It’s been a right old roller-coaster of a cinematic year, with some absolutely ground-breaking offerings, and some distinct misfires. Next year’s crop of big releases is shaping up to be even more busy and divisive, but what were the ones this year that floated your boat, and the ones that really really annoyed the hell out of you?
We’ve polled the ScreenGeek.net office staff, and here’s a flavor of the PTO winners and losers in the battle for the cinematic crown of 2015:
Best Film – Creed
This was a surprise hit for me and so many others. The trailers had showed promise, but like a book, never judge it by its cover. Yet, I was very glad that Creed did not disappoint. Sure it took pieces from the original and implemented into this movie but god damn it worked so well. By the end of the film, you became really involved with the story, the characters and their struggle. Oscar worthy performance by Michael B. Jordan and Oscar worthy direction by Ryan Coogler hands down. Definitely the best film of the year for me.
Worst Film – The Hateful Eight
Coming off the high that was Djagno Unchained, you would think Tarantino would have another Western film easily in the bag. Nope, not with this. Sure the scope of 70mm looked amazing and that casting was fantastic, but that couldn’t make up for the tedious dialogue and the uninteresting story that just added nothing new from Tarantino and frankly had me fall asleep at some point in the film. And no, I didn’t have to be told what I missed out of the film because one or two of the characters would explain it to me, in detail again and again. This probably has to be my least favorite Tarantino film.
Best Film – The Martian
It seems in recent years that Hollywood has developed a fetish for marooning Matt Damon on distant planets, first it was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and now Ridley Scott’s The Martian, I look to forward to Bourne 5 which sees the character left on Venus.
The movie boasts an extremely impressive cast, but despite this it is Damon who truly shines, as the abandoned astronaut trying desperately to survive long enough to be rescued, managing to be both charming and hilarious despite acting solo for the majority of the film.
The script and direction manage to keep the excitement levels at high for the entire run-time, even in scenes when we are watching Damon growing potatoes by ‘sciencing the shit of it’. Overall one of my favorite films of 2015.
Worst Film – Fantastic Four
Much like my top movie of 2015, The Martian, Fantastic Four also features a character left for dead on a strange planet, although in this one, nobody wanted to bring him home.
Fantastic Four is a prime example of a rushed film, with no sense of pacing, with the story only really starting about 20 minutes before the end and wrapped up in a wholly anticlimactic way.
The actors all try to work with abysmal script they are given but the lack of story or decent direction mean that they are never truly given a chance to explore the roles they are given. At the very least, it made the eventual move to the MCU that little bit more likely.
Best Film – Crimson Peak
This masterpiece of Gothic horror fires on all cylinders. The story, the acting, the sets, the costumes, the music – everything is perfect. Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Jessica Chastain bring to vivid life a twisted trio of 1890’s high society, and show the dark underbelly of a world where people will do the unimaginable in the name of love, money, and terrible secrets. But their house of horrors has secrets of its own to tell. And it will find a way to be heard.
Worst Film – Last Knights
I really expected to like this movie. It had the makings of something right up my alley. Good actors? Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen are solid. Check. Interesting story? A loyal warrior sets out to avenge his beloved master. Think 47 Ronin, but in Medieval Europe. Still sounds promising, right? Unfortunately, this movie never even begins to live up to its potential. The actors give flat, bland performances. They all sound as if they’re reading their lines directly from the script. There is just no soul in this film, which is a massive shame. It could have been great. Instead, you’ll be just as bored as the characters seem to be.
Best Film – It Follows
My best movie is an example of pure invitation and effort. A non-franchise film that tries to pay homage to what’s gone before, whilst trying to use the storytelling skills and practical effects of the present.
It’s a completely original breath of fresh air, and injects a shot of adrenaline into an ailing ‘straight to DVD’ horror market. The concept is a real pull, hooking you from the outset, and making you suspicious of absolutely everyone and everything.
As the small band of teens struggle to keep the heroine alive without any help or belief from others, you’re completely engaged with their plight, and equally as bewildered as they are about how to survive the supernatural threat. It’s a film that will have you thinking about the ins and outs of it for days after is finishes running.
Worst Film – Taken 3
And my worst film is the exact opposite of ‘It Follows’, a project utterly devoid of inspiration or creativity.
It’s film-making at its laziest, real ‘Insert pole A into slot B’ stuff. Liam Neeson looks like the only person he want to kill is himself. The relatively inept Xander Berkeley has inexplicably morphed into an obnoxiously twattish Dougray Scott, and Forest Whittaker has developed a fetish for elastic bands.
The violence is senseless and bloodless. The set-pieces and stunt work are worthy of a Steven Segal movie, and it’s a totally worthless conclusion to what started as a fresh and exciting franchise.
Best Film – Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max isn’t just the perfect franchise revival and a great example of bringing back a forgotten series to a modern world. Even without all of that, it’s just a really damn fine movie. The dialogue is sparse and the plot is simple, but the story shines brightly through amazing performances by Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult. The stuntwork and cinematography are some of the best in any movie, period, and that’s saying something for a movie that came out the same year as Mission Impossible V and the Point Break remake. While the previous three Mad Max movies are all very good movies in their own right, Fury Road feels like it ascends above all of them to make for a cinematic experience that absolutely cannot be missed
Worst Film – Tyrmynytyr Gynysys
If Mad Max, Star Wars, Creed, and Jurassic World are all examples of successful franchise revivals turning into mega-hits, Terminator Genisys (or Tyrmynytyr Gynysys as I like to call it) is an example of a shallow cash-grab that failed to revive any franchise. It was a by-the-numbers movie that was plagued by poor performances from the actors and a plot that rehashed everything from the previous movies in a sort of Greatest Hits manner. Even JK Simmons, who brings up every movie he’s in, was unable to make Terminator Genisys enjoyable.
Allen Dean Lyons
Best Film – Mad Max: Fury Road
Whether it was a sequel or a reboot, George Miller’s return to the Mad Max franchise surely delivered. Tom Hardy filled Mel Gibson’s shoes as the title character. He didn’t say much- and neither did any one else. The true beauty of the film was the story that sunk in hours after the movie ended. And goddamn, that flame-throwing guitar, with those drummers pounding away, was pretty freaking sweet!
Worst Film – Fantastic Four
Who thought that 2004’s Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis vehicle needed to be rebooted? The rights-holders, 20th Century Fox, evidently thought it did. But as a chance to redeem themselves, they fell flat on their faces. Guess the Galactus storm cloud wasn’t all that bad. The only thing the reboot had going for itself was the stunning visuals 2015 had to offer.
Best Film – Ant-Man
So, since most of the other great movies are either already being covered or I became too busy with college to see, I have gone with Ant-Man. Ant-Man is the story about ex-thief Scott Lang, a man who wants to do the right thing and be a good father to his daughter, but isn’t sure how, when he is all of a sudden recruited to perform one last heist using a suit that allows him to shrink and control insects. The father-daughter relationship in particular holds a lot of this movie together in a great way. Lang wants to change, wants to be a good person, wants to be a hero, largely because he wants to be worthy to be in her life and of the great faith she puts in him. The film on top of being a superhero film is also a heist movie, showing once again the great amount of potential the comics world has in terms of exploring different movie genres. With a great balance of humor and action matching that of the comic, emotionally resounding and memorable characters, and strong performances from the entire cast, this film definitely proves that *OBLIGATORY CLICHE* big things come in small packages *END OF OBLIGATORY CLICHE*.
Worst Film – Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Suffice it to say, this sequel to another crappy comedy is GARBAGE. This film is about a bumbling security officer working at a mall who is invited to a security convention in a Las Vegas hotel, but discovers some nonthreatening threat he has to stop.
First, there is all the cheap, unfunny, and overused fat jokes. Only a few minutes in I want to scream “WE GET IT, HE’S FAT AND YOU PEOPLE CAN’T BE BOTHERED WITH CREATIVE OR ORIGINAL HUMOR!” Then there are all the security guard jokes showing people in the security industry to be either fat, incompetent or other stereotypes that are so FORCED that they might as well include a laugh track in each scene, because the audience certainly wasn’t laughing.
For every good joke there are at least 50 crap ones. On top of that this movie is pretty much an extended advertisement for this place called the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel where most of the plot takes place. A Terrible one considering how it shows young and possibly under-aged staff partying in vacant rooms, as well as how blatantly incompetent their security is with how they leave valuable items out in the open with little protection. Way to go.
All in all, an overpriced advertisement with the pathetic story quality of one stretched over 1 and a half painful hours. This film needs to BE secured – far away where it will never be seen by any unfortunate soul ever again!
So who do you agree with the most from our dedicated team of movie-addicts? Did anybody hit the nail on the head for you, or are we just gibbering rubbish? Sound off below!