These are the MUST SEE films of 2016, the best of the best. Some would say that 2016 has been a disappointing or underwhelming year for movies, well, if you are focusing on the big blockbuster releases then yes, a lot of the biggest films did seem to underperform in terms of quality. But this wasn’t a bad thing, as it led to a lot of smaller films or more appropriately non-blockbusters to shine through. And with so many great surprises to come out this year this top 10 list was tough to finalise, constantly swapping around films, some missing out and some jumping up places. But without a doubt, there is not much at all separating the film in 10th place from that in 1st, they are all incredible movies that will hopefully remain just as enjoyable in the years to come. But before we get to the main list, i have some honourable mentions to get through.
Clicking each honourable mention will take you to my review of that film. The first of the honourable mentions is ‘The Witch‘, set in New England this horror film was haunting as its subtle use of distressing horror themes proved very successful. ‘10 Cloverfield Lane‘ was a thrilling Sci-Fi/Horror Mystery that came out of nowhere and proved that this is the perfect way to handle the revamping of an existing property. ‘The Nice Guys‘ is a fantastic original comedy highlighting the great chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, too bad no-one is actually watching this movie. ‘Swiss Army Man‘ starring Daniel Radcliffe is without a doubt the most ballsy and unique film you will ever see, you aren’t guaranteed to like it but i thought it was absolutely hilarious and worth a watch. I’ll just rattle off a few more here that are also definitely worth a viewing; ‘Hell or High Water‘, ‘Don’t Breathe‘, ‘Deepwater Horizon‘, ‘Moana‘, ‘Captain Fantastic‘, and ‘Doctor Strange‘. Now on to the list.
#10 – THE CONJURING 2
At number 10 we have a Horror entry. The Conjuring (2013) was a fantastic horror film that utilised a fantastic score and truly terrifying visuals produce a very scary and unsettling film. So the hype surrounding this sequel was huge and it did not disappoint, in fact i would say this sequel is better than the original. James Wan continues time and time again to prove why he is the master of modern horror creating hit after hit that most importantly doesn’t rely on dreadful jump scares. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as Ed and Lorraine Warren and put in fantastically convincing performances as they fight off the forces of evil once again. This is the most terrifying horror film of 2016 with great performances, a great story, and plenty of scares that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Check out my full review for this film here: THE CONJURING 2: MOVIE REVIEW
#9 – CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Marvel returned in 2016 with one of the most anticipated films in the MCU to date that would pit Iron Man against Captain America with the remaining Avengers forced to pick a side. This really was a Psychological Thriller in the MCU dealing with strong themes of death, tragedy, and revenge which did a great job at humanising all of the characters giving their characters more depth than we have seen previously. One thing the Russo brothers have proved to be masters at is filming and directing action sequences in these superhero films. The use of massive wide shots depicting tonnes of action was amazingly executed and the more close quarters fights were just as entertaining. You really get the sense that no-one is holding back at times and this makes for some brutal, emotional scenes. And this film saw the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man into the MCU, and what an introduction it was, probably the best on-screen Spider-Man to date.
Check out my full review for this film here: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR REVIEW
#8 – ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
Rogue One was the first of the Star Wars Anthology films that takes place in the days leading right up to the events at the start of A New Hope. And what a success it turned out to be, it was a very different Star Wars film to the main episodes where this was more of a war film with a very dark and gritty tone. And of course we follow a brand new group of characters all or most of which were fleshed out pretty well over the course of the film.Felicity Jones carries the film and her lead role very well as a strong, independent, and determined character. Despite it being a much darker Star Wars film it still incorporated a good amount of humour to contrast the more emotional sequences, and it blends the two very well. The film is also packed full of Star Wars fan service meaning there were many extra layers of awesomeness for me to enjoy. The way the film ties into A New Hope is quite possibly the best moment of the movie and is handled expertly.
Check out my full review for this film here: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY REVIEW
Or my SPOILER FILLED review here: ROGUE ONE SPOILER REVIEW
#7 – KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
At number 7 is hands down the best animated film of the year (I don’t care how many awards Zootopia is winning) and the only one on this list, Kubo and the Two Strings. It follows a young boy, Kubo who goes on a magical and mystical adventure through a fictional Japan accompanied by Monkey and Beetle. The voice performances here are incredible from an A-list cast including Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, and Ralph Fiennes. They all do an incredible job at bringing the world to life. Laika Animation are the ones responsible for the phenomenal stop-motion animation used to make the characters and world just about as lifelike as possible. The story is from start to finish emotional, thrilling, and just inspiring as you go through themes of happiness, sadness, and horror. It is an immensely enjoyable film especially for those who are fans of animated films in general. This is the film that should be winning come the Oscars.
Check out my full review for this film here: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS REVIEW
#6 – THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
Wow, this was a last minute watch for 2016 and what a film it is. I can’t stress enough how much i loved this film and the more i think about it and how much of a fun rollercoaster ride it was the higher i rate it. Hailee Steinfeld no doubt is phenomenal in this movie and she plays the role of this awkward teen who has a very particular sense of humour and deals with certain events in her life in various ways. She goes through many uplifting moments, plenty of tragedy, and as you instantly connect and relate to this girl in the first 5 minutes of the movie you are on this ride with her all the way. Woody Harrelson is also great as the hilariously sarcastic and bold teacher who has a very unique relationship with his students. If you are a fan of coming of age dramas then this film is definitely for you. This is a coming of age film that has a huge chance of being more beloved in the future by a wider audience.
Check out my full review for this film here: THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN MOVIE REVIEW
#5 – HACKSAW RIDGE
Hacksaw Ridge marks the return to directing for Mel Gibson and what an opening statement he has made. This WWII War Drama Biopic is just incredible, intense, and at the same time very heartwarming. It follows the true story of Desmond Doss, a religious man and a conscientious objector who wanted to serve his country but refused to kill another man or even handle a firearm. This is most definitely up there as one of the greatest War Dramas of all time filled with truly harrowing war sequences filmed and executed so perfectly by Mel Gibson that they feel as though they last for 2 hours. Andrew Garfield puts in an Oscar-worthy performance in his best role to date as he leads a long list of fantastic performances including Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, and Luke Bracey. But the real star of this movie and the reason everyone should check it out is Mel Gibson. The guy proves time and time again why he is one of the greatest directors in the modern era especially when it comes to war sequences. He has an eye for stunning war scenes and does both action and drama amazingly and also blends the two flawlessly, something many war films attempt but don’t always succeed at.
Check out my full review for this film here: HACKSAW RIDGE MOVIE REVIEW
#4 – LA LA LAND
La La Land has been everywhere in the past few months, leading up to award season the marketing push behind this musical has been monstrous, and for very good reason. This movie was truly incredible, it was directed amazingly by Damien Chazelle, featured stunning and striking cinematography, and two of the best performances of the year by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The on-screen chemistry between Gosling and Stone was electric, the couple play off each other so well and compliment each others performances like no other acting duo. It is a story that highlights themes about love, loss, success, failure, and following you dreams by overcoming any roadblocks that may stand in your way. The music here is beautiful, so many catchy songs but also very well written songs that play into the story and various tones of the film throughout. For fans of musicals this is a must see as it is filled with pure joy and amazement from start to finish. And obviously keep an eye out for this film at the Oscars where it will no doubt make a big splash.
Check out my full review for this film here: LA LA LAND MOVIE REVIEW
#3 – ARRIVAL
Denis Villeneuve has at this point very well established himself as one of the top 3 or top 2 directors in modern cinema. The guy cannot make a bad movie, i’m beginning to think it is impossible at this point, just look at his track record; ‘Prisoners’, ‘Enemy’, ‘Sicario’, and now Arrival. This movie is thought provoking sci-fi at its finest, accompanied by fantastic performances from Amy Adams especially, flawless cinematography by Bradford Yound, and a story that is tight and tied together with absolute perfection. For anyone who is a fan of Sci-Fi in general this is without a doubt a must see film as it will definitely blow you away with how intelligent it is. You will leave after seeing this film not being able to think of anything else whilst you continue to piece everything together continuously noticing more and more small little details that tie everything together. And that’s what does it for this film, it’s the detail, how every shot and every little thing is planned to connect, nothing is coincidental or done by accident, it is all purposefully crafted in an amazing way giving every scene so much depth. It is so hard to keep this film off the #1 position but really the gap between this and the next 2 films is so small they are very interchangeable.
Check out my full review for this film here: ARRIVAL MOVIE REVIEW
#2 – SING STREET
No film this year blew me away more than Sing Street did. This was one movie that after seeing it for the first time i just had to see it again, and as a result i have seen this movie 4 times and it is still just as good as the first time. This was a movie i had heard good things about here and there with people praising it insanely high, but even then i went into this film not expecting much. And as a result this turned out to be one of my favourite movies of the year. It is a Musical/Drama/Comedy with great performances, tonnes of heart, emotion, and is a very feel good film that so many people can directly relate to. It is about youth, growing up, the power of music, love, brothers and it is just a complete package that executes every theme and moment amazingly. The music in this film is very much a character here as it plays such an important part in the story that without it so much of the film would get lost in translation. It is such an emotional yet enjoyable and pleasing adventure that it is one not to be missed.
Check out my full review for this film here: SING STREET MOVIE REVIEW
#1 – DEADPOOL
Well, well, well….. here we are at #1……. and what a masterpiece we have here with the Superhero Action Comedy….. Deadpool. Led by the best marketing campaign in the history of cinema this film was sitting at #1 on my most anticipated of 2016 list. And who knew, that after releasing in way back in February it would surpass my expectations enough to retain the top spot on my list of 2016 films for the entire year. But as i have said time and time again i had the highest expectations for this film, and Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds managed to deliver on every expectation which is why it cannot be anything other than #1. Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool, the guy completely embodies everything about the character and plays the role perfectly on screen. He really is the beating heart of this movie and all the time he spent campaigning for it to exist payed off. It is hilarious in the most Deadpool way possible, the constant run of humour, combined with the many 4th wall breaks and pop culture references made for countless laugh out loud hilarious moments. The action is great, fast paced and so entertaining, and is filmed very very well.
But i have to say, this may be #1 on my list, but it is not winning or being nominated for any Oscars any time soon. Technical awards could be on the table here but as far as talent goes this movie doesn’t have a chance. It is undoubtedly the most fun i had in a movie in 2016, and i can’t see a situation where someone can’t enjoy Deadpool.
Check out my full review for this film here: DEADPOOL MOVIE REVIEW