2016 is winding down to its final days, it has been an interesting year for films, but there was some good out there among the disappointing titles. So, let’s not waste time let’s get into my favorite films of 2016.
10 .“Sing Street”
Normally teenage coming-of-age films do not catch my eye. But after hearing such positive praise for this movie it naturally peaked my curiosity. I wanted to catch it in theaters but given its limited release I didn’t get to in time. Then one day, shuffling through Netflix I gave it a shot and I was blown away by how entertaining it turned out to be.
This is normally not my type of film but the performances, script, and use of time-period music made this movie a great time to watch. The film knew exactly what it wanted to be, knew what its message was, and did not try to force it. It didn’t rely on melodramatics and cheesy dialogue, it focused on strong performances from the cast, a well-structured script, and in the end, was a shockingly entertaining film that delivered a fresh, uplifting story.
9. “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”
Michael Bay may have delivered his finest directorial effort in this film. Gone was the product placement, and sexually objective imagery. In their place, was a compelling retelling of this tragic day, and great cast performances all around. This film showed that when Bay takes the material seriously, doesn’t try to leave his trademarks all over the movie, doesn’t feel the need to glamorize the subject matter, that he can craft a great movie.
“13 Hours” was a riveting film that recreates the events of this day with harsh realism and it was surprisingly engaging and effective in its story telling. There were so many tense situations depicted in this film that the last hour of it will wear you out, and it was a great movie overall.
8. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
There was a lot of curiosity and anticipation around this project as it was the first anthology film under the Disney umbrella. “The Force Awakens” played it safe, told a story that virtually mirrored “A New Hope” and added tons of fan-service. “Rogue One” was the wildcard film to me, to see what efforts Disney would take to keep the feel of the film as close to the original tone and feel of the others.
I thought “Rogue One” was a success, the characters were on the weaker side but the overall package this movie delivered was excellent. The action-sequences were fantastic, the overall story was a little routine in segments, but as a whole, I think it was successfully able to fill in a major gap in the overall story leading up to “A New Hope”.
7. “The Nice Guys”
Despite this movie being considered a box-office failure, this was a great film that exposed a problem in movies these days. We all complain about sequels, reboots, remakes, adaptations, but simply said, those are what people see. This film had a mere $50 million-dollar budget, told a fresh, quirky crime story, delivered tons of laughs, and some great performances from Crowe and Gosling, and it could only just pass $36 million in estimated box-office return.
Which means this was a fantastic film most people never bothered to watch. In think it was one of the best subtle comedies of the year and both Crowe and Gosling shine in their roles and create some hysterical chemistry. The humor was witty, clever, and with a wildly adventurous story-line, this movie was a breath of fresh air in a summer filled with sequels and reboots.
Van Wilder meets the comics as Ryan Reynolds blew the world away as “Deadpool”. This was not the first R-rated comic-book movie but it was the first R-rated comic-book raunch-com with Reynolds thriving in the role. The film pushed the limits in many ways, was a riot from start to finish, and entertained us all.
Under the crude humor was a generic origins story, but the meta-humor and constant breaking of the fourth-wall make this a completely engaging film that broke the mold of comic-book films. This movie delivered so much with a smaller budget, and I can’t wait to see what the sequel will deliver, now that they can’t take us by surprise once again.
Not often does a film build expectations and mange to deliver on them but “Arrival” absolutely did. Denis Villeneuve crafted a sleek, realistic alien encounter film and made the most out of the script. This was an intelligent science-fiction film that relied on the story and performances to build audience intrigue, and it was a complete success.
The story-line was not laced with special-effects and alien battles, it was a grounded plot that was extremely thought provoking. This movie will leave you thinking after and you must appreciate the ambition and creativity this film shows on many levels.
4. “Captain America: Civil War”
Labeled by many as “The Avengers 2.5” this film built up tons of expectations, and in my opinion met them all. The story-line was immersive, it weaves both sides to this war between heroes effectively, and also managed to open the door to future characters. The airport scene was in my opinion the best comic-book battle we have witnessed onscreen and it was the climactic battle “BvS” failed to deliver.
The film also introduced Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther, and Tom Holland as Spider-man, who to some was the brightest aspect of this movie. Overall though “Civil War” was all I hoped it would be, it blended all these characters together perfectly, and was one of the best films we have seen from the MCU.
3. “Nocturnal Animals”
Other than “Sing Street” this was another film the really surprised me. “Nocturnal Animals” on the outside looks like a simple crime mystery which was what I expected going into this one. But after it was over, I wanted to watch it again, the story was well structured, delivers information in the story-line at the perfect time to build intrigue and boasts some excellent performances from the entire cast.
When I reviewed this film, I forgot to mention the performance of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, which was awesome. He was perfect for the creepy drifter that you couldn’t trust. His performance as well as that of Michael Shannon provided this film with a couple side-characters who were as impactful on this film as Gyllenhaal and Adams were. Overall “Nocturnal Animals” was a film that perfectly blended art with cinema, and if you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it.
2. “Hacksaw Ridge”
This movie really peaked my curiosity. I was curious how Mel Gibson would direct this film, I wondered how Andrew Garfield would perform in the lead, and this film in the end this one blew me away. Gibson did not hold back on depicting the harsh realities of war, Garfield poured himself in to the role of army medic Desmond Doss, and the result was captivating cinema.
Gibson crafted an immersive film that pulls you into the battles, lets you get to know who Doss was, and why he believed in what he did, and never did anything ever feel over glamorized. This was an amazing man, who lived through an amazing story, and the film that depicted the events, was a fantastic one.
1. “Hell or High Water”.
“Hell or High Water” was an awesome movie, and like “The Nice Guys” a film not enough people saw. This was a slow burning crime-drama the built tension perfectly and weaves a story filled with intriguing characters and desolate settings, that just pulled me in.
This was easily the best performance of Chris Pine’s career. Ben Foster was subtly amazing, and what can you say about Jeff Bridges, he was excellent and perfect for the role. The character dynamics in this film are perfectly built and deliver the needed impact to make this a memorable film, and my favorite of 2016.