The 2016 List

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1. Room – A beautiful masterpiece of acting and storytelling.

2. Sing Street – A sublime hymn to being young.

3. Mustang – A sublime hymn to being young, female and majestically untameable.

4. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople – A brilliantly funny and moving slice of Kiwi.

5. Swiss Army Man – Daniel Radcliffe is so much more than a farting corpse and the movie is so much more than just the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie.

6. Rogue One – A wonderful journey back to where I first fell in love with cinema (and a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher).

7. Arrival – Higher intelligence is both what this movie is about and what’s behind it.

8. Captain America: Civil War – A superhero movie that refreshingly concentrates on character and storytelling rather than spectacle.

9. Love & Friendship – Possibly the best Austen adaptation ever.

10. The Neon Demon – Beautiful on the surface, really dark underneath.

11. 10 Cloverfield Lane – A gripping kidnap drama with a bonkers alien invasion sequence at the end.

12. Kubo and the Two Strings – A stop motion work of art.

13. Nocturnal Animals – Twisted and upsetting but in a good way.

14. Passengers – Big spaceship, big romance, big secret, big recommendation.

15. Eye in the Sky – A totally gripping modern war film (and a fitting tribute to Alan Rickman).

16. Eddie the Eagle – So cheesy, so cliched, so endearing.

17. Tale of Tales – A grizzly compelling fairytale. 

18. Suburra – A grizzly compelling crime drama. 

19. Spotlight – The right way to tell this shocking story. 

20. Youth – Michael Caine tries to help Harvey Keitel get some perspective on his life and put those Direct Line Insurance ads behind him.

21. Son of Saul – A horrible as a film about holocaust should be.

22. High Rise – Ben Wheatley, J. G. Ballard and Tom Hiddleston come together in much the way you would hope.

23. Under the Shadow – An Iranian woman struggles to deal with both sexism and satanic forces in the same day. 

24. Zootropolis – A brilliant film about the dangers of racial stereotyping and Trump’s America told with cute talking animals.

25. Green Room – A surprising violent Patrick Stewart in a surprisingly violent film about surprisingly violent Neo-Nazis.

26. The BFG – Disney, Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl come together in much the way you would hope.

27. Moana – Disney, Polynesian legends and feminism come together in much the way you would hope.

28. Doctor Strange – Surprisingly generic for a Marvel film but a lot of fun.

29. Born to Be Blue – Ethan Hawke excels in this made up biopic of Chet Baker. 

30. Victoria – Tells the story of one single woman’s incredible night in one single incredible 134 minute shot.

31. The Witch – Disturbing and creepy rather than scary but oh so disturbing and creepy.

32. The Brand New Testament – A really weird but charming Belgian film about God, his rebellious daughter and a woman who falls in love with a gorilla.

33. A Bigger Splash – An acting masterclass from Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes making up for the presence of Dakota Johnson and the absence of Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.

34. Hell or High Water – A classy film about two brothers who steal from the banks that stole from them.

35. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J.K Rowling proves that her wizarding world is bigger than Harry Potter but can it pull a magic trick with Johnny Depp’s career?

36. Our Little Sister – Moving Japanese film about sibling ties.

37. The Shallows – Blake Lively fights a shark in a surprisingly thrilling way. 

38. Morgan – Slightly predictable modern Frankenstein story but well made and entertaining.

39. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson – 33% exciting, 33% exaggeration, 33% extra padding.

40. Chi-Raq – Cannot decide if it is a drama, a musical, a sex comedy or a farce but has some fun trying to find out.

41. Ghostbusters – Obviously not a touch on the original but a lot of fun. Don’t be afraid of it.

42. Maggie’s Plan – The best New York relationships comedy Woody Allen never made.

43. Hitchcock/Truffaut – They met, they talked about films, it was interesting.

44. Midnight Special – Tomorrowland for grown ups.

45. The Assassin – Dazzling but just too slow. 

46. The Wailing – Aims to make you scream and laugh, shouldn’t have tried both.

47. Adult Life Skills – Charming little Britcom about having to be a grown up.

48. Deadpool – A lot of fun but doesn’t Kick Ass as much as it thinks it does.

49. Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words – A talented, beautiful and complicated woman it seems.

50. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Initially quite creepy version of the X-Men with kids. 

51. Magnus – An interesting documentary that tracks a kid as he gets better at chess and worse at people.

52. The Magnificent Seven – Westerns are fun but this has been done already, six times.

53. Now You See Me 2 – Stupid but still a little magic.

54. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – It tries too hard but fun for fans of the Adam West TV show.

55. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Conventional action film that consciously tries to get it right with the gender politics.

56. Cafe Society – I’ve forgiven Kristen Stewart for Twilight but I’ve not forgiven Jesse Eisenberg for Batman V Superman. 

57. The Danish Girl – Can’t quite find the balance between wanting to tell the story of the real life couple and wanting to win awards.

58. The Revenant – Just exhausting, I set out to watch it a second time and realised I couldn’t face it again.

59. Joy – Totally held together by Jennifer Lawrence.  

60. The Hateful Eight – Great when it’s talky, boring when it’s bloody.

61. The Nice Guys – The guys weren’t nice enough but the girl was great.

62. Triple 9 – Most of the people involved were too good for this derivative thriller.

63. Jane Got a Gun – In trying to make a standard Western ending up just making a standard Western.

64. The Conjuring 2 – Boo! Not scared? Okay. Boo! Got you that time.

65. Trumbo – Not bad for a TV movie.

66. Creed – A Rocky for a new generation but my generation’s already got a Rocky thanks.

67. Hail Caesar! – Superb set pieces weakly linked together.

68. Finding Dory – Lost the plot.

69. Suicide Squad – Fun but total rubbish.

70. Star Trek Beyond – Lacked the sophistication of the best episodes and films.

71. Everybody Wants Some!! – Deliberately chauvinist but still chauvinist.

72. Kids in Love – If you want to see kids in love watch Sing Street.

73. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Not the best Austen adaptation ever but enjoyable trash. 

74. Jason Bourne – Trite and predictable in a way Jason Bourne would never have allowed before he got his memory back. 

75. Pete’s Dragon – Sweet but inconsequential. 

76. The Jungle Book – Plenty of jungle, not enough book.

77. Goosebumps – They found something else for Jack Black to do.

78. Florence Foster Jenkins – Perfect for a Sunday teatime in 1979.

79. Bad Moms – Parenting problems I could identify with.

80. How To Be Single – Twenty something dating problems I couldn’t identify with.

81. Alice Through the Looking Glass – Good to see Alice back, less so Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter.

82. X-Men: Apocalypse – X-Men: Apologies.

83. Men and Chicken – Don’t try this at home.

84. Trolls – Okay, okay, I give in, I’m smiling!

85. Warcraft – Plenty of war, not enough craft.

86. Independence Day: Resurgence – The aliens should have stayed away.

87. Dad’s Army – Great casting, unsurprising script.

88. Mechanic Resurrection – The film broke down 20 minutes in and Statham couldn’t fix it.

89. The Secret Life of Pets – A secret best left untold.

90. The Big Short – Unacceptably sexist.

91. Anomalisa – It is not fun spending time with these puppets.

92. Departure – Less of an emotional roller coaster, more of an emotional mine shaft.

93. Kung Fu Panda 3 – Why would you want to watch this when Disney are on such good form?

94. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman? How the hell did they mess this up?

95. Elstree 1976 – Just because we are getting extra Star Wars we don’t need a film about the Star Wars extras.

96. The Greasy Strangler – Leaves a very greasy taste in the mouth.

97. Sausage Party – Just nasty.

98. Zoolander 2 – Benedict Cumberbatch, what were you thinking?

99. The Boss – Inexcusably, painfully unfunny.

 

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