Best of 2015

Ben Atwater

Amy Poehler voices Joy in Inside Out (AP photo)
Amy Poehler voices Joy in Inside Out
(AP photo)

Film Editor Ben shares his Top 5 Movies of 2015


It has been a great year, as always, for film. As tradition, let’s wind down what in my opinion was the best films of 2015.

5. The Walk

Robert Zemeckis, director of Forrest Gump, has delivered yet another great historic drama film. Set in the 1970s, The Walk tells the true story of Phillipe Petit who dared the impossible. A wire walker from France, Petit plotted a coup to string a wire between the newly constructed Twin Towers and walked untethered across it. The true story is amazing, and the film portrays it in a funny yet thoughtful way. Joseph Gordon Levitt shines as Petit, and the walk sequence on the wire is among one of the best visual effects sequences of 2015. The Walk is also notable as an IMAX film that merits the format more than any other recently.

4. Kingsmen: The Secret Service

Not expecting much from this film, I ended up really liking the Kingsmen and had one of the most fun times I’ve had at the theater in recent years. Taking many notes from the Bond films, Kingsmen portrays British spy action with just the right amount of comedy to avoid feeling like a spoof; yet it was still more lighthearted than most spy films. Colin Firth stands out in the very famous church massacre scene, which rejoices in violence in a very Tarantino-esque fashion. Taron Edgerton plays a great young recruit to the spy organizations that has to save the world. Kingsmen especially excels under the brilliant direction of Matthew Vaughn, X-Men First Class director, who keeps the pacing excellently and consistently engaging.
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After thirty-two years, the first proper sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy has been released with The Force Awakens. Set thirty years after Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens sets up a new war arch between the remnants of the Empire who have formed The First Order, under the leadership of dark side user Kylo Ren. Fighting against The First Order is the resistance,which includes fighter pilot Poe Dameron. The conflict brings in desert wanderer Rey, an undiscovered force user, and Finn, a rogue Stormtrooper. The two of them band together to survive, coming across Star Wars vet Han Solo, played by returner Harrison Ford, along the way. The Force Awakens is exactly what Star Wars needed: a throwback to the practically deemed and fantastical world created through strong and interesting characters. This was not done in the prequel trilogy, and JJ Abrams brought back everything everyone loved about Star Wars. A great time at the theater, the film went on to break all kinds of box office records, currently being the third highest grossing film of all time.

2. Inside Out

After a slew of mediocre efforts, Pixar has finally returned to deliver what might be their best movie yet. Inside Out is a film about emotions, which are characterized as independent characters. Portraying the internal mental processes of a girl going through puberty, the brain activity is represented with vibrant environments and zany characters representing neurotransmitters firing in various channels. The story is told brilliantly and examines deep psychological concepts under the disguise of a kids’ movie. A sure-fire win for Best Animated Picture at the Oscars, Inside Out is a film that you should, by all means, check out.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

The epic return to George Miller’s post-apocalyptic franchise, Fury Road is the fourth and best Mad Max film to date. An epic adrenaline rush, Tom Hardy plays Max, a man trying to survive in the desert after the end of the world. He finds himself caught up in a pursuit between the warlord Immortan Joe and his traitor lieutenant Furiosa, who is helping Joe’s imprisoned wives escape his custody. Approximately 80 percent of the film is on the road, and the car chases are insanely epic, much due to the use of extensive practical effects. From a sandstorm encroaching on the convoy of scrap metal cars to the guitar player whose guitar spits flames, every shot is filled with pure energy and adrenaline. With a haunting score by Junkie XL, Fury Road is perhaps one of the most obscure action films to be nominated for Best Picture. No other film this year has been the quite the experience of emotions and thrills as , and it deserves every Oscar it has been nominated for.