Last week, we unveiled our Top 10 Best Movies of 2016 list, which was based on a vote we conducted as a group – and even though it represented the middle ground of films were all agreed were excellent, it wasn’t didn’t even begin to cover the widespread personal tastes of our staff. We have quite a diverse taste here at TNC, and this is exemplified through the eclecticism of our team.
With this list, some of our staff have picked their favourite things from the past year, from a range of topics. Some of us are film buffs, some of us are gamers, some of us like to read – and some of us even like to dabble in a bit of everything, like Led Zeppelin back in their heyday – only instead of sex, drugs and the occult, we like the luxuries of pop culture entertainment.
So, have a read at our lists and maybe you’ll find something new to go check out. Also, let us know your personal top 10’s in the comments in case we’re unaware of anything we shouldn’t be.
1) Shin Godzilla
After a 12 year hiatus, the Toho incarnation of Japan’s greatest monster returned to remind us that, 62 years since his terrifying introduction, Big G was still the ultimate cinematic force of terror. Godzilla has lasted because he’s mostly served as a metaphor for the contemporary climate at the time – whether socio, political, natural, or something else entirely – and with Shin Godzilla we got the beast at his horrific best. A truly terrifying allegorical horror serving as a powerful reminder of nature at its most destructive and uncompromising, this is the Godzilla movie that was needed.. It’s also a cracking political satire pertaining to the frustrations of a bureaucratic government as well as the influence of outsider political institutions butting in. With Legendary’s Godzilla sequel on the way in 2018, as well as the inevitability of Toho continuing to make more movies, it’s a damn exciting time to be a Godzilla fan.
2) The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years and it blows my mind that our wonderful group of writers didn’t vote for it in our Official Top 10. It’s Shane Black at his Shane Black-iest, and that’s a wonderful thing. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a perfect and sublimely entertaining odd couple pairing as a pair of private dicks investigate the death of a pop star. It’s pure pulp neo-noir brilliance and we need more movies like it. The mystery is engaging, the dialogue is sharp and it captures that ‘70s L.A. vibe perfectly. A wonderful throwback to the detective tales of days gone by, and one of the best films of the last decade by far.
3) Green Room
Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin from 2013 is one of the best revenge movies ever; no exaggeration. By depicting an Everyman is such a horrible situation through a lens of unfiltered realism, it made for one of the most intense and terrifying cinematic experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of enduring. It made me think, “Kieran, what if you were in that situation?’’ Well thankfully I never have been, but if your average Joe found himself in over his head, Blue Ruin is how I imagine it’d play out. His follow-up, Green Room, took a similar approach, thrusting a young punk band into a Neo-Nazi compound with almost of no hope of escape after they witness a murder. Shit hits the fan, to say the least, and the intensity is cranked up to 11.
However, what makes Green Room such an emotional film is that it marks one of actor Anton Yelchin’s final screen appearances following his unfortunate passing earlier this year at the age of 27. As an actor I really enjoyed his work to a profound extent at times; he was an actor I grew up watching and his untimely death was a reminder that we’re not immortal. It can happen to any of us at any time. But he was also an exceptionally talented actor with a bright future ahead of him, respected by colleagues and fans for his genuinity as a person. That said, his legacy will live on through his strong body of work, and Green Room is a prime example that.
4) 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank
Imagine Quentin Tarantino wrote a comic book with kids as the protagonists; it might turn out to be something similar to 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank.
5) High Rise
It’s not secret that I’m a fanboy of director Ben Wheatley, so naturally High Rise was going to be one of my favourite films of the entire year. After paying his dues with a succession of brilliant independent genre films which showcased his versatility while solidifying the common traits which have been apparent in all of his work. High Rise, which includes A-listers Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Jeremy Irons, marked Wheatley’s well-deserved foray into the mainstream. But to call it mainstream suggests that it’s not as bizarre, twisted and thought provoking as his other work – that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s all of those things and then some; after all, it was based on a work by J.G. Ballard after all. Set in a ‘70s tower block separated by class division and privilege, it’s a frighteningly on point metaphor for troubles which still exist within our society to this day.
6) The Hateful Eight
Following the disappointing mess that was Django Unchained (at least for me), The Hateful Eight marked Tarantino’s return to top form, and any doubts I had about him losing his way were quickly dismissed. This is his best film since Jackie Brown, which in my estimates makes it the second best in his entire filmography. The world needs Quentin Tarantino – his movies are events whenever they come around – and if he retires after 10 like he says he’s going to, he’ll be sorely missed.
7) Blood Father
Say what you want about the man Mel Gibson, but the actor is as top notch as they come and Blood Father is a prime example of the intensity, charm and all-round brilliance he brings to a role. It’s a shame that his personal life will mostly overshadow his on screen prowess from here on out, because he’s one of the best talents around as both an actor and filmmaker. Hacksaw Ridge – his critically acclaimed return to the director’s chair – might be his big step in the road to redemption, but Blood Father is the product of a man channeling his demons on screen, and it’s a fun slice of neo-Grindhouse action cinema to boot.
8) Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell
I love Sherlock Holmes. I love Hellraiser. Who would have thought that both universes could be integrated with such brilliance? But when you consider their parallels it’s not that surprising – all it takes is genius’ like author Paul Kane to think of it and bring it to life. Servants of Hell works as both a Hellraiser horror tale and a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and it has such sights to show you.
9) Stranger Things
I run a website dedicated to retro culture. Of course I loved Stranger Things.
10) The Witch
The Witch is one of the best horror films of the past decade. Robert Eggers’ stunning debut blends social realism with nerve-shredding folk horror to create one of the most unnerving and captivating cinematic experiences one could ever hope to enjoy. Part coming-of-age sexual awakening, part critique of religion, full transportation to a bygone era, this movie has so much going on beneath the surface – and on top of it – that I could gush over it for days.
Biggest Surprise: Love & Friendship
I attended the Glasgow Film Festival in February, as I do every year, and decided to go check out the ‘surprise movie.’ In years prior, the surprise feature tended to be of the cool, hip genre variety; this year it was a Jane Austen movie starring Kate Beckinsale. I really enjoyed it.
WILLIAM BRYANT DANIELS
1) The Handmaiden
A late watch in the year for me, and one that will truly stand up as a modern classic, The Handmaiden from director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy) is a beautifully moving tribute to Hitchcock, the double-cross, and the scam. Inspired by Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, Park applies a fresh style that brings a film that is deliciously surprising, and composed with a master’s eye for transient storytelling.
2) Manchester by the Sea
With a dry wit and a dark sense of humor, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan (Margaret) brings to screens not only the funniest movie of the year, but also the most challenging. Never has a group of characters felt so real than in Manchester by the Sea, and never has a story so rocked me to the core with its reflection of reality.
Based on Ted Chiang’s short story (“The Story of Your Life), and directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario), Arrival once again proves that literary science fiction is a workable genre for the big screen. Not since 2001: A Space Odyssey has a science fiction film been so effective in delivering the existential crisis embodied within the exploration of self, time, memory, and our place in the universe.
4) The Wailing
Hong-jin Na (The Chaser) delivers one of the most moving and terrifying horror films in recent memory. Taking on religion, patriarchal duties, and personal responsibility, The Wailing uses its large scope to deliver a slow burning masterpiece that rings in comparisons to classics such as The Exorcist or The Changeling. The Wailing is truly a refreshing take on an overworked sub-genre of horror, and proves once again that Hong-jin Na is one the 21st century’s best storytellers.
The true story of Richard and Mildred Loving is written and directed by American auteur Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter). Throughout his career Nichols has focused on telling the story of quiet America, and in Loving he gets to the heart of equality struggle within the U.S. Boasting quietly effective performances from Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, Loving is overwhelming in its effectiveness to deliver a truly American tale.
6) Hacksaw Ridge
Think what you will about the man Mel Gibson, but there are few who can match his directing output. Following the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who volunteers for war, Hacksaw Ridge avoided the pitfall of being an overly preachy bio-pic, and under the careful direction of Mel Gibson it turns into a startlingly effective war picture. Not since Saving Private Ryan have I felt the stink of the battlefield quite like this. Scene after scene Hacksaw Ridge becomes uniquely tangible and undeniably powerful.
7) Sunset Song
Terence Davies brings to screen the classic Scottish novel from author Lewis Grassic Gibbon. What could have been a redundant coming of age story is elevated by high caliber performances, breathtaking cinematography, and subtle revelations that compound into a heartbreaking finale.
As a horror fan and lover of the independent scene, I know that the two do not always mix well. A majority of writer/directors see horror as an easy way into the business. However, writer/director Trey Edward Shults uses a clever mix of editing and musical score to transform a well worn family drama into a horror film that plays with the horror of family conflict during the holidays.
9) Sing Street
From director John Carney (Once) comes tribute to the 80’s, John Hughes movies, and The Commitments. What could have been a trite and overblown teen musical turns into something much more careful and caring under the direction of the a director who knows how to balance drama, comedy, and song. With a killer soundtrack and a heartfelt story, Sing Street is one I haven’t stopped thinking about since it’s release in March of 2016.
10) The Witch
First time feature writer/director Robert Eggers delivers one of the most unique horror pieces in recent years. The Witch will surely be counted among The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Repulsion when all is said and done. Delivering on a promise of a “New England Folk Tale,” The Witch brings to screen a new level of isolationism and unnerving family dynamics built upon the cadence of Old English.
Biggest Surprise: Goliath
Not a movie, but a TV Show. From producer David E. Kelley and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath was a breathtaking, 8-episode Amazon original about corporate conspiracy and sadistic law firms.
I’ve admired the documentary work of Adam Curtis since The Way of All Flesh in 1997 and have seen his work turn from fairly straightforward documentary to something else that is still documentary, but also something akin to performance art inspired by things like 80’s rave culture and hip hop.HyperNormalisation is a vast, massive work that at 2 hrs,46 minutes looks daunting but really isn’t as it redefines what the documentary is in the 21st century. It’s also Curtis’s most accessible work in a few years after films based on more niche subjects. This is just brilliance.
2) National Treasure
This Channel 4 drama series starring Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters dealt with the fallout of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the festering sore it left. Two amazing performances from Walters as the long suffering wife to Coltrane’s beloved comic with a dark past uncovered for all to see. It touches sensitive issues and makes the idea that the UK can’t produce quality TV drama anymore a lie.
3) High Rise
Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of a wonderfully sharp J.G Ballard book shouldn’t have worked. It should have looked like a kitsch nightmare. It should have failed as Ballard isn’t an easy writer to work from, but the film worked in not just capturing an era without falling into pastiche, it managed to convey the horror of the world Ballard created perfectly in the 1970’s while being relevant to the 21st century. It also managed to shock diehard Tom Hiddleston fans.
4) Love and Rockets
Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (with occasional input from Mario) have been producing this comic since 1982 and in all those decades one would think the comic would have lost quality, or even stopped trying new things with the medium. It hasn’t. For 34 years this has been the best comic out there, and in 2016 it returned to the magazine format it originated in all those years ago and reminded us how much the industry needed it.
5) Train to Busan
The zombie film is a tired, dreary, now sadly boring genre that has become held up by cliche. This South Korean thriller came out of relatively nowhere to show there’s life in a genre that’s overused by not especially talented people yet. This is a gem of a film.
6) I, Daniel Blake
Ken Loach has been an important filmmaker for decades, but this film is by far his most important as it brings to light the sort of dystopian horror people trapped by the machinations of the state have to endure. It highlights what is a daily struggle for far too many people struggling with the effects of cruel austerity. It sounds grim and horrible (and in many places it’ll reduce you to tears) but this is also the most warm, decent human film of the year.
7) Ash vs Evil Dead
Adapting a film, especially a cult film, for television isn’t something that works. In this case having Bruce Campbell’s considerable charm and the input of Sam Raimi return was good enough. Having a strong supporting cast and a nasty, sadistic, sense of humour makes the series a joy. A first season which dribbled out a bit was surpassed by a superior second season which was strong from the off and provided plenty of gory entertainment.
Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows creepy, horrific and dense comic based upon the works of H.P Lovecraft is for even a Lovecraft novice like myself, quite astonishing. Moore picks apart Lovecraft, throws it in with the actual history of 1920’s America, and combines it with the work of horror and fantasy writers of the time. With one issue left, Moore has created not just a work that serves as a horror story, but something deeply layered that will be served well from a reading in a single sitting.
9) Luke Cage
Marvel’s Netflix series tend to be of a fairly high quality, and Luke Cage was no exception, yet this time Marvel managed to make a series which covered not just superhero action, but the sort of racial and identity politics that superhero live action adaptations have barely, if ever, touched. Also, it has the finest soundtrack of any superhero adaptation.
10) The Neon Demon
This was a lush looking horror/thriller from director Nicolas Winding Refn that although had a patchy response, was something challenging which in a time when cinema is becoming routinely safe was welcome.
Biggest Surprise: Rogue One
Yeah, it is a Star Wars film. It shouldn’t be a surprise. It should be a fun, but instead of a predictable experience like a Marvel film tends to be, Gareth Edwards film was a darker, more morally grey film outwith the usual Star Wars canon. It isn’t perfect but it creates a story with a beginning to end that engages with characters that are a bit more than the usual 2-D standard. It also does something I wasn’t expecting from what is essentially a Disney film, and for that, Rogue One is my biggest surprise.
1) Lazer Team (Theatrical Cut)
A fun sci-fi comedy film, it uses cliche tropes but in an incredibly fun and unique way. I’m also a diehard Rooster Teeth fan, so a tad biased. I also far prefer the theatrical cut; the director’s cut just adds random unnecessary sex jokes towards the only women that are barely in the film and are already used solely for the male gaze.
2) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A very welcome return to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts creates a ton of adorable, sweet and well-crafted characters, lots of new magical creatures, and intense dark action sequences. It honestly felt like I was reading the first Harry Potter book for the first time all over again.
3) Gods of Egypt
Yeah, yeah… this movie wasn’t “good.” But it was fun as hell. It’s a gorgeous looking film, every actor chews all the beautiful CGI scenery, and it feels just like the old school mythology flicks I grew up watching like Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts.
4) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition
Specifically the Ultimate Edition (though adding that to the title screen hurts me a bit), Batman v Superman is a wonderful, intense film, with plenty of fantastic action sequences, stunning cinematography, and some absolutely insane acting by Jesse Eisenberg.
Every time I see a Sion Sono film I love him even more. Tag is my favorite of his output so far – crazy surreal imagery, insane social commentary, and wind that rips people in half.
6) Our Kind of Traitor
A smaller scale and more personal spy film than stuff like James Bond, Our Kind of Traitor has so much tension as well as wonderful chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård.
A dark and disturbing horror film about a man who wears an ancient evil clown’s skin and now wants to feed on children. Fantastic fairy tale aspects plus it made me scared of children’s play areas. The best horror film of the year.
8) The Crooked Man
A prime example of why I love and adore Syfy Original films. Weird and quirky, odd acting, but full of cool little moments. I’m also a sucker for fairy tale-esque stories which this is full of, down to the crooked house near the end.
9) Shin Godzilla
Not the best in terms of monster action, but a wonderful disaster drama film with tons of witty comedy and hands down one of the coolest explosive moments in the history of kaiju films. The classic music was a really nice touch too.
10) The Handmaiden
Always take the chance to check out South Korean cinema in theatres, especially when it’s a Park Chan-wook film. As perfect as the rest of the films of his I’ve seen are, it might even be better than Oldboy, and it’s also really nice to see a popular South Korean dark drama with female leads. Also, because it’s Park Chan-wook, nice cameo by a creepy octopus.
1) The Eyes of My Mother
Best horror film of the year. Will have its babies.
2) At the Drive In Got Back Together.
After a brief reunion in 2012, my boys are back.
3) Stranger Things
Barb, your fierce mom jeans are gone but not forgotten.
4) Capture Kill Release
Canada produced one of the scariest films of the year.
5) The Witch
Finally, a hero whose sex habits and monologue match mine.
7) Hardcore Henry
Sharlto Copley rules and I needed a bottle of water.
8) David Bowie’s Blackstar
Thanks for the parting gift, spaceman. We miss you.
9) The John Wick Chapter 2 Trailer
Keanu Reeves shooting people in the head, wearing a suit.
10) Guillermo del Toro’s Tweets
His statement on Konami is epic and shall live on.
Biggest Surprise: Ghostbusters Didn’t Suck
There, I said it. No shame.
saw the Grim Reaper working overtime as we lost dozens of people who meant so much to so many as heroes, role models and sources of inspiration. The list is far too long to even touch on here, so there’s no point in even trying, which is why this year can’t end soon enough. Without a doubt, the greatest thing 2016 has brought us is the knowledge that it’s almost over.
1) December 31st
2016 saw the Grim Reaper working overtime as we lost dozens of people who meant so much to so many as heroes, role models and sources of inspiration. The list is far too long to even touch on here, so there’s no point in even trying, which is why this year can’t end soon enough. Without a doubt, the greatest thing 2016 has brought us is the knowledge that it’s almost over.
2) That’s Not Current
Three lads from Scotland sold everything they owned, moved into an old VW Microvan and brought us the greatest website ever. Retro reviews, news on current pop culture, and the most diverse bunch of contributing writers ever assembled all combine to bring you the website you never knew you needed but now can’t live without.
3) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Star Wars story we all wondered about finally played out and answered more than a couple of questions that have been asked for over thirty years involving Death Star plans, exhaust pipes and Rebel ships. To say too much is to spoil an exciting, intense and fully satisfying adventure that isn’t so much about the ending we all know but the journey to that point.
While the original movie from 1973 was good, HBO’s latest hit takes everything about the movie and cranks it up to eleven. The story was great and, unlike far too many genre shows, it actually delivered on the important questions that viewers had while setting others aside to join new ones for future seasons to explore. Westworld was satisfying on multiple levels with ample (and equal) amounts of brain AND eye candy.
5) Stranger Things
Netflix scored huge points with fans of 80s movies, TV and books, particularly those of Stephens Spielberg and King. Compelling and oh-so-easy to binge watch, this eight episode series came out of nowhere and inspired millions to wonder “what happened to Barb?”. Add in a totally tubular soundtrack and it was the best 80s thing to not come from the 80s.
6) Black Mirror
Thanks to Netflix, the “tech-heavy Twilight Zone” saw new life and satisfied fans of the original two seasons and made new fans along the way. One of the reasons why is arguably one of the best hours of television ever. With the third season’s fourth episode, “San Junipero”, Black Mirror showed us how easy it is for love to heal and hurt.
7) The Vision
Tom King was able to take a Marvel Comics character that hasn’t been very interesting in years and create one of the most compelling and, at times, heartbreaking sci-fi stories ever. What could be the plot of a horrible 90s syndicated sitcom is, instead, a superbly written comic book that looks at life through the eyes of a family just trying to fit in.
Like the board game Othello that claimed “takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master”, the video game Overwatch may be the perfect blend of first person shooter and accessibility ever. With an ample number of characters all suited to different playing styles and abilities, almost anyone can jump right into the non-stop action.
9) Captain America: Civil War
With this entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe we got what we’ve wanted for so long; a wisecracking, FUN Spider-Man. Toss in the first appearance (and tightly told origin) of Black Panther, a giant battle at an airport and an intense final battle, and you’ve got arguably the best MCU movie yet.
10) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Finally – the saga of Nathan Drake comes to a close. Great set pieces, an engaging story, and a few quiet moments that seem out of place for the franchise but fit perfectly into the narrative. All topped off with a satisfying epilogue.
1) The Love Witch
Writer/director Anna Biller has crafted a gorgeous, mesmerizing film about a beautiful witch (Samantha Robinson in a star-making role) who kills in her search for love, shot in 35mm. This is hands-down the most unique cinematic experience of the year, borrowing techniques from the past while delivering timely social messages. It’s my favorite film of the year, regardless of genre.
2) The Similars
If you love The Twilight Zone, classic science fiction and horror movies, and John Carpenter films half as much as writer/director Isaac Ezban does, you will go nuts for this thrilling ride about people stranded at a bus station in rural Mexico during a torrential storm and the bizarre fate that awaits them. Learn nothing further about this film and find a way to watch it as soon as you can. It’s a thrilling, sometimes absurd, and always fun ride.
3) Stranger Things
Granted, I have a lot of catching up to do with television series for this year, including Ash vs. Evil Dead, Westworld, Channel Zero, and Black Mirror, but Stranger Things had my attention from the beginning with its lovingly told, dark yet fun approach.
4) The Exorcist
Few people expected much from this series, so it was a huge surprise when it came to just how high quality ands intense this endeavor turned out to be.
5) Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker.
6) David Bowie, Blackstar. These two music legends passed away this year, leaving huge, unfillable voids, but not before blessing their fans with final albums that are memorable and haunting.
7) Afterlife with Archie
After a long absence, this excellent horror series came roaring back with two issues before going on hiatus again.
8) The Man with 10,000 Eyes
Independent comic writer and artist Joe Badon fashions a gripping, eerie science fiction/horror tale of a man who suddenly sees more than anyone should ever be subjected to. Outstanding, unusual art combined with a story that should thrill fans of The Twilight Zone, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg. You can order your copy at HERE.
9) Stardom (also known as World Wonder Ring Stardom)
Some of the absolute best wrestlers on the planet compete for this Japanese women’s promotion, which also features highly talented international female grapplers. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, and the rest of the Stardom roster, head over to Stardom World’s website and dive right in. Prepare to be amazed and amused. English subtitles abound.
10) Chikara Pro
Fun, family friendly professional wrestling that makes you gasp at the talent on display and laugh at the absurdity, sometimes at the same time. In my opinion, this is the most fun American professional wrestling promotion going. See what you have been missing over at their website.
1) Momodora IV: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Hyper-polished Metroidvania with lush pixel art, a lovingly-crafted world to explore and plenty of nods towards Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
2) Dark Souls III
The most predictable release of the year, and thank gosh for that. From Software’s formula continues to be perfect.
The best sci-fi novel in years, dealing with complex and fascinating themes like the availability of scientific data and the increasing prevalence of anti-intellectualism.
A perfect counterpart to Gamma, thematically. Arrival was a beautiful movie about — I feel — the place of free will and impact of politics on science. Amy Adams was so good.
5) Uncharted IV: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog’s storytelling skills — led by Neil Druckmann — continue to be unmatched in the realm of big-budget video games. (Even if it is bloated at times.)
6) Stardew Valley
The best escape from a garbage year, Stardew Valley allowed players to either turn their brain off or focus obsessively on building a successful farm and starting a family.
Complex, wonderfully-angry social commentary disguised as an adorable kids movie — a movie for both the young and old, with many layers in between.
8) Stranger Things
The kids of the ‘80s are growing up and making the sort of stuff they grew up with: Part Goonies, part Stephen King, Stranger Things was a clever return to the best of the best decade.
9) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Like Dark Souls III, the new DX was a thankfully-predictable repeat of the classic formula, bringing a rich world to explore however we wished.
10) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story/Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The back-to-back return to two beloved children’s stories proved to be both deliriously dark and clever deconstructions of current political events.
Biggest Surprise: Politics
Our broken political systems giving rise to and celebrating objectively-stupid decisions.
ROBERT A. WELSH
1) Green Room
Writer & director Jeremy Saulnier’s third feature length film about a punk rock band trapped at a secluded venue with a bunch of neo-Nazi skinheads is his best so far and the best of 2016. It’s a taut, engaging thriller with an awesome punk rock soundtrack and great performances from Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin.
2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The first stand-alone film in the Star Wars anthology series is quite easily the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. It’s dark, gritty, violent, with great characters (K-2S0 being the standout) and a great script that smoothly ties it into the Star Wars universe. It’s the prequel we deserved instead of that “trilogy” that George Lucas gave us years ago.
3) The Edge of Seventeen
Being a teenager sucks, especially when you’re an outcast with only one friend, like the film’s protagonist. The talented Hailee Steinfield is allowed to shine in this consistently funny and occasionally heartbreaking teen comedy-drama. Those of us who struggled to fit in during our teenage years will find this film especially relatable.
4) The Nice Guys
After the financially successful, but audience mangled Iron Man 3, writer & director Shane Black decided to go back to the buddy cop formula he’s known for with The Nice Guys. Ryan Reynolds and Russell Crowe make for a great mismatched pair in this funny and entertaining film that captures the look and feel of the 70’s so well. Although it wasn’t a commercial hit, critics adored it, as did fans of Shane Black’s work.
5) Manchester by the Sea
This drama film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan about a Boston area janitor having to take in his nephew after his brother dies is worth all of the hype and praise it has received. The emotion is raw and genuine throughout, and Casey Affleck carries the film with his performance, which just might be the best of 2016. It’s definitely not one to miss.
It can certainly be argued that both audiences and critics have been feeling some superhero fatigue this year, but Deadpool is the superhero film this year that really stood out because, well, do I really need to get into this one? Best viewed with a plate of warm chimichangas within reach and a TV, obviously!
Daniel Radcliffe plays a young FBI agent who goes undercover as a white supremacist to uncover a terrorist plot. Radcliffe successfully carries this thoroughly engaging and tense thriller that features some uncomfortable subject matter. It’s also loosely based on the real-life story of FBI agent Michael German, who helped write the script.
8) Swiss Army Man
It’s no coincidence that two Daniel Radcliffe films are on this particular author’s top 10 list. He’s one of the best actors working today, and Swiss Army Man demonstrates just how committed he is to playing a farting corpse who befriends a lonely and desperate man played by Paul Dano. The premise is absurd, yes, but the film has its heart in the right place and is both emotionally and intellectually engaging.
9) 10 Cloverfield Lane
The film absolutely nobody was expecting to come out in 2016 turned out to be one of the best. Set in the same universe as the 2008 found footage horror film Cloverfield, it’s tense, claustrophobic horror-thriller that never lets up. It also doesn’t reveal the true horror of what’s going on too soon. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. are great in their respective roles, but it’s John Goodman who steals the show in what could arguably be his best role to date.
10) Sing Street
The 80’s might be well in the past, but this musical comedy-drama film captures the music and the spirit of the decade so well. The story about a young Dublin boy starting a band to impress the girl he likes is both sweet and uplifting. The songs featured throughout are memorable and catchy too!
Biggest Surprise: X-Men: Apocalypse Being As Underwhelming As It Was
But hey, at least we got Deadpool, right?