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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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