As we start our march toward the holiday movie season, we figure that it's time to look back again at some of the films from 2015 that you might still need to see, as well as some of the ones we have the highest hopes for going into the New Year.
So without further ado, here are the 30 of the Must See Movies of 2015.
(and be sure to click on the titles to read the full Den of Geek reviews!)
Don’t let either its February release or lackluster trailer fool you, Kingsman: The Secret Service has plenty going for it due to the talent both in front of and behind the camera. From Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn and his longtime scripting co-writer Jane Goldman comes the next project from a collaboration that includes Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class. It’s even based on another comic book property, this time from the bottomless “big idea” machine that is Mark Millar.
However, there is more to Kingsman than its behind-the-scenes talent: in front of the camera fans will get to see Colin Firth in a role he always setemed like a perfect fit for, James Bond 007 a British secret agent named Harry Hart. And being unencumbered by franchise restrictions, this film about a good old boys club that also includes Michael Caine in an “M” style role and Samuel L. Jackson as the villain has too much potential to not at least check out and see if there is another hidden popcorn colonel to treasure like this creative team’s last two comic book-inspired sugar rushes. Den of Geek Review
We have all had that dream: something that isn't a human or known - an It - is following you. But for David Robert Mitchell's second feature, It Follows, we know exactly what that something is: one of the best horror movies in years.
It Follows is a dreamy throwback to the synthesizers and primordial teenage terror of John Carpenter's best 1970s and '80s films, as well as a wonderfully original nightmarescape in its own right. When Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with a boyfriend she should have avoided, she is unreasonably punished with a sexually transmitted curse: It will follow her wherever she goes until it has her in its grasp, and It will then consume her whole. This is a frightening concept pursued perfectly in this disturbing must see. Den of Geek Review
On our list last year, Fast & Furious 7 was one of the most anticipated movies of 2014 until the tragic passing of Paul Walker. Vin Diesel might be the franchise’s American muscle car build, but Walker was the engine that powered it through its greatest heights (namely Fast Five). Now, Fast & Furious 7 stands as a final tribute to the greatly missed movie star, and one last hurrah for the whole intact gang.
Plus, director James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) has taken over the franchise’s steering wheel for his first cruise outside of the horror genre in nearly a decade. It’s good to see someone with that much talent, at least in unapologetic pulp, get outside his comfort zone. Throw in a true introduction of Jason Statham as a big, mean heavy—and thus hopefully the first good one in seven films—and we’re all shouting “shotgun” at the sight of this ride. Den of Geek Review
Science fiction has often dreamed about the concept of aritifical intelligence. But in what is likely the smartest genre movie of the year, writer-director Alex Garland happily fears it. It's not that he doesn't have an apocalyptic view of sentient robotic beings; he just likes them better than us.
Thus enter Ex Machina a perfectly insidious con game that gets under the skin as viewers do not know if the characters are undergoing a Turing test...or if the audience is. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is ostensibly invited to the country estate of his CEO (Oscar Isaac) to test the AI of a robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). But he quickly discovers that he might be the actual guinea pig in this quietly hypnotic trip into madness. Den of Geek Review
Conceivably positioning itself as a modern day All About Eve, Clouds of Sils Maria looks to be a fanged and self-aware deconstruction of the role of femininity and sexuality in the modern world.
Starring three generations of women in the town of dreams—Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz—Clouds is predominantly about Binoche’s Maria Enders, a famed actress who is asked to revive the play that made her famous 20 years ago when she played an alluring young girl who drove her boss to committing suicide. Except now, she is asked to play the boss who ends her life, and simpering upstart Jo-Ann Ellis (Moretz) is the young girl. Maria thinks if she retreats to the Swiss town of Sils Maria that she will be able to swallow the indignation, but how little she knows either her assistant (Stewart) or the globalized commodifying of women today. The acidity of the premise alone burns to the touch. Den of Geek Review
It’s been a long, grueling road to another flick starring Max Rockatansky hitting the big screen. Even the actual movie star has changed from the controversial Mel Gibson to the far more box office friendly Tom Hardy, who is on the edge of a Hollywood moment, breaking out in celebrity almost as big as his already impressive range of talent. But most of all, Mad Max: Fury Road just looks cool.
If you’ve seen the Comic-Con trailer, you know that this easily made the biggest splash of all the movie panels in San Diego this year. George Miller has returned to his Outback hellscape that a million movies have copied; yet once again, he proves no one can find the beauty in the barren, desolate road in a film like he can. Having described this film as a two-hour chase scene, Miller’s return to old school in-camera spectacle will certainly be getting all action fans in full pursuit. Den of Geek Review
Reboots are a tricky business in general. Essentially trying to remake the thrills of a proven classic with few of those original elements, it has to appeal to old fans while gaining new ones. Multiply that challenge by a thousand when attempting to bring back the grandeur and joy of Steven Spielberg’s last unapologetic popcorn classic, 1993’s Jurassic Park. But there is still reason to be optimistic beyond Spielberg lending it his name as executive producer. For starters, Colin Trevorrow, the immensely promising director behind Safety Not Guaranteed, is spearheading the production. Secondly, it actually takes place on an Isla Nublar (the island from the first movie) that has become a successful theme park.
Offering the chance for dinosaurs to tear into tourists like a dysfunctional Mickey Mouse returns to the attraction of author Michael Crichton’s first foray into filmic theme park terror, Westworld. Jurassic Park also boasts a talented young cast including Safety’s Jake Johnson, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Chris Pratt in his post-Guardians of the Galaxy movie star glow. Like a T-Rex in a visitor’s center, you’re just going to have to bite in. Den of Geek Review
Increasingly, dying teenagers appear to be a genre. However, this wonderful little Sundance comedy-tragedy manages to subvert all of those expectations while offering something thiat is both witty and heartbreaking in the best possible way.
By unabashedly avoiding the star-crossed heart-string pulling we've seen before, this comedy plays with familiar tropes about coming of age with a sense of self-referential bemusement since the main character of Greg (Thomas Mann) is the eternal high school loner/movie snob that never truly connects with his peers, much less romances them. Yet he somehow becomes an unlikely friend to Rachel (Olivia Cooke) after she is diagnosed with cancer (because his mom forces him). The film is aware of not just its own cinematic place, but that of many others since Greg and Earl (RJ Cyler) spend their days remaking foreign classics with their limited budgets and techniques; they're hardly prepared to handle the finesse necessary in beginning what the film's subtitles announce is a "Doomed Friendship - Day 1."
Connie, Britton, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, and Jon Bernthal all offer great supporting work as the adults in Greg's life, but the real standout is the effervescent Cooke in a role equal measures deadpan, wispy, and cheerfully haunting.
It feels so painful to admit the truth: the closest Pixar movie is nearly a year away. With the delay of The Good Dinosaur taking it out of the 2014 line-up, we are left with a two-year gap between last summer’s Monsters University and Inside Out. However, for those fearing that Pixar has lost its ambition, Inside Out’s premise alone promises the most out-there Hollywood-produced animated effort in many years. Directed by one of Pixar’s original brain trust, Peter Docter (Monsters Inc., writer on Toy Story 2, Wall-E, Up), from an original story he had that has been scripted by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Inside Out goes big by entering the smallest, most confusing place imaginable: the brain of a young girl.
When Riley is forced to move from Minnesota to San Francisco, a cornucopia of new emotions boil to the surface of her mind, effecting every single action she makes. These include the emotions of Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), and Joy (Amy Poehler). A tale that literally will take place in the battleground of a child’s mind, the next Pixar project ambitiously aims to explain from a fresh perspective why people’s emotions act the way they do. Right now, the thought of it is only bringing sounds of Poehler for us. Den of Geek Review
Amy Schumer provides the best comedy of the summer in Trainwreck. As the sublimely filthy union of director Judd Apatow and screenwriter Amy Schumer, the film turns romantic comedy tropes on their head and provides a brilliant cameo by LeBron James as a rom-com brunching bestie. For those who think romance can be a four-letter word, this is one to swear (and guffaw) by. Den of Geek Review
And one of the most anticipated summer movies of 2015 is also already the biggest disappointment. Because no matter how you shrink it, the fact that we are not getting Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man will be an eternal shame given the geek auteur’s wholly unique style, not to mention seven years of build-up. Still, Marvel Studios’ other summer movie for next year cannot be denied as an event and a curiosity.
Peyton Reed has made surprisingly charming screwball efforts before (Bring It On, Down with Love), and it will definitely be a curveball surprise if this turns into a joyous success. Also, with a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Corey Stoll, this picture still has enough talent onboard to let fans keep the flame of hope alive. Marvel Studios just made a movie about a talking raccoon and a walking tree the biggest hit of summer. Surely, they can pull a rabbit out of this hat, right? Right? Den of Geek Review
The strength of the Mission: Impossible franchise is that each installment is a fresh start. Whether this current project is a success or failure, the next film is an opportunity to start from scratch, save for the one constant of Tom Cruise in the heroic role of Ethan Hunt. While that was a blessing after lesser efforts like John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II (2000) and J.J. Abrams’ TV-scaled Mission: Impossible III (2006), it is a bit of a shame after Brad Bird’s kinetic Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Nonetheless, just as Bird could re-wrap this franchise into a Christmas Day event in 2011, there is plenty of room for Christopher McQuarrie to craft his own stamp on the IMF series in his second effort with Cruise after Jack Reacher. This form of franchise Rorschach-testing in an age where installments in all other series are mandated to maintain a sameness for what came before makes Mission: Impossible downright daring in its big screen espionage. Den of Geek Review
Click over to the next page to see the rest of the must sees!