This year, I made it my personal goal to see 115 films that I’d never seen before. As I write this, I’m sitting at 133 and have to admit: I could have watched more. This list is covering the films that came out at the end of 2014 and 2015 though, so here we go.
#5: Kingsman: The Secret Service
No action movie was this much fun to watch this year (except for John Wick, which barely missed the cut). Right from the beginning, you can tell what you’re in for. It’s incredibly fast-paced and bloody, and it makes the Taken films look like a joke. A few beers and this movie are companions for the perfect night in.
#4: Beasts of No Nation
You ready to have your heart ripped out and shown to you? Watch this one on Netflix. I still expect it to collect some huge honors when the Oscar nominations drop, but really, this movie stands on its own without those accolades. I really feel it’s this generation’s Apocalypse Now and hits harder and more honestly than any other film I saw this year.
#3: Force Majeure
This was an insane film and one of the only ones I watched twice this year. A breathtakingly beautiful mountainside acts as its own character as it bears down upon a family trying to enjoy their weekend skiing. I won’t ruin it for you, but this is like Kubrick‘s attempt at making a Scandinavian dark comedy. It’s incredible.
#2: The Guest
This is why I love film. If you’ve ever seen You’re Next, you’ll know what to expect with director Adam Wingard. This movie caught me off guard though. It’s marketed as a sort of “James Bond has gone insane,” but this one is much more than that. From the amazing score by Zombi‘s Steve Moore, to the wonderfully subdued acting (think Ash from Evil Dead meets Ryan Gosling from Drive) by Dan Stevens, this is honestly the most fun I had with a movie this year. Except for…
#1: Mad Max: Fury Road
Hell yes! This movie rules so hard. From beginning to end, it’s like getting your teeth kicked in by a Cannibal Corpse song come to life. It really doesn’t let up and may I just say…I like Tom Hardy as Max much more than Mel Gibson. I know, GASP! And when have you ever seen a group of badass women tear up the screen so hard? Never, that’s when. If you haven’t seen this yet, put it at the top of your list. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll experience it and that’s all this movie needs to be viewed as. An experience.
Predestination, What We Do in the Shadows, We Are Still Here, John Wick, Under the Skin, Spotlight, The Drop, Inside Out and KUNG FURY (Yes!)
Biggest Turds of the Year:
I watched some bad movies this year. So what, not everyone’s perfect: Pitch Perfect 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Cobbler, Horns, Stonehearst Asylum
Still Want to See:
Too many to mention, but there’s always next year: Creed, The Revenant, Room, The Big Short, Anomalisa, The Hateful Eight, Spectre, Black Mass
If you’d like to track all the little things I have to say and more reviews, you can follow me on Twitter: @sheldonspanjer