We are kicking off our end of year coverage with my Top Ten of the year. You’ve also got the worst and most disappointing films of 2016, the films I am most anticipating in 2017, and an end of year awards I’m calling The Shuggies.
This was a really tricky list to make, because whilst most of the blockbusters have been pretty forgettable there have been plenty of great films out there. Now I haven’t seen everything that’s come out this year. I also want to say that this isn’t a list based on what I thought was the best films, you can check my scores if you want that, just my favourites. So enjoy my Top Ten films of 2016.
10) The Girl With All The Gifts – I thought that this small British zombie horror film was such a brilliant and thoughtful addition to the genre. Sennia Nanua gives such a brilliant a mature performance for someone so young. I loved the direction the film goes at the end. To me comparisons can be drawn with a work like the video game The Last of Us. It’s less focused on scares and action than it is on a more interesting and character driven story. It was tense and powerful, and sadly not seen by enough people. Review.
9) The Edge of Seventeen – Who thought it was capable in this day and age to really recapture the spirit of all the old school John Hughes films. I’m a huge fan of those old films, and actually found myself talking to several people about how I wished that films such as this were still being made. And then here it came, nearly out of the blue, a great classic teen comedy. Hailee Steinfeld is an absolute star in the making, and this is a career-defining role. I hope it finds even more success so The we can continue to get such great and coming of age comedy dramas. Review.
8) Your Name – If Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are really done making theatrical animated films, then it’s extremely reassuring to know that there are still people in the Japanese anime film industry that are able to create such beautiful and fantastical anime films. I laughed, I cried, and I had such fun with a brilliant and inventive new take on the body shop genre. The only issue with the film was that it didn’t get a wider release and so not enough people had the chance to go and see it. And that’s a real shame because it is absolutely brilliant. Review.
7) Deadpool – The clear stand out from the six big superhero films this year. Deadpool completely broke the mold. It was hilarious, small scale, and somehow succeeded in bringing such a beloved comic book character to the screen (after X:Men Origins failed spectacularly). There was such huge expectations on the film because of the great marketing that was done on the film. But with Ryan Reynolds as the lead they had the perfect actor to play the character, and managed to follow up such a genius marketing campaign with a truly great and original film. Review.
6) Manchester By The Sea – I think Manchester By The Sea is an absolute masterpiece. It’s such a raw and emotional piece of film. Everything about it works brilliantly for me. I still don’t think that I’ve seen a better acting performance this year than Casey Affleck. There haven’t been many films this year that have been as heartbreaking as Manchester By the Sea. It proves that films don’t have to be about huge events, you can make a small-scale film about a family tragedy, and still create something great. Review.
5) Hunt For The Wilderpeople – Taika Waititi is making some of the funniest films going right now. I don’t think I’ve laughed at anything as hard as I did at Hunt For The Wilderpeople. Youngster Julian Dennison is a revelation, absolutely hilarious and has great comic chemistry with Sam Neill. Sure the film is completely ridiculous, but that just adds to its charm. Completely off best comedy, it completely plays into my personal tastes for comedy, and that’s a huge part of why I love it. Waititi’s work here makes me so excited to see what he does next, bring in Thor Ragnarok. Review.
4) Kubo and the Two Strings – I’m a huge fan of animation, and just about edging out on top for the genre is Laika’s stop motion masterpiece Kubo and the Two Strings. I love the world they created, the great characters, and the touching story about family. It may. It may have been a little too dark for the youngest viewers, but for those willing to invest in it, you would certainly not have been disappointed. I hope we get more animated films like this, that exist in the space between being for children and being for adult, because it can create magical experiences like this. Review.
3) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Lets be honest if this was a list of the best films this year, then Rogue One probably wouldn’t be in the top 3, but as it’s my favourite films then I have to include it pretty highly on my end of year list. As a huge Star Wars fan I’m definitely the target audience for the film. There are some great new characters, brilliant action, and some classic favourites returning. It may. It may have been far from a perfect Star Wars film, but it was so much fun to watch, and has added so many iconic moments to the Star Wars canon. Review.
2) Sing Street – Sing Street is pure musical joy. I think that it is one of the most underseen gems this year. It has great music, brilliant performances, and a heartwarming story. John Carney captured beautifully what it’s like be in a band during your time at school. It encapsulates brotherly love, friendship, and young hope and dreams. There are some great young actors who could have great careers based on what we’ve seen here. Finally the music is a perfect representation of some 80s pop. You can see the influence of bands like the Cure or Duran Duran. I would love to see Drive It Like You Stole It up for award consideration, make it happen Oscars. Review.
1) Arrival – There was a lot of hype surrounding Arrival coming off the festivals, and it can be hard for films to live up to those expectations. But for me Arrival did that and more. I thought the story was brilliant; it completely worked for me, and is one of the few films that genuinely shocked me. I thought the way that director Villeneuve unraveled the film was masterful, and has really marked him down as one of the best up and coming directors around. Whilst I don’t think this was Amy Adams’ best performance of the year, she was still a great lead. I love brilliant and thought provoking science fiction, and I thought this was a great example. Arrival is still a film that stayed with me, unquestionably my favourite film of the year. Review.
That my favourite films of the year. I would love to hear about your thoughts on the films on my list and what your favourite films of the year were. Let me know in the comments.