This past year was a memorable one in the world of film. An impressive set of Oscar nominated performances and films, a handful of remakes and sequels, the return of Sylvester Stallone, and of course plenty of superheroes, all populated an overwhelmingly successful year in film — and The Brock Press reviewed a great deal of them. So to end off the 2015/2016 school year, we give you our non-definitive ranking of the top movies that have graced the big screen this year.
Sequels, Prequels, and Remakes:
2015/2016 was definitely the year of the sequel, the prequel and the remake. It seemed like around every corner there was a new highly anticipated reboot of one franchise after the next. The best of the batch started last summer with Jurassic World, a follow-up to the beloved Jurassic Park trilogy. While the characters in Jurassic World thought they could handle dinosaurs better than their predecessors, the movie smashed almost every box office record in existence, and the narrative (though predictable) was oh-so-satisfying thanks to fantastic special effects and impressive acting.
Another reboot that made waves in the film industry was George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. The continuation of Miller’s beloved franchise swept away the competition at this year’s Academy Awards and rightfully so. The jaw dropping visuals — made even more impressive by an almost complete lack of CGI — are a can’t-miss spectacle, along with Charlize Theron’s impeccable acting as Furiosa.
Of course, who could forget about Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Probably one of the most nervously anticipated movies in the world, The Force Awakens was a refreshing throwback to the original films in George Lucas’ series that fans knew and loved. Though the plot mirrored that of its predecessor A New Hope, a handful of loveable new characters allowed the movie to stand on its own, and gave fans the long-awaited reboot they had so desperately been seeking.
Honourable sequel mentions: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and Creed.
Sequels that missed the mark: Terminator Genisys, Fantastic Four, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This year, as awards season was gearing up, the film selection was chalk full of worthy Oscar contenders. The competition was tight, as each eligible film had produced an incredible must-watch masterpiece. Alejandro González Iñárritu returned and reclaimed his Best Director title with the cinematic force that was The Revenant. His fifth Oscar nominated film also signaled the first Best Actor win for Leonardo DiCaprio, and if you’ve seen the film you’ll know why (I mean that bear scene…).
Adam McKay’s The Big Short was another excellent film that made its way to the Oscar stage. Based on a true story, the film tackles the 2008 U.S. housing market crash, and the stories of the select few men who realized it was going to happen. McKay’s attention to detail, and his fun cinematography, as well as his fourth-wall breaking, make The Big Short truly unique, and fun — but still overwhelmingly hard to swallow — take on the housing crisis.
Tom McCarthy’s film, Spotlight, also found its deserved place in the “spotlight” at this year’s Academy Awards, taking home the Best Picture Award. The story centres on the real life account of a group of reporters investigating allegations against a priest accused of child molestation, only to uncover the worldwide cover-up of sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church. For a movie with such dense and heavy subject matter, it was the most engaging film I’ve seen in a while. The story was fresh, the acting was spot on, and the narrative flowed effortlessly.
Honourable Oscar mentions: Room and Inside Out.
The Best of the Best:
2015/2016 had its fair share of incredibly unique and creative movies. Deadpool, Marvel’s long awaited solo film, featured the fan-favourite X-Men character, starred Ryan Reynolds and became the highest grossing R-rated movie since 2003 (replacing The Matrix Reloaded). Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking charm was so refreshing to see in a superhero movie, and his no-holds-barred attitude will have audiences in stitches every time.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was another entertaining and unique film of the 2015/16 year. Starring newcomer Taron Egerton and the ever so suave Colin Firth, the movie was a fun twist on the British spy genre and featured some crazy, out-there special effects (there were coloured firework exploding heads). The movie is a must watch thanks to one insane action sequence in a church that definitely succeeds in subverting the audience’s expectations.
Finally, Ex Machina. An eerily realistic take on the concept of artificial intelligence and its revolt against mankind, Ex Machina soars as brilliant inventor Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) has created an entire world of beautiful female robots around him in his secluded mountain mansion. The mentally unstable genius invites an employee out to the mansion to test his newest creation, only to see his world crumble. Ex Machina is incredibly captivating and its world is very easy to get lost in.
Honourable mentions: Trainwreck, Spy, Black Mass, and Concussion.
Assistant Arts & Culture Editor