The Top 10 Movies of 2015

A24, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox
  1. Ex Machina: One of my five favorite movies of all time.
  2. The Big Short: Adam McKay’s dark comedy, along with The Wolf of Wall Street, serve as America’s two best post-mortems on the 2008 financial crisis and the morally bankrupt people who caused it.
  3. Room: Not to be confused with Tommy Wiseau’s delightful The Room, Room features Joy (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) as a mother and son duo held captive in a room for years. Room’s plot revolves their attempts to escape and Jack’s understanding of the world beyond the only four walls he has ever known. The movie is as traumatic and empathetic as it is well made.
  4. The Revenant: Alejandro Iñárritu’s revenge epic is elevated by its star (Leonardo DiCaprio), its cinematographer (Emmanuel Lubezki), and its punishing on-location shooting.
  5. The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s divisive Western was advertised as Agatha Christie meets Sergio Leone. It lives up to the logline.
  6. The Lobster: In Yorgos Lanthimos’s surreal black comedy, single people are given a 45-day hotel stay to find a new partner or they will be transformed into the animal of their choosing. The absurd lengths the hotel guests go to to avoid being single make us laugh, but perhaps they should make us cry.
  7. Spotlight: Spotlighting (sorry) the Boston Globe’s team of investigative journalists as they chase a story on child sex abuse perpetrated and covered up by members of the Catholic Church is as worthy a story as any. Despite its subject matter, Spotlight feels safe. Make no mistake, the movie is well crafted, just don’t expect to see anything new.
  8. Sicario: Solidly acted, photographed, written, and directed, Sicario provides prudent political commentary on the American war on drugs.
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller’s eclectic career has been building to Fury Road, and oh, what a thing to build to.
  10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: My head tells me Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was the better film, but my heart tells me that lightsabers are super cool.