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The Panda

The Panda's Best 15 Films of 2015 - Number 1 Film Revealed!

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It's that time of year again, this year has breezed by so quickly.  I honestly feels like I just did my top 20 of 2014 a few months ago.  It's been an overall good year, personally and also for films.  There's been some stinkers (and I will devote a post for those movies), cringeworthy performances, and movies I totally forgot even existed (until I looked at the list of films I watched this year).  There have also been some great cinematic moments, sequences that made my mouth water, performances that gave me chills to watch, movies I screamed with joy just at the opening sequence, and overall some fantastic films.  It's those that I am going to devote most of my posts in this thread about (all but one), because looking back at the positive is just a lot more fun than looking back at the negative.

 

Anyways, to the logistical disclaimers of this thread I always have to include in order to avoid responding to posts like, "How was that in your top 15" or "Why is this film missing?" or "You gave this film an A+ and this one an F, why'd you put the F above the A+ Panda?  Do you lie in your reviews?"  First off, this is my personal list, a mixture of what I enjoyed the most and the films I thought were the overall best quality (with a much larger emphasis on what I enjoyed the most).  There will be a few films on my list that did not necessarily receive the best critical reception, or maybe even BOT member reception.  There's one in-particular that about half the members of this forum will scoff at me for, but it's my list so deal with it.  I also have not seen every movie released this year, some I didn't get around to seeing, some I had no opportunity to see, some I had a chance but missed that chance and had no way of seeing it afterwards.  A few of the most notable movies I missed were The Revenant, Room, and Carol.   I will try and see those three before I vote for the BOFFIES or submit my top 25 list, but this is when I am doing my list so it would be lying to put something I haven't seen on my list.  And my last disclaimer, whatever grade I gave a movie on my running listing in "Best of 2015" thread or on a review that movie thread, doesn't have any barring of where I rank it.  It's not that I've changed my grade for the movie (there's only one, with thought and a re-watch, that has changed in my mind, and I'll say when I get to it), it's that there might be something stopping me from giving a movie a higher rating even if I personally enjoy it more than another movie.  Or there might be a movie I found no technical flaw with, I just personally did not enjoy it as much as a more flawed movie.  There's multiple different reasons, but there will be a few cases of a movie that I gave lower grade to ends up ranking higher than the higher graded movie.

 

Enough of all that babbling though, my list is starting tomorrow morning (December 31st), and finishing either tomorrow or the morning of January 1st.  I am shooting to get it all done tomorrow though.

 

In the meantime though (for fun), here was what my list looked like last year (this was my list on the 1st, so it's not including a few movies like Whiplash, and I might personally rank some movies in a slightly different order)

 

Spoiler

My Top 20 of 2014 This Time Last Year

1. Boyhood

2. Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

5. The Immigrant

6. Interstellar

7. Snowpiercer

8. The LEGO Movie

9. The Theory of Everything

10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

11. Gone Girl

12. The Fault in Our Stars

13. Fury

14. Blue Ruin

15. X-Men: Days of Future Past

16. Into the Woods

17. Only Lovers Left Alive

18. The Imitation Game

19. How to Train Your Dragon 2

20. The Interview

 

 

And just so I can give something of substance before tomorrow, here are my three honorable mentions that nearly made my list (but as honorable mentions, they don't get anything but a mention).

 

The Hateful Eight

 

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

 

Brooklyn

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And so it begins...

 

Number 15

Kingsman: The Secret Service

 

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"Manners. Maketh. Man"

 

My Original Grade: B+

Most Valuable Player: Colin Firth as Harry Hart

Box Office: 128.3m

Tomatometer: 74%

Reasoning: There have been a number of good, fun spy movies this year.  Since the genre has been so prevalent to 2015, I figured I'd kick my list off with the movie that I felt outdid James Bond and outdid comic book movies in general this year.  Kingsman: The Secret Service is a blast of a movie that only continues to get more insane and overdone as it continues, and the more wacked out it gets, the more fun it becomes.  All of the big-name actors give great, hammy performances that you just can't help getting a large kick out of watching.  It features almost too creative fight sequences, one in particular that stands as one of the most memorable scenes of the year.  I was very close to swapping this movie with The Hateful Eight, a movie that's arguably much higher quality, but I didn't.  The reason for that is this is a movie I could pop-in on almost any day and enjoy myself watching, I don't need to really be in a certain mood to do so, and it really serves one of the original purposes for movies in the first place.  Kingsman entertains.

Fun Fact: During and in the lead-up to the First and Second World Wars, the British intelligence services often used tailor shops as fronts for their activities.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                         

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Number 14

The Martian

 

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"In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this."

 

My Original Grade: B+

Most Valuable Player: Ridley Scott back on his directing game

Box Office: 225.1m+

Tomatometer: 93%

Reasoning: I'll admit, I don't seem to have dug this movie as much as everyone else around here, who made it sound (at times) as if it was the next coming of Sci-Fi Jesus.  But just because I said I didn't like it more than Gravity (to the people comparing it to it) or that I didn't hands-down love it, doesn't mean I didn't dig it enough to put it on my top 15 of 2015 list.  The Martian is a great survival story lead by Matt Damon at his best since the Bourne movies.  The story is funny, it is inspirational, and it never makes you depressed (like you would think a movie about a man stranded on Mars might).  It is a clever film, and it is held together magnificently by Ridley Scott, the movie would not have worked as well with a different director at the helm.  While the eventual outcome of the film you're going to know from the start, you still can't help to smile when the inevitable rescue comes.  The Martian really is another "triumph of the human spirit" movie, and it's not afraid to show it.  

Fun Fact:  A real potato farm was installed on the studio lot with potatoes in all stages of growth so they could be used for filming.

 

 

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Number 13

What We Do In The Shadows

 

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"I think of it like this. If you are going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it."

 

My Original Grade: A-

Most Valuable Player: Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi for the screenplay (and also directing and starring in the movie)

Box Office: 3.5m

Tomatometer: 97%

Reasoning: What We Do In The Shadows is quite possibly the best vampire movie of the 21st century, and if not that, easily the best of the decade so far, and it comes from a mockumentary about vampires living in a New Zealand flat.  While there really isn't any plot to the movie, that's nearly what makes it as great as it is, a film following vampires living out their daily lives is quite the comedic concept, and it pays off as a full-length film.  The opening act of this movie is probably the most I have laughed during a film this year, and that was without me being a theater full of people laughing with me.  The movie is innovative, and knows exactly when to stop so you're wanting more and not wanting it to be done.  This was definitely one of my biggest surprises of the year, because I had no idea what to expect when watching this on HBOGo, I thought it'd be a boring hipster comedy, and instead it was a hilarious deconstruction of the vampire genre.

Fun Fact: More than 120 hours of footage was shot, most of which were improvisation from the leads.

 

 

 

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Number 12

Beasts of No Nation

 

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"If I'm telling this to you... you will think that... I am some sort of beast... or devil."

 

My Original Grade: A

Most Valuable Player: Abraham Attah's breakthrough performance as Agu

Box Office: 90.7k

Tomatometer: 91%

Reasoning: For all of the negative attention Netflix got for greenlighting Adam Sandler movies, there doesn't seem to be the appropriate positive attention for this incredibly haunting Netflix original.  There are many films that are proclaimed daring and original during the Oscar season that, most of the time, honestly aren't, but this isn't one of them.  Fukunaga crafts a brilliantly shot and told film focusing on a child soldier during a civil war in West Africa.  The film manages to take such a harrowing topic, and churn out a message of sober hope at the very end.  Idris Elba proves his capabilities as an actor in this, and Abraham Attah delivers a performance that just can't get enough praise.  While, the movie can definitely be a lot to take in at once, it is a film that I think is very worth a viewing.  Only reason I can't rank this higher is because I don't know if I'd ever be able to bring myself to see it again, because even with some messages of hope, it brings a very true and distressing message about the nature of man.

Fun Fact: They had to cast extras out of locals during filming because some of the actors were arrested on suspicion of being mercenaries.

 

 

 

 

 

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Number 11

The Peanuts Movie

 

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"Why am I here? Inadequacy."

 

My Original Grade: A-

Most Valuable Player: Nostalgia

Box Office: 127.9m+

Tomatometer: 86%

Reasoning: I have to say, I absolutely adored this movie.  The Peanuts movie manages to hearken back to the roots of the series, yet also revitalizing it for a new audience.  The animation is gorgeously well done, managing to blend classic style and modern style, and the script remains as charming as the Peanuts has ever been.  There's a great number of visual gags, clever Schultz inspired dialogue, and a simple plot that manages to capture why Charlie Brown is such an empathetic character.  Despite the predictability of the simple plot, it is still surprisingly affected, and the ending managed to warm my heart a little bit.  The Peanuts movie is inspired, creative, and true to its roots.  I believe if Charles Schultz were alive today, he'd be very pleased with the results of this movie.

Fun Fact: Charlie Brown does his book report on "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy, which was Charles Schulz's favorite novel.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, CJ Ren said:

Beasts of No Nation I will see when I someday sign on to Netflix. Peanuts seems like something super boring and a for small kids only movie. I will see it sometime at home. 

 

Peanuts and the next movie I'm about to mention are likely the two most controversial choices I'll have on my list.  The next one especially.

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Before I begin to reveal my top 10, here are my Top 5 WORST movies of 2015. (I'm only going to mention them, talking about them would make me gag)

 

Spoiler

1.Fifty Shades of Grey

2.Pan

3.Hot Pursuit

4.Fant4stic

5.In the Heart of the Sea

 

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Just now, The Panda Menace said:

Before I begin to reveal my top 10, here are my Top 5 WORST movies of 2015. (I'm only going to mention them, talking about them would make me gag)

 

  Hide contents

1.Fifty Shades of Grey

2.Pan

3.Hot Pursuit

4.Fant4stic

5.In the Heart of the Sea

 

In the Heart of the Sea? :kitschjob: What about Taken 3 or Tomorrowland? :kitschjob: Our friendship is over :ohmyzod: 

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4 minutes ago, The Panda Menace said:

 

Peanuts and the next movie I'm about to mention are likely the two most controversial choices I'll have on my list.  The next one especially.

Looking at my top 10, it seems pretty safe :lol: The positions of some movies might surprise, tho. 

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1 hour ago, CJ Ren said:

In the Heart of the Sea? :kitschjob: What about Taken 3 or Tomorrowland? :kitschjob: Our friendship is over :ohmyzod: 

 

Tomorrowland only goes awful in the final act, so I couldn't even warrant an F rating for it, just a D-.  If I did a top 10 worst, it would have made it.  In the Heart of the Sea was one of the worst theater experiences I had this year, the film itself bored me to death, and Ron Howard has no excuse to make a film that bad (if it hadn't have been a Howard film, and had the theater not been full of obnoxious gypsies, it might have gotten a D from me)

 

Anyways, time for number 10 (which you should like), and to anyone who asks, no this next movie is NOT a continuation of my Worst post.

 

Number 10

Jurassic World

 

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"Don't worry. It's gonna be just like taking a walk in the woods... 65 million years ago."

 

My Original Grade: A-

Most Valuable Player: Chris Pratt and his relationship with Blue, the CGI Raptor

Box Office: 652.3m

Tomatometer: 71%

Reasoning: This is a pick that a good number of the forum may scoff at (with the exception of Baumer and CJohn, who know a fun flick when they see one :ph34r:), but I immensely enjoyed this movie.  In fact, Jurassic World was some of the most fun I had in the theaters this year, so there was no way I could leave it out of my top 10.  Sure, I realize it's not of the best technical quality, the performances are pretty hammy, the script isn't great, and I did actually have a bit of a problem with the over the top product placement, but I still loved the movie.  Maybe it was just my inner child screaming seeing two dinosaurs rip it at each other, or Pterodactyls terrorizing the village, or just getting to relive some of the memories of Jurassic Park in a sequel that's actually good.  Jurassic World is the definition of a popcorn flick, and there's just so much enjoyment to be had.  Am I necessarily going to include it in my nomination list for the BOFFIES?  No, there's a good chance I might put Beasts of No Nation above it if I am just talking in terms of technical quality.  But I sure as hell am going to include it in my own personal top 15 list, because I would be lying if I said it wasn't one of my favorite theatrical experiences of the year (even if it just silly fun).

Fun Fact: "Indominus Rex" means "Fierce/Untamed King" in Latin, after the hybrid dinosaur's erratically destructive and murderous nature.

 

 

 

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