The 2015 movie season has rolled to a close and the various members of Renegade Cinema are checking in with their picks for the best movies of 2015. Here is a look at Derek’s picks.
For the first time in my life, I’m actually glad we got another Rocky movie. The good work from Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler in Creed was kind of expected, but the big surprise was actually Sylvester Stallone. It’s certainly commendable to see Stallone willing to take a supporting role in the franchise he kept going for over 30 years but to also let someone do the writing this time around (a first for this franchise) and the movie as well as Stallone’s performance are all the better for it. I never thought I’d say this but if Stallone does end up getting an Oscar for this movie, I’m perfectly okay with that.
By the time Spy came out this year I had gotten more than a little tired of Melissa McCarthy’s comedic psychopath shtick, so this was a refreshing and hilarious change of pace. Jude Law and Rose Byrne both provide excellent supporting work and Jason Statham is an absolute riot playing what is essentially a parody of himself, constantly bragging about exploits that wouldn’t be out of place in one of his actual movies (seriously I wouldn’t be surprised if this unintentionally inspires Crank 3).
In a time where the news has become dominated with paparazzi and sensationalism, it’s great to see a movie where journalism is done right. The acting is superb, and while Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo are the ones getting the majority of the praise, the entire cast deserves to be recognized (I suppose they’ll have to settle for a Best Acting Ensemble at the SAG Awards). A lesser film would’ve inserted twists for some cheap drama but Spotlight avoids that temptation and instead gives us a group of people giving us solid and thorough reporting which is something that’s felt like an increasing rarity over the years.
2. The Martian
Welcome back Ridley Scott. We have certainly missed you. I had my tiny hopes that The Martian would be different from Scott’s usual duds but still had plenty of reasons to feel nervous. Luckily, those doubts couldn’t have more off base thanks to not only a return to form from Scott but also a fantastic leading performance from Matt Damon which was equal parts funny and dramatic. We also have Drew Goddard to thank for providing a more than worthy screenplay adaptation of the Andy Weir novel, which is written well enough to be intelligent but avoids being too science-y for the audience like Interstellar.
1. Inside Out
This was my most anticipated for 2015 and they it didn’t disappoint. Pixar may be a somewhat of a shadow of their former selves but Inside Out served as a powerful reminder of the kind of entertaining and surprisingly mature movies they’re capable of when not focused on merchandise selling sequels. Not only is this my favorite film of 2015 but it’s also up there as one of my favorite Pixar films period which is really saying something.