#5 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Directed by J.J Abrams 

I thought I didn’t care about Star Wars — I’m familiar with it but not the massive fanatic so much of the population seems to be — but I suppose seeing is believing, that the Force is suddenly with me after years of not caring.  These are the kinds of movies that bring people together, where a mutual love acts as a tidal wive of cultural phenomenon.  The Force

Awakens might trade George Lucas for J.J. Abrams, but still intact is the way it touches us emotionally, excites us visually and sensorily.  It’s the first blockbuster I want to see again since the first Avengers movie.

#4 

Spotlight Directed by Tom McCarthy 

I love journalism movies.  I’m not so sure how accurate they really are, but I love their fire, their determination, their ability to make an investigation as thrilling as any action sequence could ever be.  Spotlight is like a modern All the President’s Men — stirring, maddening, yet ultimately rewarding.  The story it covers (the investigation of sex abuse in the Catholic Church) was published more than a decade ago, but we feel as though we’re watching something fresh, something as newly shocking. 

#3 

Inherent Vice 

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson 

I’m disappointed in myself for just getting into Paul Thomas Anderson this year — it’s not unknown that Boogie Nights and Magnolia are masterpieces that I consider to be (dramatic pause) life changing.  So I’m not going to deny that I should be kicking myself for seeing Inherent Vice before any of his other films; it’s like never seeing a Tarantino flick and then going to The Hateful Eight. You’ll enjoy it more if you know the territory.  But I’m not much bothered by my unconventionality, because Inherent Vice still remains to be one of my favorite moviegoing

experiences of all time.  Obviously indebted to noir masterpieces The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, it bears similarities to some of my favorite kinds of entertainment — labyrinthine and more about mood and texture than plot and coherency.  Add a little eccentric humor and you’ve got yourself a modern day masterpiece.  Shame it’s been so slept on.  (Technically, it came out at the end of 2014, but as it has gained more critical notice this year, I’m including it as a film of 2015.  Fact checkers, chill.)

#2 

Clouds of Sils Maria Directed by Olivier Assayas 

It’s the All About Eve of 2015, with dashes of Mulholland Dr. and L’Avventura here and there.  Focusing on the relationship between a fading starlet (Juliette Binoche) and her devoted assistant (Kristen Stewart), Clouds of Sils Maria is a slow-burning masterpiece that questions the preciousness of youth, the prices of fame, and the tolls alienation can have on a person.  It’s consuming, something to behold — and the conclusion causes one to wonder aloud just how much of what we saw is real.

Most of the Mad Max films have tickled my fancy, but none even compare to this year’s Fury Road, which takes the dusty grit left from before and gives it a couple of jolts.  The action sequences act as some of the best ever, and the artiness (I won’t go too deep into the cinematography since boring you is not a risk I’m willing to take) is

Mad Max: Fury Road Directed by George Miller 

#1 

breathtaking.  But I think I like Charlize Theron the most, who, out of nowhere, becomes an action heroine so badass she could rip Black Widow’s head off.  Kudos to Miller and company — this is already a classic.