Marjorie Baumgarten's Top 10 Films of 2015


Mad Max

1) Mad Max: Fury Road

This retro-futuristic phoenix rises from a franchise's ashes and soars with fury, finesse, invention, and showmanship.

2) Carol

No movie this year beguiled me more with its luscious ambrosia, luring me to sink, head over heels, into its frame.

3) Son of Saul

In the most suspenseful and visceral movie of the year, a first-time filmmaker finds a new angle on the Holocaust film.


Spotlight

4) Spotlight

This solid contender is a sentimental favorite for illustrating the case for well-funded and well-executed journalism.

5) The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Achingly funny and true to life, this story about a budding artist's loss of virginity hits the hymen on the head.

6) The Big Short

A terrific cast and nimble screenplay adaptation make what could easily have been a joyless slog into an edifying lark.

7) The Martian

Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, and all the film's complex elements combine to make it a cineplex entertainer with room for thought.


Victoria

8) Victoria

Not only is this all-in-one-shot movie so much better than it has any right to be, it's absolutely terrific.

9) The Look of Silence

Even better than its predecessor, The Act of Kill­ing, this doc shows the difficulties that confront victims trying to rewrite history.


Chi-Raq

10) Chi-Raq

No work this year had a greater sense of urgency; Spike Lee gives voice to "the better angels of our nature."

Near Misses

Inside Out, Love & Mercy, Clouds of Sils Maria, Mustang, The Revenant

Most Overrated

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Beasts of No Nation, Sicario

Most Underrated

Irrational Man, By the Sea, Bone Tomahawk

Wild Card

Paul Giamatti advisory: Enough with the roles (in Straight Outta Compton and Love & Mercy) as a deeply flawed and actionable music manager

Acting Kudos (Male)

Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Jacob Tremblay (Room), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Matt Damon (The Martian), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Acting Kudos (Female)

Lily Tomlin (Grandma), Parker Posey (Irrational Man), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa, The Hateful Eight), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)

Best Director

George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Todd Haynes (Carol), Ridley Scott (The Martian)

Best Original Screenplay

Spotlight (Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy), Inside Out (Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie Del Carmen), Love & Mercy (Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Carol (Phyllis Nagy, based on book by Patricia Highsmith), The Big Short (Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, based on book by Michael Lewis), The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller, based on book by Phoebe Gloeckner)

Worst Film

Pixels. Adam Sandler and pals sink deep into nostalgia for Eighties arcade games, but tally a losing score.

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More by Marjorie Baumgarten
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Mad Max: Fury Road, Carol, Son of Saul, Spotlight, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Big Short, The Martian, Victoria, The Look of Silence, Chi-Raq

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