As the year draws to a close, the team at SpicyPulp will be choosing their top picks for films released in 2015. Check out Sam’s top ten below, and be sure to let us know what your favourites were.
10. Straight Outta Compton
The rise of gangster rap was brought to the big screen with precision and style by director F. Gary Grey and stood out as one of 2015’s big winners. Showcasing an impressive debut from newcomer Jason Mitchell as the legendary Easy-E, Straight Outta Compton was an obvious stand out.
9. Testament of Youth
The horror, carnage, and loss of the First World War was brought to life in vivid detail in director James Kent’s heart-shattering adaptation of the classic bestseller Testament of Youth. Anchored by the presence and ability of rising star Alicia Vikander, this incredibly moving piece of cinema presented the war as told through the perspective of one young woman who witnessed it first hand, and who would forever be shaped and changed by its aftermath.
Director Ryan Coogler, and rising star Michael B. Jordan, staked their claim for greatness with this hard-hitting new chapter of the Rocky franchise. Jordon cut an impressive figure as talented but angry young prize fighter Adonis Creed-Johnson who, with the help of former champ Rocky Balboa, rises to the occasion. A thrilling film in every sense, Creed was a first class winner.
7. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
The stakes have never been higher for Tom Cruise as superspy Ethan Hunt in this no-holds-barred action film. Reuniting Cruise with longtime collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, his ‘need for speed’ was certainly attained with an adrenaline charging motorcycle chase, as well as featuring the actor brave a 5,000-foot drop from a moving cargo plane.
6. The Dressmaker
Revenge has never looked so good in director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker. Featuring a story that is original, clever and fantastically sharp, The Dressmaker is anchored by a phenomenal performance from Kate Winslet as vengeful couturier Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage, and completed by the appearance of Judy Davis as mad old bat ‘Mad’ Molly Dunnage, not to mention Hugo Weaving as the fantastically camp Sergeant Horatio Farrett.
Tom Hardy was pure double trouble in this stylish and violent criminal biopic that brought the notorious Kray twins to life. Shaped by a solid story and brilliant production detail, Legend also saw Hardy effortlessly move between the criminally gifted Reggie, and the violently unstable Ronnie. Emily Browning completes this amazing film as East End ingénue Francis, whose fairytale gangster love affair quickly turns dark.
Emily Blunt walked a brutal path straight down into the very heart of darkness in Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario. All notions of good and evil were shattered in this hard-hitting crime film which featured one of the most intense confrontations I’ve ever witnessed on screen, and Benicio del Toro was magnificent as the silent and brooding assassin Alejandro.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
For those wanting an adrenaline rush there was nowhere better to turn than George Miller’s gasoline charged, action-manic spectacular Mad Max: Fury Road. Featuring two brilliant performances from co-leads Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road brought to life a dangerous and dark world.
2. The Ground We Won
The camaraderie and brotherhood of the game of rugby stood at the heart of this extraordinary documentary film, which chronicled a group of good ol’ kiwi battlers who lived for the weekend and the game they loved. Captured with beautiful black and white cinematography, The Ground We Won was a moving portrait of a rural community, and the game that held them together in a piece of unmissable cinema.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an absolutely amazing cinematic feat, and is without a doubt my favourite film of the year. Capturing the nostalgia of the original trilogy, as well as introducing two amazing new co-leads, Force Awakens was action-adventure storytelling at it best. Utterly brilliant.
Feature image source: Walt Disney Pictures.