black humor mixed up with the light-hearted rom-com-ish fun. It’s strange how this black-comedy that centers around sex can explain and examine the various stages of love. I wonder why people don’t like it (maybe it’s the lack of nudity?). Because if you can walk past the first 30 odd minutes you get to see how these small stories make more sense than it actually should have.
33. Animals | Director: Collin Schiffli.
Collin Schiffli’s Animals is about a couple who lives on a thin line between being homeless and being in a world of their own imagination. A world that mostly blooms in a cafe washroom, rigged by conning people. A world where they needle themselves to addiction but they can also see that belonging together will keep them afloat only till they burst out of that bubble of imaginative hallucination and go swimming.
32. Grandma | Director: Paul Weitz.
She’ll kick you in the balls, she’ll steal your weed. She’ll get a tattoo so she could think straight and she’ll probably call you a slut because, well, she can. So screw you! and shove up that 50$ along with your phony attitude way up to your ass! Paul Weitz’s Grandma looks like a crass-comedy that turns into a road-trip but its a crisp character study of a sturdy woman in her waning years.
31. The Stanford Prison Experiment | Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez.
What starts off as a comedy with prosthetic hair and fake looking old-school clothes slowly creeps up on you and gets under your skin. The Stanford Prison Experiment uses its wonderful young cast to get to your head where it resides – growling, shouting and begging for freedom. While it acts like a psychological thriller that engages, the film manages to show how the various roles assigned to us in our life define us.
30. Faults | Director: Riley Stearns.
Anchored by a brilliant performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, first time director Riley Stearns talks about insanity, solitude and spiritual beliefs. Like a coin that has two sides, he never falters in showing the two sides of the story. Packs them with enough black-humor and subtlety to a point where it gets the audiences confused; as they drown in the sea of lies and truth. He constantly questions the human psyche as to what side should they be on.
29. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl | Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
This coming of age film is about cinematic expression, about knowing the world in all its weird and beautiful forms and also about fitting into that ladder that takes you to your aim. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the right kind of funny, right kind of sad and the right kind of thought-provoking film. It’s the kind of film that more teenagers should see. Just so they understand the human condition, also studying the various layers of life sketched around three characters so charmingly.
28. Slow West | Director: John M. Maclean.
As captivating as it is tragic, Slow West is John M. Maclean’s fascinatingly original approach to westerns. There’s a scene in Slow West where salt slowly dribbles into the wounds of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Maclean’s film is quite the same. In its most tragic and dark moments, it manages to jumble the viewer’s mind with purity and concise dramatic inventions of black-humor and comic oddity.
27. While We’re Young | Director: Noah Baumbach.
After the full-of-blistering-life-ball of a film – Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach examines the life of an odd couple in their 40s whilst he compares them to an energetic, role-model-of-a younger couple. While We’re Young has a strangely heavy dramatic-deft that has been handled quite exquisitely by Noah. While he does falter a couple of time, there’s so much more than his movie says that it’s almost impossible for me to give it as a negative. This observational comedy is based around people who in spite of their oddball shape and reactions feel real.
26. Ex Machina | Director: Alex Garland.
Ex Machina plays with your head. More times than you can imagine. It favors one character, then the other and then again makes a turn out of nowhere. While it take enough time to get to the point it does plunges into the question that we, the people of the new age have been asking ourselves daily: Should we rely on ‘the things’ we own? Or there’s still possibilities of ‘it’ owning you? Ex Machina is a creepy, mesmerizing movie that leaves you guessing till the last frame. Who manipulates whom? who evaluates whom? This is the kind of artificial intelligence the pundits fear and clamor about, yet desire and lust after.