In light of the upcoming Oscars, Where Y'at film editor David Vicari and critic Fritz Esker share their list of the best and worst films of the past year.
David Vicari, Film Editor
10) The Revenant – This brutal revenge western with an intense performance by Leonardo DiCaprio is the first movie I really like from director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
9) Trumbo – The best part of this Louisiana-shot biopic of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is the second half as the blacklisted writer pens any and every exploitation B-picture he can get his hands on so as to provide for his family.
8) Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg's cold war thriller starring Tom Hanks brims with tension.
7) Spring – Mash Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise with John Carpenter's The Thing and you have this smart and thoughtful horror film.
6) Inside Out – A little girl's “feelings” come to save the day in this brilliant Pixar picture that examines depression (!).
5) Love & Mercy – Having two actors – Paul Dano in the past and John Cusack in the future – play The Beach Boys brilliant and eccentric singer and songwriter Brian Wilson cleverly keeps the nonlinear storytelling both coherent and compelling.
4) Room – Exceptional performances dominate this drama about a kidnapped woman (Brie Larson) locked up in a small room and raising her young son (Jacob Tremblay) who has never known the outside world.
3) Spotlight – A crackling newspaper drama about The Boston Globe's investigation of a massive cover-up of child molestation in the Catholic Church.
2) Youth – Eccentric and dreamlike drama about a retired orchestra conductor (Michael Cain) on holiday.
1) Mad Max: Fury Road – Not only is this forth installment in the Mad Max series a terrific action film with eye-popping stunts, but it's also a film of deep thought and meaning.
10) We Are Still Here – Incoherent and poorly made homage to the horror films of the late filmmaker Lucio Fulci, whose own films were incoherent and poorly made, so does that make this a success?
9) Fifty Shades of Grey – Nothing says romance like a constipated billionaire demanding that you submit to his sadomasochistic ways.
8) Jupiter Ascending – The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix, have concocted this supremely dull science fiction epic populated with wall-to-wall yet unengaging action sequences.
7) Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – Fingers crossed that this sixth installment in the tired found footage horror series is the final one.
6) Ted 2 – Seth MacFarlane's smug and obnoxious sequel about the profanity spewing plush teddy bear going to court to prove he is a real living person and not just property had the makings for a smart satire, but it goes for unfunny semen jokes instead.
5) Terminator Genisys – Lethargic rehash of The Terminator with a time-traveling timeline that makes little sense.
4) Poltergeist – Absolutely useless remake of the 1982 classic scare fest.
3) Fantastic Four – The third time is not the charm in this soulless attempt to create a good version of the Marvel Comics property.
2) Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) – While not quite as ugly and mean-spirited as its two predecessors, Tom Six's third outing is just as incompetently made as clumsy comedy permeates through this (hopefully) last chapter in the ass-to-mouth series that exist only for shock value.
1) Vacation – The filmmakers of this crude, despicable and joyless remake/sequel to the classic National Lampoon comedy not only have contempt for their on-screen characters but also their target audience.
Fritz Esker, Critic
1) Mad Max: Fury Road - Director George Miller cooks up an action movie full of old-school stunts and classic thrills on par with his groundbreaking The Road Warrior.
2) Spotlight - The story of Boston journalists uncovering the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal is a classic in journalism film in the vein of All the President’s Men.
3) Bridge of Spies - It’s mostly talk, but Steven Spielberg’s story of Cold War negotiations and gamesmanship is riveting.
4) Inside Out - Pixar’s tale of a young girl’s conflicting emotions is another masterpiece full of laughs, childlike wonder, and heartbreaking pathos.
5) The Look of Silence - Not for the faint of heart, this gut-wrenching documentary sequel to The Act of Killing follows a doctor confronting the genocidal murderers who killed his brother.
6) ’71 - If it weren’t for Fury Road, this story of a British soldier trapped in a hostile Belfast neighborhood during a riot would be the year’s best thrill ride.
7) Room - Brie Larson should win Best Actress for her portrayal of a kidnapped woman struggling to raise her young son.
8) Sicario - Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin give standout performances in this chilling examination of the war on drugs’ futility.
9) Irrational Man - Joaquin Phoenix’s depressed professor makes a fateful decision in this examination of morality, crime, luck, and the need to cling to something irrational to get through life.
10) The Hateful Eight - This is possibly Quentin Tarantino’s most mean-spirited film, but it’s still funny, scary, and beautifully shot.
5) Jupiter Ascending - The Wachowskis failed sci-fi epic is full of bright colors, an incoherent storyline, and unintentional laughs.
4) Mordecai - Director David Koepp usually directs witty, exciting genre fare; Mordecai labors under an awful Johnny Depp performance and forced gags.
3) Unfriended - This story of cyberchatting teenagers being forced to kill themselves by a cyber ghost is gimmicky, laughable (not in a good way), and not scary in the slightest.
2) The Cobbler - Writer/director Tom McCarthy made this woefully misguided dramedy in the same year he made the terrific Spotlight, proving how difficult it is to make a good movie, even for talented people working very hard.
1) Vacation - I laughed exactly once in this ugly, unfunny sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation.