10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
While the film isn’t best picture worthy, it is worthy of the Star Wars saga. In a return to form, the long awaited 7th episode sets up what could be a great trilogy with compelling leads, Rey, Finn, and Poe. Hopefully they use what they have and make it greater in the next episodes.
The cinematography alone is enough to call this movie great, but through subtle performances, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro give the film the push it needs, as government agents who are tasked with helping bring down the cartel.
8. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
This film does the rare job of giving a young girl a story about coming to terms with her sexuality. Bel Powley does a great job of delivering a strong and confident performance of a young girl lost in a sexual haze as she begins sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend. The film’s overall importance trumps it’s few flaws, and is necessary to watch if you’re a young teen.
7. Ex Machina
While the plot of artificial intelligence is not uncommon, Alicia vikander and Oscar Isaac give amazing performances that keep you entranced in this thrilling sci-fi film about a billionaire who tasks a coder to administer a Turing test on an A.I. unit he created.
6. The Hateful Eight
Taratino’s latest feature may not be his best, but he does the tough job of keeping you entertained for over three hours, and he does it well in this western about 8 horrible people stuck under the same roof.
5. Clouds of Sils Maria
Juliette Binoche stars as an aging star coping with the fact that her time might be done along with her assistant, Valentine, along for the ride. While Binoche may lead, it’s Kristen Stewart who asserts herself to dominance, giving the best performance of her career to date.
Based on the kidnappings of young girls, Room tells the story of Ma and Jack, who’ve been stuck in a room for over 7 years. The film can be dark at times, but the heartfelt story makes it one of the best films of the year, along with tremendous performances by its cast.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
After three decades since the last, the mad max franchise comes back with its best film yet, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in the drivers seat for an epic action tale that will go down for its excellence and feminist storyline.
While the fact that it was shot on iPhones gained it notoriety, the story makes it nothing but a footnote along with two great leads as they play two transgender prostitutes searching for a cheating pimp who traverse LA on Christmas Eve.
Todd Haynes returns with “Carol,” one of the best lgbt films of all time. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara give career best performances as they slowly fall in love as Therese and Carol in the 1950’s, just as you do.