It’s that time of year once again where Cineroom, well, I the Editor-in-Chief (Adam Ray Palmer) discusses my ten favourite films from the past 12 months.
The one clause with this article is, a couple of films’ release dates may run over other years but it is when I have caught them that counts – and it happens to be 2016!
Please leave comments below if you agree, disagree or even to list your top 10 films of the year…
The film that just squeezes into the top ten is Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone. This movie is extremely hard-hitting with excessive violence and gore but it also has so much more to it than that. I have read many reviews stating this film is style over substance but that is not the case. There is great narrative in Brimstone with killer scenes, literally. There are also strong female leads and a great feminism message at its core. Read about Martin’s decisions on Brimstone here in my interview with him.
Read our review of Brimstone here.
NINETH: American Honey
In ninth spot is Andrea Arnold’s teen drama American Honey. Starring first-timer Sasha Lane and movie-veteran at 30 years old Shia LaBeouf, American Honey follows a teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew as they get caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying. This film has already benefited from a handful of BIFA awards and rightly so. Arnold is a delightful filmmaker and ‘AM’ cannot be missed.
Read our review of American Honey here.
The only animation on the list is here in eighth position. Zootropolis (or Zootopia across the pond) is a masterful piece of work. Children will love it; adults will love it and the messaging throughout is extremely powerful – without the kids even realising perhaps. It teaches you that anybody can be anything they want to be if they strive for it. No matter what obstacles are in your way, it is possible to overcome them. In addition, having an intelligent and strong heroine as the star is great for kids to aspire to – no matter the gender. A triumph.
Read our review of Zootropolis here.
SEVENTH: 10 Cloverfield Lane
If you wanted a tense film in 2016, look no further than 10 Cloverfield Lane. It was mysterious, you were constantly on the edge of your seat and you could trust no one in the story. J. J. Abrams knows exactly how to play right on the edge of the thriller/horror genre and keep the audience guessing – Cloverfield Lane is no different. Even though it has had 10 months of films following it, there wasn’t a better thriller for me in 2016.
Read our review of 10 Cloverfield Lane here.
SIXTH: Hunt For The Wilderpeople
In first place of the bottom half, so basically sixth place, we have Hunt For The Wilderpeople. This is a little indie masterpiece. I caught this on a whim at the Phoenix Leicester cinema and it left me touched and entertained. The comedy sequences are hilarious with Julian Dennison and Sam Neill bouncing off each other’s quips perfectly – their chemistry is the key to this film. However, it’s also Taika Waititi’s emotional scenes where the movie blossoms. ‘HFTW’ has everything you need from a film; I guarantee this will be on many peoples’ all-time film favourites list.
Read our review of Hunt for the Wilderpeople here.
FIFTH: Manchester By The Sea
One of the most powerful dramas I watched this year was Manchester By The Sea. It’s not released in the UK until mid-January but I managed to have the viewing pleasure at the London Film Festival. Casey Affleck turns in a career-best performance as Lee Chandler who ‘inherits’ his dead brother’s son to look after. What ensues is a coming-of-age drama, for both characters really. Lee faces his life problems including his ex-wife Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges (the son) has the usual difficulties of being a teen whilst being burdened with a sad loss. Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom as there are brilliant moments of comedy. Kenneth Lonergan delivers nigh-on five-star dramedy that looks set for Oscar nominations.
Read our review of Manchester By The Sea here.
There isn’t a better film in 2016 than Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria if this list was going on filmmaking techniques alone. Victoria is a triumphant piece of cinema as the runtime of two hours and eighteen minutes is one continuous take. What a feat by Schipper and his crew as the narrative itself isn’t easy to manage with one take. There are multiple locations, multiple lighting issues, crucial and emotional scenes; plus, the out-and-out action sequences. Victoria would be the film I would urge everyone to go and buy from this list – it will not disappoint you. One final note, take a bow Laia Costa; a phenomenal performance.
Read our review of Victoria here.
THIRD: Sing Street
In the bronze position is the delightful coming-of-age film Sing Street. John Carney’s follow up to his limp Begin Again is this 1980s-set dramedy that follows a young schoolboy growing up in Ireland. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl (Lucy Boynton) he likes. I’ve watched this film three times this year and I could do with seeing it again now. It’s touching, it’s amusing and it has many breakaway scenes that consist of the young band singing original songs that are influenced by bands like The Cure, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. What more do you need from a film? Just go and watch Sing Street, you won’t regret it.
Read our review of Sing Street here.
Our silver medal film only just misses out on the top spot. This was in fact my favourite film in 2016 when I watched Arrival and my number one film first time around. However, on second viewing of both films, Arrival just misses out. I find this film a very important one; especially in 2016. This is a very deep movie about language and the world itself, but I took away the feeling of hope. This is something profound about this film that strikes a chord deep within you. I think it is the final 10 minutes that links back in with the opening 10 minutes. You are taken on Amy Adams’s journey but she plays a role that is potentially ‘you’. She represents us all in an out-of-this-world scenario. It’s quite a surreal film but the year 2016 makes it feel so relevant. Arrival is a sci-fi masterpiece.
Read our review of Arrival here.
FIRST: La La Land
Our gold medallist, the top spot and the 2016 trophy for the best film of the year goes to… La La Land! This is a whimsical, glorious modern-day musical starring the crème de la crème of Hollywood talent. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sway and croon their way through a delightful two-hour runtime that I just wish could go on and on. Damien Chazelle is one of the best double threats (director & writer) working today. La La Land isn’t released until 12th January 2017 so all you folks have a delight waiting for you. I have had the pleasure of seeing this beauty twice and both times I have left the theatre full of glee. It’s not your usual rom-com, but it makes musicals charming again and the filmmaking involved is masterful. Put it this way, on 12th January, I will be queuing up again for a third time.
Read our review of La La Land here.