So the Oscars have come and gone, with another year of a plethora of films to watch and enjoy. Whilst I don’t think 2016 has been an amazing year in terms of film, I have compiled a list of my top 10 favourite films of the past year. This also includes films that have been released in 2017, up until the Oscars last Sunday.
I hold my hands up to this one, I’m probably biased with this one. The reason being I got to read the script for this pre-release during a work experience placement for Big Talk. Just reading it I could that this was going to be a hit, and certainly an improvement on Sacha Baron Cohen’s previous film, The Dictator. This film centres around an MI6 spy (Mark Strong) on a mission whose career and life is endangered when, his brother Nobby (Baron Cohen), a hapless, idiotic, slapstick “council estate” charicature comes crashing into his life. Whilst this sounds like a recipe for disaster, the pairing of these two couldn’t be any better, and the script whilst crude has hilarious set pieces, that make its inclusion on this list worthwhile…not to mention a scene with an elephant.
9. Captain America Civil War
The first of three comic book movies on this list, kind of hard to avoid these days! Captain America Civil War was the best entry from the Marvel “Avengers” so far. The story is compelling, which heroes do we support? Which of them are heroes? Are any of them? In addition to this, managing to balance the screen time between so many characters, including new entires such as Black Panther, is a feat not to be sniffed at. The CGI as always was fantastic, the Spider Man cameo promises great things for the standalone film and the Marvel universe has been set on a really interesting course for it’s future stories.
This film was awesome! The publicity campaign for it was exceptional, the cheeky, suggestive and modern posters and billboards perfectly encapsulates the tone of the film. The script was fresh, extremely post-modern, crude, hilarious and extremely entertaining. It definitely felt very different from any Marvel film thus far. The story itself is your typical superhero plot, bad guy, girl taken by bad guy, all is resolved, but how it gets to these points is what makes Deadpool. In all honesty though I think Ryan Reynolds was born for this part and without him I don’t think it would have succeeded, especially after the characters horrendous portrayal in Wolvering Origins. Also this film until very recently had the best opening/opening credits of a film I’ve seen so far, definitely setting the mood for what followed.
Nerve was probably one of the most original films to have come out in the last year. Set around the idea of an online truth or dare kind of game which escalates out of control, it is easy (and scary) to see how this kind of thing could happen in our society today. Emma Roberts and Dave Franco head up the cast and are both great in keeping the story together and grounded, it never feels outlandish and the relationship and chemistry between them feels very natural. The twists that come along made me audibly gasp and I think it’s a film that will be haunting and studied for years to come as our world parallels these kind of activities. Are you a watcher or a player?
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I was so ready to hate this. I was ready to moan about how J.K Rowling is a sell out and that they are nowhere near as good as the Harry Potter films…but I absolutely loved it! I was thrilled to see that Rowling took the series and tone in a different direction from Harry Potter, making it its own distinct series that appeals to newcomers and veterans alike. The story whilst a bit thin in places kept me entertained, and the world as a whole was just as intricate and magical as the Potter series, perhaps helped by not having a book of the story to compare it to. (Yes I’m aware there was a book of this, but it was more an encyclopaedia not about this story.) I think she has very cleverly placed the action paralleling Grindewald’s rise against our own political climate, and I cannot wait to see what a certain actor does with the part in future films!
Our leading stars were fantastic, Eddie Redmayne, again something I thought I’d dislike about the film, brought real heart to the film and seemed an instant fit. Colin Firth and Ezra Miller were exceptional, and their subplot was intriguing and was some of the best acting from the film. The only real gripe I had was the CGI was a bit naff in comparison to earlier HP films but I can whole-heartedly say I cannot wait to see next instalment!
5. La La Land
So we come to the darling film of the year, having hoovered up at the awards including Best Picture at the Oscars…or maybe not. Whilst having watched it I don’t think it deserves quite the hype it received, technically it is a beautiful film. The cinematography, colours and choreography are amazing, making you feel transported to the old school Hollywood films it tries to emulate. Also so much respect for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, their dancing, singing and piano skills were great considering that’s not what they really do! I really liked the chemistry between them but the ending wasn’t the one I wanted but was the more realistic one. And finally, just Emma Stone, I love that woman! Quirky, down to earth and talented, can’t wait to see what she does next!
4. Hail, Caesar!
The latest instalment from the Coen Brothers, having just missed out on the deadline for last year’s Oscars I was pleased to see it still received some nods this year, however I think the length of time proved deadly in its chances of success. The film, like La La Land focuses on Hollywood and the people who populate it, Josh Brolin, the producer at the studios has to track down AWOL star Baird Whitlock, one of George Clooney’s best roles to date.
One of my favourite scenes is between Alden Ehrenreich’s (the young Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off) cowboy turned attempted dramatic actors and Ralph Fiennes’ film director Laurence Laurentz. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it, but it makes me laugh every single time. Changing Tatum and surprised just about everyone in his Gene Kellyesque appearance, showing himself to be a capable singer and dancer, as well as performer. Overall, definitely one of the best comedy films of 2016, and one of my favourites of all time.
3. Lego Batman
The. Best. Batman. Film. Ever. It takes the campness and kitch of the 60s series, elements of Nicholson’s Joker, and the gruffness and grittiness of the Bale/Affeck Batman’s. So what does this have that the others don’t? It doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the opening (this took over from Deadpool), you knew instantly that it was going to be self-refential, post-modern and entertaining. It’s a non-stop action packed films, with perfect casting for every single character.
The film has taken the essence of all of the Batman stories and adaptations and distilled them into this one film, taking a look at the psychology of Batman and being able to be in such a place to make witty and truly accurate observations about the series as a whole. Will Arnett could be up there as the definitive Batman, balancing the gruffness which we have come to respect with a deeper characterisation, showing the care and relationships he has with those closest to him. Also one of the funniest films of the year, many sections and lines had me laughing non-stop and Batman fans new and old will all appreciate this film.
Throughout all of Scorsese’s films religion plays a key role, and Silence is perhaps his definitive and resolute examination of faith. When I first saw the trailer I thought hmm…this is very different for Scorsese and I’m not sure I’d even enjoy it, but despite its length running time, I was gripped from start to finish. Andre Garfield and Adam Driver are superb throughout this film and I am surprised neither had nods in the award season. For a film where not a lot happens at points, the both of them keep you captivated and you feel like you know both of them immensely well by the films close. The cinematography is sublime, this was my pick to win the Oscar, it’s possibly the most technically beautiful and astounding film of Scorses’s career, more elegant and refined than The Last Temptation of Christ, but has all the heart and values of its spiritual predecessor. Possibly one of my favourite films of all time, and certainly of of my favourites of Scorsese’s, a masterpiece.
So my favourite film of the past year, Trainspotting 2! 20 years have passed since the original, one of the most iconic British films of all time, one of my favourite films of all time and one of the most popular posters to probably adorn the walls of students halls at university’s across the country. I am so glad I wasn’t disappointed in this, sequels are extremely tough and I was worried that this could flop. However from the opening beat to closing beat this film was everything it should have been and everything I wanted it to be. The music was incredible, perfect choices, balancing a homage to the first film as well as more modern choices to keep it grounded in today. This is probably the biggest criticism people can find with the film is that for a significant majority of the film it pays homage and is almost a love letter to the first film. But this I believe is it strength, and also reflects a political message of that generation of people constantly reflecting back on their youth and how things were much better then, rather than looking towards the future and trying to change things for the better rather than reverting things to the past.
The cast are all still outstanding and I was glad to see Spud’s story was a little more fleshed out this time. There were some lovely sentimental touches and references to the first which were quite emotional and Begbie’s story was unexpectedly emotional too. One of the best scenes was (and I’m not going to spoil it), the scene where Renton and Begbie meet again, this was so cleverly framed and shot and was a masterclass in filmmaking. The whole film itself is just a masterclass, like the first, to the filmmakers of today and the future, and by the end, which is absolutely magnificent and so well done, I was left with goosebumps and couldn’t wait to see it again!
So there we have it, my picks of the past year! Agree? Think I’ve missed anything? Let me know in the comments below!