Fire And Blood: Matt Donato’s Top 10 Movies Of 2015


10) Paddington


My opinions have never been terribly popular, but as far as 2015 is concerned, my most controversial statement is most likely the following: Paddington > Shaun The Sheep > Inside Out. Pixar is Pixar, and they released two more-than-stellar tales in 2015 (Inside Out/The Good Dinosaur), but neither reach the fuzzy warmness of Paul King’s up-ROAR-ious family comedy. Honestly, this isn’t a joke, and furthermore, it’s a testament to those January releases who shouldn’t be forgotten. Marmalade sandwiches, anyone?

The film wins viewers over with a loveable blend of animation/live action, but Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) functions on a robustly personable level that helps us forget his fabricated pixelation. There’s a core story about finding acceptance in family, a more adventurous side-arc that puts Paddington in immediate danger, and fantastic throwbacks to films such as Mission Impossible – all featuring that wry British wit. King never dumbs down the source material for younger minds, and treats all audiences with the same level of intelligence.

Paddington is a movie that respects its audience, never shying away from a mix that’s both deathly dark and exuberantly light. It teaches lessons, warms the heart and properly adapts a storied childhood property with sentimental heart.

9) Kingsman: The Secret Service

What I love about Kingsman: The Secret Service is that, frankly, it doesn’t give a f$ck about what you think. Honestly. Matthew Vaughn’s direction is some punk-rock shit where mainstream cinema is concerned, as goofiness and brutality construct an anti-Bond thriller that kicks way more butt, just like how Kick-Ass elevated the superhero genre. The cast rocks up and down, from Taron Egerton’s coming out party to Colin Firth’s regal badassery, as Vaughn’s espionage insanity plays out like a comic book adaptation should – guns blazing.

It’s hard to talk about 2015’s most memorable cinematic scenes without mentioning Firth’s rambunctious church massacre, set to the chaotic rifface of Lynyrd Skynyrd. That scene (which you can watch above), in all its hyper-choreographed, bloody beauty, captures the free-wheeling abandon of Vaughn’s vision, but the smaller details help make a bigger picture.


From Samuel. L. Jackson’s lisp to Sofia Boutella deadly metal legs, from purple explosions to panda paintings, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a super-cool spy piece that’s wildly refined, yet gleefully inappropriate. It’s a juxtaposition of generations that doesn’t quite gel, which only fuels the fires of comic-y action mayhem.

Another early-year watch, another absolute winner. Maybe 2015 was all about the winter releases?

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