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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

2015’s films ranked

04.04.16: This list is now final. While I may in the future see additional films that were released in the awards year of 2015, no more films will be added to this list. (I may add links to reviews of films listed here.)


This ranking includes only new theatrical releases viewed for the awards year of 2015 (for eligibility for the Academy Awards and the OFCS and AWFJ awards); some films released in the U.K. without U.S. releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes. Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/NYC Release Date/London Release Date; year is 2015 unless otherwise noted.

green light
worth paying multiplex prices for

Room (10.10/10.16/01.15.16)
Mad Max: Fury Road (05.11/05.15/05.14)
The Lobster (07.16/03.11.16/10.16)
Steve Jobs (10.18/10.09/11.13)
Anomalisa (10.16/12.30/03.11.16)
Carol (10.14/11.20/11.27)
Brooklyn (10.12/11.04/11.06)
Love & Mercy (07.10/06.05/07.10)
Sicario (09.09/09.18/10.08)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12.17/12.18/12.17)
Suffragette (10.07/10.23/10.12)
Inside Out (07.19/06.19/07.24)
Miss You Already (09.02/11.06/09.25)
Mistress America (08.15/08.14/08.14)
Girlhood (10.15.14/01.30/05.08)
When Marnie Was There (02.03.16/05.22/06.10.16)
Tangerine (11.10/07.10/11.13)
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (02.13/03.18/02.20)
Boy & the World (01.28.16/12.11/TBA)
The Big Short (12.08/12.11/01.22.16)
Mustang (12.11/11.20/05.13.16)
Truth (10.15/10.16/03.04.16)
The Walk (09.29/09.30/10.02)
Clouds of Sils Maria (05.11/04.10/05.15)
London Road (06.03/09.09.16/06.12)
Dukhtar (10.25.14/10.09/TBA)
Theeb (02.28.16/11.06/08.14)
Trumbo (10.08/11.06/02.05.16)
The Look of Silence (06.08/07.17/06.12)
Amy (06.30/07.03/07.03)
Nasty Baby (10.12/10.23/TBA)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (02.13.16/06.24/direct to VOD)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (11.04/11.20/11.19)
Everest (09.11/09.18/09.11)
Where to Invade Next (12.03/12.23/06.10.16)
Life (09.10/12.04/09.25)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (07.28/08.07/08.07)
The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet (05.18.14/07.31/06.13.14)
War Book (08.05/TBA/08.07)
Suite Française (02.25/TBA/03.13)
What We Do in the Shadows (09.28.14/02.13/11.21.14)
Paddington (11.22.14/01.16/11.28.14)
The Martian (09.30/10.02/09.30)
A Second Chance (10.11.14/TBA/03.20)
Welcome to Me (06.20/05.01/03.25.16)
The Keeping Room (10.11.14/09.25/06.17.16)
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (02.13.16/10.09/direct to VOD)
Finders Keepers (12.05/09.25/TBA)
Crimson Peak (10.14/10.16/10.16)
The Dressmaker (11.17/09.23.16/11.20)
Cartel Land (02.14.16/07.03/09.05)
45 Years (12.21/12.23/08.28)
In the Heart of the Sea (12.02/12.11/12.26)
Irrational Man (09.03/07.17/09.11)
’71 (09.28.14/02.27/10.10.14)
Maps to the Stars (10.03.14/02.27/09.26.14)
Grandma (10.09/08.21/12.11)
The End of the Tour (10.16/07.31/TBA)
Spotlight (11.18/11.06/01.29.16)
Honeytrap (10.18.14/TBA/05.08)
Son of Saul (11.23/12.18/04.01.15)
Spy (05.22/06.05/06.05)
The Second Mother (08.29/08.28/09.04/)
Creed (11.25/11.25/01.15.16)
The Lady in the Van (10.13/12.04/11.13)
My Skinny Sister (11.07/TBA/11.27)
Boy Meets Girl (05.04/02.06/TBA)
The Face of an Angel (03.20/06.19/03.27)
Bridge of Spies (11.14/10.16/11.27)
Welcome to New York (08.05.14/03.27/08.08.14)
52 Tuesdays (08.04/03.27/08.07)
Best of Enemies (07.21/07.31/07.24)
Macbeth (09.17/12.04/10.02)
How to Change the World (09.14/09.09/09.09)
Welcome to Leith (09.10/09.09/02.12.16)
A Little Chaos (10.16.14/06.26/04.17)
Sisters (12.12/12.18/12.12)
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (05.18.14/05.08/07.04.14)
Far from the Madding Crowd (04.21/05.01/05.01)
The Overnight (06.22/06.19/06.26)
Mississippi Grind (09.16/09.25/10.23)
Experimenter (10.23/10.16/direct to VOD)
99 Homes (10.03/09.25/09.25)
Trainwreck (08.10/07.17/08.14)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (07.27/07.31/07.30)
Sherpa (10.10/TBA/12.18)
The Connection (La French) (05.06/05.15/05.29)
Charlie’s Country (09.30.14/06.05/10.10.14)
Slow West (06.19/05.15/06.26)
The Little Death (aka A Funny Kind of Love) (06.22/06.26/05.08)
13 Minutes (aka Elser) (07.13/TBA/07.17)
Barely Lethal (08.25/05.29/08.28)
Woman in Gold (04.07/04.01/04.10)
Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) (03.20/02.20/03.27)
Glassland (04.10/02.12.16/04.17)
Everyone’s Going to Die (04.23/TBA/06.26)
Timbuktu (02.21/01.28/05.29)
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (02.22/02.06/03.27)
The Suicide Theory (07.10/07.10/TBA)
Gemma Bovery (07.03/05.29/08.21)
Tomorrowland (aka Tomorrowland: A World Beyond) (05.20/05.22/05.22)
He Named Me Malala (10.05/10.02/11.06)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (04.20/05.01/04.23)
Results (05.28/05.29/05.29)
Precinct Seven Five (aka The Seven Five) (07.13/05.08/08.14)
Janis: Little Girl Blue (12.03/11.27/02.05.16)
Tangerines (02.11/04.17/09.18)
That Sugar Film (06.01/07.31/06.26)
The Hunting Ground (12.21/02.27/TBA)
The Riot Club (09.15.14/03.27/09.19.14)
Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (02.15/02.06/TBA)
Dreamcatcher (03.03/09.11/03.06)
Amira & Sam (01.30/01.30/TBA)
Black Sea (12.01.14/01.23/12.05.14)
Testament of Youth (10.14.14/06.05/01.16)
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (06.22/03.20/06.26)
Alex of Venice (04.20/04.17/direct to VOD)
The Divergent Series: Insurgent (03.16/03.20/03.19)
Dior and I (03.20/04.10/03.27)
Difret (10.26/10.23/03.06)
The Sisterhood of Night (06.23/04.10/TBA)
Jackie & Ryan (aka Love Me Like You Do) (07.03/07.03/direct to VOD)
Freeheld (01.21.16/10.02/02.19.16)
Dope (03.11.16/06.19/09.04)
Monkey Kingdom (01.19.16/04.17/TBA)
Black Mass (10.11/09.18/11.27)
Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film (06.01/05.13/TBA)
Drunktown’s Finest (02.20/02.20/TBA)
The Man Who Saved the World (04.13/09.18/05.15)
The Emperor’s New Clothes (04.21/12.16/04.24)
Brand: A Second Coming (10.06/10.02/10.23)
Racing Extinction (12.07/09.18/direct to DVD)
Concussion (12.17/12.25/02.12.16)
Every Secret Thing (05.15/05.15/TBA)
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets (12.24/06.19/10.02)
Robot Overlords (10.17.14/direct to dvd/03.27)
The DUFF (03.03/02.20/04.06)
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts (87th Academy Awards) (02.02/01.30/02.22)
2015 Sundance Film Festival Award-Winning Shorts (06.10/06.10/TBA)
Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts (87th Academy Awards) (02.05/01.30/02.22)
Oscar Nominated Live-Action Shorts (87th Academy Awards) (02.04/01.30/02.22)
Tales of Halloween (10.31/10.16/direct to VOD)

yellow for maybe
worth seeing, but wait for DVD, unless your favorite actor is in it

The Revenant (12.04/12.25/01.15)
Sunset Song (11.30/05.13.16/12.04)
Ricki and the Flash (09.01/08.07/09.04)
The Intern (09.29/09.25/10.02)
No Escape (06.25/08.26/09.04)
Bleeding Heart (12.11/12.11/TBA)
Straight Outta Compton (08.25/08.14/08.28)
The Wolfpack (12.05/06.12/08.21)
The Program (10.09/03.18.16/10.16)
Ant-Man (07.06/07.17/07.17)
Mr. Holmes (06.19/07.17/06.19)
Containment (aka Infected) (09.14/direct to DVD/09.11)
We Are Still Here (06.04/06.06/direct to VOD)
While We’re Young (03.30/03.27/04.03)
Phoenix (04.14/07.24/05.08)
The Danish Girl (11.11/11.27/01.01.16)
Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (aka The Peanuts Movie) (11.28/11.06/12.21)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (08.14/08.14/08.14)
Lila & Eve (07.17/07.17/TBA)
Slow Learners (07.28/08.19/TBA)
The Longest Ride (06.19/04.10/06.19)
Spooks: The Greater Good (aka MI-5) (05.05/12.04/05.08)
Insidious: Chapter 3 (06.05/06.05/06.05)
The Water Diviner (04.03/04.24/04.03)
The Falling (10.10.14/TBA/04.24)
Pitch Perfect 2 (05.12/05.15/05.15)
X+Y (aka A Brilliant Young Mind) (02.09/09.11/03.13)
Home (03.14/03.27/03.20)
A Royal Night Out (05.07/12.04/05.08)
The 33 (01.18.16/11.13/01.29.16)
Jurassic World (06.10/06.12/06.11)
Victor Frankenstein (12.03/11.25/12.03)
Serena (10.09.14/03.27/10.23.14)
Minions (06.21/07.10/06.26)
The Hallow (10.27/11.06/11.13)
A Walk in the Woods (09.29/09.02/09.18)
A Lego Brickumentary (07.31/07.31/TBA)
Effie Gray (10.10/04.03.15/10.10)
Trash (01.26/10.09/01.30)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (02.03/08.07/02.06)
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (02.22/03.06/02.26)
The Age of Adaline (05.06/04.24/05.08)
It Follows (02.23/03.13/02.27)
Child 44 (04.18/04.17/04.17)
Run All Night (03.10/03.13/03.13)
The Goob (10.10.14/TBA/05.29)
Cinderella (03.01/03.13/03.27)
Blackhat (01.27/01.16/02.20)
Ten Thousand Saints (08.17/08.14/direct to VOD)
Good Kill (04.10/05.15/04.10)
American Ultra (09.01/08.21/09.04)
Maggie (06.17/05.08/07.24)
Spectre (10.26/11.06/10.26)
Legend (09.07/09.09/11.20)
Solace (09.28/12.16.16/09.25)
Big Significant Things (07.23/07.24/TBA)
Closer to God (07.03/07.03/TBA)
The Night Before (12.07/11.20/12.04)
Joy (12.10/12.25/01.01.16)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (02.07/12.18/02.12.16)
October Gale (03.08/03.06/direct to VOD)
Doomsdays (01.08.14/06.05/TBA)

red for no
give it a miss

Jem and the Holograms (01.19.16/10.23/02.12.16)
Secret in Their Eyes (02.17.16/11.20/02.26.16)
True Story (03.31.16/04.17/07.24)
Burnt (11.03/10.30/11.06)
Our Brand Is Crisis (11.19/10.30/01.22.16)
Pawn Sacrifice (12.23/09.16/TBA)
Krampus (12.04/12.04/12.04)
Paper Towns (07.30/07.24/08.17)
James White (10.05/11.13/TBA)
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (09.08/09.18/09.10)
Goosebumps (10.17/10.16/02.05.16)
Youth (11.20/12.04/01.29.16)
Danny Collins (08.03/03.20/05.29)
Terminator Genisys (06.30/07.01/07.02)
Captive (09.28/09.18/09.25)
McFarland USA (aka McFarland) (06.03/02.20/09.25)
Christmas with the Coopers (aka Love the Coopers) (11.30/11.13/12.01)
Madame Bovary (06.02/06.12/TBA)
In the Name of My Daughter (aka French Riviera) (09.25.14/05.08/TBA)
Magic Mike XXL (06.29/07.01/07.03)
We Are Your Friends (08.25/08.28/08.27)
San Andreas (05.26/05.28/05.27)
Poltergeist (05.21/05.22/05.22)
Regression (10.09/02.05.16/10.09)
The Messenger (09.07/TBA/09.25)
The Last Witch Hunter (10.21/10.23/10.21)
Hotel Transylvania 2 (10.03/09.25/10.16)
The Reconstruction of William Zero (04.11/04.10/direct to VOD)
Frank the Bastard (07.25/07.24/TBA)
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (11.22.14/01.02/01.01)
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (09.01/06.12/09.04)
Max (08.04/06.26/08.07)
The Gunman (03.16/03.20/03.20)
Southpaw (07.21/07.24/07.24)
Unfriended (04.27/04.17/05.01)
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (10.21/10.23/10.21)
The Film Critic (El Critico) (05.20/05.15/TBA)
Jauja (10.17.14/TBA/04.10)
Focus (02.24/02.27/02.27)
Ted 2 (07.06/06.26/07.08)
Entourage (06.09/06.05/06.19)
The Salvation (10.13.14/02.27/04.17)
Moomins on the Riviera (05.22/TBA/05.22)
Manglehorn (06.11/06.19/08.07)
The Dead Lands (09.23.14/04.17/05.29)
Furious 7 (aka Fast & Furious 7) (03.30/04.03/04.03)
Chappie (03.04/03.06/03.06)
A Dark Reflection (01.15/TBA/02.27)
Beyond Clueless (01.20/TBA/01.23)
Two Night Stand (10.13.14/09.26.14/02.13)
The Wedding Ringer (01.21/01.16/02.20)
Old Fashioned (02.11/02.13/TBA)
Son of a Gun (10.16.14/01.16/01.30)
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (11.02/10.30/11.06)
Ex Machina (01.12/04.10/01.23)
Kill Me Three Times (10.18.14/04.10/TBA)
The Boy Next Door (02.17/01.23/02.27)
Harbinger Down (08.06/08.07/TBA)
Seventh Son (03.23/02.06/03.27)
Man Up (04.28/direct to VOD/05.29)
Project Almanac (02.24/01.30/02.16)
Black Coal, Thin Ice (09.23.14/direct to VOD/06.05)
Wild Card (03.17/01.30/03.20)
Get Hard (03.25/03.27/03.27)
Unfinished Business (03.03/03.06/03.06)
Eastern Boys (11.27.14/02.27/12.05.14)
Spring (10.06.14/03.20/05.22)
Dawn Patrol (06.04/06.05/direct to VOD)
Second Coming (05.11/TBA/06.05)
Taken 3 (01.08/01.09/01.08)
Beyond the Mask (04.06/04.06/direct to VOD)
The Devil’s Violinist (01.30/01.30/TBA)
Mortdecai (01.20/01.23/01.23)
Jupiter Ascending (02.03/02.06/02.06)
Big Game (05.07/06.26/05.07)
Survivor (06.03/05.29/06.05)
The Lazarus Effect (06.17/02.27/direct to VOD)
The Perfect Guy (11.17/09.11/11.20)
Self/less (07.14/07.10/07.17)
She’s Funny That Way (06.23/08.14/06.26)
Catch Me Daddy (02.24/08.07/02.27)
Fathers & Daughters (11.10/07.08.16/11.13)
Aloha (03.07.16/05.29/direct to VOD)
Fantastic Four (08.06/08.07/08.06)
The Good Dinosaur (11.23/11.25/11.27)
The Vatican Tapes (10.30/07.24/10.30)
Daddy’s Home (12.14/12.25/12.26)
The Visit (08.24/09.11/09.09)
Monsters: Dark Continent (04.18/04.17/05.01)
Fifty Shades of Grey (02.13/02.13/02.13)
Sinister 2 (08.21/08.21/08.21)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (04.10/04.10/04.10)
Two by Two: Ooops… The Ark Has Gone (aka Two by Two: God’s Little Creatures, aka All Creatures Big and Small) (05.01/direct to dvd/05.01)
Strange Magic (05.24/01.23/08.21)
Hitman: Agent 47 (08.27/08.21/08.27)
Body (12.11/12.11/direct to DVD)
Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism (08.13/08.14/TBA)
The Loft (05.26/01.30/direct to dvd)
Everly (06.22/02.27/06.26)
My All American (02.23.16/11.13/TBA)
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (04.07/02.20/04.10)
Vacation (08.12/07.29/08.21)
The Gift (07.27/08.07/08.07)
Tom at the Farm (03.28.14/08.14/04.04.14)
Do You Believe? (01.03.16/03.20/TBA)
Charlie, Trevor and a Girl Savannah (06.18/06.19/TBA)
The Last Five Years (03.10/02.13/04.17)
The Gallows (07.17/07.10/07.17)
Woodlawn (02.20.16/10.16/TBA)
Goodnight Mommy (12.11/09.11/03.04.16)
Ejecta (02.26/02.27/direct to dvd)
Kingsman: The Secret Service (01.19/02.13/01.24)
The Hateful Eight (01.09/12.25/01.08)
War Room (01.02.16/08.28/direct to DVD)
Rock the Kasbah (02.20.16/10.23/03.18.16)
The Forbidden Room (11.06/10.07/12.11)
Pixels (08.09/07.24/08.12)
The Duke of Burgundy (09.24.14/01.23/02.20)
Listening (09.14/09.11/TBA)
Absolutely Anything (08.11/TBA/08.14)
The Transporter Refuelled (09.01/09.04/09.04)
90 Minutes in Heaven (01.03.16/09.11/direct to DVD)
The D Train (aka Bad Bromance) (03.13.16/05.08/09.18)
Capture the Flag (01.24.16/12.04/01.29.16)
Hot Pursuit (03.13.16/05.08/07.31)
Little Boy (03.07.16/04.24/TBA)
Pan (10.12/10.09/10.16)
Kill Your Friends (11.02/04.01.16/11.06)
The Green Inferno (02.20.16/09.25/02.12)
Huevos: Little Rooster’s Egg-Cellent Adventure (Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos) (03.12.16/09.04/TBA)
The Voices (03.02/02.06/03.20)
Return to Sender (05.07/08.14/05.22)
The Letters (aka Letters from Mother Teresa) (11.29/12.04/direct to DVD)
The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (05.25/05.22/07.10)


posted in:
year in review
  • Mr Turner

    Hey there, your site needs some better formatting especially on pages such as this, give links to the film reviews perhaps and rank them in order (given it is your subjective order).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It is in order, and the films with published reviews have links.

  • You’ll have to explain yourself better. What you’re demanding is already how the page is arranged.

  • Jurgan

    Maybe he doesn’t realize that some of them don’t have links because there are no reviews for them?

  • LaSargenta

    Have you figured where Inherent Vice fits yet?

  • a

    I HATED The Last Five Years, am so happy to see it *that low* on the list. I can’t wait to see your review. It’s probably the worst film I’ve seen all year.

    I still don’t see what’s wrong with Duke though, oh well, hopefully a review pops up.

  • Burroughs

    Looks like finally, someone agrees with me on “Spring”.

  • Danielm80

    Last week, I was reading this discussion about Trainwreck:

    http://www.thenation.com/article/does-amy-schumers-trainwreck-reinforce-rom-com-tropes-or-challenge-them/

    I’m curious how you’ll react to the film. I can imagine you really liking it or really hating it. I don’t see it on this list, or in the list of weekly releases. Did I overlook it, or is there another reason it’s missing? (I assume you’re not silently boycotting the film.)

  • I only just saw the film today — it doesn’t open here in the UK till Friday. I really liked it. Review asap.

  • David C-D

    Still looking forward to your review of “Clouds of Sils Maria”. As well as to seeing the movie myself.

  • Yes, I need to get to that one.

  • Madame Whore

    Why doesn’t Sinister 2 have dates beside it?

  • Kathy_A

    Glad that you liked Spotlight! Personally, I would have ranked it above The Martian, since I think Spotlight might be one of the best films I’ve seen in the past five years. Then again, I have a lifelong weakness for films/books on investigative journalism done right–I read All the President’s Men in junior high in the late ’70s as well as saw the movie, and I think that Spotlight was a better film.
    Will you be posting a review of Spotlight? Just wondering what you thought of it overall.

  • I will post a review asap.

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