Top 20 Films of 2015: Blake Crane


‘Ex Machina’

If you’re in need of something to watch this weekend check out Blake’s year-end top 20 list, as it has something for everyone. I think it’s difficult to argue anything on this list, so take a look below and start adding some stuff to your watch list!


  1. Mad Max: Fury Road – World-building through actions instead of exposition, and what an amazing world and amazing action.

it-follows-cannes-2014-42. It Follows – A creepy concept that plays on horror tropes and completely delivers the stress and the scares. The score is an unsettling earworm that sticks with you, just as the film does.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT3. The Hateful Eight – Engaging conversations and violence aplenty. Another invigorating Tarantino yarn.

sicario.jpg4. Sicario – The polished filmmaking from Denis Villeneuve doesn’t take away from the griminess of the morally bankrupt war on drugs; it adds to the tension and the torment.

anomalisa5. Anomalisa – Tom Noonan voices every character in the film other than the two leads and is credited as “Everyone Else.” That’s awesome enough, but the stop motion mind-melter from Charlie Kaufman also runs deep with human emotion.

The-Look-of-Silence6. The Look of Silence – How do you follow up the provocation of The Act of Killing? With this amazing direct confrontation of the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide.

creed7. Creed – Nails the winning Rocky formula and molds it to fit its own unique narrative goals. Stallone’s never been better as the Italian Stallion and Michael B. Jordan is great as well.

Star Wars8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A winning mix of familiar and fresh. The Star Wars franchise has been successfully course corrected.

ex-machina-movie9. Ex Machina – Big concepts on a small, character-and-information-driven scale. Gets better the more it sits with you.

Tangerine10. Tangerine – Transgender working girls, two-timing pimps, Donut Time, and…an immigrant cab driver? An extremely lively Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, and pretty remarkable-looking for a film shot on an iPhone.

HeavenKnowsWhat111. Heaven Knows What – I don’t know what heaven knows, but this film knows how to steadfastly showcase the trials of a drug-addicted street kid. “Realistic” isn’t a strong enough word.

bigshort12. The Big Short – Mortgage crisis as madcap comedy? It totally works, even if that description is a gross oversimplification.

'Carol'13. Carol – Two mesmerizing lead performances sustain the minimal, yet complicated love story.

mistressamericaphoto14. Mistress America – Tossing Lola Kirke into the Gerwig/Baumbach collaborative works out great for everyone.

spotlight15. Spotlight – A great ensemble cast works through a compelling procedural. Avoids a lot of the messiness, but the straightforward approach is more than enough to rouse our unease.

spring_still16. Spring – A gorgeous and grotesque horror-romance. A slow burn that doesn’t feel the need to explode into a vigorous finale – it catches fire in a much more satisfying way at the end.

What We Do in the Shadows17. What We Do in the Shadows – This vampire mockumentary is the funniest movie of the year; infinitely watchable and quotable.

rogue218. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – The most entertaining action adventure of the year this side of Fury Road.

THE MARTIAN19. The Martian – Fascinating in the way it stays in the moment and sidesteps cheap situational melodrama. Works the problems, as they say.

the-gift20. The Gift – A taught, Hitchcockian corker.

TOP 50 OF 2015 (#50 – #26): KEVIN RAKESTRAW