A variety of triumphs.
2016 has been heralded as the beginning of the end of cinema. The explosion of tentpole films (and subsequent flops) has been, to many, an indicator that movies are now made solely for pure consumerism, rather than art.
While the industry may be playing jenga with itself with its big-budget habits, there was still a plethora of terrific films that were released in 2016. The explosion of online streaming services has made watching movies much more accessible and affordable to all, and independent filmmakers now have tons of options as to where to release their films.
Now, without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 movies of 2016. Keep in mind that I haven’t been able to see every movie this year, so if there’s one missing on the list, feel free to share this article and give me $10, so I can go see it.
First off, here are some honorable mentions that almost made the list…
Captain America: Civil War
Another (albeit overstuffed) blockbuster hit from Marvel.
A touching, visually pleasing story for all to enjoy. (Review here)
A riotously vulgar animated hit from Seth Rogen and the gang.
The Conjuring 2
A steadily crafted, emotionally resonant horror film.
10. Doctor Strange
One of Marvel’s offbeat heroes gets an origin story in one of the most entertaining films of the year. Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwitel Ejiofor turn in terrific performances, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe desperately needed a dose of some new lore.
9. Don’t Breathe
The second best horror film of the year will glue you to your seat, and possibly put you into cardiac arrest. The use of sound mixing, strong visuals, and a disturbing story makes for a dreadfully fun horror flick. (Review here)
An instant classic from Disney, Moana combined a powerful, all-ages story, charming voice acting, and musical genius from Lin Manuel-Miranda and co. to create 2 hours of joyous, seafaring adventure. Disclaimer: The songs won’t leave your head for weeks! (Review here)
7. The Edge of Seventeen
A charming, nostalgic, relatable, and absolutely hilarious teen dramedy anchored by Hailee Steinfeld. Oh, how hard those times were…(Review here).
6. Kubo and the Two Strings
Laika House delivers another mystical, quirky, action-packed stop-motion hit with Kubo. The animation itself makes the movie worth watching.
5. Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck leads the charge in Manchester, a movie about grief that is both soft yet delivers a massive punch. Start looking forward to an Oscar bid immediately, cause he delivers a performance full of nuance and silent emotion. (Review here)
4. The Handmaiden
A sensual, silent, slow-moving masterpiece from South Korean director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), The Handmaiden follows the journey of a wealthy Korean heiress and her poor handmaiden; the film twists and turns through a series of sexually and emotionally charged scenes. Every frame is a masterwork in The Handmaiden.
Moonlight is a definitive 3-act film that follows the journey of a child/boy/man named Chiron as he grows up on the streets of Miami. Chiron struggles with bullies, drugs, sexuality, and finding himself in this beautifully shot, unforgettable drama.
2. La La Land.
The most joyous movie of the year, La La Land is a celebration of the artist’s life in modern day Los Angeles. Through its surrealistic songs, choreography, and visuals, and the undeniable charm of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land will become a movie you’ll want to watch again and again. (Review here)
1. The Witch
The Witch follows a family in colonial New England, living alone in a foreboding forest, as they struggle with religious paranoia and the crumble of their family. The film contains virtually no jump-scares; it builds its horror in a much more nuanced way, through slow-building, suggestive suspense. It doesn’t give the audience the satisfaction of knowing what’s ever truly going on; it merely hints and entices. The attention to detail in the dialect and production design is phenomenal, and the atmosphere created by the film is unparalleled. It will leave you feeling uneasy, and it will definitely leave you thinking.
So, there you have it. And before you go, just let me remind you…
Thank you all for supporting me and reading my ramblings in 2016. I love all the conversations we’ve had, so let’s keep having them. Have a happy new year!