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The Best Films of 2015

10. Ex Machina: Screenwriter Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with this erratic yet sporadically engrossing sci-fi thriller, with the movie's consistently watchable atmosphere heightened by Oscar Isaac's top-notch performance.

9: The Gift: Another directorial debut, The Gift firmly establishes Joel Edgerton as not only a fantastic actor but also a thoroughly promising filmmaker. (Felony, which Edgerton wrote, appeared on last year's Best Of list.)

8. Remember: Atom Egoyan steps out of his rut with this unapologetically pulpy thriller, with Christopher Plummer's superb work heightened by a script that grows increasingly compelling (and twisty) as time progresses.

7. Youth: This stylish, dazzling drama contains a raft of stellar performances and firmly establishes Paolo Sorrentino as one of the most impressive filmmakers currently working.

6. It Follows: David Robert Mitchell delivers one of the best horror films of the new century with It Follows, as the movie boasts a creepy atmosphere that's perpetuated by superb visuals and a star-making lead performance by Maika Monroe.

5. Room: A stellar adaptation of a stellar book, Room is undoubtedly the most wrenching and hard-to-watch drama to see release in 2014.

4. The Hateful Eight: Though predictably overlong, The Hateful Eight nevertheless marks yet another stirring (and often electrifying) effort from flawless filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.

3. The Little Death: Little seen (sadly), The Little Death is an often hilarious comedy that touches on a wide variety of unusual sexual peccadilloes - with the movie benefiting substantially from a final stretch that packs one hell of an emotional punch.

2. Slow West: Armed with a typically fantastic Michael Fassbender performance, Slow West comes off as a deliberately-paced yet often engrossing western that heralds the arrival of an exciting new filmmaker in John Maclean.

1. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens: The Star Wars franchise roars back to life with this consistently enthralling entry that boasts several compelling new characters and a surfeit of thrilling action sequences. Bring on Episode VIII.

The Worst Films of 2015

10. Sicario: With Sicario, Denis Villeneuve finally stumbles after an impressive run of stellar films - as the movie suffers from an often incoherent storyline that's compounded by an absence of sympathetic characters.

9. Focus: Filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa break their impressive streak with this ill-conceived caper that's saddled with an excessively familiar narrative and a laughable coupling between stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

8. Furious Seven: Furious Seven's complete failure is especially disappointing given the presence of James Wan behind the camera, with the movie's farewell to Paul Walker virtually the only thing within the overlong, overblown actioner that works.

7. Avengers: Age of Ultron: It's not surprising that Avengers: Age of Ultron is terrible; Marvel's track record is almost absurdly poor, while director Joss Whedon, once a promising filmmaker, doubles down on the terrible action and general bloat that defined his first Avengers outing.

6. '71: Despite its seemingly intriguing subject matter, '71 devolves into just another bland thriller that's rife with incoherent action and a one-dimensional hero.

5. Blackhat: Michael Mann sinks deeper into irrelevance with this nigh unwatchable thriller that suffers from a lack of compelling characters and an incoherent, repetitive storyline.

4. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence): What started out as a promising horror series concludes with an entry that's devoid of real scares and contains one of the most annoying performances to come around in ages.

3. Aloha: Cameron Crowe hits rock bottom with this almost insanely misguided effort that squanders a talented cast, with the total lack of chemistry between leads Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of Aloha's many problems.

2. The Gunman: Sean Penn's efforts to transform himself into the next Liam Neeson fall entirely flat with this leaden and uncommonly dull actioner.

1. The Riot Club: Filmmaker Lone Scherfig delivers an absolutely disastrous drama that is, essentially, a portrait of douchebags behaving like douchebags, and it's difficult to understand what she and the talented cast saw in the thoroughly (and consistently) repellent material.

© David Nusair