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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

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

The Ten Worst Animated Films EVER – Redo

At #1 and #3, Pokemon rules the list of Worst Animated Films of All Time. This can’t be a surprise; even calling Pokemon 2000 and Pokemon the First Movie “films” is insulting, since they’re little more than advertisements for a card game. But a lot of people watched them… shame be upon them.

This is the first time in the “Top 10” blog feature that we’ve looked at the worst of a genre. Any surprises, or surprising omissions?

Note: This is our second version of this list. We originally included some films that had animated CGI characters, but couldn’t really be considered “animation”. Two Garfield films finished 1st and 2nd that list, which amused us enough to let them slide through. But while they’re terrible, terrible movies, it was ultimately incorrect to label them as animation.

#1. Pokemon: The Movie 2000 (2000) – 2.49
Ash Ketchum must put his skill to the test when he attempts to save the world from destruction. The Greedy Pokemon collector Lawrence III throws the universe into chaos after disrupting the balance of nature by capturing one of the Pokemon birds that rule the elements of fire, lightning and ice. Will Ash have what it takes to save the world?

YtadelThe high point of the movie is when they say the word “sex.” In Pokémon! Other than that, it does nothing to elevate itself above Saturday morning cartoon level, which is fine for 21 minutes but not a feature.

Find Pokemon 2000 at Amazon


#2. Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992) – 2.61

The popular cartoon cat and mouse are thrown into a disappointing feature film. The story has the twosome trying to help an orphan girl who is being berated and exploited by a greedy guardian.


When a group of scientists are offered funding into genetic research if they agree to try and clone the greatest ever Pokemon, Mew, the end result is success and Mewtwo is born. However Mewtwo is bitter about his purpose in life and kills his masters. In order to become the greatest he throws open a challenge to the world to battle him and his Pokemon. Ash and his friends are one of the few groups of trainers who pass the first test and prepare for battle. However they soon find out about further cloning and Mew 2’s ultimate plan for the earth.


#4. Home on the Range (2004) – 2.70

When a greedy outlaw named Alameda Slim (Quaid) schemes to take possession of the "Patch of Heaven" dairy farm, three determined cows (Barr, Dench, Tilly), a karate-kicking stallion named Buck (Gooding Jr.), and a colorful corral of critters join forces to save the farm in a wild quest full of high-spirited adventure. (Disney)


Davey Stone, a 33-year old party animal, finds himself in trouble with the law after his wild ways go too far. In keeping with the holiday spirit, the judge gives Davey one last chance at redemption – spend the holiday performing community service as the assistant referee for the youth basketball league or go to jail.


#6. Barnyard (2006) – 3.01

A hilarious look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer's back is turned. (Paramount)


#7. Heavy Metal 2000 (2000) – 3.10

Upon discovery of a shard of what could be the Loc-Nar, a miner named Tyler who becomes possessed by an insatiable hunger for power and a thirst for immortality. On his way to the planet of youth, Tyler wipes out most of a space colony and kidnaps a sexy woman. His big mistake is that he doesn’t kill the woman’s sister, Julie, who then sets out on a mission of rescue and revenge.


#8. The Rugrats Movie (1998) – 3.13

Tommy faces responsiblity when Dil, his new baby brother is born. As with all newborns, the child becomes a bane to Tommy and the rest of his gang. Even Phil and Lil don’t like them. So they decide to return Dil to where he came from, the hospital. But they get lost along the way, really lost, and get into even more trouble with a circus. Can they find their way home and can Tommy and Dil just get along?


#9. Cool World (1992) – 3.16

A comic strip vamp seeks to seduce her cartoonist creator in order to cross over into the real world.


#10. The Return of Jafar (1994) – 3.31

Jafar comes for revenge on Aladdin, using a foolish thief and Iago's trechery to find away back into power.

Top Ten Romance Movies of the 70s

Before looking at our latest Top 10 List, break out some champagne and lay your lady down on the shag rug. We’re going back to the 70s, baby, for some romance

#1. Scenes From a Marriage (1973) – 8.64
Johan reveals to his wife Marianne that he has been having an affair and intends to leave her. She is distraught, and the film follows the trials and tribulations of the couple from that point onward.

Criminal5No movie has ever bothered less with plot, style, or conventional guidelines; in no movie have they ever mattered less. Bergman’s triumph is to create two characters who are so convincingly fleshed out that to see them on screen is to know them intimately: to love them, hate them, and to share in their pain, sorrow, and redemption every step of the way. In its own way, through all the fighting and heartbreak, this is the most romantic movie ever made; it’s the best romance I’ve ever seen.

Buy Scenes From a Marriage – Criterion Collection

#2. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) – 8.12

Emmi, a woman truly in the second half of life falls in love with Ali, an more than ten years younger Arab guest worker.

Buy Ali – Fear Eats the Soul – Criterion Collection


#3. Annie Hall (1977) – 8.03

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall. (imdb)

Buy Annie Hall


#4. Manhattan (1979) – 7.98

A divorced New Yorker currently dating a high-schooler brings himself to look for love in the mistress of his best friend instead (imdb)

Buy Manhattan


#5. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) – 7.93

Minnie breaks up with her married boyfriend and becomes disillusioned. However, she begins to learn that there is hope for love and romance in a desperate world when she meets a crazy car-parker named Seymour. (imdb)

Buy Minnie and Moskowitz


#6. Barry Lyndon (1975) – 7.79

An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband’s position in 18th Century aristocracy.

Buy Barry Lyndon


#7. Solaris (1972) – 7.74

A psychologist is sent to investigate the mysterious crisis which has occurred on board a space station orbiting a remote planet.

Buy Solaris – Criterion Collection


#8. Harold and Maude (1971) – 7.49

Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral

Buy Harold and Maude


#9. Fox and His Friends (1975) – 7.49

Franz “Fox” Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth…

Buy Fox and His Friends


#10. Claire’s Knee (1970) – 7.44

Jerome, a 35-year-old diplomat, is struck by teenage girl Claire and harbors an unquenchable desire to touch her knee …

Buy Claire’s Knee

Top Ten War Flicks of the 80s

When you think “best war movie of the 80s”, one film instantly springs to mind. I was dumbfounded, then, after compiling the list of Top 10 War Flicks of the Eighties, that Platoon was nowhere to be found upon it. The Criticker community — always full of surprises! (Platoon finished a still-respectable 11th).

This is our third top ten list since we began this new feature at the blog. We just thought it’d be fun to choose random genres and decades and see what kind of lists appear, based on the ratings of Criticker users. Are you surprised by any of the entries or other omissions?

#1. Ran (1985) – 8.38
An elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him.

jacobb1313Kurosawa’s late masterwork. From Shakespeare to Noh to Kurosawa’s own expressionistic painting, he uses all his sources to the fullest potency, creating a godless world of madness, war and death never seen in film since.

Ran – Criterion Collection


#2. Come and See (1985) – 8.29

A boy is unwillingly thrust into the atrocities of war in WWII Byelorussia, fighting for a hopelessly unequipped resistance movement against the ruthless German forces.
Buy it at Amazon


#3. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) – 8.23

A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister’s struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.
Buy it at Amazon


#4. Das Boot (1981) – 8.12

It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy English shipping. With better escorts of the Destroyer Class, however, German U-Boats have begun to take heavy losses. Das Boot is the story of one such U-Boat crew, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers, attempted to accomplish impossible missions, while all the time attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served. (Sony Pictures)
Buy it at Amazon


#5. Full Metal Jacket (1987) – 7.83

The story of an 18-year-old marine recruit named Private Joker – from his carnage-and-machismo boot camp to his climactic involvement in the heavy fighting in Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Buy it at Amazon


#6. When the Wind Blows (1986) – 7.74

With the help of government-issued pamphlets, an elderly British couple build a shelter and prepare for an impending nuclear attack…
Buy it at Amazon


#7. Breaker Morant (1980) – 7.71

Three Australian lieutenants are court martialed for executing prisoners as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by their superior officers.
Buy it at Amazon


#8. Threads (1984) – 7.48

A dramatization of the probable consequences of a full scale nuclear war on an English community.
Buy it at Amazon


#9. Kagemusha (1980) – 7.48

When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times.
Buy it at Amazon


#10. The Killing Fields (1984) – 7.41

An American citizen is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody “Year Zero” ethnic cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.
Buy it at Amazon

Top Ten Adventure Flicks from the 60s

Whether set in the old west, outer space, Africa or Japan, the one thing these classic films from the sixties have in common: Adventure. Watch them all.

#1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – 8.61
Three gunmen set out to find a hidden fortune. Who will walk away with the cash?

FitFortDangaSpectacular and supremely entertaining. Funny, tense, exciting, gripping. What really amazes me about this movie is the way Leone uses the frame so masterfully. Three amazing characters, dialogue that sparkles, and an endless supply of gripping scenarios that keeps the balance of power constantly shifting. Beautifully composed frames and Morricone’s unforgettable score. One of the most enjoyable times you can possibly have with a movie.

Buy it here: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


#2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – 8.19

Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.(imdb)


#3. Sanjuro (1962) – 7.89

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. (imdb)


#4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – 7.84

A unique cinematic journey, “2001: A Space Odyssey” travels across enormous distances of both space and time. The story it tells is on the one hand about the collective adventure of human life on and off this planet. But it is also about something lying beyond the bounds of humanity, something lying in the true realms of the mysterious.


#5. L’ Armata Brancaleone (1966) – 7.84

A group of rogues steal a scroll granting its bearer the property of the land of Aurocastro in Apulia (south of Italy). They elect a shaggy knight, Brancaleone from Norcia, as their leader, and decide to get possession of this supposedly wealthy land. Many adventures will occurr during the journey. (imdb)


Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close. (imdb)


#7. The Great Escape (1963) – 7.72

Several hundred Allied POWs plan a mass escape from a German POW camp. (imdb)


#8. A Touch of Zen (1969) – 7.43

An artist, Ku, lives with his mother near an abandoned fort, reputed to be haunted. One night, investigating strange noises, he meets the beautiful Yang who is living there. She is being pursued by agents of an Imperial noble who have murdered her family. Ku finds himself caught up in her struggle to survive, and many fierce battles take place before all is resolved. Action adventure with a lyrical feel, this is a kung fu film with a strong spiritual element. (imdb)


#9. The Magnificent Seven (1960) – 6.97

An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes. (imdb)


#10. Goldfinger (1964) – 6.85

Investigating a gold magnate’s gold smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve. (imdb)

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Top Ten Documentaries of the 00s

Criticker contains an extraordinary amount of data from movie-goers around the world. And it’s time we start showing off some of the films which the community has most enjoyed. A new semi-regular feature will focus on Top 10 lists of the top (and sometimes worst) films in our database, ordered on average tier.

Starting things off, we’re looking at the 10 most highly-ranked documentaries of the past decade, 2000 – 2009. The BBC leads the way, as we’ve included mini-series along with traditional feature-length films. From Iceland to New Orleans, and from the inner workings of the human mind to a arcade hall, here are the top documentaries of the past ten years, chosen by you.

#1. The Century of the Self (2002) – 9.17

Adam Curtis’ acclaimed BBC documentary mini-series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

Legstump4 of the most important hours of moving pictures ever created. Plus it makes me want to pee on Edward Bernays’ grave.

djrossThis is the greatest ever cinematic attempt to explain what led to our present situation…

Buy it here: The Century of the Self


#2. Lake of Fire (2006) – 8.73

A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate. Amazon


An examination of the U.S. government's role and its response to Hurricane Katrina. Amazon


The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom… ( Amazon


#5. Heima (2007) – 8.28

In the summer of 2006, Sigur Rós returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts for the people of Iceland. This film documents their already legendary tour with intimate reflections from the band and a handful of new acoustic performances. Amazon


This film was originally aired as a BBC documentary comprised of three one-hour episodes “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “The Phantom Victory” and “Shadows in the Cave.” The documentaries question whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda really is an organised network. (BBC) Amazon


#7. War Photographer (2001) – 7.86

Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever. Amazon


#8. Earth (2007) – 7.86

Feature-length version of the documentary TV series, “Planet Earth.” Amazon


#9. 49 UP (2005) – 7.74

49 UP is the seventh film in a series of landmark documentaries that began 42 years ago when UK-based Granada's World in Action team, inspired by the Jesuit maxim "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man," interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old children from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher for the original film, has returned to interview the "children" every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49. (First Run Features) Amazon


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a documentary that follows Steve Wiebe as he tries to take the world high score for the arcade game Donkey Kong from reigning champion Billy Mitchell.

What did you think of the list? Are there any great docs you’re shocked didn’t make the cut? Anything you don’t think deserved its placement? I’m skeptical of how high Sigur Rós landed — I love their music, but assume that the only people who sought Heima out were already fans… and were predisposed to give it an inflated score. Amazon

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