Here again I present my favourite films of the year. As usual it's important to remember that this isn't the BEST films of the year, rather the movies that I've found the most entertaining; not necessarily the best crafted, most awards worthy, or most powerful dramatically, as a professional film critic might see them. Personally I'm looking for a re-watchablity factor in all these films (do I want to purchase it on Bluray for future multiple viewings?) There's a longevity factor to consider as well; I might love the film now but will I still love it in a year from now, or ten years time? Finally there's that highly subjective personal factor that means a film might have a look, or theme, or a story, or characters that talk to my tastes as an individual, more than it might to others who have viewed these films.
20/ Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Extremely entertaining period action horror with a strong cast, a kick ass female lead in Lily James, comedy gold from Matt Smith and some impressive world building.
Jennifer Lawrence (predictably) excels in this funny & exciting underdog dramedy.
The Oasis documentary that traces the first three years of the band from formation to Knebworth.
The boys are just as talented & as fuckwitted as you could have dreamed. Fascinating, funny & depressing in equal measure.
Hanks & Eckhart are great as the pilots who landed a passenger jet on New York’s Hudson River.
While not particularly deep, the re-enactments are as sphincter puckering & frightening as they get.
Absorbing documentary as controversial auteur film maker Brian DePalma tals you through every one of his movies. Some great anecdotes & behind the scenes tales.
Small scale but exciting horror as a deaf woman’s remote cabin is besieged by a nutter.
Well written, paced & performed. It’s always refreshing when character development and logic participate in a horror film.
14/ The Witch
Atmospheric period horror as an exiled family are terrorised by devilish fuckwittery.
Drenched in unease and dread, with an ambiguity that only serves to unsettle the viewer even more.
13/ Star Trek Beyond
While possessing too many familiar story elements (crashing Enterprise, pop culture resolutions & vengeful baddie with superweapons) to be truly exceptional, this third entry was a step up from Into Darkness. Great FX, very well scripted & refreshing for it not to be using its legacy as a crutch. Fun.
12/ Me Before You
Game of Throne’s Emilia Clarke is just as funny and adorable as you knew she could be in this unapologetically sentimental romantic dramedy. It’s also impressively apocalyptically sad too.
Ryan Reynold’s super explicative spectacular. Brilliant condensed story structure, filthy, hilarious humour, memorable characters & that glorious trademark breaking of the forth wall.
Funniest film of the year.
10/ Doctor Strange
While Marvel’s latest superhero introduction suffers from an all too familiar origin story structure, it’s got enough batshit originality and tripiness to elevate it from the crowd. Tons of imagination, a typically grand cast and a surprising amount of humour. Also great to see our hero out wit, rather than out punch, his opponent.
9/ Goodnight Mommy
An unsettling & intense off-kilter horror mystery that’s tense and unsettling the more it progresses.
Freaky and creepy.
Disney’s animation actually outshined their Pixar stable mates in this fantastic buddy cop, comedy adventure. Involving characters, multi layered social commentary, visually imaginative and genre savvy make this a surprise classic. Oh, and the funniest scene of the year.
7/ Train to Busan
Just when you thought the zombie genre had nothing left to offer, this little gem comes along. Intense action in a snowballing survival narrative, a welcome expansion of zombie mythology, a strong ensemble, and a touching central narrative that binds the escape drama together.
6/ 10 Cloverfield Lane
Gripping & intimate, hostage drama that evolves into genre bothering science fiction.
Three great performances from the leads, cinematically shot, beautifully scored & a logically evolving mystery.
5/ The Big Short
Take a dull subject matter and inject it wit, delivered by an a-list cast with forth wall breaking fits.
Funny and depressingly true.
4/ The Nice Guys
The buddy movie is alive and well in Shane Black’s brilliant action, crime comedy.
Two brilliantly mismatch partners with Crowe & Gosling, memorable dialogue & scenes, all served up with razor sharp humour, violence and 70’s cool.
3/ Captain America: Civil War
One of Marvel’s best to date as the Russo Brother follow up the excellent Winter Soldier with the brilliant psychological thriller. All the characters are well served, despite the huge ensemble, and it’s thrills are generated from character fission, not just the one on one super heroics. The intros od Spidey & Black Panther are impeccably handled while a beautifully balanced script keeps the complicated plot flowing smoothly.
A smart, relevant, cine-literate science fiction piece about the importance of communication both on the micro and macro levels. Thought provoking, subtly performed, beautifully crafted and surprisingly moving.
1/ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars returns with a bang in this gritty men on a mission war story. The FX are stunning, the photography old-school beautiful, the score epic and the action relentless. A more low key cast than Star Wars is used to impresses with a steely Felicity Jones flying the flag for stiff upper lip space warriors. Only a CGI fan servicing mask disappoints. A wonderful return to form for this beloved space opera saga.
Bubbling Under: Room, High Rise, Green Room, The Wave, Spotlight.