Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2016
1) Shin Godzilla
Godzilla’s return to Japanese shores blows the recent American Godzilla movie so far out of the water it’s downright embarrassing. This is especially true in the effects department, with visuals as impressive and exponentially more evocative than what the Hollywood Godzilla attempted. Story wise it’s hard to tell whether the filmmakers were going for sly satire or deadly earnestness (or, following a global trend, possibly alarming nationalism) with the exact tone probably being lost somewhere in translation. But that itself is all part of the fun.
2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Wherever you think this ranks in the ever lengthening Star Wars saga, it’s hard to deny this as being one of the best of the series and possibly the best movie of the year.
3) Hail, Caesar!
Yeah, this is a relatively minor effort from the Coen Brothers, but that’s not exactly faint praise. A romp from beginning to end and complete with their trademark off-kilter hilarity and perfect casting.
Credit must be given to a movie that attempts to talk openly about modern racial prejudices using cartoon animals in a way that is neither heavy-handed nor totally stupid. This is thanks to the impressive and oddly plausible world-building and the easy way the movie gets you to root for the protagonist bunny cop and hustling fox sidekick.
5) The Revenant
Since this didn’t get released in my hometown until January, I’m counting it in my 2016 list, despite the fact that it technically netted Leo DiCaprio’s 2015 Oscar, a much belated but much deserved award for this great actor who does indeed give a truly great performance. The rest of the movie is also pretty damn good too.
A movie I wish had gone a little further in its send-up of the Marvel superhero universe, it’s nonetheless hard to fault a movie that delivers laughs and great action scenes with such easy panache.
7) Hacksaw Ridge
Say what you will about Mel Gibson, he’s clearly a director of considerable talent. Once again combining spirituality with copious bloodletting, Gibson sets himself apart from other unapologetic Christian filmmakers by making this story of courage and conviction inspiring even for non-churchgoers. Bonus points for Hugo Weaving’s supporting role, giving humanity to the issues of domestic abuse and PTSD.
8) Little Sister
A fine independent comedy-drama that avoids cliches while telling a moving, emotional and often really funny story in which one girl’s rebellion is to leave behind her life as a goth teenager to become a nun, only to be drawn back to her stoner family in a moment of crisis.
9) Captain America: Civil War
Though I am getting a bit weary of the tried and true Marvel formula, these movies continue to deliver strong character drama from fine actors while still delivering potent action sequences. I’ll be a snob on the day I buy a ticket and fail to have a good time.
10) The Master Cleanse
If this movie had remained as funny, creepy and inventive as it was in the first two acts, this could have been an instant cult classic. Unfortunately, it loses some steam towards the end, but is still one of the most wildly fun movies I saw all year.
“Nothing uses up alcohol faster than political argument.” - Robert Heinlein