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Criticker’s Twenty Best Films of 2015: #10 – #1

Here they are, your top ten films of 2015. As always seems to the case, this list includes a wide range of genres, from drama to documentary, action to animation. Some are out of Hollywood, others definitely aren’t, some are non-stop thrill rides, others are more introspective. But taken all together, what this list signifies to us is: damn, the Criticker Community has good taste!

If you haven’t already, check out the first half of this list. And don’t forget to look at the worst ten films of the year, either… just so you know what to avoid.

And from us at Criticker… best of wishes for 2016!

10. Carol – 7.5476 Average Tier

“I need to mull it over more, but this is likely Todd Haynes’ opus, and that’s saying something. It feels like Haynes has spent his entire career building to the subtle grace that fills every frame of Carol. Where Far From Heaven was a self-conscious homage to the Sirkian melodrama and all that that entails on a textual level, Carol simply is. It brings its era to life, rather than using it as a weapon. The difference is astounding.” – wetwillies

9. Mad Max: Fury Road – 7.6165 Average Tier

” Here comes Mad Max: Fury Road to revive this arid wasteland we call Hollywood filmmaking and to prove that blockbusters need not be one homogeneous mass of bland and boring sameness. It’s a visually glorious and furiously raging beast of a film but it also boasts a feminist subtext and a surprising amount of narrative depth. It puts other blockbuster films to shame. What a lovely day!” – RaymundLi

8. 45 Years – 7.6429 Average Tier

“Slow and thoughtful with strong, understated performances, that leave the viewer to interpret the way the story ends.” – mandy

7. Victoria – 7.6582 Average Tier

“Of course we could talk about technique, about acting, about details, about the guts and shortcomings of this project. But, in the end nothing matters but this: I cried. I laughed. I have clawed me in the seat. I heard my heart beating. If that ain’t cinema, I don’t know what is.” – Hofschneider

6. The Hateful Eight – 7.7097 Average Tier

“Combine the paranoia of “The Thing” with the mystery of “Clue”, set it in 1800’s Wyoming and you get “The Hateful Eight”. Once again Tarantino proves that his films are, if nothing else, damn entertaining. At close to 3 hours long and 85% of it taking place in one room, I was never bored for a second. That’s good film making!” – Jerky

5. Inside Out – 7.8125 Average Tier

“A bit schematic in its manipulations, but, Christ, this is a deeply sad ode to the fragility of identity. A pit of memories, once cherished, relegated to ash. The protagonists, helpless to do anything, witnessing everything they love about a young girl crumbling to dust under the weight of new experience. In the end, Riley’s personality isn’t restored; instead, the foundation of a novel personality is built from the rubble of half-forgotten memories & new knowledge of the world, disenchanted.” – theficionado

4. Son of Saul – 7.8901 Average Tier

“Apart from being an almost perfect model for “hell” in the literal sense with the help of long shots and a concentration on the protagonist to follow his psychological demise step-by-step, I think the film is about the brittleness and naivety of human soul (because Saul creates his own hope and belief instead of resisting with the others) which makes this piece a very humanist account despite the formal indifference which avoids sentimental bullshit. Can easliy named “Come and See” Vol. 2″ – loc42

3. Spotlight – 8.0057 Average Tier

“Absolutely fantastic. In execution, it is definitely the best produced film I have seen this year. A cast worthy of every award, but most importantly Ruffalo’s performance, acting in a great script. The only issue I had with the film was the lack of great direction, but McCarthy did a good job, and it is never bad. Honestly, it’s hard-hitting, it’s scary, and it’s damning. An amazing film; one we may be hearing about in award season.” – Groovy_Souls

2. The Revenant – 8.1394 Average Tier

“Iñárritu is eternally contemplating the beauty and brutality of nature, including us, and here he finds the purest expression of his career. Pure in the sense that the effect of the revenge plot is almost subdued – what resonates is the wonder and hallucinatory ecstasy the wild brings. I have never seen it done on such a level, with crystalline images that hold together heaven and earth.” – schnofel

1. The Look of Silence – 8.3636 Average Tier

“Superior to Act of Killing in most ways, The Look of Silence confronts instead of stages. And manages to provide a both more complex and heart-rending take on the consequences of the Indonesian genocide.” – Langelund

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

The Ten Worst Films of 2015

Here they are, the ten worst films of the year… as chosen by you! These are the films which Criticker users didn’t just dislike, but loathed. The films which you hated more than any other, the ones which make you question just how they got made, and how the filmmakers can sleep at night. These are the movies which make you wonder about the state of humanity. How many have you seen? Come on, be honest!

10. Mortdecai – 2.7678 Average Tier

“i had the misfortune of seeing part of this film while i was at the nail salon, and it made me mourn for the death of film, and for humanity in general. i also felt great sadness for everyone involved in this project – from the director to the actors to the poor guy holding the boom on set. their work on this film seems to put a resounding end to any dreams anyone involved here might once have had of being an artist.” – nilooravaei

9. Aloha – 2.6923 Average Tier

“An incompetent mess of a rom-com that doesn’t work on any level. The story is loaded with plot holes, illogical character motives and a third act that jumps haphazardly between farce and forcing a zeitgeist message about respecting nature. All of the lead actors have been typecast in roles that misuse their abilities. There are small moments that could make a good movie, but it almost feels as if scenes are cut short, making the film an incoherent slog.” – DougieD

8. Taken 3 – 2.6505 Average Tier

“One of the most insufferable action films I’ve seen. I don’t blame the cast. The plot has more holes than substance, and the camerawork and editing made me want to swallow my eyes so I could throw them back up. This franchise has become a weird joke. Liam Neeson is on his way to the bank wiping tears of laughter with thousand dollar bills. As would I.” – cagedwisdom

7. Unfinished Business – 2.6306 Average Tier

“Things you need to know before watching this film: 1. Vince Vaughn plays himself….AGAIN!. 2. Tits everywhere. 3. Penis as well. 4. Being “mentally challenged” is a running gag. 5. Dave Franco smiles 946 times. Meh.” – Jerky

6. Poltergeist – 2.5741 Average Tier

“Poltergeist is a lazy and inept horror remake that is a complete waste of time and money. It isn’t scary, it doesn’t have anything in terms of characters or intelligence, and it’s incredibly boring. Its only redeeming factor is that its running time is barely an hour and a half, meaning I only had to waste that much time on it; I feel like it might have been unbearably bad had it tried to clock in anywhere close to two hours” – Matthew Parkinson

5. Hot Pursuit – 2.4711 Average Tier

“Sofia Vergara’s chest has more charisma than any of the characters.” – benoliver999

4. Fantastic Four – 2.2832 Average Tier

“‘Fantastic Four’ squanders every nugget of potential afforded it–from the cast to what could have been an interesting sci-fi horror take on the material–with its underutilized characters, unacceptable production value, and bafflingly rushed and misplaced final acts.” – thelyingpoet

3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – 2.1442 Average Tier

“The fact this is not really set in a mall pissed me off.” – felipelahm

2. The Boy Next Door – 2.1429 Average Tier

“In competition for comedy of the year. Line readings that occasionally wouldn’t feel out of place in The Room, especially by replacement Young James Franco. I think my favorite part is the plot points and motifs that go absolutely nowhere; the random blowie from the son’s girlfriend, the meaningless references to The Iliad, etc. Just an overall impressively bad movie.” – mwgerb

1. Fifty Shades of Grey – 1.8899 Average Tier

“Okay, I mean I knew the book was shit, but sometimes a movie can do better, right? HA. This was the most awfully boring movie I have seen in a long time. NOTHING EVEN HAPPENS. It’s a two hour long movie about a creepy dude and a doe-eyed idiot weirdly eye-fucking each other and then when the real sex finally happens, it’s… mediocre, to say it generously. Torture for the viewer, but not of the pleasant kind the franchise promises. Ugh!” – Catnip

Criticker: Now Accepting Television Series

“How can you justify adding 30-second shorts from 1902 to your database, but not Breaking Bad? What sense does that make?”

That has long been a question which users have put to us… and our answer has always been to squirm uncomfortably, and then suddenly point at something really exciting going on behind them, and slip away.

The truth is, there is no good justification, besides how it complicates things. But we’ve decided that we’ll just have to accept the extra work. Because, really, we need to have Breaking Bad on our site.

If you go to the form used to submit films, you’ll see a new field. This is “Type”, where you’ll choose whether you’re adding a new film, new TV Series, Mini-Series, Short, etc. Please fill this field out accurately, as it will greatly help our moderators during the approval process. Please note that we are not yet accepting individual episodes or seasons… just the series themselves.

We kind of rushed this change out, so expect to find some errors and deficiencies. Please send any issues you discover to support@criticker.com, or make a note of them in the forum. And thanks again for your patience — we’re fully aware how long some of you have been waiting for this.

Updates: TCI, PSI and Filmmaker List Pages

We’re continuing to revamp Criticker, and in the past week introduced stylistic changes to three more pages. The TCI List, the PSI List and the Filmmaker List pages.

We hope you like the new changes! Stay tuned, because there are more coming soon…

Revamped Kumpel Page

The Kumpel Page has long been one of the most glaring eyesores of Criticker — subject to ridicule, hatred and revulsion. And that was just from us, the guys who designed it in the first place!

In our recent continuing effort to revitalize Criticker’s look, we’ve given the Kumpel Page a facelift. All the functionality is still there, it’s just been re-organized and brought more inline with the way the rest of the site looks. You can still see your Kumpel’s latest reviews, still get recommendations from your Kumpels, and generate “Joint PSIs” of films neither you nor a particular Kumpel has seen.

“And what in the world,” some of you may be asking, “is a Kumpel?” Kumpel (pronounced koom-pel) is German for “buddy” or “pal”. We’re a half-German team here, so at Criticker, you’ll never have “friends” or “buddies”. You’ll have kumpels. Grab some Bratwurst with them, and go see a movie!

Go check it out!

A New Look for Starred Reviews

As most of you have noticed, we’ve been introducing new style changes to Criticker for the past few months. The latest section to get the treatment is Starred Reviews.

We think it’s a massive improvement, but we’ll let you be the judge:



The functionality hasn’t changed (much), but the look is completely new. What do you think?