Film Top Ten

Cole Mier, Staff Writer

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It’s that time of year again: Oscar season. The red carpet is rolled out, the statues are polished, and the stars are deciding on an outfit for the evening. In the spirit of the award season, I have ranked the top films of the year.


  1. Straight Outta Compton


Straight Outta Compton is a film that delves deep into the serious topic of the treatment of African Americans in American societies, while still being an incredibly enjoyable viewing experience. The film follows the rise and fall of N.W.A., a legendary rap group whose impact on popular culture is still clearly visible today. The performances, especially of actor Jason Mitchell playing the lead rapper Eazy-E, are all spectacular. The only flaw that can be found is the glaring lack of significant female leads in the film, but with that one qualification, it is a movie I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.

  1. Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Throughout all of 2015, I never had more fun watching a movie than I did when I watched Kingsman: The Secret Service. While it does not contain any dramatic themes or important societal messages, it is an action-packed and hilarious picture than can be watched time and time again. Kingsman follows Taron Egerton, a young man living in London who has no future ahead of him. However, when he meets Harry Heart, Colin Firth in the best performance of his career, his life is changed forever as he joins the secret spy agency, the Kingsmen. If there is anyone out there who enjoys spy films, this movie is a must-see. It mocks and honors the genre in a perfect blend that leaves viewers incredibly satisfied.

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens


What can I say about this film that I haven’t said before? The Force Awakens is a fun ride that melds nostalgia, creative action, new and interesting characters, and a brilliant score into an extremely entertaining work of art. Find a full review here




  1. Sicario


I knew very little about this moving going into it which increased my enjoyment of the film tenfold, so I will try to keep this review vague. What I will say is this: I was on the edge of my seat the entire duration of this movie. My heart would not stop beating even in scenes where characters were simply eating breakfast. The tensions winds and winds through the whole film, until it finally snaps in an explosive conclusion that will leave audiences stunned. Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Josh Brolin all deliver fantastic performances that catch viewers in a web of hidden layers, mysteries, and conflicts. However, the movie is slowly paced and brutally realistic, so I wouldn’t recommend to everyone. Still, it is an artistic masterpiece worth checking out.

  1. The Revenant


The Revenant is a polarizing film that will leave viewers astonished or disappointed. Luckily, I fall into the former category. The Revenant is a violent, strange, film with very little dialogue and lots of artistic imagery. Strangely enough, it is the film that I found the most flaws in on this entire list. It is too long, the ending is repetitive, the threats to Leonardo DiCaprio become so over the top that they are almost comical, and the dream sequences become so obsessed with artistic imagery that they derail the story. Yet I love this movie. It is a beautiful film, with every single shot a painting. The opening of the film, which features attacks from Native Americans and a bear, combine incredible violence and serenity into one. The fight for survival that Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) must endure is a tough one to view but will have you engaged throughout. However, the star of the film is not DiCaprio as Glass, but rather Tom Hardy as the villain, John Fitzgerald, whom we sympathize with despite his evil actions. All in all, The Revenant is amazing when it hits and average when it misses. But it sure does hit a lot.

  1. Room


The movie Room made me cry — a lot. For about a third of the film I shifted between water eyes and a blubbery mess. Based off the eponymous best-selling novel, Room tells the story of Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Trembly) who have been held in a shed for over seven years. As intriguing as the plot is, it pales in comparison to the stellar performances in this movie. Larson is outstanding as the mother, but Trembly, a nine-year-old boy, delievered one of the all-time best performances of a child actor. It is a crime that this young man did not receive an Oscar nomination. Though the movie is a bit slow at times, any person who considers himself a film-connoisseur must view this picture.

  1. Spotlight

Spotlight is the incredible true story of how four journalists working for the Boston Globe uncovered the sexual abuse scandal tarnishing the Catholic Church. The heartbreaking tale is cleverly told; written similarly to a newspaper article, it has few dramatic moments and no melodrama, only the facts. As more information is uncovered, the more intriguing and more horrified the plot becomes. While the actors and actresses are all commendable, the real star of the film is the story, and its ability to honor the victims of these terrible actions in a tasteful, intriguing, and truly flawless way. I walked out of the film shaken by the banality of corruption.

  1. Creed

While watching Creed, an inspirational speech from Sylvester Stallone was so moving that I passionately erupted with a resounding “Yeah!” I was so invest in every aspect of Creed that I verbally responded to the action. The boxing, romance, father-son relationship, and redemption story fire on all cylinders. However, Ryan Coogler’s expert direction is what stands out above all else. Having never seen a Rocky movie before with the exception of the original, I entered the theater not expecting to have much fun.I left with a massive smile on my face. I bet all of you will do the same.

  1. The Big Short

The Big Short is fantastic. The Big Short is outstanding. The Big Short is remarkable. The Big Short is Adam McKay’s directorial breakthrough, and the stylistic choices he made foretell a bright future full of accolades for the man. The film follows the people who foresaw the economic crisis of 2007, bet against the housing market, and made an insanely large amount of money. Steve Carell and Christian Bale both deliver performances that venture out of their archetypal personas and convey the hilarity and despair of the situation. The only other thing I could say about The Big Short without flatout saying “Go and see it!” is this: no other movie this year made me laugh more while still delivering a powerful message. It sternly reminds audiences of the pitfalls of greed while simultaneously leaving them in stitches.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

It has been nine months since I first saw Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters and I am still stunned by how spectacular it was. Every color in the movie burst from the screen in a kaleidoscope of adrenaline and violence. The story is minimal, and the film gives the audiences no time to understand what is going on. You start out midway through the action, and it is through careful viewing and visual storytelling that the plot is conveyed. Charlize Theron stars as the lead in the film, Furiosa, and Tom Hardy’s terrific Mad Max takes a back seat. The film has been heralded as a feminist breakthrough in the realm of action movie, and I would agree. The female characters are strong and developed, and no person in the film acts surprised when a woman fights or makes the mistake of ogling the ladies like they do in every Fast and Furious film. When audiences walked out of the first Star Wars in 1977, they realized they had just viewed something that had never been seen before in movies; I walked out of Mad Max: Fury Road with that same realization.


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