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Criticker’s Twenty Best Films of 2015: #20 – #11

It’s the end of 2015, and so we’re looking at the best films of the year. For this list, we considered all the films which are eligible for the 88th Academy Awards, and which have at least 50 rankings at Criticker.

You’ll find some blockbusters in the first half of our year-end list, a few sleepers, and probably a couple surprises. We’ve already listed the Worst Ten of 2015, which demonstrates how bad Hollywood can be; but apparently they can do some things right, too. Anything you’re especially happy to see make the countdown?

20. Heaven Knows What – 6.9467 Average Tier

“This is a difficult, intense, and very powerful vérité work about a heroin addict living in New York City. The film features some crazy beautiful electronic music, brutally intimate cinematography, and a third act so overwhelmingly, disturbingly romantic that you can’t help but be drawn into the madness. It has nothing to do with morality or exposing a crisis of public health; it’s just life as is, with a little surrealism dropped in at the right moments. I can’t wait to see it again.” – Actionberg

19. The Martian – 6.9813 Average Tier

“It’s about triumph. It’s two-plus hours of smart people keeping it together and being good at their jobs and SOLVING PROBLEMS. Once one problem’s solved, another one gets thrown at them, and they work hard and think hard and make plans and solve that one, too. I loved it. An extraordinarily well-made, well-performed, beautifully shot film about triumph and efficiency and getting the job done. And space, naturally. The space stuff is cool, too.” – Superargo

18. Brooklyn – 7.0504 Average Tier

“A big-hearted and emotionally resonant tale of romance and the immigrant experience with terrific performances from both Ronan and Cohen.” – RaymundLi

17. Beasts of No Nation – 7.2218 Average Tier

“It’s like Terrence Malick’s Hunger Games! Director Fukunaga goes to great lengths to build a timeless & ambiguous world that makes you focus on the horror without writing it off via too much context. The lead is great & Idris Elba makes a menacing villain. The M83 inspired music creates a childlike mood with an undercurrent of horror. As our world becomes engulfed in volatile conflicts–often with children on the front lines–this story becomes more prescient. And a great discussion starter.” – juntakinte68

16. Creed – 7.2409 Average Tier

“It could hardly be written any better. Sly gives his performance of a lifetime back in the role that defined him and wins the Oscar 40 years after being nominated for the same role.” – Ross

15. Ex Machina – 7.2711 Average Tier

“EM asks some searching questions about ‘AI’ in a brilliantly tense, enjoyable, mesmerising and unpredictable film. Isaacs & Vikander are superb. The lighting, set design, special effects and script simply perfect. “Would you know if an AI was manipulating you, lying to you?”, “Would mankind be able to keep AIs like slaves?”. We are asked to perform a “reverse” Turing test on Eva. “Can we interact with a gorgeous, flirtatious “woman” but STILL remember she is a moral free “robot”?” Terrific film” – thegreyfox

14. Sicario – 7.3570 Average Tier

“This damning portrait of the American “War on Drugs” is an early frontrunner for my favorite movie of 2015. I absolutely loved this. It’s breathlessly engaging and incredibly intense throughout, with amazing performances from leads Emily Blunt and (particularly) Benicio del Toro, who should both be nominated come Oscar season if there is any justice. Add on to that some pretty amazing visuals, and I won’t be forgetting this one anytime soon.” – VengefulKBM

13. Amy – 7.3575 Average Tier

“Such a different musical biography to the also fantastic – “Cobain: Montage of Heck” yet dishes equal impact. Your eyes are never off Amy and nor should they be, sometimes it does prove to be a quite daunting experience. Have to say both her dad and boyfriend are pretty vile individuals. Extra props goes out to the man, Mark Ronson.” – OMGFridge

12. Room – 7.5280 Average Tier

“This is an absolutely overwhelming film to see in theatres. I was on the verge of crying for the entire run time. I was a bit leery of Brie Larson playing a dramatic role but after seeing Room I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an idiot who is always wrong about everything. She’s amazing, knowing exactly how to balance humour, fear, and depression. Trembley is amazing, largely because he knows exactly how to play a child. McCamus is amazing. Allen is amazing. Room is amazing.” – JacoIII

“Abrams delivers! (of course) His fast-moving and always exhilarating seventh part is, thankfully, just about fanboy perfection. Which made me very happy and relieved. With skillful, charismatic turns from Ridley, Boyega and Ford in a recognizable story across worlds that feel part of the saga’s universe, The Force Awakens basically gives us (A) New Hope… and I’m confident that Johnson will bless us with a sequel every bit as fun and delicious.” – KasperL

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