2015 in Review – The Best and Worst of the Year

With 2015 now long gone and the films of 2016 starting to show their faces, I want to look back at the previous year and discuss my favourite and least favourite films, the best actors, best directors and characters that I have come to love – all before crowning my film, actor and director of the year.

P.S. I know this is a little bit late, I did want to put it out on New Years Eve but I didn’t… So yeah… Accept it.

P.S.S. I didn’t see every film in 2015 and there are some notable films on the last that I haven’t seen – I’ll post a review if I watch them in the future and deem them to be worthy of a coveted place on this list.

Top 5 Directors

#5 – Christopher McQuarrie (Mission Impossible : Rogue Nation)

Mission Impossible was an excellent film by Chris McQuarrie who excelled in making fight scenes tense and exciting and easy to follow. Credit to him for having the balls to tell Tom Cruise that he would film a scene hanging from a plane in the air.

#4 – J. J. Abrams (Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

Creating a flare in the Star Wars universe, JJ brought the much loved series back to life with some stellar sequences that were easy contenders for Scene of the Year, his love for the franchise was clearly seen through his attention to detail and secrecy about the film.

#3 – Peyton Reed and a little bit of Edgar Wright (Ant-Man)

Peyton Reed certainly did well with what he had, making comic moments from Paul Rudd stand out really well around the whole film but the real credit has to go to Edgar Wright for showing us how to make a superhero film funny and stylish with some scenes very reminiscent of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead in terms of visual humour and creative editing.

#2 – Ridley Scott (The Martian)

Creating one of the best films of the year, Ridley Scott returned to the brilliant form that he saw with Gladiator by making the struggle of Mark Watney feel very funny while still keeping the stakes very high throughout great set pieces and scenes.

#1 – Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman : The Secret Service)

Matthew Vaughn seems to have uncovered a gem of a film with Kingsman but it was down to his superb vision and creativity with the film which made it truly amazing – credits to two scenes in particular which we’ll look at later which show the brilliance and creativity of this director.

Honourable Mention – Sam Mendes (Spectre)

Another brilliant Bond film from Mendes, narrowly missed out on a place on the Top 5 – the Day of the Dead festival scenes were the high point for him.

Honourable Mention – Joss Whedon (Avengers : Age of Ultron)

Creative and inventive are not word that you associate with Marvel films that generally stick to source material pretty faithfully but 2015 seems to have changed that – Whedon adding his own touch to the beloved series of supers.

Honourable Mention – Robert Zemekis (The Walk)

Very creative and brilliantly crafted story within The Walk which boasted some phenominal special effects. The carrots are cooked for this one.

Honourable Mention – George Miller (Mad Max : Fury Road)

A brilliant piece of cinema George Miller provided the action thriller of the year which used very little in the way of CGI which is remarkable for a film of its genre.

Top 5 Actors

#5 – Taron Edgerton (Eggsy, Kingsman : The Secret Service)

Taron Edgerton portrayed the cockney hooligan turned gentleman spy with ease back in February, delivering punch lines – and brutal justice – with ease.

#4 – Christoph Waltz (Ernst Blofeld, Spectre)

A great actor in almost every film that he is in, Waltz portrayed the powerful character of Blofeld brilliantly to ensure that his version of the character is one to be remembered. Hope to see him in the role again.

#3 – Daniel Craig (James Bond, Spectre)

Daniel Craig is great in just about any role but clearly Bond is a favourite – his hard man attitude mixed with deadpan comedy are a brilliant match for the Bond series and it would be a terrible shame if this was his last outing.

#2 – Daisy Ridley (Rey, Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

A newcomer to the Star Wars universe, Daisy quickly give the audience a strong character to get behind who is very reminiscent of Mark Hamills Luke Skywalker.

#1 – Matt Damon (Mark Watney, The Martian)

Topping the lot is Matt Damon’s expert portrayal of stranded astronaut Mark Watney was for me the standout performance of the year with Oscar buzz a good shout for this performance. His comedy and on screen presence helped get the character to be loved by the audience which all in all was pinnicle to the film’s success.

Top 5 Characters

#5 – Eggsy (Taron Edgerton, Kingsman : The Secret Service)

A loveable and funny character with a brilliant connection with other characters – really hope to see more of him in the sequel now that he has developed into a full blown Kingsman!

#4 – Han Solo (Harrison Ford, Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

A fan favourite and rightly so, the character bowed out in style in The Force Awakens to usher in a new generation of charcaters. The character was expertly played by Ford who delivered jokes in his normal fashion which fans of the series loved.

#3 – Mark Watney (Matt Damon, The Martian)

Mark Watney was instantly one of the most loved characters of the year with his story having many question how many movies Matt Damon finds himself stranded in, and others questioning whether we got that nice funny man back from Mars in real life… Throughout the film, Watney is faced with incredible odds of death – yet rather than being depressed and down about it, he rises to the challenge with his own brand of humour which made the film go from straight-faced Interstellar on Mars to a whole new level of comedy. A triumph for Damon and Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard for making the character as funny as he is.

#2 – Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, Ant-Man)

Comedy is a theme amongst this list and that is no exception for Scott Lang, the greatest hero of the year – credit must first go to Rudd and Wright for making the character as funny as he is

#1 – Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, Spectre)

A lot of speculation was well founded in October as Christoph Waltz was revealed to be playing the king of chaos, Blofeld. A lot of people queried the amount of time the baddie was given on screen with reports that it was initially Moriaty C that was to be the main villain. It was Christoph Waltz’s performance which ultimately made the character a stand out for me from the film and created a character that I would love to see return to the franchise if Daniel Craig were willing to face him again.

Honourable Mention – Harry Hart (Colin Firth, Kingsman : The Secret Service)

“Mr Pickles reminds me of that every time I take a shit!” – This line was delivered brilliantly by Firth to create a joke from nothing. The character was very posh and stuck up but willing for a fight which made him lovable and his eventual demise very shocking for the audience. Rumours of him being in the highly anticipated sequel would be a good shout- as long as they can work around the whole bullet to the head scenario.

Honourable Mention – Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

Kylo Ren had big boots to fill after Darth Vader, but I think he did it very well – the character was rooted in the story from the original trilogy but had his own stories to tell which I hope will be explored in the sequels.

Honourable Mention – Poe (Oscar Isaac, Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

Poe was just a badass- need I say more. From his first scenes where he showcased his talent he was an instant hit with the audience. It was a shame that he was a side character to the rest of the story – hope to see more in the sequels.

Top 5 Scenes

#5 – Manners. Maketh. Man. (Kingsman : The Secret Service)

This scene was one of the instant favourites of the year – Colin Firth and Taron Edgerton delivering both versions of the scene brilliantly with the comic style violence in full display. This was the scene that took Kingsman from your average comic book film to one of the major surprises of last year and it is this sort of scene that I hope make it into the sequel.

#4 – Y’just had to ask?! (Avengers : Age of Ultron)

Ultron was another on the list of favourite charcaters but narrowly missed out – the scene in the church in slow motion was a favourite of mine from last year similar to the circling shot in the first Avengers movie. The scene showcased the talent of all the characters while still maintaining the suspence of the action.

#3 – Who’s your friend who likes to play? (Inside Out)

*cries* This scene brings a tear to my eyes even now – the scene was so sad. The character of Bing Bong who we have come to love throughout the film eventually gives himself up for the sake of his childhood friend. It really is the saddest character death of all time.

#2 – Lip Sync Battle (Ant-Man)

This has got to be an Edgar Wright scene with some Worlds End and Hot Fuzz vibes coming from the lip syncing scenes where Michael Pena character goes over the plans and where they came from. I really thought they were brilliantly done and added to the comedy of the film – don’t know if I want more in the sequel but it was certainly fresh for a run of the mill Marvel film.

#1 – Hatin’ in the Church (Kingsman : The Secret Service)

Freebird. Violence. Brilliant lines. This scene was undoubtably the best action scene in any film never mind just 2015. The scene was brilliantly crafted and the music fitted so well – this is another I hope gets included within the sequel.

Honourable Mention – Flying with Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible : Rogue Nation)

A brilliantly made scene which didn’t really fit into the whole story of the film – still, takes some bottle to do it. Brownie points to Cruise.

Honourable Mention – For Paul (Furious 7)

This is a fitting end for a much loved character within the series and could have turned out very bad. It was really nice to see the scene and for once, the rapping wasn’t all to bad.

Honourable Mention – Day of the Dead (Spectre)

This scene is another that didn’t really help the story but looked brilliant with Sam Mendes needing the applause for this masterpiece of directing to follow James around the festival.

Honourable Mention – Rey and Finn vs Kylo Ren (Star Wars : The Force Awakens)

A great climax to the story which offered fantastic visuals and great stunts. More please for the sequels.

Top 5 Films

#5 – Spectre 

It was close, this or Star Wars but I think that Spectre just made it for the performances of the cast. A top film which really added to the franchise – I hope it isn’t Daniel Craig’s last but I could see Michael Fassbender in the role?

See my full Spectre review for more!

#4 – Mad Max : Fury Road

Mad Max was one of those films that I saw the trailer for and wasn’t convinced but I made myself watch it because of Tom Hardy and I was not disappointed. The visuals and effects were brilliant and the action was super. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron were on top form with George Miller bringing the series to it’s action packed finest. A sequel would be good but I thought that this was a classic on it’s own.

#3 – Inside Out

A surprise on the list is Inside Out, a brilliant all round film. The classic Pixar story and the characters which are so lovable – particularly Bing Bong. I hope it doesn’t get a sequel because this was fine on its own. Probably the best Pixar film since the Incredibles?

#2 – Kingsman : The Secret Service

And the battle for first place was so close but Kingsman lost out – a great film with great action and music but a predictable storyline. I know it is hard to pick faults at a parody film but this film said it was not the cliche ridden Bond film but then went on to have a very cliched ending. Still a 10/10 don’t get me wrong.

#1 – The Martian

A brilliant all round film – top acting, story, soundtrack and directing. The film is on track for some Oscar glory possibly with Matt Damon pulling a brilliant performance out of the hat with his witty and lovable character put in a seemingly impossible situation. It’s a real feelgood film which always makes me happier when you see the eventual rescue of out protagonist and the rejoice around the world for one man and his long adventure.

 

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