Another year has now fallen into the great Sarlac pit of time, leaving only one question: who ate my last Reeces Cup? I was saving it for later you cruel bastards, but I digress. Time to get analytical with something completely arbitrary and that is entirely of my own opinion. Just remember, to qualify for this list I would have to have seen it in a theatre within this year. Unfortunately The Revenant does not qualify for it was released semi-wide in 2015 but not wide enough for my city till 2016 so its in a limbo sort of state.
First up, my honorable mentions (in no particular order):
Star Trek Beyond
Captain America: Civil War
The Jungle Book
Films I missed or isn’t yet playing in my area:
Hell or High Water
Manchester By the Sea
Live By Night
Magic Mike XXL (special midnight showing)
Dr Cagliari (1989)
WORST of 2016
1. Phantasm Ravager
A travesty. A film that made me scream “f*ck you movie!” when the credits started rolling.
Insultingly bad. Almost every decision is wrong and as such the audience suffers the most.
3. Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice
Clusterf*ck would be the best word to describe it. That and a headache.
4. Suicide Squad
A messy mess of messyness that was messy.
10 Hardcore Henry
So I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that will have this film on a top 10 list, but I, for one, really found this to be a silly, stupid fun time that is right up my alley. I play first person shooter games every single day, so when a FPS movie was being made, I was so in. The film doesn’t take itself seriously and is quite playful with how violent and ridiculous it can get. Pour yourself a drink, pop this baby on at midnight and howl the night away.
9. Kubo and the Two Strings
“If you must blink, do it now.”
Latika studio, much like Studio Ghibli, has always been a studio that whenever a new film comes out, I’m so there. With this offering, not only have their stop-motion animation improved but their storytelling as well. The fact that this film is not as popular as other Disney animated offerings (Moana) is a damn shame, cause it more than improves in so many areas. With attention to detail in almost every frame and shot Kubo is a film not to be missed, unless you don’t like good things.
“Life isn’t some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.”
So forgetting on how I had just bashed Disney lets celebrate Disney! So the end of 2015 had the trailer for this come out, and it was cringy, boring and just looked bad. What the hell is it with the marketing department and Disney films? This was a fantastic story of not only a drug bust but also a social commentary about our society as a whole. WOW from a kids film no less! I saw this in an empty theatre and was blown away at how funny, well made and ballsy every aspect of the film was.
7. 10 Cloverfield Lane
“People are strange creatures. You can’t always convince them that safety is in their best interest.”
Back in 2011, there was a short film uploaded to YouTube about a fresh take on the Portal games and how it could be done. It’s the single best Video Game to film adaptation thus far, and it comes from a small director known as Dan Trachtenburg. So when I heard that he was helming the new Cloverfield film, I was immediately onboard knowing the range and technique that this guy can handle. Did he pull it off? In Spades. 10 Cloverfield Lane not only works as a stand-alone film, but as a deconstruction of the psychology of the human mind when put into confined spaces with assailants who might or might not be who they say. Its definitely a film to talk about with your friends afterward, to see if they had the same feelings about characters if they were good or bad.
6. The VVitch
“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”
So here comes a small indie film that is quite in line with The Shining with its atmosphere and tone in the 1600’s woods of New England. Not only does this have a great cast, writing and story but it also has one of my favorite villains of the past few years with Black Philip. I’ve heard quite a few people I know state that it wasn’t scary, but I think they just miss jump scares and while the Witch never truly becomes a scary film, its more horrific with the events that transpire on the screen. Is there a witch? Is it just their imagination and fear of God or could it possibly be one of them turning against the group. Fantastic stuff.
5. The Invitation
“We have so much to talk about. So much to say tonight.”
So apparently this got a release on Netflix, so automatically there is no reason not to see this movie right now, but I was lucky enough to see this in a theatre, at a midnight showing, knowing little to nothing about it. So that’s the same way you should see it, go in as cold as possible. The film is full of twists and turns leading to a third act that had me losing my composure in a way that no other film was able to do this year. It also helps that the film ends with a final shot that has the most impact that I’ve seen all year, there is no excuse to miss this gem.
4. Green Room
“Tell somebody who gives a shit.”
In preparation for this, I found Blue Ruin, the director Jeremy Saulnier’s previous work and found a slow, perfectly paced yet intense film. Seriously check it out if you haven’t, but then I heard his next film would be about a group of punk rockers being trapped from skinheads who want to kill them. I’m so in. What the film is is a nihilistic, intense, grizzly bleak film that was perfect for the mood I was in. Having seen the film twice, once at a sold out midnight showing which had a fantastic audience, it’s a film that not only takes it time but rewards the viewer with a brutal performance from Patrick Stewart. Bad moon rises.
“Now that’s a proper introduction.”
Some loyal listeners may remember last year my #1 film was Sicario (now a days its probably Mad Max Fury Road) but from Director Dennis Villeneuve (soon to be directing Blade Runner 2049) comes this masterpiece of scifi that is one of those rare films that feels like it should be an art house film. Mainstream production houses like Paramount don’t output this type material anymore and its completely refreshing to see it being made and actually getting a good amount of attention. Performances by Amy Adams and Forrest Whitaker are fantastic and the plot taking its time with pacing and tone gives this one a look that I’m going to be revisiting for years to come.
2. The Handmaiden
“You can even curse at me or steal things from me; but please don’t lie to me. Understand?”
Around ten years ago I stumbled upon a film called “Oldboy” was almost immediately blown away. So when I heard that Park Chan Wook was directing a new film I was sold. The Handmaiden not only blew me away, but was just staggering with its multilayered approach to the story, with language being even a different layer. Not only was this one of the more beautiful films shot, but even includes one of the more graphic sex scenes in recent memory and have it actually be relevant and extremely important to the story as a whole. I don’t know much else to say than, If I had seen it when it was first released, I would have gladly seen it a second time just to see the story from a third point of view.
1. La La Land
“Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know, the one to finally lift you off the ground.”
Does this come as a big shock? For those who have read my review on the film already, I absolutely adore this film. Writer, Director Damien Chazelle has crafted yet another fantastic film that not only revitalizes an almost dead genre, but lifts it up into the stratosphere. The relationship between Gosling and Stone is palatable and just wonderful. With a finale that’s like a gut punch with a steel toe’d boot, its one of those films I have yet to hear any negative reviews, from anyone I know. For my full thoughts, read my review. It’s another day of sun indeed.