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Top 10 Movies of 2015
2015 was a year of extreme highs and lows for movies. For every great cinematic accomplishment, there was a teeth-grinding disappointment to balance it out. But while it was uneven, 2015 definitely brought us our fair share of amazing movies; historic performances from some of the world's finest actors and actresses, original new ideas from directors and screenwriters, and soundtracks that will stand on their own for years.
Here are my ten favorite movies that came out in 2015, ranked in descending order.
10. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
A bigger, smoother, sexier Mission: Impossible movie than ever before, Rogue Nation continued the story of Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt from where we left him in 2011. This time, with the IMF disbanded, he's battling the Syndicate in a high-stakes action thriller that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Hollywood will only stop making Mission:Impossible movies when Tom Cruise stops looking good shirtless.
9. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
My most unpopular opinion of the year: Age of Ultron is significantly better than the first Avengers movie. Each Avenger got more character this time around (especially Hawkeye) and Ultron is played brilliantly by James Spader. This is a fun, action-packed comic book movie that sets up phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while bringing together the themes of phase two.
8. The Man From U.N.C.L.E
This is the underdog spy movie of the year, competing against the Mission:Impossible and James Bond franchises, but you wouldn't know it. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; Sherlock Holmes), this movie drips with swagger and confidence, from the acting to the soundtrack. Suave, slick, and utterly irresistible, The Man From U.N.C.L.E takes us back to the spy movies of old.
Capturing the magic of the Rocky movies would have been no easy task, but Creed manages it with apparent ease. The movie feels like a natural extension of the franchise. Sylvester Stallone is back as Rocky, with a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and Micheal B. Jordan charms as Adonis Creed. Their friendship is effortless, one of the most rewarding film relationships of the year. Creed closes out the Rocky Balboa era with respect and style, while ushering in a new boxing hero, whose name we hope to chant for years to come.
Bryan Cranston stars as the anti-heroic Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, whose divisive politics nearly lost him everything. Blacklisted, scorned, and attacked, Trumbo has to fight for his right to think. This is a movie that sets out to inspire, dazzle, and tug on the heartstrings - and succeeds in all areas.
5. Mr. Holmes
There have been many interpretations of the world's greatest detective over the years. Now, Ian McKellen joins their ranks as perhaps the most human Holmes yet. This is a very heartfelt movie, a loving tribute to the life and legacy of Sherlock Holmes. While it isn't as action-packed and exciting as the Robert Downey Jr. movies, or as clever as Benedict Cumberbatch's television show, Mr. Holmes is never boring. Rather, in keeping with McKellen's performance, it is the calmest and wisest Holmes Movie to date.
4. Jurassic World
I don't know if I missed something, but this movie came out of nowhere for me. Maybe it was Chris Pratt's swashbuckling performance, or maybe it was the updated effects, or maybe it was intensity of the plot - but something really clicked with Jurassic World. It preserves the nostalgia factor from the early Jurassic Park movies, while revamping the story for modern audiences. Jurassic World is a fun, exciting movie that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Star Wars magic is officially back. A fun cast of new characters, an interesting new villain, and a return to the practical effects that gave the first Star Wars trilogy so much heart make this a massive success of a movie. This new trilogy is going to be a wild ride, and The Force Awakes kicks it off in style.
This movie displays Jake Gyllenhaal's superb acting ability, as he stars as Billy Hope, a boxer who loves his wife and daughter more than anything. It's a movie with a lot of heart to go along with Gyllenhaal's inspired performance. As a sports movie, this is a must-see. As an inspiring drama, it's the best of the year.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
Road rage has its own movie. A wild, untamed adrenaline rush, Mad Max: Fury Road is a visual masterpiece. The cinematography and writing are extremely unique, slamming the audience into the movie's zany world without any clunky exposition - it's the epitome of Show Don't Tell. The performances from the talented cast (lead by Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicolas Hoult) are perfect. Mad Max isn't just a film - it's an immersive experience, one of the best action movies ever made.
So there you have it: my top ten favorite movies of 2015. Do you agree? Disagree? Post your own favorites in the comments below.