Well we are now into September and that means that summer movie season is now over. So instead of the usual Top 5 with a guest instead have two Top 5s by me this week. The first picking my favourite films of this summer and the second looking forward to what films I am most anticipating during the rest of 2016. For the first list I will be picked my favourite films that were released between May and August in the UK. These are going to be the films that I enjoyed the most or that have really stayed with me, so my scores don’t count for anything. In the second list I am clearly looking forward to films like Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts, and Dr Strange but I’m going to be picking some of the smaller films that are being released by the end of 2016. And these are UK release dates so films like La La Land and Manchester By The Sea that are being released in January in Britain won’t be on the list. So without any more to clear up lets get on with this week’s two Top 5s.
Top 5 2016 Summer Films
Number 5: The Neon Demon – As I said in my review, there are issues with the Neon Demon narrative and character wise, but I don’t think that’s really the point. What this film did do was stay with me. It is weird, shocking, and brilliantly original. It also has two fantastic performances from Elle Fanning and Jena Malone. If you can take Nicolas Winding Refn’s style over substance brand of film making, then The Neon Demon is certainly one that must be watched.
Number 4: Star Trek Beyond – I’m not the biggest Star Trek fan in the world; I’ve only ever seen 4 of the films. But I really enjoyed Star Trek Beyond. New directory Justin Lin and writer Simon Pegg managed to bring so great character dynamics and visual style to the franchise. It was the one franchise film this summer that didn’t leave me feeling completely underwhelmed or failed to live up to its previous film. It had a good story, with a compelling villain, and it was also when Chris Pine really stepped up his game as Captain Kirk.
Number 3: Pete’s Dragon – Wow was Pete’s Dragon a surprise. After a very disappointing summer a remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon managed to poke it’s head up as my favourite big budget film of the summer. It was a genuinely sweet and touching film, with some wonderful performances. I was disappointed that this didn’t resonate with children in the same way that The Jungle Book or Finding Dory did, but then not everything Disney puts out can make over $500 million.
Number 2: The Nice Guys – A film that just not enough people saw. Shane Black again delivered a brilliant buddy crime film. The film is lead by two wonderful performances from Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Their chemistry is so obvious on screen and lifts Shane Black’s signature style to another level. This was a fun, engaging, film with Black’s witty and cleaver script. It all combined to make one of the best cinema experiences of the summer, and one that you should definitely look out if you haven’t already seen it.
Number 1: Sing Street – It’s my favourite film of the year, and it was the perfect movie for summer. It leaves you with a joyous feeling and you just can’t help but smile coming out of it. Released in May, Sing Street just caught the start of summer as far as I am concerned. A small scale Irish musical about a boy who starts a band to impress a girl this film is fun, touching, and beautiful. Sing Street is one of the best films of the year, let alone the summer, and I wish that more people had seen it, or even heard of it.
Top 5 Most Anticipated in 2016
Number 5: Arrival – Up until recently the Sci-Fi film that I’ve been most looking forward to is Passengers, but given that it’s not coming out until December we haven’t seen any footage yet. Then a couple of weeks ago the trailer for Arrival, which hadn’t really been on my radar up until then, and I was blown away. Being directed by Dennis Villeneuve following last year’s brilliant Sicario I know that he is someone who is able to bring tension to a film and makes intelligent films, rather than ones that spoon feed the audience everything, perfect for the look of this Sci-Fi film.
Number 4: Swiss Army Man – I really don’t know what to make of this film. It’s popularly being called the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie. It’s clearly something new and original, and that always excites me, as does slightly weirder comedies. So I’m hoping for great things from Swiss Army Man. From what I’ve heard this is a film that has completely divided people, and I really hope that I will fall in the ‘love it’ category.
Number 3: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – I really didn’t expect a Tim Burton film to be this high on films that I’m looking forward to this year, especially given his recent track record. But the trailers have really sold me on the film. They have that classic Tim Burton dark weirdness, and this looks like it might have the heart of Burton’s classic works like Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice. With Eva Green and Asa Butterfield, who I think is one of the best young actors around at the moment, on board this film looks like everything could be in place for Burton to make a comeback.
Number 2: Kubo And The Two Strings – I first saw a trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings back when I say Zootopia, and I was blown away. I’ve really liked some of Laika’s films so far, Coraline and The Box Trolls. I love what they are doing with stop motion animation, making films that are weird and dark, but with heart to it as well. Kubo and the Two Strings looks like it’s going to take that to the next level, with a bigger and more epic fantasy story, brilliant humour, a wonderfully talented voice cast, and what had the potential to be an incredibly moving and emotional story. It would be higher on this list, but it’s so close to coming out.
Number 1: Hunt For The Wilderpeople – If you saw What We Do In The Shadows then you will know that Taika Waititi is one of the best comic filmmakers around right now. His brand of weird, offbeat comedic sensibility is exactly my favourite brand of comedy, and comedy is hugely subjective. When you also look at the fact that Waititi has been made the director of Thor Ragnarok on the back of this then you have to be filled with confidence that the film has turned out well. From what we saw in the trailers then the dynamic between Julian Dennison’s young kid and Sam Neil’s grouchy uncle looks great. I can’t wait, and I’m hoping that Waititi can once again deliver the funniest film of the year.
So that’s my round up of this summer of films, and my look forward to what is still to come in 2016. I’d love to what your favourite films of the summer were and what you are looking forward to in the rest of 2016, so let me know in the comments.