1.) Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens
IMDB description: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
What can be said that already hasn’t? Everyone and their mother has seen it 5 times.
IMDB description: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core
Nothing about the film is groundbreaking or spectacular, but everything about it is good to very good (Sounds a little harsh at first, but a very high compliment). Has a good story, solid performances, reserved direction, and an emotional core.
IMDB description: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
Sicario is intense and keeps you on the edge of your seat much like the director Denis Villeneuve’s previous film Prisoners (2013). The border shoot out scene is masterful and exciting (If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about).
4.) Mad Max: Fury Road
IMDB description: A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.
If any movie is deserving of the phrase non stop-balls to the wall, petal to the metal action- it’s this. Best action movie of recent memory. From the second it opens its go go go adrenaline.
5.) Ex Machina
IMDB description: A young programmer is selected to participate in a groundbreaking experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
It’s better to go into this without me saying much, so i’ll just say it’s a cool and original Sci-Fi movie. It makes the list for Oscar Isaac’s dancing scene alone.
IMDB Description: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
The best sports movie I’ve seen in years, showcases one of the best writer/directors under 30 in Ryan Coogler. It resurrects what seemed to be a dead franchise in an original way.
7.) The Martian
IMDB Description: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and cleft behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone of the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
This years space movie delivers in entertainment, and is one of the many good but not great movies from 2015.
IMDB Description: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950’s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When he past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
Beautifully shot film with solid performances (especially lead actress Saoirse Ronan). Has my vote for tearjerker of the year.
9.) The End of the Tour
IMDB Description: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest’
A career performance by Jason Segel, and sort a forgotten movie come award time. Has the best movie dialogue in a year in which an Aaron Sorkin movie came out. A good, solid, and heartfelt film.
10.) Straight Outta Compton
IMDB Description: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980’s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.
There were a handful of acclaimed movies that I could’ve put in this spot (Room, The Revenant, The Big Short, etc.), but it ultimately came down to picking what movie was the most memorable. This movie shouldn’t work, but it does.