The Buffer’s Best Films of 2015

We at the Buffer understand that some films, despite our glowing reviews, haven’t gotten all the attention we think they deserve. So in case you missed them, we made a list of the films that made cinema worthwhile in 2015.

We’ve also linked our reviews to the movies if you’d like to read more about them.

Sara and Pathik : Ex Machina

Sara: This film literally made artificial intelligence come to life. It is incredible how much light an android can shed on humanity, and this film captures it dramatically and beautifully.

Pathik: One of the best science fiction films in recent years, Ex Machina tells the tale of a programmer who works with his boss to administer a Turing test. The plot summary may seem dry, but the movie is anything but boring. With a cast of only four, the movie fully develops its characters and leaves you pondering the uncomfortable questions it raises even after it’s over.

Kurt and Annie: Mad Max

Annie: At the heart of this vividly rendered, larger-than-life action blockbuster was a beautifully-conceived and delicately unfolded tale of courage and hope. Besides featuring some of the best cinematography I’ve seen, the film allows a brutally relentless new heroine to tow the eponymous hero along for the ride, making it an unconventional yet refreshing choice for the win.

Maggie: BrooklynThis film told a captivating story about the immigrant experience, and I’m still amazed by how visually stunning it was. When I think about films that I felt truly immersed in this past year, Brooklyn was the first to come to mind. 

Lance: Sicario­Sicario is the story of American law enforcement’s fight against Mexican drug cartels. Denis Villenueve offers America a brutal, unforgiving look at itself. The film’s crisp aesthetic and well-paced action forces us to keep facing a truth we’d rather ignore: Americans aren’t the good guys; there are no good guys.

Molly: The Big ShortWhat could have been a bombastic Wolf of Wall Street-lite from fratbro comedy director Adam McKay was in fact the most ambitious movie (in content and form) of the year. This hindsight-story of the 2008 financial crisis would be easy to tell strictly using Wall Street jargon and a condescending moral high ground, but the audience is invited into McKay’s college lecture hall and seamlessly eased through the complex story. The brilliant editing of quick, zooming, shaky hand camera shots builds an energy and earnestness that not only pumps up the viewer for admittedly dry material but spurs us to grab our pitchforks. A social-consciousness movie never looked so good.

 Teva: SpotlightI loved seeing how investigative journalism works and getting a feeling of the newsroom atmosphere in the early 2000s. The powerful yet controlled performances added a lot too.

Nick: Beasts of No NationThis film tells the story of a young African boy who is coerced into becoming a child soldier. It is a deeply moving and horrifyingly realistic tale with exceptional acting that places the viewer in the role of a witness. Beasts of No Nation is a film that we don’t want to watch, but we all need to.

Oge: Carol­ –Definitely the romance of the year, Carol features brilliant and captivating performances by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. It’s both a love story and a journey towards self-discovery, all under the pressure of the far less liberal era of the 1950’s.

Michael and Lin: Inside Out

Michael: This film was one of the most creative films of all time. From its exceptional humor to its heart-warming message, Inside Out showed that ideas—even ones formulated by tiny, emotional characters in your head—are greater than any Hollywood superstar. Simply put, Inside Out draws us closer not only to our shared human experience, with all its idiosyncrasies and peccadillos, but also to our own selves.

Lin: After a one-year hiatus, Pixar has finally reemerged with Inside Out–and this time, it’s no anticlimactic se/prequel, but a comeback that reminds us of Pixar’s genius à la Toy Story and Up. Inside Out has everything expected of a classic animated film: Anthropomorphization of the unexpected, a fresh take on managing emotions, and lessons in growing up. And it will, no doubt, be an enduring classic.