Year In Review: Lauren Johnson-Ginn's Top Ten Films Of 2015

on Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn

10: 'Jurassic World'

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? And, more to the point, who doesn’t love Chris Pratt? This ambitious revisiting of the celebrated franchise was a true CGI-fest with a couple of questionable plot holes – but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable, particularly when combined with popcorn.

9: 'Birdman'

This bizarrely surreal but thoroughly compelling film from Alejandro González Iñárritu drumrolled and clattered its way into cinemas way back in January 2015. It earns its spot in my top 10 thanks to its helter-skelter direction and intense Oscar-nominated performance from Michael Keaton.

8: 'Macbeth'

Bleak open skies, bleached landscapes and visceral violence characterised Justin Kurzel’s austere rendering of the Scottish Play. Although at times the silences felt a little too long, there was no denying the power of the performances from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard – or the breath-taking cinematography.

7: 'Black Mass'

I was fortunate enough to catch this Boston-set true crime thriller at the 2015 London Film Festival, and it was one of my highlights. Hats off to the make-up artist who transformed Johnny Depp into merciless gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger – and to Depp for a startlingly sinister performance.

6: 'Wild Tales'

It’s rare that you see a film that leaves you gaping in disbelief at the screen. 'Wild Tales' is one such film, comprised of six utterly mad (and completely independent) short sequences, united around the themes of blood-thirsty violence and vengeance. One of my favourites for sheer ‘WTF’ factor.

5: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

George Lucas might have a bee in his bonnet about the nostalgic nature of this JJ Abrams reboot, but I absolutely loved it – a welcome return to the charm, spirit and heart of the original trilogy, with brilliant turns from relative newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

4: 'The Diary Of A Teenage Girl'

Adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel, this beautiful film is one of the most authentic coming-of-age stories I’ve seen – and all the more refreshing for its honest and unvarnished portrait of female sexuality. Bel Powley, who plays the restless young protagonist, is almost certainly one to watch.

3: 'Spectre'

As the dust settles on 'Spectre'’s release, there’s still the odd murmur of speculation over whether this is Daniel Craig’s final Bond film – but if so then it’s a fitting end to a remarkable tenure. This instalment was packed with glamorous settings, eye-watering fight scenes, death-defying set pieces and fine supporting turns from Christoph Waltz and Léa Seydoux. Bond at its most Bond-ish.

2: 'Carol'

Another of my favourites from the BFI London Film Festival, this simple story of a married woman (Cate Blanchett) who falls in love with a store clerk (Rooney Mara) is told subtly and beautifully through simmering tension and light gestures loaded with meaning. Blanchett and Mara are excellent, but I also have to give special mention to the stunning cinematography and 1950s-era costumes.

1: 'Crimson Peak'

Judging by the box office figures, it appears I was in the minority of people who went to see this excellent film (twice!) from master of the macabre, Guillermo del Toro. But I maintain that anyone who missed it missed out: this ghostly, blood-soaked Gothic romance was visually sumptuous, sexy, scary and ever-so-slightly camp – with Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain on disturbing form as the mysterious Sharpe siblings. A must-watch.

Read more from Lauren here.

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