Jim McClean’s Top 10 Movies for 2015

So after much consideration and many cups of coffee, I’ve  finally settled on my favourite films of the year, so here’s my top ten for 2015.

Number 10 – It Follows

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A clever horror movie with heavy nods to John Carpenter and Wes Craven,  playing out like Hideo Nakata’s Ringu mixed with a hint American Pie, the film’s plot sees promiscuous teenagers hunted by a shape-shifting, paranormal presence that can only they can see.  With its 80’s tone and fantastic score, It Follows was just a real nostalgia fest for me; reminding me of all the movies I watched when I shouldn’t have, when I was old enough to know I shouldn’t have been watching them.

Here’s my review from earlier this year.

Number 9 – The Falling

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No film has come as close to replicating that unsettling tone of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man than Carol Morley’s feature The Falling. Even after two viewings I’m not 100% convinced I’m sure what’s going on throughout this film, but the story about  the effect of the death of a young pupil at a strict English girls’ school during the 1960’s is just fantastic. It’s great to see a film that can be so confidently ambiguous in its storytelling approach, leaving it up to viewers to make their own mind about what’s going on. As always Maisie Williams is just excellent in the film’s central role.

Number 8 – Victoria

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Forget Birdman because Sebastian Schipper feature is an effortlessly cool movie, shot in one continuous take over three attempts at night in Berlin. After a night clubbing to the early hours, a young woman’s flirtation with a man she just met takes an unexpected twist as she find herself in the middle of an attempt bank robbery .It’s got a great soundtrack and an amazing central performance by Laia Costa, no matter how many times you see it, you’ll not believe this was all done in one take.

Number 7 – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Lilly Amirpour’s feature isn’t really a horror movie, it was nevertheless billed as the first Iranian Vampire Western. It’s a wonderfully stylish black and white feature that effectively mashed together a variety of cinematic genres and did so in such an effortlessly cool and accomplished way; it’s hard to believe it was Amirpour’s directorial debut.

Here’s my Review.

Number 6 – Ex Machina

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Alex Garland delivers a fanatically competent directorial debut; it’s a classic story of a femme fatale, but with a slick new sci-fi premise. A future cult-classic this was the first film that brought the talented Swedish actress Alicia Vikander to my attention because the actress is simply staggering in the role of Ava, the world’s first true artificial intelligence.

Check out our review on the CineCast earlier this year.

Number 5- The Duke of Burgundy

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Unfairly dubbed the thinking man’s Fifty Shades of Grey, The Duke of Burgundy explored similar ideas to E. L. James’ trashy source material, but there was none of the inner goddess nonsense James insisted on cramming down people’s throats. Strickland’s film with clear nods to sleazy European movies from the 1970s didn’t feature any nudity onscreen whatsoever, but explored the power dynamics within a submissive/dominant relationship in a fantastically entertaining manner.

Here’s what we thought on the CineCast earlier this year 

Number 4 – The Martian

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Welcome back Sir Ridley Scott, after the underwhelming Exodus: Gods and Kings earlier in the year it was great to see the British director reminding everyone what a talented filmmaker he is, returning to the sci-fi genre with clear relish in this punchy adaption of Andy Weir’s source material. Credit much go to Drew Goddard for adapting the source material for the big screen, he does a fantastic job in capturing the essence of Weir’s novel.

Number 3 –Steve Jobs

Some critics couldn’t stand Boyle’s film, but I bloody loved it; admittedly Sorkin’s screenplay would’ve been more at home on the West End or Broadway, but Boyle’s visual style and frantic energy meant this film never felt too stagey. Steve Jobs is a film which is all about the performances, it’s an actors film and Boyle gives his cast the space to perform, particularly Michael Fassbender who excels in the film’s central role, donning Jobs’ iconic turtleneck and embracing his inner bastard with clear relish. I’d also like to give a shout out to Daniel Pemberton’s amazing score for this film.

You can read my review here.

Number 2 – Blind

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Stranger Than Fiction meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in this fantastic Norwegian drama, I saw this twice this year at both the Dublin and Glasgow film festival’s and I think it’s a wonderfully funny, but poignant drama that deals with a woman’s insecurities following the loss of her eyesight. Any other year this would be hands down my favourite film of the year, if Pixar hadn’t once again showcased their ability for fine storytelling.

Number 1 –  Inside Out

My favourite movie from the year has to behands down Pixar’s Inside Out, a film that once again showcased the studio’s ability to tell a story that appealed to all ages. This wasn’t a globe-trotting disaster movie, but the story of a young girl going through the stressful process of moving home. I loved Inside Out, it twice it reduced me to tears and on one of those occasions I had to be offered a tissue from a 5-year-old girl sitting beside me in the cinema

Check out some of the films I’ve mentioned on our online movie store.

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