Here it is, my not-so-definitive top 10 films of 2016. This is of the films I’ve seen, obviously. I haven’t seen every film.
10. Swiss Army Man
A truly unique film, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s ultimately a story about one man dealing with his demons. Its absurd and ridiculous yet moving and poignant and with two great performances from its leads, Swiss Army Man is one not to miss.
9. The Nice Guys
Shane Black is back to do what he does best and that’s to bring us an incredibly funny, witty and smart buddy action movie. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a surprisingly brilliant double act and the chemistry the two share really makes this film.
8. The Big Short (2016 release in the UK)
This clever and shocking story of the housing market crash of 2007 offers a truly unique and funny way of telling a true and tragic story. While often hilarious, The Big Short doesn’t shy away from emphasising the human impact of the crash and the immoral behaviour of the bankers who caused the issue. Adam McKay directs a strong ensemble cast, who all bring something to the table.
Another true story told in a more conventional way but with more emotional significance than The Big Short, Spotlight tells the story of the Boston journalists who exposed the epidemic of paedophilia in the Catholic Church. It’s a moving and heartbreaking story which is hammered home by a strong cast.
6. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The only straight up comedy in my top 10 and it’s one which might prove divisive if you’re not a fan of musical parodies. If you’re a fan of The Lonely Island however, you’re in luck because Popstar is a hilarious satire of the pop industry and everyone in it with some of the best cameos of the year. The soundtrack is absolute genius.
5. Captain America: Civil War
The best superhero film this year. By a mile. Maybe even the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Maybe one of the best superhero films ever, Civil War is a superhero blockbuster that’s grounded in the characters we’ve grown to know and love since 2008’s Iron Man. Civil War creates a divide both philosophically and literally between our heroes and with high emotional stakes and great character moments, including some great new additions to the MCU, Civil War is the blockbuster of the year.
4. Captain Fantastic
To be honest, this is the point in this list where the films could be in any order.
Captain Fantastic is just that. It’s a stunning film about differing ideologies told from the perspective of a grieving farther played beautifully by Viggo Mortensen. It’s funny, brilliantly clever and incredibly moving.
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The latest film from Taika Waititi is a triumph. What a filmmaker this guy is. He has such a distinct style and he’s genuinely one of the funniest filmmakers around. His vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows was testament to that. But in Wilderpeople he mixes that quirky New Zealand humour with a heartwarming story of a relationship between a foster child and his new ‘uncle’. An absolute gem of a film that’s guaranteed to have you smiling for 2 hours.
2. Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater’s latest is a story about a group of collage baseball players during the first weekend of university. And that’s it. We follow freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) and his new teammates go to parties and try to hit on girls but it’s so much more than that. It’s about the nuances of the group. The social subtexts. The dialogue is brilliant and the cast have fantastic chemistry. Imagine American Pie but with clever writing and genuinely likeable characters.
The cleverest sci-fi of a generation. Arrival is a stunning film. A truly different take on the alien ‘invasion’ genre that’s so clever I think it’s going to be one that only gets better with repeat viewings. Amy Adams is fantastic in what is her career best for me.
Let me know if you agree with my choices in the comments below!
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