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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 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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