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The 10 Best Movies of 2015 You Don’t Want to Miss

The 10 Best Movies of 2015 You Don’t Want to Miss

2015 was another impressive year for movies. Some of the best movies are being nominated, and the lines at the cinemas to watch these movies are getting longer and longer by the day. However, not just Hollywood blockbusters caught our eye this year. There were also many underrated hidden gems,and foreign movies that proved that the art of filmmaking is still alive.

The below list features a few brilliant films that came out in 2015. While more recently released films get all the Oscar buzz, there are definitely a few movies worth watching from earlier in the year.

1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

A high school senior, Greg (Thomas Mann), is forced by his mother to befriend his classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has fallen gravely ill. They surprise themselves by becoming the best of friends. This encounter forever changes Greg’s life. The movie shows the true ways someone deals with cancer and how the people around them react. I swear, the realism in this movie is high.This is an excellent indie film with a hint of humor. It is one of those great feel-good films. However, the way the story was done would definitely leave you thinking about this movie for a very long time. It has a brilliant screenplay, brilliant direction, and a  brilliant cast. What can I say? It was a brilliant film altogether.

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2. Mad Max: Fury Road 

Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth Mad Max movie directed by George Miller proves to us this action-packed series can get better and better. This post-apocalyptic movie follows a woman saving a group of female prisoners, with a drifter named Max from an oppressive leader, while being chased by the leader’s psychotic followers. This is one of those movies with very few words said, but at the same time, it speaks so much to the audience. It will definitely leave you with something. Aren’t those the best type of movies? It’s rare to leave the cinema, and still think deeply about the movie and how it greatly affects you. The one thing I HAVE to mention would be the cinematography. It was beyond brilliant. Truly a masterpiece. Everything about this movie was perfect!

3. The Tribe

This Ukrainian film is about a boy who is sent to a boarding school for the deaf and later joins a group of rebels. This is an incredible and underrated movie. This movie has no dialogue, and no subtitles – nothing. However, that’s not going to stop a great movie. As the movie has a high level of sign language (but no subtitles), the audience must rely heavily on the characters’ facial expressions and the music. Please, don’t be put off by this because it’s still a very good film with an easy flow. This film is beyond extraordinary.

4. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Here’s another great action movie by director Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: Days of Future Past) based on another great comic book. Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a boy who lost his father at a very young age protecting his country, now lives a life of crime. Early in the story, this young man gets recruited by an ultra-secret spy organisation – the same organisation his father was involved in. Meanwhile, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson as the villain) has an evil plan to solve climate change by going on an international killing spree. This stylish spy movie is a definite must-watch because it’s a new take on the Bond films. The franchise collaborated with Mr Porter, so everything worn in the movie (and more) is being sold. The finest menswear designers, such as George Cleverly, Swaine Adeney Brigg, Drake’s, and more, designed everything worn in the movie. Vaughn has a different way of looking at violence and shows it in its true form, where it is still bearable to watch. Kingsman is a great movie with an amazing cast. It has a fun take on spy movies with a hint of humor and a dash of style. Vaughn definitely does not disappoint here.

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5. Macbeth 

This adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is one of the great cinematic adaptation yet. Michael Fassbender was truly excellent in this movie. He has truly proven that he can take on any role and it seemed like this role was made for him. The reason this movie is beyond amazing is the way the story was adapted. It was moving, it was emotionally complex, and it had everything you could want from a drama. The movie was so powerful. It is everything you would expect it to be and more. It was one of those movies where you know it is a masterpiece.

6. Mommy 

This French-language film comes to us from Canadian director Xavier Dolan. The story follows a widowed mother supporting her violent child. She also gets help from a new neighbor. This movie was so moving, and so heart-warming. It is one of the best foreign feel-good movies out there. Dolan has proven that he is a rising director. Mommy truly proved how brilliant his filmmaking methods are. This underrated movie is a spectacular must-watch. It has all the ups and downs it needs, and will leave a mark on you. You will feel every emotion you can feel. Mommy was a beautiful work of art that left me awfully fulfilled.

7. The Stanford Prison Experiment 

Based on a true experiment conducted by Dr Philip Zimbardo in 1971, this movie tells the story of twenty-four male students randomly selected to play as prisoners and guards in a ‘prison’ as part of a psychological experiment. This movie was truly mind-blowing. You will realize things you never once realized before. I mean, you knew people did it, but maybe you never really thought about it. The one thing that struck me was the fact that the prisoners never questioned the guards’ authority. They fought back at times, but that was it. These people were all randomly selected with no qualification. You can see that these guards tortured the prisoners and it was greatly difficult to fight back. This is one of those movies that will affect an audience forever, because this really happened and it shows what the human mind is capable of.

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8. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a movie based on the hit TV series from the 60’s about the United States and the Soviet Union having to team up to take down a mysterious criminal organization. Classic characters from the TV series are still here, like CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Both actors, as well as Swedish rising star Alicia Vikander (also appearing in 2015 award nominated features Ex Machina and The Danish Girl) who plays Gabi, acted brilliantly. We knew the director would have to be a great one to produce a fine film such as this, so it’s no shock Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes and Snatch) did a brilliant job here. This is a movie that will fully grab your attention from the start to the end. It was not a disappointment in any way. The film also had beautiful cinematography, colors, and style. Actually, eveverything was on point.

9. The Martian 

Ridley Scott is back to direct another great science fiction movie, and this time it’s The Martian. Based on a book by Andy Weir, this story stars astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who is stuck on Mars and struggles to survive. The movie was visually stunning and brilliantly acted. As science fiction films have been on a rise recently, this movie was slightly different as it had a lot of humor. The way the movie was produced made you feel like everything was real. This is one of those stories where you’re just hoping for a happily ever after ending, but it also plays with your emotions throughout. Everything about this movie was great, from the directing, the visual effects, the script, to the cast. Everything combined to make this movie a perfect one. It will leave you at the edge of your seat.

10. It Follows 

This movie is about a curse passed on through sexual intercourse. The cursed are the only ones to see a stranger (or even a person who looks like someone they know) following them. It will kill them if it can get to the current victim of the curse. I definitely understand just by that synopsis, you might think this would be a horrible movie, made as a joke; however, I promise you, it is a fantastic horror film. It also has a low amount of jump-scares, nudity, and vulgar language for the horror genre. Being in a generation with very few good horror films, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

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Featured photo credit: Sam Howzit via flickr.com

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NOORMARINA ANWAR

Student, Monash University

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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