1. The Walk
Philippe Petit grew up fascinated by high-wire walkers. He taught himself enough to impress one the greats who became his mentor and teacher. He worked a street performer in Paris but was always looking for some place to hang his wire then he saw a picture of the then under construction twin towers of the World Trade Center, He knew he had to hang his wire between them and walk it. The planning and recruitment of his accomplices is treated like it’s a heist because what they are doing is illegal. They have to break in to both towers while they are under construction, hang the wire, stabilize it and then Philippe has to walk the wire – all before the police can stop them. The way “The Walk” is told is captivating and you feel as if you are on the wire with him.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Republic is trying to find one of its heroes with one of its best pilots hot on a lead when the First Order appears hot on his trail led by masked villain. A scavenger gets involved in the action with the help from a traitor. A lot of family faces show up but you don’t have to have seen any of the previous “Star Wars” films to understand and enjoy this one. From the opening fanfare to the end credits “The Force Awakens” is a joy to watch. Taking place 30 years after the end of “The Return of the Jedi” this is the film we have been waiting for all that time. Thank you Disney for returning the magic to the “Star Wars” universe.
Joy is a divorced overworked underpaid mom whose divorced parents and ex-husband live with her and kids. Feeling her life’s dreams slipping away she comes up with a new invention and sets out to sell it. First she has to get financing, arrange manufacturing and a sales channel. She runs into obstacles at every turn that she has to overcome in dramatic, often amusing andentertaining fashion. Based on a true story “Joy” reunites the writer/director and stars of “SilverLining Playbook” and “American Hustle” in another brilliant film.
When a new editor arrives at the Boston Globe he asks its investigative division, known as Spotlight, to look into the possible connection between two stories about priests molesting children. The investigation uncovers a large worldwide conspiracy and rocks the foundation of one of the most powerful institutions in the world as well as the very foundation of the city. The cast is outstanding as is the storytelling. Based on the true story “Spotlight” is a compelling story as well as a cautionary tale.
5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Greg spends most of his time making parody of classic movies with is ‘co-worker’ Earl. They have been making them since grade school and what we get to see of them is hilarious. Greg has managed to navigate the treacherous environs of High School without being involved with or alienating any group. One day his mother asks him to spend some time with a girl from his school who has been diagnosed with cancer. At first he does so reluctantly but as they get to know each other he enjoys spending time with her. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is told with humor and heart .
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s been 30 years since the last time George Miller took us to the post apocalyptic world he created in 1979 and he proves he has not lost his touch. Max gets caught up in race for freedom from a warlord and his thugs. The story is captivating, the cast is perfect, the effects are terrific and the action is non-stop. “Mad Max: Fury Road” I hope we don’t have to wait another three decades for the next one.
7. Age of Adeline
Adeline Bowman stopped aging at the age of twenty-nine. Over the past eight decades she has had to move and change her identity every ten years. She has not been able to keep any friends or fall in love, she has lived a lonely life. It is almost time for her to move again and while she is making the necessary arrangements she meets someone who she could fall in love with. If she decides to stay and try to make a life with him her secret will get out and the repercussions could be disastrous. The cast is brilliant and the story is very engaging. “Age of Adeline” is one of the rare romantic films that I truly enjoyed.
8. The Martian
A manned mission to Mars has to leave quickly when a severe storm hits. As they hurriedly prepare to leave one of the astronauts, Mark Watney, is lost and presumed dead. The next day he makes his way back to camp knowing everyone is gone. Mark is faced with the daunting task of finding a way to survive until the next Mars mission in 4 years and he has to figure out how to let NASA back on Earth know he is alive. Watney uses his ingenuity and training while recording what he is doing with wit and pathos. As Watney Matt Damon is the movie but the supporting cast of NASA officials, scientists and other astronauts are perfectly cast. “The Martian” is at times tense but it’s also filled with humor and excitement.
Scott Lang has a talent that Dr. Hank Pym needs. He is a very good thief and Pym wants him to break into a high security lab to save the world. Pym gives him a super-suit that allows him to shrink while retaining all his strength. With training Scott becomes Ant-Man. After the letdown of the past few Marvel movies “Ant-Man” is one of the best films in the Marvel Universe. It has a typical story but its told with the right amount of humor and action. I can’t wait to see him team up with the Avengers.
10. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
The IMF team is disbanded and Ethan is on the run wanted by the CIA. Ethan believes there is an organization called The Syndicate that is trying to take over the world and its going to start by eliminating the IMF. He manages to get proof with the help of a beautiful and mysterious agent and enlists the rest of his team to join him. The action is amazing, the stunts are breathtaking, and the story is the best of the series. Cruise and team have upped the ante for the next one, and I can’t wait.
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order): American Ultra, The Big Short, Black Mass, The Danish Girl, The Intern, Jurassic World, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mistress America, Shaun the Sheep, Straight Outta Compton.
THE TOP TEN FILMS OF 2015