In the grand scheme of things, you might consider this year (2015) to be just another year. But this is a landmark year in the history of modern cinema. Not only has it been a fantastic year for sequels, but it has also been, quite possibly, the best year for films in recent memory. From the spectacular Toy Story 4 to the deeply personal Lion, the year 2015 proved once and for all that great films can come in all shapes and sizes.

The Biggest Hits

While we’re already well into 2016 and the end of this year’s cinematography is in sight, it’s worth taking a trip back in time to look at the biggest hits of 2015.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road – 2015 (Mad Max 4) – Warner Bros. Pictures
  • The Peanuts Movie – 2015 (It) – Paramount Pictures
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 – 2015 (Kung Fu Panda 3) – DreamWorks Pictures
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 2015 (A New Hope) – Disney
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – 2015 (Batman vs Superman) – Warner Bros. Pictures
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – 2015 (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2) – Lionsgate
  • Minions – 2015 (Minions) – Walt Disney Pictures
  • American Sniper – 2015 (American Sniper) – Sony Pictures
  • Spectre – 2015 (Spectre) – Columbia Pictures

The Year’s Biggest Flops

Not all big hits are created equal. Some films just don’t seem to measure up to the immense hype surrounding them. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that most of the year’s biggest hits are mostly harmless family-friendly entertainment. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be critical of some of 2015’s biggest successes.

Here are the year’s biggest cinematic flops, in order of how much they misfired. (Minor spoilers follow.)

  • Luhrmann’s The Grand Tour – 2015 (A Foreign Affair) – Paramount Pictures
  • The Hateful Eight – 2015 (Vampires) – Tarantula
  • The BFG – 2015 (Wanderlust) – DreamWorks Pictures
  • The Space Between Us – 2015 (Sunset) – Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – 2015 (Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered) – Lionsgate
  • Joy – 2015 (Joy) – Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • Deep Water – 2015 (Deep Water) – Warner Bros. Pictures

Highs And Lows

It’s easy to look back on 2015 and see it as a banner year for cinema. But that doesn’t mean that every entry was a home run. Far from it. There were plenty of duds as well as some absolute stinkers. (We’ll get to the latter in just a moment.) So it’s important to look at the year’s highs and lows if we’re going to have an accurate picture of what really happened in 2015.

To start off with the lows, let’s take a trip to the far reaches of Tasmania, Australia, to check out the cinematography of Kevin Maclaurin. Filmed entirely on location, Maclaurin’s Tale Of Tales is based on the classic short stories by author and editor Geoffrey Keating. In the film, the characters are entirely computer-generated, and while they all look fabulous, it’s clear that the limitations of the medium have been painfully exposed. (1)

And then we have to dive into the cesspool that is Kick-Ass 2. While the first installment in the series was a well-deserved success, this year’s sequel is a complete and utter train wreck. That’s not to say that it’s without charm or wit. It’s actually kind of hilarious in parts. But it’s not at all what we expected from the makers of the original. (2)

Moving from the comedy side of things, we can’t leave out The Bossy Boots, a French/British comedy that pokes fun at male chauvinism and traditional gender roles. (3)

Moving on, let’s take a trip back in time to feudal Japan in Joanna Chisholm’s darkly comic thriller The Farce. Starring Rinko Kikuchi and Ryota Matsumoto, two luminaries from Studio Ghibli, this anime-inspired adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1929 novella is stuffed to bursting with memorable and colorful imagery. It’s a visual feast that will keep you guessing as to what is real and what is not. (4)

There are just five official nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, and each one of them has netted a Best Picture nomination. (5)