Top 10 Movies of 2015 Include Brooklyn, Joy, Creed and More!

Emory Cohen as
Emory Cohen as  Kerry Brown/Twentieth Century Fox

The Revenant is a harrowing historical epic that will likely net star Leonardo DiCaprio a well-deserved Oscar. It didn’t make the Top 10 cut. Its omission is surefire proof this was an excellent year for movies. And not just let’s-stay-at-home-and-see-what’s-On-Demand movies. Nuh-uh. I’m talking about let’s-go-to-the-cineplex-right-now-and-deal-with-the-jerks-using-their-smartphones-in-the-theater movies. We needed to laugh at Matt Damon on Mars, yell for Michael B. Jordan in the ring and cry with Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn. So before we head to the great unknown of 2016 and take on 17 more superhero flicks, let’s salute the best of 2015. Ps. Shave that beard before the Oscars, Leo!

1. Brooklyn

Beautiful and unspeakably romantic, this period piece chronicles a demure Irish immigrant (a luminous Saoirse Ronan) struggling to choose between two men (Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson) and two lives on two continents. And through it all, she’s unafraid to be true to herself. If you see it and don’t fall in love with it, you have no soul. (Now in theaters)

2. Room

Four confined walls, two people, one amazing story of perseverance. Brie Larson delivers an unforgettable performance as a captive mom desperate for freedom for herself and her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay). Their experience, both in room and outside it, is a haunting gem. (Now in theaters)

3. Spotlight

It’s incredible when you think about it: A group of no-frills Boston reporters methodically investigated an exposé so damning, it brought the Catholic Church to its knees. This smart thriller, featuring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, shines the light on journalism at its finest. (Now in theaters)

4. The Martian

Sure, it’s logistically nonsensical, and it could have been 20 minutes shorter. Oh, well! The sci-fi blockbuster, starring Matt Damon as an astronaut clever enough to “science the s–t” out of his surroundings on Mars, is also exhilarating and hilarious. And nobody directs an atmospheric outer-space stunner like Ridley Scott. Mission successful. (Available on iTunes 12/22)

5. Joy

For her next acting super triumph, Jennifer Lawrence does whatever it takes to go (scrub?) the extra mile as the scrappy inventor of the Miracle Mop. A richly satisfying and inspiring true tale, this one’s for every woman who’s ever had a dream and a drive. (In theaters 12/25)

6. The Big Short

Um, is it wrong that the most quick-witted movie of the year also charts the disastrous financial crisis of 2008? With the help of a crackerjack cast that includes Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt, this wild roller-coaster ride never slows down. (Now in theaters)

7. Creed

For months, we waited for a new chapter of a beloved 1970s franchise. No offense to Star Wars, but it’s this spirited Rocky update — with Michael B. Jordan as a rising-star boxer and Sylvester Stallone as his weary trainer — that has audiences cheering for more. Yo, Oscar! (Now in theaters)

8. Straight Outta Compton

N.W.A. wasn’t the first rap group to make an impact in the music industry. But their rise to power in the 1980s made for one heck of a stirring, head-thumping epic. You won’t find a shrewder study in hip-hop culture and racial divides — or a more vibrant soundtrack. (Available on iTunes 1/5)

9. Ex Machina

It’s been a long time since a film this cool was also this chilling. In a breakout performance, Alicia Vikander mesmerizes as a lifelike robot that has the brains to emotionally manipulate her inventor (Oscar Isaac) and his protégé (Domhnall Gleeson). What ballsy original storytelling. (Now available on VOD, Amazon and iTunes)

10. Inside Out

You cried, right? Good. A key lesson of this brilliant Pixar pic was to embrace the emotions that ping-pong around all day inside your head. And that includes joy (the voice of Amy Poehler) as well as sadness (the voice of Phyllis Smith). Thanks to a sophisticated narrative and a slew of laugh-out-loud jokes, the instant classic is a winner for kids of all ages. (Now available on VOD, Amazon and iTunes)

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